Looking for a brief date with nature? Drive to Maple Valley, WA and there you will find Lake Wilderness. Lake Wilderness is just off the beaten path and consists of an Arboretum, a Lodge (used for weddings, conferences, and the like), a Golf & Country Club is nearby, and a Park that includes areas for picnicking, a baseball field, tennis courts, and Lake Wilderness for boating/fishing and swimming. There are annual events…the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show in December, a plant sale in May, Shakespeare is performed this year in August, and Music at the Park is at various times throughout the summer (among others).
The Lake Wilderness Arboretum is 42 acres and is in what I would consider a “natural” setting. It is maintained by the Lake Wilderness Arboretum Foundation (a non-profit organization) in a Joint User Agreement with the City of Maple Valley. The Arboretum is split up into different sections and is indicated so by markers. There is a Rhododendron Garden, Shade Garden, Volunteer Garden, Alpine/Rock Garden, Hydrangea Collection, Maple Collection, Perennial Border, Legacy Garden, Wildlife Corridor, Azalea Garden, and Daylily Collection. Each month brings us something new to see. Enjoy a walk on the Tribal Life Trail, which showcases plants native to our area and gives information on how they were used by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. The trees and a walk in the woods are awe-inspiring yet comforting. Also, along side of the Park is the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail to explore. Enjoy the trails!
The Lake Wilderness Arboretum is open from dawn until dusk. Entry and parking are free. Dogs are welcome (leash laws apply). Tours can be scheduled. Volunteers are much appreciated. http://lakewildernessarboretum.org/ http://www.maplevalleywa.gov/
And while you are out and about, a stop at Foley’s Produce is suggested. Foley’s Produce is located on Hwy 169, is owned by Sean Foley, and carries local goods, much of it from the Yakima, WA area. You are sure to find much of what you need to make a meal or a snack. What can be found here? Corn on the cob, cherries, green beans, peaches, apples (I purchased Ginger Gold which I had not had before), potatoes, peaches, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, peppers, tortilla chips, local preserves, and much more. There is also a garden section. You can bet I will be going back on a seasonal basis to see what’s new. Looking forward to the upcoming Fall…pumpkins and all! See Foley’s Facebook page for current info. http://foleysproduce.com/