Continued from the previous page.
Here is the property
map of Calloway Gardens again for reference.
The main road around large Mountain Creek Lake is mostly one-way
going clockwise. We've driven from 6 o'clock at the Overlook Azalea
Garden at the bottom of the map to the upper left corner at the Azalea
The Azalea "Bowl" is appropriately named because hills
surround pretty Lower Falls Creek Lake. A 40-acre slope is filled with
more than 3,000 beautiful mature hybrid azaleas, plus another 2,000
trees and other kinds of shrubs.
This map detail of the Azalea Bowl is from one of the interpretive panels
along the path. I highlighted the route I took from the main parking lot down
to and around the left side of the lake, out and back to the chapel
(lower R. side of map), and back to the parking area on the right
side of the lake:
I highly recommend touring the Azalea Bowl the same way.
When you start from the main parking area (at top of map
above) you'll enter the bowl on the path that leads to this
handsome formal garden area and pavilion:
Here's a funny story illustrating how diligent the
garden staff is at Callaway Gardens.
The bulb and annual flower borders and beds all over
the resort are continually being updated with fresh, seasonal blooms,
most of them grown in the greenhouses in the horticultural center on site.
In the next picture you can see pansies forming a
border in front of the azaleas. When Jim and I walked through here on
Thursday, the border was mostly daffodils. One was pulled up and just
lying there. We both thought an animal or person had pulled it up, so Jim
went over and planted it again.
Ha! The next morning when I took this picture ALL of
the daffodils were gone and these pansies had been planted in their
When I got over to the Discovery Center a
30-something woman was replacing a border with new flowers.
When I complimented her on how good the flower beds
looked all over the resort, she verified that it takes a large number of
people to maintain the grounds to such a high standard.
Looking out the other side of the pavilion; the
path leads down to the lake.
Looking back to the pavilion
A network of shady paved trails gradually winds down the slope from
this and another hilltop parking area. Or visitors can park at the lower horticultural center
(greenhouses) to access the trail system if they want a less hilly hike through
the Azalea Bowl. This area is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly,
although some of the spur trails are not paved.
Note that leashed dogs are allowed on these and other foot paths at Callaway Gardens
but bikes are not. Racks are provided for bikes
to be parked while visitors walk through the Azalea Bowl.
At the bottom of the hill at the overlook in the next picture you can go
either right or left around Lower Falls Creek Lake:
Left is a quicker route to the memorial chapel:
Either direction leads to the handsome arched bridge across
this side of the lake. I chose to go CCW when I took these pictures.
A type of Karume azalea
After crossing the bridge I turned right and went out
and back to the chapel before completing the loop around the lake. Those
photos are farther below.
The next four pictures are from the rest of the loop
around the lake:
OK, now let's go see the chapel.
IDA CASON CALLAWAY MEMORIAL CHAPEL
This attractive fieldstone quartz
chapel sits at the northeastern side of Lower
Falls Creek Lake next to the pretty creek and rocky shoals for which the
lake is named:
The chapel is open for visitors most of the time, unless a special
event such as a wedding is taking place. Non-denominational services are
held on Sunday mornings in the summer and during the Christmas season.
Check the web link above for dates and times.
The interior of the chapel is beautiful, with
large stained glass windows filtering the light through colorful panes
depicting nature scenes through the four seasons:
If you visit Callaway Gardens on weekend afternoons you
may hear music being played on the huge custom-built
Möller pipe organ in the chapel. Friends say
you can hear it throughout most of the park unless you're in a noisy area.
The interesting organ tower is designed to enhance the
There are also seasonal organ concerts that are included
in the price of admission.
If you want to visit only the chapel and
not the rest of the Azalea Bowl, there is a parking area nearby on the narrow
road that loops around Lower Falls Creek Lake.
Continued on the next page: the Discovery Center,
Pioneer Cabin, and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Casey-Girl, and Holly-Pup
© 2019 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil