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Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve

Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve

Short, lakefront walking trail in Lake Alfred offers views of wading and migratory birds and endangered plants.

On the shores of Lake Rochelle in Lake Alfred sits 112 acres of Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve. It includes a 1.1 mile multi-use trail. With almost a mile of lakefront shoreline, there are ample opportunities to view wading and migratory birds, in addition to observing several species of endangered plants and animals.

Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve in Lake Alfred

Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve

Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve

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History – The Mackay Estate was built by Alexander Mackay, a Scottish entrepreneur and investor who bought the property on Lake Rochelle in 1915 and began construction of the Mackay family estate which he called “La Rochelle.” The estate’s 8,000-square-foot residence is an outstanding example of Craftsman style architecture, with sleeping porches and large porch columns, open interior spaces and a staircase in the main room. A walled arbor with arched openings is located west of the residence and a sunken garden with a fountain is on the east. A beautiful Gazebo has been added with a breathtaking view of the lake. The home has undergone only minor alterations over the years, and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Our future plans call for part of the building to house the Lake Alfred Historical Society meeting room and museum.
Nature Tours – We also host Nature Appreciation tours, please join us for a free nature adventure at the Mackay Gardens Preserve as we initiate our new walking tours.  An expert Polk County Master Gardener and an experienced interpretive guide will escort beginners and passionate outdoor enthusiasts alike on a very pleasant one mile hike through the beautiful sub-tropical forest of this shady preserve.  The number of guests that can be accommodated on each tour is limited so be sure to contact the City of Lake Alfred Parks and Recreation Department today to make reservations.

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