Elizabethan Gardens

By Mei Bess, 2013

Elizabethan Gardens, home to the largest bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth I and ten acres of beautiful landscaping in Manteo, NC. Construction began on June 2, 1953, the same day Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England. As we drove past the entrance to find a parking spot the beauty of its exterior stunned me. “We should’ve filmed as we were driving by!” Bubba exclaimed. She was my entertainment and driving companion for most of the trip. The history was clear from the parking lot. We could already see the historical iron gates and antique furnishings – which we later found out was obtained over the years through donors.

A young woman who managed the gift shop greeted us. There were wonderful trinkets and decorations in the shop, all of which would look excellent inside or outside of anyone’s home. The prices were a bit steep, but would definitely be a notable piece to any guests who visited the home of those who purchased an item. Soon, we were overwhelmed by the artificial scents of the little shop, so we made our way to the main attraction.

The garden was quite peaceful and serene.  They say you can tell how prestigious a college is by its number of bell towers and fountains, and in this case, it applies to this fountain-filled garden. In fact, the first décor, that everyone who walked into the garden would spot, was a fountain. There were at least three others that we came across, each one more elaborate than the last. The garden was decorated with a variety of statues, including Roman gods and goddesses and Virginia Dare, the first child of European parents to be born on American soil. There was a great lawn hidden in the right lung of the garden where, to no surprise, many weddings are held each year.

My favorite part had to be the colony walk. It was a dirt trail that led to a gate. Behind the gate were crashing waves and a massive body of water. Not only could I see the history all throughout the garden, I could smell it in the salt of the sea. We spotted what appeared to be a sailboat off in the distance. It was a beautiful ending to a wonderful visit to a glorious location that is a must-see if another trip is made to the coast.