Oh Deer!  LbNA # 830

Placed DateSep 5 2002
LocationVienna, VA
Found By K&K
Last Found Nov 27 2004
Hike Distance?

Originally placed by BeMa and adopted in May 2008 by FamilyMan

Oh Deer!
Meadowlark Gardens
Vienna, VA
Placed September 5, 2002
by BeMa

Meadowlark gardens is a hidden oasis located between Route 7 and Route 123 off of Beulah Road, south of Route 7 and the Dulles Access Road in Vienna, VA. There is a nominal admission fee for children 7+ and adults April 1 through October 31.

Meadowlark Gardens is the home of an enormous array of plants and small critters. All are welcome in the park except for deer which eat all the plants. A tall wire fence surrounds the park to keep them at bay. But -- one has gotten inside the gardens and is hiding in the woods -- it is up to you to find it!

Park in the lot and enter into the visitor's center. There are all sorts of little exhibits and activities inside. You can get a trail map and other information at the front desk.

Proceed through the visitor's center and out the back door to the right. Pass by the demonstration garden and straight down the paved path down the hill. Bear left at all intersections. The view of the lakes and the geyser is beautiful. Pass the Phillips bench on the left and the geyser on the right. Take a right onto the stone path. Cross the wooden bridge and go over both sets of stepping stones. There are often lots of polliwogs around the rocks and ducks and geese on the pond (beware of the geese during nesting season -- they get a little territorial and they leave lots of droppings).

Take a right onto the paved path. Bear to the left on this path past birdhouse 14. To the right is a pier and a gazebo. It is a great place to look for catfish. Most are pretty small, but, earlier this year we saw at least two monster ones which jumped clear out of the water and back again!

Continue on the paved path on a straightish/leftward course. The path turns into a zigzagging boardwalk (lots more minnows here). Circle the lake by taking a right onto the grass trail. Admire the turtles sunning on the rocks in the middle of the lake. This is also a favorite take off and landing site for the geese and ducks.

The grass path will end at a field. Cross over the field to the right of birdfeeder 11. Hop back on a paved path which runs between the Weiss bench on the left and the lake to the right. Proceed down the path and onto the mulch Hosta Gardens path. Cross over the bridge on the right and take the little mulch path on the right to the paved path heading uphill. Take a left and a quick right and you will spy the remains of a stone building. Cross the bridge on your left passing the little stone house. Look for the seahorse fountain which is ahead in a grass clearing. Face the seahorses and turn to the right. Take 6 giant steps and look in the woods to your left. About two giant steps into the woods you will see a skinny tree to the left of a fat tree. The letterbox is hidden under sticks behind the fat tree!

P.S. for a quicker way back to the visitor's center, re-cross the bridge and head across the grass uphill.

Please let us know how you enjoyed the gardens or if there are any problems with the box. We can be reached at bema57@hotmail.com. Thanks!