Dunaway Gardens was once a large theatrical training ground for producers, directors, and performers. This garden is the South’s largest natural rock and floral garden, and was built by the husband of Hetty Jane Dunaway (Sewell.) It saw the likes of Walt Disney and other famous figures. Sarah Ophelia Colley lived here as a director for several years, known for her character Minnie Pearl.
After Ms. Dunaway passed in the early 60s, the gardens fell into disrepair. In 2000 the gardens were purchased by a private owner and restored through a painstaking process. It opened to the public in 2003 and sits on the National Registrar of Historic Places. While regularly open for private events, it is only opened to the public on certain days of the month.
I wasn’t sure how my young boys would fare, but they loved it! I gave them a bit of back history which they assimilated quickly. In fact, they commandeered my iPhone and proceeded to make videos at each section of the garden…pretending they were stage performers of old.
There are 12 scenic stops, including three waterfalls, several ponds, and more. The amphitheater and Great Pool were their favorites. We spent about 90 minutes leisurely touring the grounds. My 2 year old needed help on the stone stairs, but otherwise walked the entire way himself, mesmerized by the flowers and water.
Entrance, Arrowhead Pools, and Gazebo
Funny story about these concrete boulders…my oldest said they looked like the trolls in Frozen. haha.
Wedding Tree and Pink Patio