Take a morning walk along the St. John’s River in Sanford, an easy 30-minute drive north of Orlando.
On our road trip from Charlotte NC to Miami, the third stop (after Charleston and Savannah) was St. Augustine, Florida. Established in 1565, it’s the oldest continuously settled city in the US. It’s also a fun tourist town with its shops and restaurants and inns.
You can do a bit of history here, too.
Here’s Delia in front of the González-Alvarez house, supposedly The Oldest House on the continent. Beginning about 1650 a series of thatched wooden structures occupied this property when owned by the Spanish. Later, British and American owners added a second story.
Here I am at the Spanish fort:
Castillo de San Marcos, begun in 1672, is the oldest masonry fort in the US and was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza
Although St. Augustine was a stop on our way to Miami, it’s only a couple of hours from Orlando and makes for a pleasant day trip when you’re in Central Florida.
Other day trips in the area I’ve done lately include:
A forty-minute drive northwest of Orlando, Mount Dora is ideal for day-trippers.
You can walk through bubbles:
This street – well, every street in Mount Dora – has tchotchke stores galore, so many in fact that one of them has thoughtfully provided a Bored Husband’s Bench:
Here’s a handy duo of shops: you can satisfy your desire for muffins and ammo all at once (and then go out and shoot something on your sugar high?):
After that it’s time for tea at the Windsor Rose
Lots of British royalty stuff:
This past Sunday I went here with two friends to go to the play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the historic Garden Theater.
The play was a hoot and is still on Broadway.
Afterwards we had a bite to eat at the Tasting Room in the Edgewater Hotel about a block away. This cool safe sits behind the registration desk in the lobby:
Winter Garden is a charmer and is about 30 minutes west of Orlando.
This past Saturday I went to the annual Food and Wine Fest in downtown. Robinson Street was closed off, booths were set up, and the eating and drinking began at noon.
Because it’s Florida, there are flamingoes, often plastic:
Then it’s back to eating:
Although every portion was bite-sized, I filled up quickly:
If you missed the Food and Wine Fest this past weekend, never fear. There is always something happening in downtown Orlando, even if it’s only the Farmer’s Market every Sunday.
Other day trips in Central Orlando include Winter Haven and Winter Springs. Neither is to be confused with Winter Park, which is a snazzy neighborhood in Orlando. In addition there are plentiful state parks with hiking, cave diving and water rafting.
Final note: Sanford, is also famous for Sofa and Suds, a couch-racing and beer-chasing event held in November – not to be missed!