Most everyone has either heard of or been to Orlando, Florida and the many theme parks there.  Some prefer Epcot, other the Magic Kingdom, and there is also the very popular Universal Studios theme park.  Those of us who have braved the crowds, heat, and endless lines can attest to the high level of fatigue at the end of a week of park hopping.

Few visitors to these theme parks ever know about a quaint little city just about three miles to the north of Orlando, right off Interstate 4.  It is known as Winter Park, and is home to Rollins College, and very near to the main campus of the University of Central Florida.  The city was founded in 1887 as a retreat for wealthy industrialists and other well to do families from the frozen winters of the northern states.

Welcome Center

Welcome Center

Park Avenue is the city’s foremost shopping and cultural area.  Many boutique shops along with a wealth of restaurants and eateries are found along this famous thoroughfare fronting beautiful Central Park.  Year round activities abound in this historic section of the city and on Central Park.  Something that most visitors find worth while is to take a boat tour along the lakes in the area.  These tours take you through inter-connecting lakes and show some of the beautiful old homes on the lake shore and the fascinating flora and fauna of the lakes.  Be sure to check out some of the local establishments for some great bargains and some wonderful meals while enjoying a break from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

If you are in the area and want to “get away” from the maddening crowds of the theme parks and want to savor some “old Florida”, Winter Park is a place for you.

 

Peacock Fountain, Rose Garden - Central Park

Peacock Fountain, Rose Garden – Central Park

Peacock Fountain - Central Park

Peacock Fountain – Central Park

Information booth - Park Avenue

Information booth – Park Avenue

Williams Sonoma - helpful, cheerful staff

Williams Sonoma – helpful, cheerful staff