Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winter Park, Florida

Finally a post that will be full of pictures and non-food items! Well, food is mentioned but does not require a post unto itself.

We had a rare long weekend which ended yesterday and I wanted to make the most out of it. I rented a car and also had plans to see one of my good friends from Michigan while she was visiting Disney World with her daughter. The weekend got off to a very rocky start which included horrible thunderstorms and confused reservation days which ended up with me essentially driving for four straight hours only to hit up the local Taco Bell before coming right back home. Couple that with a last minute doctor's visit and I decided that Friday was not my day.

  Bright and early Saturday morning though I was determined to reclaim my weekend. I went up to
 Winter Park first thing to hit up the farmer's market and downtown area. I quickly found a parking spot and took my time leisurely strolling through the tables of produce, food, and handmade items. The market is situated in a great spot that is right next to a park so many people were buying lunch and having picnics out on the grass. I grabbed some kettle corn and walked through the downtown area where there are fancy stores (Pottery Barn, GAP, Banana Republic) and boutiques and also took some side streets to see the houses. I love the architecture here because it is so different and colorful.

My walk took me to Rollins College which is a private, liberal arts college from which my graduate school advisor and professor graduated from (If I did not stop here, I think she possibly would have strangled me once I return back to MI). The campus is huge and very impressive. There were a few students around for summer camps and retreats but otherwise it was fairly desolate (which I loved).

(If the pictures are wonky, I blame the electronic faction rising up against me lately...)

Last but not least was actually my most favorite part of the day! I wasn't even 100% sure I wanted to make time to go on a boat tour or spend the whopping $12 but it was absolutely worth it and I would highly, highly recommend this to anyone who comes to visit the Orlando area. The pictures really don't do any justice to the area at all.

 Just beautiful! The tour is on 18 passenger pontoon boat ride on the pristine Winter Park chain of Lakes. It goes around to see Rollins College, multi-million dollar homes, parks, and the little canals in between each lake. I can honestly say I never wanted to own a big house, a boat, and live on a lake more in my entire life. I can see why people would want to retire down here with how peaceful and easy going it is. The house are magnificent and many of them have historical backgrounds that only add to the hilarious stories that our guide told us. I also learned a lot of random facts about the animal and plant life in the area which I later recited to my co-workers the next day! 

Geographic representation!

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