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Florida Guide > Days Out

A day out in Winter Park

For a change to the theme parks and the hustle and bustle of the centre of Orlando, why not treat yourself to a day out at Winter Park. This is described by the locals as being “Little England”. This is because it looks like an English country town, but it is in fact where all the rich and famous of the area live.

To get Winter Park, take I4 East to Orlando then turn off at exit 82A on to the 408 then take exit 16 on to Goldenrod Road. This should not take more than around a forty minutes drive.

Winter Park used to be marketed as “A beautiful winter retreat for well to do people” and it still retains this air today. Some of the richest people in the area live here. If you wander down Park Avenue you will notice numerous street cafes and boutiques selling upmarket goods and clothing for all ages.

Park Avenue is more like Paris than England, in that there are many pavement cafes with Bohemian looking people sitting at tables discussing philosophy and generally putting the world to rights. Definitely the intelligentsia. Unlike all the usual eateries in Orlando, you are more likely to get Quiche and salad than a hamburger here. They have little restaurants tucked away in small courtyards which you might miss if you walk too quickly. So take your time, do not rush but amble slowly down the road and you will find all sorts of hidden treasures. We found a second hand book shop, just like the one in the film “Notting Hill”, but upstairs there was a restaurant selling light snacks.

Every so often you can hear the Amtrack train trundling slowly through the town and whistling like they did in the old time cowboy films remembered from our childhood. Then you realise you are not in Paris but America.

Once you leave Park Avenue and wander down to the Lake Osceola, then you get the feeling of the English countryside. To get a real feel for life in this area, you can take a boat trip on Lake Osceola and have a look at some of the mega mansions of the rich and famous. The staff on the boat will points out the houses to you and tell you who lives in them. You may even get to wave to them if they are out in their gardens.

So there you have it, three countries in one day. France, England and America.

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Page added on: 30 January 2011
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