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Florida Guide > Days Out

A relaxing Sunday in Winter Park

In days gone by, way before Walt Disney even had his dream, tourists had been visiting Central Florida to enjoy the simple beauty, mild climate, natural springs and crystal clear rivers.

Wealthy Americans left the cold northern states to enjoy Florida’ s warm winters, hence the names Winter Park, Winter Haven and Winter Garden. Winter Park became a mecca for winter wealthy tourists and is now home to many wealthy families.

Winter Park is a beautiful, picturesque town well worth a visit. Stroll down the main high street and browse in the many unique boutiques or stop for lunch at one of the quaint pavement cafe’ s. The heart of the town is home to the railroad which today is Amtrak and still sees several arrivals daily.

The main tree-lined road is Central Avenue with the pretty park on one side and shops, cafe’ s and restaurants on the other side. Park anywhere on the side streets and wander along Park Avenue - you will eventually come across The Morse Museum of American Art which is home to the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass in the world. Stained glass windows, exquisite art, shades, vases and tableware grace the museum. It is open daily except Mondays and admission is $3 per adult and free for children under 12. Students entry fee is $1. Although primarily know for it’ s Tiffany collection, the museum also houses American decorative art from the mid-19th century to the early-20th century with important holdings in the area known as the Arts and Crafts. Additionally, the museum has a significant collection of American paintings primarily of the 19th and early-20th centuries with particular strength in work which relates to Florida and its artists.

Another attraction worth a visit is Casa Feliz, a fully resorted Spanish farmhouse set in the heart of Winter Park that has been skillfully refurbished inside and out. The estate was built for wealthy industrialist Robert Bruce who gave the noted architect, James Gamble Rogers II, a free reign on design and told him & quot; Build whatever you want - if I don’ t like it I’ ll sell it& quot; . Built for the princely sum of $28, 000 during the 1932 Great Depression, Bruce described it as his & quot; Dream come True& quot; upon completion. When the property faced demolition in the year 2000, private donations raised over $1 million to save and restore the residence. Visitors can see the property during ’ Open House’ every Sunday between 12-3 and private tours for ten or more can be arranged.

Winter Park is situated around three main lakes that are interlinked with canals and there is a wonderful scenic boat tour available - you can observe plenty of natural Florida wildlife aswell as the breathtaking views of the opulent homes and estates along the shoreline. The dock is less than five minutes from Park Avenue and the boat tour is $10 for adults and $5 for children 2-11. They don’ t accept credit cards. Tours depart daily on the hour between 10am and 4pm.

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Page added on: 22 February 2008
Viewed 3852 times since 1 September 2008.

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