Winter Park, situated north of Orlando is a beautiful arts and culture filled city and was highly recommended to us by a friend living in Orlando as a great place for a day out. We have visited on each of the last occasions that we have been in the area as it is a relaxing place to go to stroll along the small shops, and enjoy a meal at a table on the pavement that is lined with family run cafes and restaurants. The feel of Winter Park with its alfresco dining and style of architecture is very European.
Park Avenue which is the main artery running through Winter Garden runs from Rollins College at one end to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Natural Art at the other end.
You will find a delightful mix of family owned jewellery shops, cafes, restaurants and boutiques alongside other larger stores such as Pottery Barn, all of which are lovely to browse around. There is even a cigar shop which is interesting even just for the rich smell coming from it.
There are more than 70 parks in Winter Park and throughout the year they host various events and festivals. The Central Park Rose Garden which is across the road from the restaurants on Park Avenue has a railway line running straight through the middle of it and a station where passengers catch the Amtrak trains and Sunrail Trains. A great way to visit Winter Park from our villa is to travel 15 minutes down the road to Poinciana train station (which has free parking) and from there you can travel by train to various destinations including Winter Park.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tours can be taken from the dock at the east end of Morse Street (about 5 minute's walk from Park Avenue). Here you can take a very pleasant boat tour that goes across three of the seven lakes on the Winter Park chain and enjoy views not just of the impressive buildings in the area but wildlife too. We went on the Scenic Boat Tour with friends last week, February 2019, and really enjoyed it very much. The houses that line the various lakes are incredible, some being around $15 million dollars! It was great combining a trip seeing such palatial properties, the famous Rollins College and of course lots of beautiful birds to spot too. As a boat trip it is quite different to some of the others which we like to do such as an airboat ride or a river cruise as this one in Winter Park was about the area as much as the wildlife. It is lovely how the lakes are linked by canals which the boats travel down to get from one lake to another.
Winter Park is also very well known for its Farmer's Market which is located two blocks west from Park Avenue. It is the number 1 produce and plant market in Central Florida. Held every Saturday morning throughout the year from 7 am until 1pm except the 3rd Saturday in March when it is closed for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.