Touring Historic Longwood, Florida

Touring Historic Longwood, Florida

After the Second Seminole War ended homesteads were granted in 1870 and a community south of Sanford began. Settler Edward Henck of Boston named Longwood after one of his hometown’s most attractive suburbs and in 1876 he founded the first post office and became the first postmaster.

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Mini Bar Donuts in Jacksonville Beach

I headed to Jacksonville for a weekend with my lady gang. If you’ve not been to Atlantic Beach, then definitely put it on your list. It’s two hours from Orlando and north of St. Augustine. Outside of Jacksonville proper and a bit north of Jacksonville Beach is Atlantic Beach. A small beach town with a bustling maker culture. Mini Bar Donuts is one of the latest stops I made.

First, you have to know that these are TINY LITTLE MINI DONUTS that are just one or two bites. Fluffy cake is hand topped or filled and decorated while you wait. Order at one end of the counter and pick it up at the big orange VW Bus counter. Clever design with a step up and view window for kids to take a peek at all the kitchen work happening on the assembly line.

Puffy, flavor-packed, mini donuts and a great treat to grab for brunch, business meeting, social meet-up, date, or road-trip. The best coffee in the city, Bold Bean is served here. You cannot leave without grabbing a cup of this liquid gold. Don’t miss the mural outside. You don’t really notice it until you leave so be sure to look up.

Check out the pics to get a feel for the place.

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If you’re wondering about the menu. It changes a bit seasonally. You’ll always find favorites like:

FRUITY PEBBLES
Vanilla Icing + Fruity Pebbles

MAPLE BACON
Maple Icing + Bacon

BULLS EYE
Powdered Sugar + Raspberry Jelly

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP
Chocolate or Vanilla Glaze + Mint Chocolate Chips

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MINI BAR DONUTS

1300 Beach Boulevard
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

www.minibardonuts.com
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Edible Education Experience

Say that five times fast and you've got a tongue twister.  The Edible Education Experience has a mission of "connecting students with seed-to-table learning experiences to build a healthy future."  And they do just that.  I took a walk with Garden Coordinator, Brad Jones who helped explain the mission further.  He really knows his stuff. 

As Garden Coordinator of Edible Education Experience, Jones handles everything related to the 1,500 sq.ft. Culinary Garden, from planning the crops and coordinating edible lessons with teachers to providing hands-on experiences for garden visitors and harvesting the garden’s produce.

Edible Education Experience 

26 E. King Street, Orlando, FL 32804
info@EdibleEd.org
http://instagram.com/EdibleEdExp
http://edibleed.org

 

Want to help out?

Edible Education Experience is always looking for a few good volunteers.  If this mission appeals to you and you'd like to get involved, you can click here.  

LOOKING FOR:

  • Committed volunteer gardeners to help cultivate the Culinary Garden.

  • Committed volunteer kitchen helpers.

  • Volunteer Chefs to be involved, leading a variety of sessions for a range of programs.

  • Educational liaisons to help build the foundation for field trips; to connect interested educators with our Edible Schoolyard Teacher Academy.

 

Explore Historic 'Green Gables' and Melbourne, Florida

If you haven't ventured south to Melbourne, Florida you need to put it on your day-trip list.  It's about an hour and a half south of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast and I was amazed by what I found there.  First, let's talk about a visit to Green Gables

Green Gables was the winter home of William T. Wells and his family.  Wells was a metallurgist who was known for his patent on the manufacturing of rustless iron.  In 1894 Wells and his wife Nora, sons Stanford and Prescott, and daughter Gladys traveled from New York to find a healthier climate for Nora's health issues. 

Melbourne was the perfect mix of friendly neighbors, great fishing, and outdoor activities.  In 1896 Green Gables was completed on the high bluff facing the river just north of town. 

This Queen Anne style house was the first of its kind and unique to a property like this, the house has remained family-owned to this day.  However, after the 2004 hurricane season it was deemed uninhabitable. 

The house is now used for events and parties but needs extensive repairs and restoration. You'll see some damage in the photos. 

The Wells family contributed to the expansion of Melbourne both architecturally and culturally.  Mrs. Wells built the first auditorium in the region and stage boasted perfect acoustics.  She arranged the Chautauqua of the Tropics and had musicians, actors, poets, and lecturers come to visit and perform.  The Wells' dedicated a portion of their land to the public which became Wells Park and the main branch of the Melbourne Public Library.  They also provided the means for the first pubic high school.  They were generous and progressive and left a legacy that remains today.

This 122 year old structure is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has an unparalleled view of the Indian River.  What a spot to experience the beauty and history of Brevard County.

Green Gables 

To arrange a tour or visit, reach out by email at the address below.

Mail: P.O. Box 1086, Melbourne, FL 32902

Address: 1501 South Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne, FL
info@GreenGables.com
http://SaveGreenGables.org

 

Click below to watch the Townie Tourist walk through Green Gables. 👇👇

Have you been to Bronze Kingdom?

Probably one of Orlando's best kept secrets is Bronze Kingdom.  It's located in the Fashion Square Mall and is one of the most unique finds I've come across.  Over 16,000 square feet of space has been converted into a gallery-museum with 2,000 pieces of African art. 

The bronze, beaded, and wooden sculptures, some of which date back thousands of years, are truly impressive.  This is the largest collection of rare African bronze sculpture in the world and represents so many countries from across the continent like Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Along with a historic collection rivaling the British Museum, are local and international contemporary artists.  This is a tour you won't want to miss!

Bronze Kingdom 

Bronze Kingdom
3201 E. Colonia Drive, Suite M16
Orlando, Florida 32803
407-203-8864
http://bronzekingdom.com

Drink Your Vegetables: New Moon Market

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I'm going to be honest for a minute and tell you that I hate vegetables.  I am not a great cook so they end up mushy or nearly raw and I just don't like dealing with them.  I end up throwing a salad together and calling it a meal.  What I learned at New Moon Market though is that I don't actually have to eat them...I can drink them. 

*disclaimer* You really do have to eat vegetables.  I'm just being silly.  Read on...

New Moon Market is in the heart of College Park in Orlando. It's on Edgewater Drive which is the main drag through that Orlando neighborhood's center. 

Jennifer Moon-Huggett, a Central Florida native herself, and her husband Paul have perfected the art of squeezing every delicious nutritious drop out of fruits and veggies.  Not only that but they've got an expanded menu of toasts and grab and go salads that are rich and yummy and so so good for you.

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College Park is made up of young professionals, families and dogs and kids and lots of bikes and people walking and yoga-ing.  It's chill.  If you're looking for a healthy stop in the middle of chill-town, this is it. 

You can call ahead to place an order or just grab made-fresh-daily items from the cooler.  You can also order from the menu and even set up a consultation for a juice cleanse with Jennifer herself. 

What are some of my favorites?

  • Green Eyed Lady - kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, romaine, celery, lemon, ginger
  • Luna Lemonade - coconut water, lemon, maple syrup, activated charcoal
  • Rainbow Pad Thai Salad - Spiral zucchini with a medley of red cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper with seasoned quinoa.  Served with Thai peanut dressing on the side. 
  • Chickpea Salad Toast and the Sweet Toast with almond butter and banana.

Jennifer loves her Power Shot.

  • Power Shot - beets, ginger, lemon, tumeric

Paul goes for Wheatgrass every single day. 

  • Wheatgrass Shot - 100% wheatgrass
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New Moon Market 

(407) 440-8147
2314 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804
@newmoonmarket
http://newmoonmarket.com

Note: Bring back the glass bottles and they'll recycle them for you.  All juices are made with 100% organic ingredients and have not been pasteurized (No HPP). No additives or preservatives. 

Watch our interview and visit to the kitchen below on Townie Tourist! 👇👇👇

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Visit Mini Animals at Lil' Bit of Life Farm

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Lil’ Bit of Life Farm’s message is "Healing with a little help from our friends".  Owner Tracey Rinehart has poured her heart and soul into developing her mission to provide healing with four-legged friends.  "Horses train us to have balance, feelings of strength, coordination, confidence, grace, and peace." Tracey’s first horse, Bailey, taught her these very things, and she wants to share.

Also home to the G.R.I.T.S. 4-H Club, the organization is service oriented assisting living facilities and businesses in the Lake County area.  Our visit to Lil Bit of Life Farm was timed with a few events in mind.  Tracey had just gotten some ducks, there were new baby pigs, and the goats were about to give birth.  We saw it all in our tour.

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Check out these activities held at the farm:

  • Horsemanship - No riding involved. The experience is a hands-on course in learning how to care for your mini friend. You will bathe, groom, hoof care, and walk them while building a friendship relationship. Memory, fine motor skills, judgment, and focus are improved.

  • Obstacle Course - No riding involved. Designed with obstacles and patterns with you and your mini leading the way. Build relationship and trust. Learn positive leadership skills, team building skills, and build self-confidence.

  • Teaching Kindness - This program focuses on teaching empathy and compassion through interaction with small animals. The lesson plans are based not the principles of Humane Education. You will work with small farm animals, including goats, bunnies, and minis.

“There is something good about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”

The benefit to Lil Bit of Life Farm is so much more than just the experience of meeting Tracey and her animals.  It’s the difference that they make in Mount Dora and Lake County. 

Schedule a visit to the farm:

Groups large and small are welcome!  There’s plenty of parking and the farm is easy to navigate. 

  • Birthday Party entertainment

  • Day Camps for Youth (5-13) on scheduled days

  • Photos for daycare and pre-school with a miniature horse

  • Schedule an hour of quality family time with a mini

Lil' Bit of Life 

(407) 461-3091
Mount Dora, FL
@lil_bit_of_life
http://lilbitoflife.com

Lake Eola: Orlando's Central Park

Lake Eola was originally part of a 200 acre plot of land purchased by the 'Cattle King of Florida' Jacob Summerlin. On the south side of that land was a sinkhole, combined with the aquifer underneath, the body of water that formed was Lake Eola. 

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In 1888 Lake Eola was recognized as a park after being donated to the public in 1883. 

There are five types of swans you'll see: Black Neck swans, Whooper swans, Royal Mute swans, Trumpeter swans, and Australian Black swans. There's an annual round-up each year where they're checked out by a swan veterinarian, vaccinated, catalogued and returned to the lake. 

Swan Tip: Remember to only feed the swans spinach, lettuces, or duck pellets. 

The Linton E. Allen fountain spews out 6500 gallons of water every minute. It was built in 1957 and patterned after fountains of Europe. Struck by lightning in 2009, it underwent a renovation and has been completely restored. Did you know you can actually go INSIDE the fountain? Maybe we could do that for Townie Tourist. Wouldn't that be cool?

The Sperry Fountain is actually the second fountain. The original is now located in Greenwood Cemetery. The fountain is made of wrought iron and has a duck base and water flows from an acanthus leaf. 

The Band Shell was built in 1886 and originally placed on the south side of the lake. It was completely moved and reconstructed on the west side and now sits at the foot of Washington Street near the main entrance to the park.  

Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota, Florida

Have you been to the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida? This large animal rescue organization provides a home for tigers, lions, monkeys and other exotic animals in need. I got a chance to visit this amazing organization with Clayton Rosaire. His mom, Kay, founded the place in 1987 and has been a cat-mom for years, educating the public on conservation and animal care. Now Clayton is leading the charge and it's truly impressive.

Please note that there's a real liger. This animal is rare and probably one of the largest animals I've ever actually seen up close. HOLY HECK he's big. His mom was a tiger and his dad was a lion. They generally are born in captivity because hey, roommates get real close.

We get up close with some of the residents ourselves and really far away from other ones. Watch to see what happens. Also, if you feel like contributing to this amazing organization. Click here. 

Winter Park Boat Tour

So last year, Brendan and I went on the Winter Park Boat Tour.  We also made a game out of it.  We passed a Corkcicle mimosa back and forth each time the boat captain said the word 'Rollins.' 

See, Rollins College is on the shore of Lake Virginia and it's been a big part of Winter Park history since 1886.  The boat tour is splendid and an amazing way to get some sun and feel a breeze, especially when it's topping one hundred on the thermometer.

Watch and be entertained. Or, go on the tour yourself. 

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Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

I used to live in Sarasota and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places to wander.  Named for Marie Selby who lived on the property with her husband, William, for over 50 years.  She loved nature and when she passed in 1971, she left her home and gardens to the community "for the enjoyment of the general public." 

Selby Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes.  They research, study, display, and conserve these plants that live on other plants.  Like air plants, they don't harm the host plant but rather just hang around as pals.  Some of the best examples are orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads.  (Say that three times fast!)

It's a place of research and the scientific staff here have discovered more than 2,000 plant species. The collections on property include an herbarium of more than 110,000 dried and pressed specimens and over 30,000 preserved in fluids with some of the rarest dating back to the 1700s. 

If you're in Sarasota, take a couple hours to visit Selby Gardens.  The LIVE video below takes you on a walking tour through this living museum and shows the unique Warhol: Flower in the Factory works all over the property.  The exhibit is open from February to June 30, 2018 and "explores the surprising, and little known, role of nature in Warhol's art and life."