Friday, February 19, 2016

A Day In the Park

Last Sunday we finished our stint at the Habitat for Humanity build in Fellsmere and moved our bus, the Dawntreader, inland to Davenport, FL.

Davenport is only 20 miles from Disney World in Orlando, but we've been there and done that tourist trap when Jillian and Richard were small. And after enduring long lines and cranky kids, not to mention the high cost of an admission ticket, we vowed we'd never go again.  But we should never say never!  Our son Richard and his friend are flying to Orlando next weekend and guess where they want to go?  Disney World!

This week we looked for tourist places off the beaten path and decided that a day in the park--Winter Park--might be just the ticket. 

Located on the outskirts of Orlando, Winter Park is an enclave of winter homes that were built by wealthy industrialists in the late 19th century.  The rich still live here in mansions surrounding the chain of lakes found within the city's limits. More about that in a moment. 

But first, we stopped at Casa Feliz, a restored Spanish farmhouse designed by architect James Gamble Rogers II, which overlooks the golf course in the heart of Winter Park. Rogers (1901-1990) built several homes in Winter Park but this is perhaps his best-known. 

I found the house charming inside and out.  

His studio was interesting, too. 

A friend told me that the most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany could be viewed at the Charles Hosmer Morris Museum so we walked a few blocks south to its location. 

There we found incredibly beautiful stained glass works of art.  Most were saved from the 1957 fire that devastated Laurelton Hall, Tiffany's Long Island estate. I wish I could have used my camera to capture his 1893 chapel created for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago which the museum reconstructed as well as more of his works. However, photography was not allowed in the museum, except for one room which housed the Daffodil Terrace from Tiffany's home.  I guess I'll just have to return to this museum again to keep my memories from fading. 

No trip to Winter Park should be considered complete without a boat tour of its lakes and canals so we walked a few blocks east from the museum to where the boats dock.  Our pontoon boat took us through winding canals that connected the lakes while we oohed and ahhed at the homes that lined the shores. 

It was in one of these homes that Margaret Mitchell finished the last two chapters of Gone With the Wind.  Tom Hanks stayed in another during the filming of Apollo 13.  My favorite, however, was the home of Fred Rogers, host of the popular children's TV show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

The Rogers' home

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood!


  1. It looks like a beautiful day in the neighborhood (or so Fred Rogers would say). You are right: Never say never! Enjoy the time with Richard and Co., as well as the destinations that take you off the beaten path.

    1. You know all about being off the beaten path, Kim! Those places are often the best, aren't they!

  2. Cindy & Tim - When you two go on these mini tours and trips at historical places, how do you maneuver that big bus of yours around these small towns? Do you have to put it in an RV park, then drive your car to these locations? Just curious because I can only imagine how difficult it would be to maneuver that big bus around. You two are having so much fun. Can't wait to do some traveling ourselves once the girls are both in college.

  3. You got it right, Terry. We park the rig at a campground for a week or so, and then tour within a 50 mile radius or so in our Jeep. Tim

  4. Beautiful pictures! It's funny we took the twins to Disney in '89 and said the same thing! Enjoy your time with Richard. Thanks for the blog updates too enjoying following along❤️

    1. I think a trip to Disney World is a rite of passage for parents. If you survive that, you can handle almost anything parenthood throws at you. Enjoy your weekend, Yas!

  5. Winter Park is so beautiful, a little bit of civilization in the midst of busy Orlando!