Winter Park, FL

*This blog was originally posted February 4, 2016

Earlier this year my family and I took a trip to Orlando. My family was staying for the weekend to spend some time in Disney World and the second half of the week I would be flying solo in the area.

I did some light research ahead of time to see what there was to do in the area and I didn't have much luck. It seems that Disney and Universal Studios overwhelms every blog and travel site for Orlando and the surrounding area. I only landed on staying in Winter Park because I knew that's where Rifle Paper Co. has there flagship store. I figured it must be a pretty cool area so I booked an Airbnb and decided to wing it.

I started out my first day in town with brunch at Briarpatch. The place is super cute but VERY crowded. Since I was alone I just took a seat at the counter. I got the southern breakfast - the cheese grits are awesome. Really everything on the menu looked fantastic. I wish I would have went back for the raspberry and brie french toast.

After brunch I walked down Park Avenue which was recommended for shopping in the area. There was a lot of locally owned boutiques down this street but it really wasn't my jam.

From Park Avenue I walked to Rifle Paper Co. The store wasn't too far and it was a nice day out. The shop is small, minimal, and absolutely beautiful. The studio space is located behind the storefront so you can see people hustling around making the magic happen.

Scenic Boat Tour: This was recommended to me by a few people and it was surprisingly wonderful considering how small Winter Park is. The tour goes through several lakes all connected by canals. The guide was very well-informed and explained the history of all the estates along the lakes. It was a cloudy day so it got pretty chilly on the boat, they do have a fleece blanket for everyone but make sure to bundle up if it's during the winter. Tours start every hour on the hour and it's cash only.

 

Day two started out with breakfast at The Coop. I had the chicken and waffles which came with a bourbon maple syrup and a little slice of watermelon. It was so dang good I ended up eating there again the next morning. They had free refills on coffee so I spent some time after I finished eating to drink coffee and plot my route to go thrifting that day.

NUMBER ONE: Deja Vu Vintage

This place was great and I probably could have spent at least half the day looking through everything and trying it all on. It's small but there is stuff basically everywhere; like literally hanging from the ceiling and everything. Which is exactly the kind of thrift store I'm into. It's mostly apparel, jewelry, and accessories and a few home goods like books and other knick knacks. The owner was chatty and friendly but also a kind of kooky. I bought a pair of clip on earrings and she showed me how to convert them to regular post if I wanted to. I also found a really great butterfly collar shirt. The prices were reasonable and I would definitely go back.

NUMBER TWO: Retromended Vintage

This shop is tucked away so well that I passed it up completely the first time I drove past. It doesn't seem like something you would just happen upon. This shop was a totally different vibe from the previous. It's a very small space and I would describe it as a well-curated vintage boutique. I tried on a couple of items that I really liked but they just didn't fit right.

NUMBER THREE: Dechoes Resale

This place was AWESOME. It's basically like a Buffalo Exchange but way more of an 80's feel. I had to stop myself from bringing everything I saw into the dressing room. Gems everywhere. I snagged a completely bedazzled shirt, vintage western shirt, and a yellow skirt. There are two locations but I went to the one on Edgewater Drive.

I took a coffee break to recoup and stop myself from spending anymore money on clothes. I wish I would have tried some local coffee shops but I had several Starbucks gift cards from the holidays so I just kept going there and that was that.

That night I went to Popcorn Flicks in the Park, a monthly FREE movie put on by the Enzian Theater in Central Park. The couple I was staying with were nice enough to let me borrow one of their folding lawn chairs which really came in handy. You can bring whatever food and drink you want to the park. Some people had McDonalds while others had bottles of wine and cheese, so for real anything. They pause the movie every time the train passes so expect to be there longer than the actual run time of the movie.

 

Day three - I ate at the Coop again for breakfast because I wanted to pour that bourbon maple syrup on more things. I got the House Brioche French Toast with a side of skillet potatoes. It was a rainy morning and this was the perfect place to be. They have really big windows and all the streets in the area are brick and lined with trees draped in Spanish Moss.

Because it was supposed to storm all day I planned on this being a Museum day. First on my list was the Morse Museum of American Art. Right next to the museum was an antique shop and I couldn't help but peek inside before going to the Morse.

They had gorgeous rugs, lamps, several vintage singer sewing machines, intricate wooden clocks, and a ton of glassware and other generally breakable items. When the owner found out I was living in New Orleans he showed me this really neat vintage Mardi Gras print. I didn't buy anything but really enjoyed looking at it all.

Because I went to the museum alone I feel like I spent way more time than I would have if I was with a friend. It's really something I like to do at my own pace. I skipped most of the American Art and I was mostly interested in the rooms dedicated to the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. They have a phone tour that is really great. It includes the history of many pieces along with interviews from several people. I actually have a Tiffany lamp and now it is even more special to me to know the entire story behind it. The museum is free entry after 4:00 on Fridays.

After the Morse I grabbed some coffee and wandered around Central Park. They had some really cool sculptures that I wanted to get a closer look at.

There is also a very sad Museum (a room) about trains in Winter Park. It looks cute from the outside but you're really not missing much by skipping this one.

On my walk I saw this guy set up. It was kind of awkward but he was sweet. I picked the topic "travel." He spent a few minutes fiddling around with his typewriter and biting his pen thinking of the next line. When he was finished he signed and dated it and then read it aloud to me. It was the absolute best way to end my trip. I can't wait to frame it and put it in my home as a constant reminder to travel far and wide.

I took a drive to Kraft Azalea Park in the afternoon. It was mentioned on the boat tour I took a few days earlier and I wanted to check it out. It's very pretty and would be a great place to read, journal, or have a picnic.

For dinner I decided to try Black Bean Deli. I Cuban Cafe recommended to me by several people including the couple who owned the Airbnb I was staying at. I had the Cuban Sandwich with Black Bean soup. I wish I would have got dessert or a Cuban Coffee.

Lastly, I went catch a movie at the Enzian Theater. There was a showing for the Labyrinth but it was already sold out so instead I grabbed a ticket for a movie I had never even heard of, Youth. The movie wasn't that great. The way the theater is setup is kind of strange. Because you can be a member they have special seating with couches and comfy chairs that looked reserved even though no one was sitting in them and the rest of the seating consists of assorted tables and chairs. I got stuck at a high top table which wasn't very comfortable, I like for my feet to touch the ground. You can order from a full menu and get beer and wine but no liquor. Cocktails must be ordered outside of the theater at the attached bar.

PLACES I DIDN'T GET TO

Thrift:

  1. Harlow
  2. Avalon Exchange
  3. The Owl's Attic
  4. Etoile Boutique

Museums:

  1. The Albin Polasek Museum
  2. Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Food:

  1. Cask & Larder
  2. Ravenous Pig
  3. Luma

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