Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : A Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park, Florida

Each weekend when my husband and I have our “date day” we take suggestions from locals or tour guides on what we should do and we have at it! The weekend before we were at the Orlando History Museum and got a suggestion to check out the Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park – so here we are Sunday morning checking out the place. (AND we got so many more suggestions of places to check out next weekend, so stay tuned for that too).


A little background about the place. Parking is crap, so get there about 30-45 minutes before the docks open. There is plenty of free public parking throughout downtown Winter Park, but you will just need to get there early enough to find a decent shaded spot. Tickets are $14 per person (here’s the link to their site for more information). You can get your tickets online OR pick them up at the dock – but they only accept cash. Lines start to form VERY QUICKLY. So if you are going to go, be there 30-45 minutes before they open. They open up at 10AM, close at 4PM and the tours last about an hour.

 

 


Piling into the small boat, we got great seats in the front row. Don’t worry too much about hearing the tour guide speak, there are plenty of speakers throughout the boat. Just remember you will be on the boat for about an hour, so feel free to bring drinks or a light snack. (Of course we picked up Starbucks before hand).

We got lucky with a great tour guide, who gave us all of the background history of the homes that surround the lake along with al of the natural habitants of the area – names of plants and wildlife. It was incredibly informative!

The best views though, were floating down these original “lumber” canals and seeing these beautiful bridges above. If you are a wildlife or bird junkie (like myself) we did get to see two nesting ospreys, gulls AND some blue heron ♥️🦆

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I did end up wearing this giant floppy hat (HUGE mistake on a boat), but overall the weather was absolutely perfect. I do recommend lathering up the sunscreen before hand though! From the tour guide, we got some pretty great suggestions on more things to check out in Winter Park for next weekend. Winter Park, Florida is one of the best places to visi in Florida in my opinion. If you are looking for cobble streets and that old-timey feel, it’s the perfect spot to be ☺️

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Have you ever been to Winter Park? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! As always I’m up for suggestions on places we should check out next! Be sure to follow us on all of your favorite social media sites, I’ll be posting a bunch of #weekendinspo photos!

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👩🏻‍💻♥️🐶

(legit always rocking that double denim look 👇🏻👇🏻)

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Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Orange County Regional History Center

This has been on my must-do list for a while: The Orange County Regional History Center! Absolutely the best (mostly free) thing to do this week > put this on your list! Check out their website here.

Park across the street from the Orlando Downtown Library. Parking cost us $4 for the three hours that we were at the museum. Take a short 5 minute walk towards the left of the Orlando Downtown Library, you’ll see the Orlando History museum on your right.

Below is the ticketing information. There hours vary throughout the week and they are rarely busy (according to the staff). We visited on a Saturday morning at open and had the entire museum to ourselves. To save even more money, be sure to visit on Bank of America Card Holder Free Days > see the full list of free museums and dates here.

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The tip from the receptionist: Start off on the fourth floor and work your way back down. The History Center is actually in the original Orlando Courthouse, so you’ll see a lot of the old architecture AND they have a full old set up of a courtroom!! OK GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF. I LOVE MUSEUMS

The museum starts off with a general “how we all got here” history, from the first settlers living in cabins to our tourism expansion. Second floor introduces Disney and tourism, how we got here today. Then the thing we got here to see? The current exhibit: Things Come Apart. Its exactly what it sounds like, an artist took a part stuff and took incredibly satisfying pictures of it.

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Even after a 27 years of living in driving distance of Orlando, this was the very first time I visited the History Musuem and let me tell you, we will be back! There are so many fun things to do around Orlando, that don’t include going to theme parks, what’s your favorite Orlando weekend activity? I’d love to hear about it below!

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Also – can we just appreciate the incredible murals that are downtown too? This spot is located right on the Downtown Orlando Library 😍😍 I’m thinking a “Best Instagram Spots in Orlando” article is a must. Be sure to check out all of my latest weekend activity inspiration by clicking this link. Or check out some of more exciting travel inspiration here too!

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Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood: Renting the Swan Boats at Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando.

Looking for something a bit different to do with the kids this weekend? Look no further then your own backyard (well almost). One of my dearest friends, Elizabeth was down for New Years Day and we decided to go on a she-date (leaving the boys at home of course).


Our destination was the Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando Sunday Farmer’s Market.

Due to the popularity of the farmers market, we chose to spend the $16 to park in the shaded parking garage (trust me – just spend the little bit of money to park in the garage. You can stay for the whole day & it keeps your car out of the sun).

We walked the short block from the parking garage to the Farmers Market and took a quick stroll through the booths.  So many popular veggie and fruit vendors, TONS of craft vendors and a few bars set up. The Lake Eola Farmer’s Market opens up at 8AM and is open every single Sunday throughout the year. Check out all of their special events here & even check out all of their Yoga in the Park sessions too!

We then continued our stroll around Lake Eloa Park, ending up at the Swan Boats. We shurgged our shoulders and did a kind of “Ok let’s do it. Why not.”

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These little swan boats can hold up to five people (two paddling in the front and three passengers). The boats will cost you $15 for thirty minutes – trust us, you will be EXHAUSTED after thirty minutes. It was well worth every single cent. You can check out more information about the boats here.

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After paddling along, take a half block towards the Orlando Library (such a neat place, if you have the time to step in and grab a new book!) Towards the library, there is a small 7-11 Station, stop in for some Slurpees to cool off from all of that work!

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Our next stop was to pile back into the car and drive around for a bit. Elizabeth and I both love to check out old neighborhoods and backroads when we are traveling, so OF COURSE we had to drive around a bit to check everything out. Drive slowly over the hand laid brick roads and check out all of the beautiful architecture.


We were getting a bit lost & that’s when we found this quaint little park – Dickson Azalea Park. Grab your drinks and take a stroll through this small park – you seriously will not regret it. Even during a warmer summer morning, the park stays relatively cool since it is fully shaded by old oaks. Follow the pathways through the park and you will eventually walk under an old white brick bridge. (SO INSTAGRAM WORTHY). Don’t worry too much about dragging the kids out for this adventure, the entire park is stroller accessible and the kids will LOVE looking at all of the small fish in the creek.

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It’s funny how just a short drive to a Farmers Market turned into an entire morning adventure, but I am so glad it did AND I was so glad my friend was in town to join

Continue reading “Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood: Renting the Swan Boats at Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando.”

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Winterpark & The East End Market 🍪🍪

Looking for something pretty sweet to do with the kids or spouse this weekend? Well look no further. Before leaving on my New Orleans adventure with my girlfriends, the hubby and I checked out the East End Market in Winterpark, Florida.

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Our main goal? To check out Gideon’s Bakehouse – apparently “world famous” for their chocolate chip cookies (my husband was skeptical – honestly how good could these reallllly be?).

We got there and parking was a nightmare. We parked three blocks away in a neighborhood and had to hoof it to the front entrance of the market.

Not only was parking TERRIBLE, there was a 45+ minute wait for cookies. Surprisingly patient, we waited and waited…..and waited some more. Until finally it was our turn to order.

Now a few things to remember about this place: they make a limited ammount of cookies a day, so if you wait and they run out it’s more of a “oh well.” They also do not have a direct menu, you have to check out what they have baked for the day by checking out their display case by the counter. Cookies are a steep $5 a piece.

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My thoughts on the cookies? Life changing. I would wait 2+ hours for a cookie like this. And you know what? They are probably the best cookies I have ever had. They are even better than my Grandmother’s (sorry Grandma).

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I MEAN LOOK AT THIS. DARK ORGANIC CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE COVERED IN SEA SALT (sorry for yelling)

Along with Gideon’s Bakehouse, the East End Market is filled to the brim (litterally) with so many incredible small shops. To name a few, they have a garden shop filled with beautiful succulents, a Wine & Cheese bar, veggie juice station and a quaint little eating area in the courtyard of the market.

This is defiantly worth a look this weekend, if you are looking for something different to do with your kids or spouse. I’ve included the link to their website, so you can check out all of their fun kid friendly events too!

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Continue reading “Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Winterpark & The East End Market 🍪🍪”

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Leu Gardens @ Art with LEGO Bricks

Looking for something fun to do this weekend with the kids? Leu Gardens is pretty much known for their incredible family friendly events – like their Dinosaur Scavenger Hunt a few months ago. But these next few months they are doing something different – Art with LEGO Bricks! So here are a few things you need to know if you are putting this on your list!


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  1. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for childern ages 4 through 17 and any child under 3 admission is free.
  2. Parking is always free. But if you are visiting on a Saturday or Sunday parking is a little tight. You should try to get at the garden gates at open or on a weekday
  3. Make sure to get a paper map at the front entrance. They do have an app version of the map, but cell phone signal is limited
  4. Garrdens open up at 9AM and close at 5PM (last entry is 4:30PM)
  5. Currently the Leu House Museum is closed due to hurricane damage
  6. Last but not least, this event is running now unti April 22nd
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(I promise I won’t spoil ALL of the statues) The Peacock is the 1st stop on the scavnger hunt!

Take your map and follow the crowds to find each of the 13 unique LEGO brick statues. Each with an educational description of the animal(s). EDUCATIONAL FUN! The weather was so perfect this weekend (in the upper 60s) and we really could not have asked for a better afternoon.

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The one thing that we would change? We’d pack a picnic to enjoy on the lawn. So many families brought in blankets and food to have lunch under the big oak trees and it looked delightful! We will be sure to come back again to see this event!

Leu Gardens has several free admission days coming up too, be sure to check out the dates here.


Looking for more date night ideas or family fun? Check out all of my weekend date ideas here. I would love to see pictures of your Leu Gardens finds below! Hope you all have a great weekend ahead!

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Continue reading “Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Leu Gardens @ Art with LEGO Bricks”

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Duck Doughnuts

I love doughnuts. Seriously who doesn’t? We fell in love with Duck Doughnuts on our trip to Washington D.C. You can check out that trip here.

What makes a better date then long talks over good coffee? Nothing.

We were excited to find out that Duck Doughnuts opened a location right here in Florida, so we decided to make a trip! Just about a 30 minute drive to Kissimmee from Orlando. If you are looking for you local Duck Doughnuts, here’s a link to their site.


Okay so let me lay this out – walk in and grab a menu (use this to mark on). You start off with a base cake doughnut and on basically anything you can dream of.

My fave: Lemon glaze & fresh shredded coconut

My husband’s fave: Strawberry Glaze & Oreo crumbles

We normally only do a half dozen. I’ve never, honestly, been able to eat more than two without hating myself. Oh and make sure to order a iced coffee! It’s fresh brewed and INCREDIBLE.

After handing off your menu, each doughnut is made fresh and hand made to your order.


And here they are (starting top right) Strawberry glaze with Oreo crumbs, Dark chocolate glaze with marshmallow drizzle and graham crackera, Vanilla Bean glaze with dark chocolate drizzle, lemon glaze with fresh shredded coconut, cinnamon sugar with dark chocolate and lastly dark chocolate glaze with salted Carmel drizzle 🤤🤤🤤🤤

So there it is – A perfectly delicious date idea to try out this weekend. Want to check out last weeks date idea? You can see that here! Have a great weekend 😘😘

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Orlando Museum of Art’s Festival of Tress

I’m sorry I’m one of “those people” and Christmas can never come early enough. This is why we’ve already started our Holiday Traditions Bucket List 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

This weekend we visited the Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art! Basically a Christmas Wonderland of trees, gingerbread houses and a craft fair. You can pick up your tickets online or pick them up at the door (we ordered online – because it was WAY easier. The lines for tickets can get pretty long). $15 per person and $5 (cash only) for parking – you can see more information here .

Don’t get swept up when you first walk in. Head straight for the raffle booth (if that’s your thing – like it is ours). We frequently visit the museums for free so we don’t mind giving them a little extra money during the holidays.

Did you know that you can visit all of your local museums for free the first weekend of the month? In any state?? If you are a cardholder through Bank of America – check out their “Museums on us” site and see what places are free in your area!

ANYWAYS RAFFLE TICKETS – $1 per raffle ticket. Throughout the museum there are small gift boxes for you to place your raffle tickets in. To give you the chance for winning that particular tree, gingerbread house OR gift from a local vendor. Choose your boxes wisely!

We grabbed out raffle tickets and we were off! We visited each room and checked out each tree. Look closely at a lot of the trees and wreaths, they have incredible detail

Throughout the museum they even have small “craft fair” shops set up. Perfect for grabbing some early Christmas gifts for family and friends. They even have their very own Santa for kids to take pictures with – the lines were pretty long though so be warned.

Some trees even had incredible themes – like the World Travel themed tree above.

We had so much fun on our first Christmas Tradition! Visiting the Festival of Trees was an incredible experience and WELL worth the price. It really got me in the mood for the upcoming holiday season….who knows maybe I’ll put up my own tree this weekend 😏😏 SO if you are looking for something to do with your family this weekend – stop by the Orlando Museum of Art for an incredible festive time!

Do you have any holiday traditions that you love to do with your family? I would love to hear about thembelow!!