We are in the midst of our first winter deep freeze. The wind chill has finally gotten up to 2 degrees this morning. I thought I'd share just a few warm photos from Christmas week in Florida to remind us all that winter doesn't last all that long!
When we took my dad to the airport a few days before Christmas, we decided to head over for a day at Daytona Beach. My daughter had the day off, we were up early and it was in the high 70's. We spent a few hours sitting (napping) on the beach. It was a bit cloudy and the water was way too cold to get into, but there is nothing quite like the sound of the surf to make you relax.
The drive to Daytona from Orlando is only about an hour. I spent every summer of my childhood at Daytona Beach. Truthfully, I think it has gone downhill over the years, but the beach is still very clean and I love that you can drive on it and park your car right on the beach.
We had a bit of a shock as we were leaving the beach. We drove very close to a completely naked man stretched out on his stomach right near the driving lane on the beach. He obviously wanted to be seen. Let's just say, it wasn't pretty. Now, if it had been one of the lifeguards...I might have taken pictures...but, it was a 40-something, slightly overweight, pale guy...icky, icky, icky. Daytona Beach isn't a nude beach, so my guess is the guy has issues.
We had lunch at a cute little waterfront restaurant.
It wasn't anything special, but the view was lovely.
The next day we went to Winter Park. It is a beautiful little town with wonderful shops and restaurants. We have often talked about the possibility we would move there when my husband retires. We found that an inner courtyard in the business district had been redone and it was beautiful. I am a bit surprised that people don't accidentally walk into the fish pond...but, I did love the look.
My daughter has been telling us that she thinks we would prefer Winter Garden as our Florida home. We decided to make the short drive from Orlando to check it out. I wish I had taken more pictures.
We loved Winter Garden. It is much more relaxed than Winter Park. People were shopping in shorts and flip flops instead of high heels. I think my daughter is right, we truly felt as if this might be a possible home for us in the not too distant future. The Historic Downtown has cute shops and small restaurants. The people were so friendly and when we asked about living there, they were very welcoming.
We loved the Farmer's Market, there were
some very interesting local products.
While the downtown area is very quaint and old-fashioned looking, there is also a new area just as we drove into town that has every store you would find in a very nice mall, several restaurants, spas and gyms. What I loved was that both downtown and the new area had regular parking! I hate driving and I certainly don't want to have to go into a parking garage or parallel park just to run into a store. These things become very important when you are looking for a "retirement" hometown. We still have plenty of time to explore the Orlando area. We just know we want to be close enough to have our daughter come for dinner or baby-sit if she needs us to and yet be outside of the horrible traffic and tourists in the Orlando/Disney area. We are certainly having fun looking!