Monthly Archives: May 2015

Experience More Florida, Take a Day Trip

One of the benefits of living, and vacationing, in Central Florida is the location.  The central location makes it easy to explore even more of the state.  Here are my top 5 day trip destinations:

1. St. Augustine 

What’s not to love about this historic city? It is the oldest continuously occupied European-establish settlement in the United States and still dazzles with history.  Whether you decide to take a tour or just wander leisurely down the brick-lined streets, you are sure to be overcome with visions of the past.

Lighthouse St. Augustine

2. Kennedy Space Center

From history to space, Kennedy Space Center provides a trip to a new galaxy.  Learn all about the space shuttle program and even experience a shuttle launch yourself.  Another immersive experience, just an hour from Central Florida.

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3. Cocoa Beach

If a beach day is more your speed, Cocoa Beach is a close enough drive for a day of soaking up the sun (and the margaritas).  Get your feet wet or watch the excitement from the Cocoa Beach Pier.

Cocoa Beach

4. Bok Tower Gardens

These beautiful gardens take up 250-acres of land near Lake Wales, Florida.  Blooming flowers, singing birds and the exquisite tower make a perfect spot to unwind and relax.  Listen for the ringing bells, the wonderful sound that travels throughout the gardens, allowing you to further appreciate the beauty of nature all around.

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5. River Ranch

Grab your cowboy boots and go country for a day.  Airboat rides, archery, and horseback riding are just some of the activities available in this country western wonderland.

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Get out there and explore Florida!

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Wekiva Springs: A Central Florida Oasis

I felt like I was in a scene from The Notebook –you know when Allie and Noah are out on the water, in a canoe, and all of a sudden it starts pouring down rain—yes, that happened on a recent trip to Wekiva Springs.

Just about 20 minutes north of Orlando lies this peaceful oasis of sorts. A perfect relaxing getaway, ideal for unwinding after a busy week.  I was literally forced to unplug since I was without cell service most of the day.  Normally the only way I can disconnect is when I am on a cruise, so it is nice to find these spots sometimes where you are forced to unplug from technology and just take in your surroundings.

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After parking beneath the large oak and palm trees, I opened my door to the peaceful sounds of nature and kids splashing in the crystal clear waters just over the bridge connecting the parking lot to this natural sanctuary.

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I wasn’t quite in the mood to go for a swim, so instead we ventured off onto a nature trail. It was tranquil, quiet and highlighted what I like most about Central Florida–going from urban to nature in just a matter of minutes.

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Following the hike, we rented a canoe and set off into the water. I could see the bottom of the springs the entire time.

And then came the rain. Luckily, there were so many trees lining the waterway, we were able to keep cover until the rain shower passed.  We laughed as the giant raindrops from the tree leaves hit us in the face as we pushed our way back into the springs.IMG_7321

Soon we made our way to a river bend where to our surprise we found a small island. We thought about stopping for a bite to eat, but figured with the threat of rain looming from above, we should probably turn around and head back.

Now that the smell of food had awakened our stomachs, making it back seemed a little more challenging. Then the rain came down again, harder this time. This was The Notebook moment I was referring to. Despite getting soaked, there was still something tranquil about being out on the water, watching the rain drops dance on the surface of the spring.

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Once we made it back, we jumped in the car, air on full blast to dry off, and drove just down the road to Wekiva Island. It was a quaint, rustic spot, perfect for concluding a wonderful day trip in Central Florida.

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Mingling with Celebs at Madame Tussauds

It was a star-studded event, and no I’m not talking about the Met Gala. I’m talking about the premiere of Madame Tussauds in Orlando, Florida. The long-awaited arrival of the popular attraction came on May 4, but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and “chat” with some of the famous A-listers prior to the big grand opening? Who were some of my favorites? Well, of course, I was super excited to “meet” Taylor. IMG_1662 She was a lot taller than I thought, or maybe it was the 6-inch heels she was wearing. 20150428_105211_LLS But in the grand scheme of things, I guess Taylor isn’t that tall. I also enjoyed a little breakfast with my idol, Audrey Hepburn.  She barely touched her pastry. IMG_1609 And spent some time with Abe Lincoln.  He really is honest. abeI even confronted my fear…E.T.  I remember watching it as a child and being terrified.  Don’t ask me why, but I still can’t bring myself to even watch it again as an adult. IMG_1733 But, I laughed it off with Jimmy Fallon. IMG_1599 By the end of the experience, I had taken so many selfies, my phone battery was pretty much dead. So I had a talk with this guy about ideas for the next generation of the IPhone (better battery life *hint hint*) IMG_1637 Madame Tussauds is a great attraction for those looking for a break from the big theme parks.  But it’s not only for starstruck individuals dying to talk a selfie with their favorite celebs, there are also education elements throughout the attraction.  Informational signage as well as games and quizzes throughout give you a little more insight on many of these famous faces.  I was fascinated to learn more about Madame Tussaud herself. 20150428_104107_LLS Born Anna Maria Grosholtz, Madame Tussauds’ history dates back to the 18th century when she worked under her mentor, Dr, Phillippe Curtius, a doctor and wax modeler.  The process she used during her sittings and figure-making have been passed down through the generations, spanning more than 250 years. Madame Tussauds is part of the new entertainment complex I-Drive 360 which is also home to The Orlando Eye, SEA LIFE Orlando and a variety of dining and nightlife options.  Click here for ticketing information.

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