Tag Archives: sunshine

Coffee Breaks Make Great Dates

Lately, I’ve been on the go a lot. Between weddings, anniversaries, family visits, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a quiet weekend at home. It was nice to not have any sort of plans or schedule this weekend and just play it by ear, exploring our own back yard.

First up, Greenwood Urban Wetland Park.

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This beautiful oasis is plop in the middle of Downtown Orlando, but surprisingly quiet and peaceful.

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No water under this bridge

Thanks to the recent drought, water levels were surprisingly low, but it was still beautiful and quite scenic. I can’t wait to go back after a nice long rainstorm.

We continued relaxing over some cold brews from Foxtail Coffee Co. I’d consider this another first for me since my first visit to Foxtail wasn’t as pleasant. I was suffering from appendicitis and didn’t know it. This time was far more enjoyable.

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We sat in the grass, beneath the palm trees, people watching for the next few hours. It was absolutely perfect.

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And to round out the day of firsts, we had dinner at Reyes Mezcaleria, a brand new Mexican restaurant in Downtown Orlando.

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Exploring Northwest Florida

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

Steinhatchee, Florida could be described as the road less traveled by, unless it’s scalloping season. This quaint fishing town is definitely for those looking for a place to relax, unwind and explore natural Florida. Ideal for a weekend getaway.

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Although I am a native Floridian, the Northwest Gulf Coast of Florida is an area I was pretty unfamiliar with. It’s not your typical Florida, and I loved it. Making our way up from Orlando, we took the backroads, passing through various small towns and marshlands. The further north we got, the less tropical it began to feel.

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Our home for this weekend getaway was Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Our private cottage was extremely spacious and cozy. For fun, we even left the fireplace going in the evenings; it reminded me of being in the mountains. It’s Florida though, and early May, so it wasn’t an actual fire. The resort had a quiet, old Florida feel that was just as beautiful as it was romantic; the perfect place to rest our heads between our adventures.

Coming from a somewhat big city, it was amazing to actually sleep through the night without the sounds of sirens, traffic, and airplanes flying above. Just the chirping birds as a morning wake up call.

As I mentioned before, Steinhatchee Landing was our home base between adventures.

These adventures included:

Steinhatchee Falls

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When I read waterfall, I was thinking actual water falling from a mountaintop, cascading over rocks and flowing down a stream, but this is Florida…no mountaintop here. Still, Steinhatchee Falls was quite peaceful and definitely off the beaten path.

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Surely more peaceful today than it was hundreds of years ago when settler’s cut through these waters in their horse-pulled wagons. You can still see the wagon ruts in the limestone rock.

Suwannee River State Park

We began this adventure with a picnic along the banks of the Suwannee River before we began our hike along the bluffs overlooking the water below.  There are a series of trails to choose from, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles. We veered in and out of various trails, following sights that interested us.

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Florida Caverns State Park (this one is a little further north, but if you are coming from South Florida, it’s worth a visit)

Caves in Florida!? Yes, it’s true, and it was completely unexpected. This is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours.

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So next time you are looking for a little off the beaten path adventure, head to Northwest Florida. You won’t be disappointed.

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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.

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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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Filed under Like a Local, Travel