Tag Archives: Florida

There’s more to Orlando than Mickeyland (Part II of II)

On our way to brunch in New Smyrna Beach we drove through Cassadaga, which is nicknamed the “Psychic Capitol of the World.”  Even though I am not a big believer in psychics, I was intrigued, so we stopped and I took some photos.  The town has lots of medium/psychic shops, a hotel, and a spiritualist camp.  The main street is even called “Spiritualist Street.”

Colorful psychic storefronts

Kind of curious about psychic therapy...

On Saint Patrick’s Day we ate at the Swamp, which is a fun alligator-themed restaurant.  There were lots of fake alligators at the entrance and they actually served gator meat.  The restaurant is known for fish, so I ordered catfish with vegetables and hushpuppies because I had never had them before.  My friends also ordered fried pickles to start because they wanted me to try a Southern specialty.

Fried pickles

Catfish, hush puppies, string beans and mushrooms

The back of the Swamp restaurant

On my last full day in Florida, we went out to brunch at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant in DeLeon Springs state park.  The restaurant features grills on every table where you can cook your own pancakes.  I’ve been to several Japanese restaurants where you cook your own food, but I had never seen this pancake style.  I LOVED it!  We ordered pancakes and some toppings for the table and were given two batters (one white, one multigrain).  I also ordered iced coffee and was brought an entire pitcher.  They are very big on drinks in Florida!  Haha.  After brunch we went on a hike in the state park, which was lovely.

Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant (as suggested by the name, the restaurant is in a former sugar mill)

Make your own pancakes!

DeLeon Springs State Park

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There’s more to Orlando than Mickeyland! (Part I of II)

I recently went to Orlando to visit family friends.  On my first day, my friend Renee and I went on a scenic boat tour around Winter Park, which is a former resort town fifteen minutes north of Orlando.   I had no idea that there were such beautiful lakes and canals in Florida!  I loved seeing the historic mansions around the lakes and  I would definitely recommend the boat tour.

Pre-Winter Park boat tour

After the boat ride, we went to the Mennello Museum of American Art, which is a small museum that features the work of folk artist Earl Cunningham.  I liked Cunningham’s brightly colored paintings, but the museum’s sculptures and grounds especially impressed me (the museum overlooks another lovely lake).

Cute sculpture on the grounds of the Mennello Museum of American Art

We also attended the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which is a huge outdoor arts festival that takes place one weekend a year in downtown Winter Park.  It was a lot of fun walking around and visiting all of the booths (there were over 260 artists!).  My favorite booth featured the work of Michael Gard, whose hanging wire sculptures reminded me of people dancing in the sky.  We were planning on visiting the Morse Museum of Art, which has the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass in the world, but we were exhausted from the festival.

Michael Gard's dancing scupltures

I had many memorable meals in Florida.  My friends wanted to me to see a typical Central Floridian restaurant so they took me to the Southern chain restaurant, Sonny’s Bar-B-Q.  I ordered sweet tea and was brought the largest glass I have ever seen in my life!  The waitress came around with refills, but the first glass had more than enough sugar for the day.  They gave us to go cups to take home the excess sweet tea.  I have only been to one other BBQ restaurant in my life, but I thought the BBQ was good and I liked the variety of sauces (sizzlin’ sweet, smokin’, sweet, and mild).

The biggest glasses EVER

Pulled chicken, garlic bread and steamed broccoli (I swear this tasted better than it looks!)

Another day we had a lovely brunch at the Grille at Riverview, which is a restaurant in New Smyrna Beach that overlooks the water.  The views were stunning!  The food was also very good.  I ordered plaintain crusted crab cakes and found the portions to be very generous.  I also tried my first bloody mary.

Grille at Riverview

Plaintain crusted crab cakes

Please stay tuned for part 2!

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