For the past two winters in Winter Garden, Florida, we have occasionally ridden our bicycles along this short one-way stretch of old brick road leading to the Tildenville School. The West Orange Trail crosses the road near its southern terminus, so it is one of several ways to access the paved bike path.
A brick road, while charming, is not a comfortable ride on a road bike, But that's all we could have told you about the road; we knew nothing of its history. But that was soon to change.
Not long ago, while watching the local news, I happened to catch a story about this very road. I missed the beginning of the piece but did catch the fact that an historic marker had just been erected along it. We had to find out more, so I sent Barry, my intrepid photographer, on a morning walk down to the road for a few photos.
Here's the shiny new plaque, juxtaposed against the old bricks below.
Reading the marker, we found it fascinating to learn how this now 0.6 mile section of brick road used to be State Highway 22, which wound around the entire area we now ride through on the West Orange Trail, a paved multi-use path. The bricks continued even farther east into Orlando.
We can vouch for the phrase on the plaque "As durable as they were uncomfortable"!
Despite the discomfort, the road is undeniably scenic, framed by Spanish Moss in the trees.
If these old bricks could talk, the stories they could tell!
Last Saturday we walked to the Farmacy and Winter Garden Farmer's Market, as we do each week. But on this particular Saturday, there was a whole lot more going on in downtown Winter Garden: It was time for the annual "Spring Fever in the Garden" show and sale! We missed this last year as we headed north in March, but this year we were lucky enough to get to check it out.
The festival has been going on since 2001, and every year, there's been a different poster and t-shirt design, created by Winter Garden artist Andy Crabtree, owner of local business Crabtree Ink. This year's design is to the right. You can see designs for each year here.
One nice thing about living in an RV is that I am not tempted to buy a bunch of plants, as we have no permanent yard. We've seen RVers who travel around with their plants and put them out at each campground, but that seems like an awful lot of extra baggage to carry. With our slide-outs in for travel, we simply wouldn't have the space.
So, I could walk around enjoying the sights without spending any money at all. There were so many beautiful flowers, shrubs, and even trees to see, as well as a few other pretty non-living items available for purchase. It was hard to take it all in!
There was a sidewalk chalk art contest that was just getting started, as we arrived near the beginning of the show. This one chalk creation, which I think is adorable, was the only completed entry when we passed by. This web page shows some of the entries from previous years.
I also loved these charming "flowers" made from plates; I didn't think about as we passed how cute one would be outside Pearl, our motorhome. Hmmm, I think I missed out! Check out the adorable birdbaths made from teapots too....
The show went all the way down the center of the aptly named Plant Street for quite a few blocks, finally terminating on the east end with these lovely small trees.
I'm glad we got to the show in the morning, as I imagine Spring Fever in the Garden brings in much larger crowds as the day wears on. The weather couldn't have been better for it either.
There's always something fun going on in Winter Garden, and I am glad we stayed in town long enough to experience this show, even without spending a penny!
I recently celebrated my birthday here in Winter Garden, Florida, where we have spent the winter. What a nice day I had, with perfect weather to boot! It was a bit chilly for central Florida, as a cold front had just passed through, but the low humidity and breezes were refreshing after hot and humid weather just a couple of days earlier. I'm not quite ready for the 90s just yet!
Barry made me some of his delicious whole-grain waffles to start off my day. What a treat! I didn't get a photo, but they were topped with butter, mango sauce, real maple syrup, walnuts, and cinnamon, and I indulged until I was stuffed.
Next up was a bike ride on the West Orange Trail. Although it was windier than I'd prefer, the day was too pretty not to ride, and I needed to burn some calories! Because of the chilly morning, I started out in leg warmers and a wind vest in addition to a long-sleeve jersey, quite a change of apparel from a few days earlier. Barry took these photos late in the ride when I'd peeled off the vest and leg warmers.
Later in the day, we walked into charming downtown Winter Garden for my birthday dinner. I can't believe this is the first time we've been to this well-loved pizza place. We even got there early enough to nab one of the few outdoor tables for two. Inside, the restaurant was hot, noisy, and got very, very busy during the time we were there, since it was a Friday night.
The pizza was packed with flavor, with a chewy crust -- perfect. I tried the Chicken Alfredo pie, and Barry got the Primavera. And the local beers on tap were great too. Barry tried Orlando Brewing Co's Blonde Ale, and I chose Winter Garden's own Crooked Can Brewery's Cloud Chaser, a hefeweizen-style wheat beer. Both were very good!
After stuffing our faces, we enjoyed walking back down Plant Street, the main street through downtown, taking in the early evening sunlight and sights.
Finally, back in Pearl, Barry had bought me a delicious Salted Caramel Heath Bar birthday cake (YUM!) We topped that with some Southern Pecan Talenti gelato. Even though we were full to the brim with pizza and beer, the scrumptious combination slid right down!
It was really a perfect birthday!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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