Winter Park, Orlando, and Jacksonville in two days.

Normally my Monday posts are about learning how to be frugal.  This weekend was so busy and filled with things I love that I just have to share.  I will post the being frugal blog on Thursday.

It is amazing what a very nice weekend and a good nights sleep can do for you.   We spent the last two days with our oldest daughter and her family and our youngest daughter and her family.

I also forced my dog Blue to sleep in the garage.  The final straw with him was waking me up at 5 am because he just thought we should be up.  Silly dog!  Now before you get upset he was fine.   The temperatures didn’t get much below the 60’s and he has loads of warm places to sleep.  I usually only have to put him out there for a night or two when he has been misbehaving.  He then, gets the message and lets me sleep.  The worse part was we had not been to bed before 1 am since Friday.  He seems to think that the second a tiny beam of light shows through my bedroom window it is time to wake up.  Did I mention the bedroom faces east?  Each day got earlier and earlier.  He would mess with Courtney ( our other sheltie) until she got up.  Today,  she and I got the best sleep and were completely refreshed and happy to get up.

We had plans to go to Jacksonville to visit our youngest daughter and her family.  We were then told that a family member was visiting from up north this past weekend too.  We decided to go to Orlando on Saturday and Jacksonville on Sunday.  This meant a lot of drive time as Orlando is about an hour and half from our home and Jacksonville is 3 hours.

My husband understands that there is a strained relationship involved and suggested that we go to Winter Park for the outdoor market and visit the great shops there.  He sure knows how to make me happy.

Our eldest daughter thought that was a great idea and even thought of a great place to eat brunch.  We met our daughter, her family, and our family member at the market.  If you haven’t been to the Winter Park farmer’s market, you are missing out.  The market has been showcased on different travel channel shows and is just a great place if you like buying plants, fruits, veggies, breads, and cheeses.  They have quite a few other items too.  We go every few months or so.  I usually find some great plants for my garden.  Right now we are only looking for oyster plants.   They must not be in season as there were none.


I bought some blue cheese and some excellent Gruyere.  My husband got sticker shock, but the cheese is well worth it.  I will end up using both in some great recipes and he will forget all the shock.

winterpark farmer's market

Brunch was at the Briarpatch Restaurant.  We sat outside because the stroller was to big to go inside.

Winter Park, Florida
Winter Park, Florida




I am not speaking for my daughter and her family, but my husband and I loved it.  The omelet he had was perfect.  I had one of the specials.  Blueberry pancakes with lemon curd and blueberry syrup.  There was so much food I took half of it home.   I ate it for breakfast the next day and it was even better.  I really recommend eating here.  It was well worth the time.  It wasn’t all that pricey.  Five people eating was about $60 before tip.

Winter Park is just one of those small town atmospheres.  A little on the up scale side, but a great place to people watch and relax.  We went to another great place.  The Wine Room.  You purchase a smart card.  It was kind of like a prepaid credit card and you purchase samples of wine.  They had so many kinds of wine.  Prices start at $1.50 for an ounce and up.   I only purchased by the ounce.  It was a great way to try different wines and have a great time doing it.  We ordered a cheese plate  to go with our wine.  I think this would be a great place to go for a date night or meeting up with friends.


We had such a great day, but it wasn’t over.  We went to Bongos later that night for dinner at Downtown Disney.  The wait was long, but they got us in quicker than we or they thought we would get in.  The waiter was so good.  I think the greatest thing I can say about eating there was the waiter.  The man is a jewel and should get raises.  Lots of raises.  The atmosphere was what you would expect, but the food was overpriced and pretty boring.  My favorite Cuban food is the cuban sandwich. They don’t offer that for dinner.  I wish they would rethink it.  I ordered calamari for my dinner from the appetizer menu. It was good, but there were only 12 rings.  That made it $1 per ring.  To be honest I just wasn’t all that hungry so I was pretty filled up.

I can’t end this part of the blog about Winter Park and Orlando without mentioning a couple of other places that I went to.

macronsLa Macaron sold these.  They were so soft, crunchy, chewy, and tasty.  I bought six as research.  I can make a french butter cookie and Madeleines.  I think this is the next French item I am going to attempt to make.


The Ancient Olive is another great place.  The sell premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars that are flavored.  The vinegars impressed me.  You could sample them all.  They were so different.  They are so smooth that you can literally drink the samples.   My next trip will include a couple of the vinegars.  The people in the store are friendly and helpful.  They can recommend which olive oil and vinegar to pair for any occasion.  Just mention what you are cooking and they are eager to help.

The next day we went to Jacksonville to visit the youngest daughter and her family.   It always amazes me how quickly children grow up.  Their son is now smiling and cooing.  He was attempting to sit up.  I just can’t believe how much he has changed in the month since we last saw him.

We spent most of the day with them and then we went to dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  It was 5:30 pm and the place was busy.  My husband and I were introduced to Chipotle by our middle daughter and her husband.  The place is reasonable and filling.  The ingredients are fresh and wholesome.  They use non hormone meats.  It was a great meal.  Sadly, this place made the downtown Disney restaurant from the previous day pale in comparison.    It was such a great meal.

We  left for home not long after.  While in Jacksonville, we visited Babies R Us and Costco.  Sure wish a Costco would move here to Brevard County!

One of the things I would like to remind people.  Orlando is far more than Disney, Universal, or Sea World.  It has sports teams, great food, and lots of culture.  The next trip you make to Orlando consider walking away from International Drive and the attractions.  Travel to Tampa, Daytona, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Winter Park, and some of the other great cities in Central Florida.  You will fall in love with this place when you do!




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