Orlando Living: Winter Garden - Old Fashioned Fun for Furry Friends & Family

March 3, 2018

 

Nestled in the West side of Orlando, Florida is the small town of Winter Garden. Most people drive past this sleepy little spot on Highway 50 on their way to I-75 or other places. However this town holds some interesting things to see and do. With its downtown area looking like it’s right out of the 30’s, Winter Garden is best known for the Garden Theater, a single screen theater built in 1935. After closing in the late 60’s it was re-opened in 2008 fully restored.  The Garden Theater holds over 200 events annually from movies, plays, to concerts. Tickets are reasonably priced as well. It’s a great place for a “date” night.  Free parking is offered behind the theater itself.

 

To get Tickets or See What's Playing, Visit:

www.GardenTheatre.org

 

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In Winter Garden, the downtown stores and restaurants are almost always open. Some of the restaurants are dog friendly with patios for both humans and canines alike.  Always check with each before ordering.

 

Winter Garden is also a haven for bicycling. With a top notch bike shop downtown and bike rentals as well. The traffic is slow enough through the brick roads downtown, but the best place is the West Orange trail. The trail itself is about 20.8 Miles of paved Trail from the Orange/Lake County line, the town of Killarney and Oakland, the city of Winter Garden, across U.S. 441, through downtown Apopka to Welch Road. So for any cyclist, that is quite a bit of trail to go on. But it’s not just for cyclers. It is also open to hikers, leashed dogs, has an equestrian area and a butterfly garden.

 

 

Weekend mornings are one of the best things about Winter Garden.  The farmer’s market!  And while there are farmer’s markets all over the place, this one tends to stand out.  So, what makes this one so different? For me, it’s the atmosphere.  Very family oriented to start with. You’ll see little ones on up to college ages. It’s a beautiful area. The streets are brick, there is plenty of shade and is also very pet friendly. (All animals must be leashed.)

 

But it’s not just produce that you’ll find there.  You’ll find a plethora of other treasures. Homemade soaps, plants, artworks, leather work, homemade cheeses (can you say free samples!) Of course there is food!  Cuisine from all over the area and the world are often represented there. Once it warms up a bit you’ll almost always see the kids playing in the fountains. Parking is free as well, but get there early because it fills up fast.   

 

As you start out you’ll see, hear and smell a cacophony of things. The aromas from the fresh vegetables, pop-corn, sweets and other foods will make your mouth water. The sounds of music from the main area will quickly come into play. The vendors welcoming you and answering questions about their wares merge in with the laughter of children and conversations going on to make a symphony of the senses.  And in the warmer months, you can join in with the kids at the fountain and cool off.

 

All in all, the Farmer’s Market is one of the best things about visiting Winter Garden. Followed by the Garden Theatre.  Winter Garden is a relaxing peaceful place to visit. You can go there, get something for breakfast, lunch and buy the ingredients for dinner.  Listen to good music, eat some handmade sweets, get a gift for someone and relax while doing it. And don’t forget the 4-legged members of your family. Bring them along and they’ll meet new friends, get lots of pets (please ask owners first), smell things, hear things and enjoy it as much as you will. While I have mentioned dogs there have been cats seen on leashes as well. This perplexes the dogs to no end.

 

So if you’re looking for something that is a bit out of the ordinary. Rustic yet modern that is good for the family, think about checking out Winter Garden. You’ll be surprised what all is packed into this little haven.

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