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Olde Winter Park - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Situated about 2 miles off the I4, U. S President Chester Alan Arthur (1881–85) described Olde Winter Park as the prettiest place in Florida, and if he visited today he may still be of that opinion. Develop rapidly from 1880, when the railroad track connecting Orlando and Sandford was laid west of Osceola it became a winter retreat for many from the East Coast. Local by-laws ensure that buildings were constructed to a stylistic and architectural standard and the area retains a real old world village charm. From the immaculately maintained tree-lined brick streets to its open park areas and elegant 2-storey buildings, visitors will be enchanted and can easily pass a day exploring here. There is 3 hour street parking or a free all day multi-storey car park by The Morse Museum (see below), which itself neatly breaks up the retail area from the residential end. Plenty of atmosphere too from the occasional far from intrusive horn of a passing freight train to make you realise you are part of an historic living community.

The main thoroughfare, Park Street, contains a lovely mix of boutique clothes shops, galleries, gift shops and restaurants, with some unique period pastel coloured mansions and condos at the upper end where a park and 18 hole golf course can be found along with an original villa which has very limited opening times (check locally). Visitors can spend a day meandering around the side streets after enjoying al fresco lunch and listening and watching the well groomed locals pass by. Check out the dates for the various festivals (including a 3-day National accredited art festival), Bach concerts and other sidewalk activities which take place regularly throughout the year.

One of the main attractions is The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (just $5 dollar a head). This unusual find in Florida contains the largest single collection of original Louis Comfort Tiffany glasswork and pottery plus the restored Tiffany Chapel created for the World' s Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. It is simply a stunning find and one can spend at least 2 jaw dropping hours or more in wide eyed wonder at this unique collection of artwork. The museum also contains other collections of contemporary American art from the period and rooms re-created from the remains of Lauenton Hall, Tiffanys now demolished home and school for art.

Olde Winter Parke is a relaxing alternative to Orlandos busier attractions and their is plenty to entertain here, rain or shine.

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