Over the last few weeks there have been a lot of news articles about “The City Beautiful’s” iconic Lake Eola. City hall is currently hashing out whether they will allow development on the southwest corner of Lake Eola Park. Many residents and critics don’t want the new residential tower, which might impede the view and splendor of such a beautiful area in Downtown Orlando.
Did you know that Lake Eola is actually a huge sinkhole? Neither did I! At its deepest place it is 80 ft. Lake Eola plays host to many local events, including the weekly Lake Eola Farmer’s Market on Sundays and the annual Fourth of July Fireworks at the Fountain, just to name a few. On the east side of Lake Eola is a park which houses a playground for the little ones, a historical monument and a Chinese Pagoda.
The park site was originally donated to the city by wealthy Orlandoan Jacob Summerlin. His only stipulations were that the gifted area be beautified and turned into a park. As part of the deal he put in a reverter clause that states if the area around Lake Eola wasn’t beautified, turned into a park and maintained by the city, his heirs could reclaim the land.
For locals and visitors Lake Eola is truly a gem in our large metropolis. A picture of authentic Florida beauty. Go to the farmer’s market, attend one of the events held throughout the year, whatever you do – Go! Be a local at Lake Eola.
Image Credit: Patrick Fatica
There are plenty of spooky places in Orlando and I’m not talking about the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. I came across an article about the American Ghost Adventures and was immediately intrigued. It’s not often I come across something in Orlando that I didn’t know existed, but this was one of those special times.
In doing a little research I learned the AGA is actually voted #2 on TripAdvisors Sights and Landmarks in Orlando. This group of local guides take you on tours through Downtown Orlando, Daytona, Winter Garden, Mount Dora and Deland. Tours are 2-4 hours long and according to the reviews give you a lot of history about our little patch of earth. They offer a Haunted Pub tour too. The tours consist of a guide taking you through out the streets and venues of Orlando, give you an opportunity to learn about EMF and other paranormal equipment and even take you into an old building that is writhing with paranormal activity. Don’t believe me, take a look at this YouTube video, here.
Their Facebook, as well as, TripAdvisor is teeming with rave reviews from locals and tourists alike. I found multiple articles both recent and dated that said this is one of the best lesser known attractions of Orlando. I even found an Orlando Sentinel article of a group of kids going on the tour and really enjoying it! Believers and non-believers alike seem to relish these tours. I’m a firm believer that we should try to step out of comfort zone every once and while to experience something you might not normally experience.
I am definitely putting this on my list of MUST DO’s in Orlando. Now I just have to find a friend brave enough to go with me. Look for a follow up on this one!
Image Credit: Yelp.com
TripAdvisor.com just named Orlando fourth best city for pizza, thanks to two popular theme park pizzerias: Red Oven Pizza Bakery at Universal’s CityWalk and Via Napoli in the Italian Pavillion at Disney’s Epcot. I definitely enjoy a good slice of pizza, every now and again (truth: more now than again). My husband is more of a New York style lover, while just about anything with an abundant amount of cheese and sauce will make me happy. That’s not to say that I don’t have a sophisticated pallet, rather I’m not afraid to branch out and try new things. Odd toppings, crazy sauces and all types of crust send me into pizza amour!
I can’t think of a district in the Orlando region I haven’t had a slice in, but true to our local theme I’d like to present my downtown favorite. Anthony’s Pizza of Thornton Park, is located at the corner of Summerlin and Washington. Anthony’s Pizza has been in operation since 1998. They truly do pizza right! Anthony actually started his first pizzeria in New York City in 1976. Now owned and operated by Anthony’s nephew, they have stayed true to their New York state of mind. The ivy covered building offers indoor seating, or if you’re a people watcher, like me, find a place on the patio. It’s a great location for a glass of wine and good conversation!
Anthony’s offers everything from the traditional New York pie to a unique Stuffed VIP (double crust with a side of marinara), and a plethora of toppings, you’re sure to find something you can fall in love with. Feeling adventurous, try one of their speciality pies or calzones. You can even make this a date friendly restaurant with their authentic Italian pasta entrees. Whatever you decide, I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
Image Credit: ThorntonParkDistrict.com
This Saturday, July 25th the Center for Contemporary Dance and Orlando Ballet School is presenting the 3rd Annual National Dance Day Orlando . This event seeks to bring educational, community-driven dance opportunities for non-dancers and dancers. According to their website ‘This year’s event will encourage families and friends to begin the morning of July 25 at the NDDO Community Celebration, located at Cultural Park, to participate in exercises, dance routines, and performances by Central Florida dance professionals. Within walking distance of the park is the Orlando Ballet Central Campus where 30 free specialized dance classes will be offered throughout the day to ages 3-100, including special needs movement classes.’ There are a variety of classes to choose from in styles such as salsa, barre, swing and even hip hop.
If you haven’t heard, this weekend is going to be a little wet and rainy. What better way to spend a rainy Florida day than learning a new dance style or routine?
For more information on this event click here.
Image Credit: Dribble.com
Being a Texas native, I am an avid southern food lover. One of my first lunches in Downtown Orlando, I found this counter-style restaurant and was instantly in love. The founder of 4Rivers Smokehouse, a fantastic BBQ restaurant, set out to create a restaurant with passed down recipes and using seasonal ingredients. Their signature dish – fried chicken! Doesn’t get much better than fried chicken in my world.
As I stood in line, it’s nearly impossible to pick exactly what I wanted. It all looks and smells divine. I decided to go traditional and have the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and fried okra. All of it was so amazing! Rarely do I clean my plate but this meal was too good to go to waste.
I also really enjoyed the seating arrangements. You feel like you’re sitting at grandma’s table, because you are. The restaurant is full of mismatched dining room tables and chairs, giving you that “come in and stay awhile” feel.
If you haven’t tried this fantastic location, you have to put it on your to do list!
Image Credit: 10 Best