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Fun in the Florida Sun at Cocoa Beach

Recently some of our friends and family spent a few days out at Cocoa Beach at the Inn at Cocoa Beach. They returned, refreshed with glowing reports of the wonderful hotel and beach. The weather was perfect, the water was calm, the sand was soft, and the complimentary breakfast and cocktail hour served at the hotel delightful. The Inn at Cocoa Beach is beach front and an alluring area to get away from it all. The rooms are spotless, a bit small, but nicely appointed. Quite the treat to have such a great beach get-away within 70 miles of Solivita.

Sarah, a family friend and self-proclaimed restaurant snob, made dinner reservations at Café Margaux in Cocoa. According to Sarah, Café Margaux did not disappoint. The entire group returned with reports of beautifully plated delicious food and good service. Sarah’s restaurant recommendations are usually on the expensive side, but we have never been disappointed in one of her picks. We have added this restaurant to our to-do list for the next time we find ourselves in need of a nice evening out in the Cocoa Beach Area. You can visit the Inn at Cocoa Beach online at TheInnAtCocoaBeach.com.

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Fun in Central Florida

During December we had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful historic Howey Mansion in the Lake County community of Howey in the Hills. This home, built in 1925 by William J. Howey, is set back on a wide lawn and was designed by Katherine Cotheal Budd and has become a Central Florida treasure. It is quite possible that the Howey Mansion is the only remaining example of Katherine’s work. William J. Howey was a land promoter and a citrus grower who used the fledgling citrus industry of central Florida as his economic base. William and Mary completed the plans for this home and by 1927 were residents of this lovely mansion.

Unfortunately, the Howey Mansion had been long-abandoned and was in dire need of restoration until Brad and Clay Cowherd, Brothers and Florida Natives, waked in and decided to restore the Mansion to its former glory. Their father and grandfather were longtime participants in real estate development in Orlando and the entire family were frequent visitors to the Yalaha Area. The brothers had long planned to restore the mansion and, have taken great joy in restoring the Howie Mansion to the beautiful home it is today. The restoration of this lovely home is a labor of love that has been shared by the entire family. The family loves the home and says It is a privilege and honor to have been able to bring this lovely landmark back to life.

This beautiful home is open for tours, an overnight stay, or as a venue for a private event. In addition, the Howey Mansion hosts a music series and seasonal events. Please visit the website and visit the home; I know you will enjoy it. http://www.thehoweymansion.com

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All Aboard the Train from Poinciana Station

Our friends, neighbors and clients have been raving about the new train station in Poinciana. This train station is right up the road with lots of parking for everyone. A welcome addition to our community, as we can now “get out of Dodge” for the day without the hassle of a long drive. My mom and her friend Marilyn took the train to Sanford. The ladies enjoyed a nice, inexpensive ride to Sanford. Upon arrival they hopped on the free downtown trolley, kindly provided by the City of Sanford, between the Amtrak Auto Train and the Sanford SunRail Station.

The town of Sanford has a thriving art community, shops, brew pubs, restaurants, a beautiful lake and is a nice spot to spend an afternoon. Sanford is the perfect stop for a Delicious Lunch and Mom and Marilyn could not resist stopping for lunch at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café. Upon their return from Sanford the reviews were glowing, they shared an outdoor table and a delicious meal of schnitzel, warm German potato salad and wurst.

When we lived up north one of our favorite restaurants was the Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner, New York, near New Paltz at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains. It was a beautiful drive through farmland and mountains to an authentic German dinner in a quiet, country location. Mom said that lunch at the Willow Tree Cafe brought back many fond memories of shared family dinners in Upstate NY. Lee and I have now put the Café on our radar, and we are looking forward to sharing a delicious German dinner soon. I will keep you posted.

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Dinner and a Show at Disney Springs!

Recently we enjoyed an evening in Ireland, at Disney Springs. No planes, passports, or lines involved. We were in Disney Springs on a Sunday afternoon enjoying the nice weather when we decided to have a bite to eat. Expecting nothing more than a good glass of Guinness, and an order of fish and chips, we walked into the Ragland Road Irish Pub. Before we even had the chance to open our menus the music started. The entire pub sang, laughed, clapped and enjoyed the Irish Fiddle and Celtic Harp, traditional music of Ireland, plus a step dancing performance, complete with costumes. Sometimes the best things in life are the unexpected and unplanned. Disney Springs is about a 30-minute drive from Solivita and a nice way to spend an afternoon or evening.

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Holidays in Florida

Happy Holidays to all of our neighbors, clients, friends, and family. Another year is coming to an end and we are happy to celebrate the holidays in sunny Central Florida. We plan on having a fun Christmas Eve shared with family and friends and a beautiful, quiet Christmas Day. Not traditional, but lovely – I am folding up my apron and letting Santa Claus take us out for dinner on Christmas Day. A holiday without dishes, what more can a working girl ask for? Well, I know we can ask for more, but why? We are lucky to live in the award-winning community of Solivita, surrounded by the beauty of nature, and every day are thankful not to be shoveling snow, chopping ice, or defrosting car doors just to get to work. We so enjoy the Florida lifestyle and suggest, if you are considering a move, you give it a try too! With so much entertainment in Central Florida, life is certainly nicer in the warmth, safety, and beauty of Solivita and Central Florida.

Lee and I hope that each of you enjoy every moment of the holidays. We wish you a happy and healthy New Year and hope the beauty and wonder of the season brings joy, health and peace to you and yours.

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17th Annual Fall Festival in Solivita

Every year this festival gets better, bigger, and is more fun, and this year was no exception. The Solivita team assembled a great group of folks, musicians, food and drink vendors, photographers, artists, painters, designers, and even had a Kidz Zone. Fun for the whole family. A really nice day to wander around in the sunshine, shop, and visit with neighbors. We enjoyed a great day at the festival. Purchased a few items and shared a glass of wine, a few laughs, and lunch with neighbors.

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Great Day Trip from Solivita

Had the grandchildren in for a visit and we took them to Gatorland for some family fun. Our grandson was charmed by the alligators and crocodiles and our granddaughter loved the petting zoo and the action the animal shows provided. Gatorland is a throwback to “Old Florida”. The park is clean and fun and provides a great way to make special memories with friends and family. Gatorland is only 25 miles from Solivita on Orange Blossom Trail, or as the local’s call it “The OBT”. Florida residents can purchase an Annual Pass which will entitle up to 6 accompanying guests a discount from the General Admission. A nice, simple way to spend a day with the family without the huge cost of visiting one of the larger theme parks.
If you have older grandchildren (ours are still quite young), you may want to book the Gator Night Shine Adventure to experience the sounds of the swamp at night in Gatorland’s Alligator Breeding Marsh. Gatorland will provide a flashlight and when you point in toward the water you will be amazed as the glowing red eyes of the gators keenly look back at you while they thrash about. We shared the Night Shine Adventure when some of our older cousins visited and it was an “Eye Opener” into swamp life in Central Florida.

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Game On

We are loving October and the fresh air blowing through Central Florida. Time to get out on the golf course and play a few rounds in the afternoon since the heat has been turned down. Lee is the golfer in the family and he loves to play on the two Championship Golf Courses in Solivita, but he is also happy to accept the challenge of playing on many of the other golf courses convenient to Solivita. Lee has kept a tally of the courses he has played over the last two years, and so far, his count is over 30. Florida has wonderful golf courses, and a round on a good course does not need to cost a fortune, we can usually find a discounted course by going to: www.teeoff.com and looking at their offers.
Golf on my friends and swing away in Solivita style.

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Florida Road Trips

We recently took an overnight trip from Solivita to St. Augustine and had a wonderful evening at the St. Augustine Lighthouse enjoying a sunset moonrise tour. We saw a spectacular sun set behind the city while the moon rose over the Atlantic, for a really nice evening. We had purchased tickets a few months ago and our ticket included a champagne toast supplied by San Sebastian Winery and hors d’oeuvres provided by the Reef Restaurant. This tour is only available one day per month. If you wish to go, please purchase your ticket in advance. For the balance of this year, this tour will be held on the following days; Monday, September 24th, Wednesday, October 24th and Saturday, December 22nd.
Cassadaga, the Psychic Capital of the World :
Who knew that we not only live near the Entertainment Capital of the US, but the Psychic Capital of the World as well? If you’re looking for a different experience, visit Cassadaga! Cassadaga is about 75 miles from Solivita, north of Sanford. The town is a throw back to the days of Mayberry, set in the backwoods between Daytona and Orlando and is a sanctuary for mediums, healers, spiritualists, psychics, new agers, and a religious group. The religious group runs a non-profit organization and operate a camp and the new agers use tarot cards and provide readings in the Cassadaga Hotel. If you go to Cassadaga, make an appointment, and go with an open mind as you never know who may want to send a message to you, or the direction of your reading. Our reader was Misty and she had some interesting thoughts. She seemed to know us quite well for a lady who knew nothing about us. It was puzzling how she zoomed right in. Some of the folks we were with left Cassadaga amazed, and some were amused, but we were all entertained. The town is interesting and is a nice drive from Solivita. While you are waiting for your reading, or for your group to gather after a reading, the restaurant in the Hotel offers a delightful menu, including liquid spirts, and is the perfect spot to discuss your experiences in Cassadaga. You can take a tour, take a class, have a reading, experience a healing, or just enjoy a meal, but whatever you do here you will certainly have an interesting time.
The Cassadaga Hotel is allegedly haunted, and if you are interested you can schedule a Ghost Tour while in town or spend an evening at the hotel. We did not personally experience any spirits while we were there, that is, except for the spirits in our drinks at the hotel. Cassadaga is a fun experience and certainly made for an interesting afternoon. If you would like to see what Cassadaga is all about, visit the following websites: http://www.cassadaga.org/ or http://cassadagahotel.net/.

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Fun in the Sun in Central Florida

Aug. 25: Wine Walk & Art Walk, New Smyrna Beach. This is always a fun event. Stroll Flagler Avenue and explore over 100 interesting wines inside local pubs, galleries and restaurants during this monthly progressive wine tasting event. $25 tasting passports on sale day of the event at three locations along Flagler Avenue. If you have enjoyed this event before, bring back your official glass and get a discount for the wine walk event held 1 to 7 p.m. This event is held in conjunction with Art Walk. Local and visiting artists display art work, along with entertainment and demonstrations from 10 am to 5 pm.