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Disney Food and Wine Fest July – November 19th

Enjoy Globally Inspired foods from around the world. 

Stone Crab Festivals.  Lots of Florida Towns host Annual Stone Crab Festivals and not only are they fun but tasty too. Visit Dunedin for their festival is on October 26

Or

Frenchy’s for their Stone Crab Weekend.  October 28 – 29th.  Clearwater Beach closes Baymont Street for this festival.  Enjoy fresh off the boat claws, live music and fun at the block party from 12 noon to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.  

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Head to Naples and help to Celebrate Stone Crab Season on the waterfront October 28 – 30th. Free water taxis will transport you to all the waterfront locations that participate in the festival in Tin City, Downtown Naples. 

Just in case you missed the Oktoberfest Celebrations, Florida has a sizeable assortment of German Restaurants for you to Celebrate the Bounty of Oktoberfest year-round.  Try Hollerbach’s in Sanford for their official celebration in Downtown Sanford 

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Any Saturday or Sunday visit Yalaha Bakery in Howey in the Hills. If you go on a weekend afternoon enjoy music on the patio while dining on an authentic German Lunch from the Deli.  Don’t forget to Pick up a delicious German Pastry to take home and enjoy later in the day.  Self-Serve but worth the wait.

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Live Performance Theatres near Solivita

Although we love to play golf, tennis, pickleball, and go to the pool, we all need a change of pace, and it always nice to have a diversion.  Our local theatres have the solution.  It is Easy and fun to Visit and Enjoy local theatre.  Due to Disney and the amusement parks we have allot of talent waiting in the wings, so head to one of the local theatres and see a show.  

Recently the Winter Haven Theatre has undergone quite a few major renovations.  The theatre now has new entrances, a renovated and expanded lobby, new lighting, and newly renovated restrooms.   This Theatre is comfortable and is an easy drive from Solivita.  The Mainstage Theatre has 332 seats and currently mounts five shows.  If you subscribe to the five shows you are guaranteed a seat and five great evenings or weekend afternoons of entertainment at very reasonable prices.  In addition, the Theatre is featuring Three Professional Touring Productions this year.  It is always nice to have “tickets in the bank”, as it gives you an event to look forward to, the joy of a good show, and if you treat yourself to dinner or lunch, you have a great day. Season tickets and Touring Tickets are on sale now, and individual show tickets for the Mainstage go on sale in September.  https://www.theatrewinterhaven.com

Good Live Theatre at Osceola Arts with the new season’s tickets going on sale June  15th.  This season Osceola Play House will mount 8 shows on the Mainstage. With the purchase of one of the season ticket packages, you will experience Central Florida’s acclaimed Broadway style productions at a fraction of the cost.  The season ticket packages for 2022-2023 are available June 15th to October 2nd.  Plus, if you are a season ticket holder you can also add tickets for two Special Engagement Productions at a reduced rate.   https://www.osceolaarts.org

Do you enjoy Good Fun and Entertainment and have a hankering for an historic theater setting?  If so, visit the Historic Ritz Theatre in Winter Haven.  The Ritz has been downtown Winter Haven’s Stage since 1925 when it opened as a venue for silent movies and vaudeville. In years gone by the Ritz played “A” Movies with casts including Betty Grable, Errol Flynn and Shirley Temple.   Today the Ritz is back in business with Multi-Level Seating that can accommodate over 450 guests.  Tables and Chairs are set on each level of the theatre for very comfortable seating.  The sound and lighting systems are wonderful, and the live performances and stage shows are fun.    Visit the Ritz at :    https://ritzwinterhaven.com

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L’incontro Italian Restaurant in Lake Wales

If you are Looking for a Good Italian Restaurant close to Solivita, we have one for you and you don’t have to sit in traffic on I4 to get there.  We have been enjoying the cuisine of L’incontro for years and in reading through my past posts I see that I have not mentioned this lovely little place.  Easy to get to by taking Rt 27 South to 60 West and the restaurant is on your right. 

L’incontro is family owned and operated.  The restaurant includes Italian Chefs that have cooked for famous folks all over the world.   The food is delicious, as good as my Mom’s, but please let’s keep that a secret just between us.  The bread is served hot and accompanied by a delicious dish of Hummus and butter or you can always ask for Olive Oil.  The menu has a nice assortment of fish, meat, pasta and rice dishes, and good options for vegetarians.  We have never been disappointed.  The sauce, or Gravy, is as good as any I have had, hearty and flavorful made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes.  The other day we shared a plate of fried calamari that was just delightful.  A bowl of sauce and fresh lemon accompanied the calamari and half the group used lemon and the other half dipped away in sauce, this dish left no one in the group unhappy.  After our sinfully delicious start everyone made their own dinner choice, salad or soup is served with your entrée and every entrée was hot and tasty. This restaurant is worth the trip and offers a good dining experience, especially when guests are visiting, or you are tired of cooking.  We have family members that are weekly lunch guests of L’incontro and report that they have never left disappointed.  I hope you get a chance to try this restaurant.  If you go, please look around you may see Lee and I dining at a nearby table.  35 State Road 60 W., Lake Wales, FL or visit on the web at https://lincontrofl.com If, during this time, you are an outdoor diner only, no worries, ask to sit on the patio in the back.

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Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill, Lakeland

A great way to end your day-trip to Lakeland is a stop at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill at 101 North Kentucky Avenue in Lakeland and if you have strolled through the Hollis Gardens, Harry’s is only a short hop away. Harry’s is always a lively, fun stop with a nice wine list, a decent beer selection, inviting cocktails and a good kitchen. The menu has a great selection of inventive dishes and will remind you of dining in New Orleans, infused with a Florida Southern twist. Harrys is open from 11 to 10 and has plenty on the menu for everyone from fish to meat. If you are a vegetarian, ask the waiter for an assortment of sides and make your own meal with red beans, rice, collards, etc.

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Fun in the Sun

Florida has lots of claims to fame; We are the Theme Park Capital of the World, the Florida Sunshine is boundless, and wherever you are in Florida you are never more than 60 miles from a beach, that last fact is according to a paper menu that I picked up on a recent trip to a Florida Diner. The Sunshine State has many beautiful spots to enjoy and to experience.  We recently made a visit to the Florida Southern College Campus in Lakeland, a short trip from Solivita.  In 2012, the Florida Southern College Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the Interior.  The campus is lovely and is the site of the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in the World.  Tickets are sold in advance and tours are led by experienced docents who provide an overview of the history and design of all 13 Wright Designed Structures.  Additionally, you will tour the interiors of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, the Danforth Chapel, and the new Usonian Faculty House, allowing you to explore the timeless beauty of Wright’s work. 

If you are a true Frank Lloyd Wright Fan you can also take an in-depth tour.  The in-depth tour includes the above three structures plus will take you inside the E.T. Roux Library, the Ordway Arts Building and the Polk County Science Building.  

Wright first visited the campus in 1938, and over the course of 20 years he designed 18 unique buildings harmoniously blending into the natural landscape surrounding them.  Thirteen of Wright’s proposed structures were funded and built, one of them posthumously, the Usonian House. The Usonian House was completed after a 74 year wait and is now open for tours to the public.  Lee and I had the privilege of touring this 1,700 Sq. Foot dwelling with 2,000 interlocking concrete “textile blocs” with colored glass inserts, and handcrafted reproduction furnishings. 

If you are a Wright Fan or know a Wright Fan stop by the gift shop and see the wide variety of stylish and timeless Wright inspired items for sale, and you can pick up a great souvenir for yourself or for someone you love.  

With this great weather a perfect stop after your tour of the campus is Hollis Gardens.  The Gardens are not large but are well kept and makes for a lovely scenic lakeside walk on a beautiful day.

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BIG SHOUT OUT AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE ONE PLUS ONE GIFT PROGRAM FOR THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM CHILDREN OF OSCEOLA COUNTY.

Thank You to Everyone Who Contributed to our GAL Drive. We are happy to celebrate another successful year thanks to the kindness and the generosity of our friends, neighbors, clients. We are proud to say our doorbell at the office was busy ringing with kind folks dropping off gifts for children of all ages. The gifts ranged from gift cards, new clothing in all sizes, stuffed animals, dolls, trucks, books, games, crafts, puzzles, footballs, basketballs, baseballs, and even cosmetics for the teens. We had one neighbor make baby blankets and BVR ordered baby dolls with carriers and lovingly wrapped each baby in a handmade blanket. The GAL Christmas Tree at Bella Verde Realty was brimming with wonderful gifts and together with your help we collected, matched, and delivered 3 carloads of gifts, over $1,000.00 in gift cards, PLUS Bella Verde gifted $3,000.00 for the Children in the Guardian ad Litem Program of Osceola. The GAL Social Workers set aside a room in the Kissimmee Courthouse for Bella Verde Realty that they have affectionately dubbed “Santa’s Workshop”. The gifts collected are sorted by age and placed in the workshop for GAL families and the Social Workers to gift to the Children in the Program. The financial contribution helps to supply needed items that were not collected, and gift cards are perfect gifts for children that are near 18 and will be leaving the program to start life on their own. You see, at 18 these children no longer are in the foster care program and need to make their own living arrangements. Life on your own, at the tender age of 18, quite a sobering thought. The children cycling out of the program get gift cards to be used for haircuts, clothing, pots, pans, and items they will require to begin a new life without the support of the social workers or their foster families. It is warming to know that we all helped these kids to have a brighter holiday and helped some kids start their new lives. Bella Verde is blessed to live and work with so many generous folks. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts to all who contributed, helped, and prayed for a successful collection.