Back to our favorite place to spot Alligators, the drive around north Lake Apopka; we headed up there quite early today, but didn’t see the hoped for many ‘gators – the water is probably still too warm! But we did see some ‘gators, as well as other birds and more. Here’s some photos:
An interesting article, curiously published in Mount Dora Buzz!
It’s unlike any other city in Florida. Downtown Winter Garden has the authentic vibe of small-town America, yet has integrated trendy dining and shopping options with family-friendly local attractions like the West Orange Trail and its impressive farmers market.
Winter Garden’s seemingly meteoric rise from blight to bustle has been anything but. Its masterful transformation was two decades in the making and required a gutsy vision and dogged commitment that other cities would find difficult to broach, let alone maintain. While other city governments floundered to find direction, Winter Garden officials stepped up with progressive planning, and its elected officials consistently supported the vision resulting in the vibrant Winter Garden of today.
- In 1992, Winter Garden established a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to gain the tools needed to foster and support the redevelopment of the Downtown Historic District. The goal of the CRA is to promote sustainable economic growth and improve the commercial viability and residential livability of neighborhoods within the area through projects like streetscaping, parks, parking, infrastructure improvements, street trees and landscaping.
- 1997-1998 – The West Orange Trail was built through downtown Winter Garden which connected it to other communities and made it a popular destination.
Downtown Winter Garden has been preserved, in large part, due to its high architectural design standards and attention to details. In some cities, high standards result in project delays and frustrated developers. Not so in Winter Garden. Rather than simply deny a good project or place the burden solely on the developer, the City has provided designers to collaborate with developers in order to meet Winter Garden’s lofty requirements while preventing unnecessary delays. The result is a win-win for the City and the developer.
- The West Orange Trail runs through the center of downtown WinterGarden and has made it a cycling destination that draws an estimated 100,000 visitors a month.
- The award-winning Farmers Market draws 6,000 people every Saturday and serves as a business incubator. It has become a top reason why people decide to move to the City.
- The Garden Theater opened in 2008. The 9818 square feet venue has 299 seats, is programmed 365 days a year and draws 60,000 visitors a year.
Head to Mount Dora Buzz for the full article.
We visited Lake Meadows Naturals early today, to catch a tour of their egg processing plant – which considering they have 14,000 hens and have so very many eggs for sale, is a pretty small place!
The tour explained that the eggs first pass over a bright light to inspect for cracks (done by hand), then are washed, dried, and then electronically weighed and sorted into sizes – that was interesting to watch, with little arms flicking out to kick each egg into it’s appropriate size area! People on the tour were allowed to box their own eggs from whichever size they chose (and then hopefully they paid for them!)
Outside, many hens wandered about; they have lots of space but seem to like being together. Margaret passed some grass through the fence and loads of birds ran over to join the bonus feast! When there’s no visitors touring, the hens have free reign over the meadow and so as much grass as they want …
Here’s some photos of the processing equipment, and some of the hens:
We of course finished our visit buying our own eggs (and feeding the goats and sheep).
Here’s also a video that shows the Egg size sorting…
Winter Garden does a different Independence Day parade to places we’ve lived before, with a “kids parade” in the morning featuring decorated kids bikes and golf carts. Much more low key, quicker and so more fun too (important when it’s close to 90f already at 10am!); here’s some pictures from this year:
(previous year, here)
Different animals today … a visit to Lake Meadows Naturals to restock on chicken, sausages and other great meat, also gives a chance to take photographs:
Our “summer” vacation was surprisingly cool for the first half, with snow and a need for coats, hats, gloves … but beautiful views of stunning mountains, rivers and lakes, as well as sightings of Bison, Black Bear, Elk and more! I’ve posted our trip in multiple sections, and there’s a video presentation (courtesy of Apple Memories) if you prefer …
Grand Teton National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Middle and Lower Basin
Bison [traffic] Jam, Mountain views
Mammoth Hot Springs
Lamar Valley, Black Bears, Bison
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Norris Geyser Basin
Heading back south towards our eventual flight home, we stopped at Norris Geyser Basin for another round of hot spring views – we’d skipped this a week ago heading north because it was cold and snowing, but now it was almost hot weather!