Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Favorite Destination: Winter Park, Florida

One of Florida's premier vacation destinations is Orlando. But if you're not into theme parks, no worry. There are some lovely small towns (or cities) within an hour away that also offer arts and culture, entertainment and dining experiences. Whenever we're in Orlando, we always find an excuse to visit the charming town of Winter Park. This time we explored the grounds of Rollins College (specifically Cornell Fine Arts Museum and the Alfond Inn).
The chic Alfond Inn opened in 2013
Owned by Rollins College, the Alfond Inn is stylish and modern, with many contemporary artworks gracing its walls. A tour of the inn to view the art is offered on the weekends. We went on a weekday, so we toured the boutique hotel ourselves.
The lobby

Reflection of artworks in the ladies room
Admission to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is free, and like the Alfond Inn, there is a tour on the weekend. Save a car or two the college campus was rather quiet. Summer holidays must have started.

Behind the museum is lovely Lake Virginia, where nature abounds. We saw a rabbit, blue heron, anhinga, snowy egret and a nest high up on a tree.
A walkway leads to a gazebo overlooking Lake Virginia
Grand homes line the shoreline
We had planned to eat at one of many restaurants in Winter Park, but had to cut our excursion short because one member of our party was not feeling well. We enjoyed the artwork and nature at Rollins College. If you're in the Orlando area, be sure to check out Winter Park.

This post is shared on Our World Tuesday and Through My Lens.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Back to nature at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center

Rock City, Ruby Falls, the TN Aquarium. These are Chattanooga's famous attractions. If you prefer to experience nature at a more leisurely pace, veer off the beaten path to visit hidden gems like Foster Falls, Raccoon Mountain and Reflection Riding. Foster Fall is a little further away from downtown, a 45 minutes drive, the other two are a mere twenty minutes away. All are excellent places to visit for families with kids.

We recently visited Reflection Riding on a Saturday morning. The treehouse never ceases to amaze us.
A tree house!
Inside the tree house
The way leading to the treehouse
Apart from the walking trails, you can also see animals that are local to E. TN,  like the American eagle, sandhill crane, red wolves and owls, in the Native animal exhibit section. Reflection Riding takes care of these animals as they have been injured and can no longer survive in the wild.
Life size American bald eagle nest
American bald eagle
Barred Owl
Ready for summer camp
View of Lookout Mountain from the walking trail
Serene reflection on a pond along the trail
Summertime activities
Picnic table at the Visitor Center
Reflection Riding has many activities and events throughout the year. Check their website for more information.

Do you know of  a hidden gem in Chattanooga that you'd like to share?

This post is shared on Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday.

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