Founded in 1881 by Loring Chase from Chicago and Oliver Chapman from Canton, Massachusetts. They were looking for a place to get away from the Northern cold, blustery days of winter and they found it in Winter Park. In 6 square miles there lie eleven lakes, 6 of them make up what is known as the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. These lakes provide over ten miles of lake frontage and some of the best boating, fishing and homesites in the state.
Winter Park is situated in Orange County, in an area known largely as Central Florida. It is adjacent to Orlando to the south, 40 miles from beaches on the east coast and 80 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Since the late 70s, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and a multitude of other attractions have made this area a go-to spot for visitors, snow birds and a great place to raise a family.
Winter Park is home to Rollins College, Florida’s first college. Founded in 1885 by the Congregational Church, it boasts the most beautiful campus in the country according to the August 2015 Princeton Review. Sited on the shores of Lake Virginia, the college has grown from a small regional school with an original enrollment of 60 to a nationally recognized liberal arts college with over 3000 students in the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs. Rollins is located at the south end of Park Avenue, Winter Park’s most famous street. A special note, that not many people know, is that Mr. Rogers aka Fred Rogers, went to college at Rollins and wintered in Winter Park for many years after graduation. There is a special Mr. Rogers Walk for Rollins visitors to enjoy as they stroll the campus.
Brick paved Park Avenue boasts a bevy on fine restaurants and boutiques. Such landmarks as the Colony Theater, which is now a shop, and the Park Plaza Hotel with it’s wrap-around balcony resonate the charm of a bygone era. The east side of the Avenue holds the shops and restaurants, while on the west side is Central Park, with it’s rose garden, fountains and pavilion. This is the center of activity for the town, hosting two annual Art Festivals each year, movie events each month and generally just being a great place for people to gather or sit on the benches and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Adjacent to Central Park is the Winter Park Train Station. It has stops for Sunrail and Amtrack. Sunrail operates over 49 miles with 16 stations through Volusia, Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties.
On Saturdays the Winter Park Farmer’s Market opens up for venders offering specialty food items, plants and a great place for people to meet their neighbors, plus, it is definitely dog-friendly! Speaking of dog-friendly, this town is dog-friendly. All Park Avenue restaurants allow dogs to join their people as they dine al fresco, as out-door dining is always in season, here in Winter Park.
At the North end of Park Avenue is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations. Although Tiffany was famous for his stained glass, he was also a talented sculpturer and painter. There are furniture and decorative peices, jewlery and windows many items of which came directly from his New Jersey estate, Laurelton Hall.
Go a few steps farther north and you will find the the 9-hole Winter Park Golf Course, which was completely refreshed in 2014. Built in 1914, it sits on 40 acres of city propety which winds through neighborhoods and crosses the charming brick streets. The course and club house are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Golf Advisor says, “A fantastic 9 hole course by any standard! Greens better than most famous 18 hole courses in Florida”.
Call or text Carol with any questions at 216-832-3123.