There's no doubt that Old Florida is both beautiful and charming. We just visited my unlce and cousins at their lakehouse in the tiny rural town of Florahome, Florida. Huge old oak tees bearded in thick spanish moss, dirt roads with the occasional hoof print (from the elusive deer that hide in their forests), and old Florida homes and chapels interspersed with cattle and horses that have long-since been driven out of greater Orlando (by greedy land developers and an unimaginable real estate boom).
The way Florida used to be. Fast forward to today. These things are now only visible an hours' drive from my home "town" of Orlando. What you now find in Central Florida is traffic, theme parks, endless shopping malls, and of course, lots of concrete. Then there's always Wekiwa & Rock Springs, and local beaches, but they, too, are becoming overcrowded, thanks to urban sprawl.
What seems to remain unchanged is the incredibly beautiful, seemingly timeless, town of Winter Park. With it's flagship, tree-lined, Park Avenue and beautiful old Rollins College, it's where I go to recharge when I feel overwhelmed by O-Town's fast pace and the overwhelming concrete-aggrevated heat.
That said, part of me still feels at home here in Orlando... afterall, I have lots of family here (or should I say, "there"?). Heck, maybe in a couple years I'll be ready to return. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so maybe all I need is time.
If it's old florida you want, you should try tallahassee. I had a friend here visiting from France/NYC and we found out that Tally has some amazing natural attractions such as Indian mounds from the 16th century, botanical gardens, old plantations, Wakulla Springs for a nice boat ride tour of local flora and fauna, St. Mark's inlet for a beautiful sunset view...just to name a few. Needless to say, I thought of you.
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