Wandering in Winter Garden, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida is a small town located about 14 miles west of downtown Orlando, Florida and is also located just minutes north of Lake Buena Vista, Florida better known for Walt Disney World and its Parks and Resorts.

We visited this quant city on a Saturday and parked adjacent to the famous Plant Street.  The Plant Street Market was the first attraction we discovered.  It houses more than 20 restaurants and vendors.  The place was lively about noon time with college football games being shown on several televisions.  Every table was full of spectators rooting for their favorite teams.  Restaurant choices included everything from Sandwiches, Sushi, Coal Fired Pizza, among others and even a Wine Bar.  Dessert choices included a Chocolate Shop and a European Bakery.  Some of the retail vendors inside the market included a Specialty Tea shop, a Coffee shop, a Local Butcher, a Spa, and a Fragrance Candle shop just to name a few.

As we walked outside there was the local Farmers Market with many vendors selling fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables. The Farmers Market we were told is there every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.  It’s definitely worth stopping by for a visit.

We continued our journey up Plant Street which is lined with Oak trees, historic well-kept brick buildings and many local shops and businesses.  Then we stopped by the Winter Garden visitors center.  A lovely lady named Leslie provided us with so much information about Winter Garden which was founded and incorporated in 1903. She was so glad to provide us with information about the history, the museums, the Garden Theatre, and some of the local businesses and restaurants located throughout this historic downtown area.  More information can be found at http://www.wintergardenpost.com.

As we continued walking we stopped by some of the small boutique shops.  Some great bargains were purchased in places that appear to be small specialty stores but they are filled with a large variety of excellent merchandise.

Now it has been almost 3 hours since we arrived and we decided to have dinner and chose a restaurant named Urban Flats.  As the name indicates they are known for their Flatbreads that include a variety of toppings.  We started out with an Appetizer of Pretzels and Beer Cheese Dip along with a Mozzarella, Tomato, and Balsamic plate. Next we shared two small Flatbreads (the Flatbreads are either half or full-sized). For dessert we chose and highly recommend the Chocolate Fondue which we shared. It is served with Pineapple, Banana, Strawberry, and delicious Pound Cake Bites to dip into the chocolate. The food was delicious, the service was excellent, and the ambiance sitting along Plant Street was delightful.  It was Prom Night and some of the students came out to take pictures at the nearby fountain in the middle of Plant Street. Other visitors were also taking pictures and strolling along this beautifully decorated street.

Please note that many of the businesses and shops in downtown close by 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Some restaurants stay open later. Please refer to the link above for restaurant names and phone numbers to find out more information.

As the early evening was nearing we decided to take in Winter Garden Village which is a short drive down Daniels Rd.  This outdoor shopping center has more than 80 retail stores and a variety of restaurants to choose from. The link above will give detailed information about the names of the shops and restaurants here. We spent a couple of hours browsing the variety of stores located here. Good tip for parking is to enter the shopping center and keep taking the road until it ends and there will be plenty of parking available near the Best Buy and World Market stores. There is also parking along the entry streets but they were full when we arrived.

Overall we highly recommend a visit to Winter Garden, Florida if you are visiting the Central Florida Area. It’s a great option for those looking for a break from the Orlando Theme Parks or those seeking to discover a hidden gem of a city in central Florida.  It’s an easy drive as it’s located right off of Florida Hwy. 429 (Toll Rd) or State Road 50. Downtown Winter Garden is historic and its scenic beauty is intoxicating, breathtaking, and relaxing. Winter Garden Village will provide at least a couple of hours of shopping along with a large variety of restaurants to choose from as well. Neither of the locations we visited were crowded because of the small town feel Winter Garden, FL provides. Visiting Winter Garden was a great escape from the hectic crowds you will find at many of the tourist sites in the Orlando area.  We know you will enjoy it as much as we did.

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