Girls’ Weekend in Winter Park, Florida

April 29, 2016 | By | Reply More

IMG_3699When your brain feels mushy, and you barely remember who you were before kids and a schedule, arrange a stay with friends at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park, one of Florida’s best kept secrets. A few miles from the hullabaloo of Orlando’s theme parks, the historic small town is an outpost of civilized living that offers walkable art museums, great fine and casual dining choices, a Park Avenue for strolling and splurgey shopping, and a leafy campus for reminiscing about college days.

The Inn: You wouldn’t think that a lodging created to raise money for scholarships for students of a small liberal arts university would be voted one of the top ten hotels in the country and number one in Florida by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. But the Alfond Inn is a unique property, starting with the neon sign above the check-in desk: “Language must speak for itself” – it makes you think.

There are probably more artworks per square foot here than anywhere other than a museum, which makes sense since the hotel is an extension of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Take the Sunday 1 pm hotel art tour after a brunch where you can create your own signature Bloody Marys. And be sure to dine at Alfond’s Hamilton’s Kitchen, headed by James Beard House honoree Chef Marc Kusche.

The Town: Walk. Walk. Walk. Good for the body, good for the soul when you have tree-lined streets with azaleas and camellias, winding paths around a lake on a college campus and fashionable boutique shops. Have lunch at 310 Park South, right around the corner from the hotel, and dinner at Bosphorous, a Turkish restaurant where the traditional lavas bread with sampler appetizers is a meal in itself.

Do Not Miss: Walk to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art to see the largest collection in the world of Louis Charles Tiffany’s stunning glassworks. You can also walk to board the Scenic Boat Tour pontoon, which goes through canals lined with pines, papyrus, cypress, and live oaks, leading to three of Winter Park’s six lakes ringed with millionaires’ mansions.

The Alfond Inn at Rollins College, 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL; 407-998-8090; www.thealfondinn.com; www.experienceparkavenue.com/25-things-to-see-do/

My friend Hilary Nangle at lunch with me at 310 Park South, me in front of an apropos sign, and the beautiful stained glass window in the Alfond Inn’s lobby–

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Category: Destinations, Hotels & Spas, Uncategorized

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