Monday, 24 December 2012

Checking out the Winter Park real estate

You already know I love shopping in Winter Park.

Once again, I got into my hire car, set the talking Garmin woman to Park Ave and "followed the highlighted route".

You already know I love driving my hire car. Especially an Alamo hire car

Remember last year - I booked a Toyota and ended up driving a bright red VW Jetta

My noble steed - waiting patiently outside Disney's Old Key West Resort
So this year I did the same - booked a Toyota Corolla - and guess what I scored??

Valets all over Central Florida had their hopes dashed by the low tipping from the scruffy Australian who crawled out of this in their driveways
So now that we have determined that the ladies at Alamo Car Hire are worthy upholders of Alamo customer service ....

.... we are off to Winter Park to experience the Scenic Boat Tour

Photos of Scenic Boat Tour, Winter Park
This photo of Scenic Boat Tour is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Yep a little pontoon holding a max 18 people leaves every hour, at $12 per head, and putters around the lake and canal system around which Winter Park's rich and famous live.

Not that they were particularly famous to me.

For over 50 years, the tour has followed this route

BUT - there are a couple of people worthy of a mention for their role in developing Winter Park.

One of the most famous and longest lasting families in Winter Park is the McKean family: Dr Hugh and his wife Jeanette. And Jeanette was the granddaughter of Charles Hosmer Morse. And this family is important to Winter Park as they are the family who established the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which houses the world's largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works. Phew - are you still with me?

Their house is on the shore of  Lake Osceola - named Wind Song after the sound of chimes carried on the breeze. Apparently.  I obviously have to think up a name for my house. Meow Storm? Sun Purr?

On the direct opposite side of the lake is the Brewer estate from 1899. Edward Brewer made his money in carriages up in New York and this was his "winter cottage" of only 23 rooms.

The tour continues pottering around the lakes and down the narrow connecting canals - so narrow only as wide as the pontoon.

People are boarded in the order they bought their tickets. I had to sit up the back

The canals get one up close to the cyprus trees with their hanging spanish moss. Which is neither 'spanish', nor 'moss'
Coming out into the open lakes , I discover that  many of the key sights of Winter Park back onto the lakes. .

I believe there is the Kraft Azalea garden in under those cyprus somewhere.
The Rollins Liberal Arts College
Although not advertised this way, at it's heart, this tour is about looking at the real estate - taking a peek at how some live.

I do know of one Zontian who would rock up into towns and pretend to be relocating to the city, "due to husband's work" and ask the local real estate agent to show her houses in the $million plus bracket. A fun afternoon's past-time if you can pull it off.

If memory serves, this house was next to the Polasek Sculpture Garden

There is a short video on the Scenic Boat Tour website, or even faster, here is their 30 sec commercial:

Note for some: you need to be able to navigate a flight of stairs to get to and from the dock.

So what's your style when sight seeing? Would you enjoy such a gentle boatride? Or do you like to get more "hands on" and call an estate agent?

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