Winter Park Magazine Fall 2019

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A Passion for Purple Linda Apriletti





©Cucciaioni Photography 2019

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30 | BELIEVE IT OR NOT! The man who held the most interesting job in the world lives in a Winter Park home where you might stumble over a random shrunken head. By Greg Dawson

BUSINESS 16 | SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Aspen, Colorado, is literally and figuratively a very cool place. But Timbers Resorts found that Winter Park provides plenty of panache for its new headquarters. By Randy Noles

40 | WHERE PANSY BLOOMED A century before there was J.K. Rowling, there was Isabella Alden, known to her young readers as “Pansy.” By Catherine Hinman, photo restoration by Will Setzer, Design7 Studios 58 | THE CALL OF FALL A flourish of fashionable flair in one of the region’s most beautiful settings: the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Photography by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab 74 | INSPIRING AND INFLUENTIAL One more look at Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential People, Class of 2019.

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EDUCATION 24 | UNDERSTAND THE UNDEAD Eric Smaw’s Rollins College course explores the philosophical importance of zombies and what they can teach us about why people do terrible things. By Randy Noles DINING 66 | TANTALIZING AND TASTY At Meza in Baldwin Park, a veteran chef offers the flavors of Lebanon. The menu has something for everyone, but this is a place where adventurous dining is rewarded. By Rona Gindin, photography by Rafael Tongol


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hen retiring Rollins College Presirespect and affection that you crave of them. Minident Hamilton Holt spoke at his final mize marks, grades, recitations, lectures, examinations, commencement ceremony in June certificates, diplomas and degrees. Maximize personal 1949, he shared with faculty, stucontacts within and without the classroom. Imitate dents, trustees and community leaders many nuggets of Socrates. You may get a Plato. wisdom that are as applicable today as when he uttered Cut our cliques, gripes, gossip, pedantry and highthem more than 70 years ago. browism — the chief of faculty sins. Jesus preached to I read many Holt speeches, interviews and articles the multitude, taught his disciples and cast out devils. while researching an upcoming book entitled Rollins Follow His example: lecture to the many; teach the After Dark. The book is subtitled The Hamilton Holt few; wrestle with the individual. The three paramount School and Continuing Education: A Nontraditional functions of a faculty are teaching, research and public Journey, and it will be available when the Holt School service. But the greatest of these is teaching.” celebrates its 60th anniversary later this year. To the students: I have learned more from you than The Holt School, of course, is the college’s venerable you have learned from me. Youth is idealistic; age is cynievening program, which was renamed for the legendary cal. You think success is beckoning you; that you will be president in 1987. But adult education at Rollins dates to happily married; that you will be healthy, wealthy and the winter of 1936, when it could be more accurately dewise. Keep on thinking these things, for faith moves scribed as a high-minded holiday for scholarly snowbirds. mountains and faith will make them come true. The entire story of the college’s various evening proYou have not yet gained the wisdom we have, for grams — which is filled with twists and turns and popu- Hamilton Holt was president of Rollins College wisdom comes from experience. So, I do not blame lated by interesting characters – is in Rollins After Dark, from 1925 to 1949. The college’s evening you for not having much wisdom. But I do blame myabout which details are forthcoming. I promise it will be program was renamed in his honor in 1987. self and people my age for losing their idealism. You an interesting read. have helped me keep my idealism. In the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to share some excerpts For those of you who are graduating into the world, where realities pervade, from Holt’s farewell address to the small college he loved: I wish you all happiness and success. But do not expect to be treated as grown■ ■ ■ ups by older people until you are about 30 years of age. And do not expect To the trustees: Make the chief aim of your stewardship the maintenance results without sustained effort. Nothing in life worthwhile has come easily. of greater and ever greater security and freedom of the faculty, staff and stuNo college can educate you. All college is self-education. The college can dent body. After all, those are the chief reasons for your existence. stimulate, advise and point the way. But the path must be trod by you. Keep the college small but make it a great small college. Material growth Major in courses that you like and therefore come most easily. Minor in the for its own sake is only a confusion of greatness with bigness. Do not curtail courses you dislike and therefore come the hardest. Choose the professor the powers you have wisely delegated in bylaws to the faculty. Continue rather than the course. The professor may be alive! to grant them complete supervision over the curriculum and the students. I shall miss you, my sons and daughters, in the coming days. I shall miss Never dismiss a faculty member because his views differ from yours, unless your happy laughter coming through the open windows of my office. I shall you would be willing in turn for a majority of faculty to dismiss one of you miss the waving of your hands as we pass on the campus. I shall miss the for your opinions.” quiet talks I have had in my home with you, whether singly or in groups. Fill vacancies on the board with young, vital and liberal men and women Write me sometimes and tell me of your trials and triumphs. May the latter of both achievement and promise. Otherwise your board will grow conserfar exceed the former. ■ ■ ■ vative with the passing years and reactionary. Businessmen are essential to Holt, a fascinating character in his own right, died two years after stepping any well-balanced board of trustees but keep them in the minority. Rollins down. But his spirit still infuses the Rollins ethos. I hope Rollins After Dark is an educational institution, not a bank or a department store. Imagine a will reintroduce the most consequential educator in the college’s history long successful business concern filling its board with educators. to students and the community. Perhaps, like me, you’ll wish you could have When the president and the faculty break new paths, do not become spent some one-on-one time with him solving the world’s problems. frightened just because some powerful institutions like Harvard or the Rockefeller Foundation or the American Council on Education raise their eyebrows. Welcome advice but think and act for yourselves. To the faculty: Seek truth wherever truth is found; follow truth wherever truth may lead; teach truth and nothing but the truth. Achieve and hold your mastery of your chosen art or science. Break paths bravely where you may. Follow humbly where you must. You promised all these things when Randy Noles you were installed in the faculty, but you may have forgotten them.” CEO/Editor/Publisher Teach students rather than subjects. Give students the same courtesy,

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RANDY NOLES | Editor and Publisher THERESA SWANSON | Group Publisher/Director of Sales JODI HELLER | Director of Administration KATHY BYRD | Associate Publisher/Senior Account Executive DENA BUONICONTI | Associate Publisher/Account Executive CAROLYN EDMUNDS | Art Director MYRON CARDEN | Distribution Manager RAFAEL TONGOL | Photographer WILL SETZER | Digital Artist RONA GINDIN | Dining Editor MARIANNE ILUNGA | Fashion Editor HARRY WESSEL | Contributing Editor BILLY COLLINS, GREG DAWSON, CATHERINE HINMAN | Contributing Writers

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Copyright 2019 by Winter Park Publishing Company LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Winter Park Publishing Company LLC, 201 West Canton Avenue, Suite 125B, Winter Park, Florida 32789.

FOR GENERAL INFORMATION, CALL: 407-647-0225 For advertising information, call: Kathy Byrd, 407-399-7111; Theresa Swanson, 407-448-8414; or Dena Buoniconti, 407-832-9542 Like us on Facebook or visit us online at

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In Central Florida for the 2019 Winter Park Paint Out, Miami Springs-based artist Linda Apriletti says she couldn’t resist painting a picture of the queen’s wreath in full bloom on the staircase leading to the administrative offices of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.




lein air artist Linda Apriletti’s primary goal through her work “is to communicate the uncommon beauty found in nature.” The Miami Springs-based artist prefers Florida settings, and says she enjoys hearing from viewers that her images evoke a sense of peace. Apriletti was recently in Central Florida for the 2019 Winter Park Paint Out, held by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This issue’s cover image was created during the event. “A Passion for Purple” shows the queen’s wreath (petrea volubilis) in full bloom on the exterior staircase leading to the upper floor of the home-turned-museum, where the administrative offices are located. “I decided right then that I wanted to try painting the flowers,” Apriletti says. “They were covered with bees and the air seemed to hum. I chose my spot based on the morning light and shadows. Also, I really liked the complementary colors of the purples against the greens and golds.” “A Passion for Purple” is Apriletti’s second Winter Park Magazine cover. The first, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” was in Summer 2018, and was also set at the Polasek. It showed foliage overlooking Lake Osceola. A return visit seemed ideal for this issue, because our fashion feature was also staged on the museum’s lush grounds.

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Although her college degrees are in accounting and taxation, Apriletti pursued her lifelong love of painting while employed as an accountant. She also honed her skills — first in pastels and later in oils — by attending workshops during her vacations. It was at a workshop in Rocky Mountain National Park that Apriletti discovered her passion for plein air painting. She launched a full-time career as an artist in 2011 — and never looked back. “Painting outside is critical to helping me observe and understand patterns in nature,” she says. Much of Apriletti’s work focuses on Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Nature Preserve, where she has staged solo exhibitions. She was artist in residence at Big Cypress Nature Preserve in 2012. But she also paints in Maine and on Martha’s Vineyard. Apriletti particularly likes palm trees as subjects. Luckily for her, inspiration is always close at hand — she has more than 25 species growing in her yard. Says Apriletti: “In both my plein air and studio paintings, I’m trying to bring a fresh and accurate portrayal of the many moods, quality of light and clarity of color of the changing seasons in Florida. I want to draw the viewer into my paintings and perhaps rekindle a personal memory.” — Randy Noles

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Timbers Resort’s offices (above and facing page), located in the Seacoast Bank building on Morse Boulevard, feature striking wall-sized graphics of company properties and a sleek but homey vibe that reflects the company’s culture. About 40 people work in the new national headquarters, with double that number expected within a few years.


SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Aspen is literally and figuratively a very cool place. But Timbers Resorts found that Winter Park provided plenty of panache for its new headquarters. BY RANDY NOLES

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hen Timbers Resorts CEO Greg Spencer began to investigate moving the company’s corporate headquarters from Carbondale, Colorado — a picture-postcard small town just northwest of Aspen — he wanted to find a location that combined the area’s sophisticated panache with easy accessibility, top-notch schools and proximity to workforce housing. Spencer, 49, who was born in Orlando and attended college in Tallahassee, seemed to recall that Winter Park fit the bill in most respects. Early on, he began steering the 20-year-old company toward Central Florida. “Winter Park became pretty compelling pretty fast,” says Spencer, whose team also looked at locations in downtown Orlando, Dr. Phillips and Lake Nona. “Winter Park felt like where we came from, and I liked the scale. It was more of a cultural fit with our brand. In fact, our board was blown away.” In February, Timbers Resorts moved to a suite of offices at 1031 West Morse Boulevard, on the third floor of the Seacoast Bank building. And the space was built out to reflect the fast-growing company’s mission, which is to develop and operate boutique resorts, hotels and privateresidence clubs. The walls are adorned with surfboards and eye-popping graphics of company properties, while the offices and conference rooms are outfitted with sleek, modern furnishings and all the high-tech bells and whistles you’d expect from a company with an international footprint. “Aspen is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but


Greg Spencer (below), CEO of Timbers Resorts, says it was a difficult decision to relocate the company from Carbondale, Colorado, near Aspen. But Winter Park, he says, provides plenty of charm and spirit as well as an array of business advantages. The background photo, “Surfer Girl,” is from the company’s resort in Kauai, the western most of Hawaii’s main islands.




One of Timbers Resort’s most intriguing properties is Casali di Casole, a collection of 31 artfully restored Tuscan villas and farmhouses on a 4,200-acre estate in Italy. The company also manages properties in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as reciprocity agreements with other resorts in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Mexico.

we had employees looking at extremely long commutes,” notes Spencer. Small wonder: The average home price in Carbondale is more than $800,000 and in Aspen more than $1.6 million. Timbers Resorts was founded in 1999 by resort developer David Burden and since 2014 has been majority-owned by Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management, whose portfolio includes about $120 billion in assets. The Timbers portfolio includes 11 companymanaged properties in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina, Italy and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as reciprocity agreements with other resorts in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Mexico. Expansion opportunities are beckoning in Europe and the Caribbean as well as along the

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Eastern Seaboard. The company has a property in southeast Florida — Timbers Jupiter — and is eyeing opportunities in other Florida markets such as Naples, Lido Key and Palm Beach. Some functions have remained in Colorado, and there are branch offices in Barcelona, Spain; Bluffton, South Carolina; and Kauai, Hawaii. But corporate headquarters — which encompasses marketing, finance, acquisitions and IT — now has a familiar zip code: 32789. About 40 people — 10 of whom relocated from Colorado — work in the Winter Park office. Over the next five or six years, as many as 80 people will be employed at salaries that average more than $90,000 annually. Central Florida’s concentration of hospitality industry professionals was a major factor in the move, says Spencer. He praises the region’s probusiness ethos and the professionalism of the Orlando Economic Partnership, the region’s premier economic development organization. Local organizations, such as the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, were also helpful and welcoming, Spencer adds, noting that “the kind of people who live in Winter Park would be our buyers.”

Timbers Resorts — which employs about 1,500 people throughout its system — clearly plans to emphasize corporate citizenship. The paint was barely dry at headquarters when the company agreed to become the presenting sponsor for the chamber’s popular Taste of Winter Park. It was also a sponsor of Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential People event. “We’re very purposeful in everything we do,” says Spencer of the company’s civic involvement. “We either do it right or we don’t do it.” Spencer holds a B.S. in political science from FSU, where he was an ROTC company commander. He became a logistics officer in the Air Force and left military service as a captain, joining Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Atlanta and specializing in major bank mergers, such as those involving NationsBank and Bank of America, and Wachovia and First Union. He later earned an MBA from Webster University and another master’s degree in real estate development from Columbia University, where he wrote his thesis about founding his own development company. “I interviewed some legendary developers while writing my thesis,” recalls



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Spencer, who graduated at the top of his class. Armed with insights from the best in the business, Spencer started Mont Ventoux Capital, based in Atlanta. But he was intrigued by resort development and impressed by what he had learned about Timbers Resorts. “I researched and knew these were the types of projects I wanted to do,” he says. Burden, who was then developing resort properties in Tuscany and the Virgin Islands, happened to be in Atlanta for an investor’s conference. Spencer cold-called the company’s executive chairman and wheedled a 15-minute meeting that stretched into three-and-a-half hours. He was hired in 2007 as a project manager and quickly rose through the ranks. A snow skier and a water skier — he’ll likely accomplish more of the latter in Winter Park — Spencer and his wife, Suzanne, have two daughters, ages 6 and 11. Suzanne is a women’s health nurse practitioner, but is currently concentrating on raising the family and getting resettled. Spencer is also an avid FSU football fan — although at this writing it appears that, for this season at least, Saturday afternoons may not be particularly joyful ones for Seminole fans. (Perhaps UCF will attract Spencer’s interest if FSU can’t quickly turn it around.) Spencer travels about 50 percent of the time — the convenience of Orlando International Airport also worked in Winter Park’s favor — and logs some extremely long work days since the properties he oversees encompass time zones that differ by as much as 12 hours. So while Spencer may not spend as much time in Winter Park as his employees will, he’s convinced that the Coloradans who followed him southeast will enjoy their new lives in the City of Culture and Heritage: “Moving our headquarters out of the Aspen area was a difficult decision, but we feel that Winter Park has a very similar spirit that our brand and employees will fit well within.” So far, so good, says Jim Barnes, president of Jambarco Investment Group, which owns the building where the company leases its uber-cool space. “The folks at Timbers Resorts have personally expressed to me how they already feel at home in Winter Park,” says Barnes. “We’re so glad they chose Winter Park for their headquarters.” Adds Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary: “Timbers is known for sense of place and authenticity in each of their resorts, and felt that Winter Park was the perfect location for their new headquarters. They’ll further strengthen a diverse economic environment where companies can start up or relocate and grow.”

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Everything seems beautiful because you don’t understand. Those flying fish — they’re not leaping for joy. They’re jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water — it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence. There’s no beauty here, only death and decay. Everything good dies here. Even the stars.

W “I don’t know if there are a lot of other zombie experts in American academia,” says Eric Smaw, an associate professor of philosophy at Rollins College. Smaw’s popular course, “Zombies, Serial Killers and Madmen” has gained national attention.


UNDERSTAND THE UNDEAD Eric Smaw’s Rollins College course explores the philosophical importance of zombies and what they can teach us about why people do terrible things. BY RANDY NOLES

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elcome to the Caribbean — at least as it’s depicted in the 1943 RKO horror-film classic I Walked with a Zombie. The premise: Canadian nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) has been engaged by wealthy cane grower Paul Holland (Tom Conway) to care for his wife, Jessica (Christine Gordon), who is afflicted with a mysterious condition that has convinced superstitious locals that she’s a zombie. Tom’s horrific howdy-do is in response to the newly arrived Betsy’s seemingly innocuous observation that the ocean looks lovely at night. It’s no wonder that Jessica, with the likes of Tom for a husband, has tuned out the world. But is Jessica a zombie? Yes, but not of the sort you may be envisioning. She isn’t a grotesque reanimated corpse who roams the countryside seeking human flesh to devour. She is, in fact, a beautiful woman who exists in a perpetual daze; uncommunicative and seemingly unaware of her circumstances and surroundings. Jessica is the sort of real-life zombie that associate professor of philosophy Eric Smaw discusses in his wildly popular undergraduate course at Rollins College enticingly dubbed “Zombies, Serial Killers and Madmen.” “I don’t know if there are a lot of other zombie experts in American academia,” says the energetic Smaw, who recently found himself the subject of national media attention because of his academic interest in the philosophical ramifications of zombification. “I came upon the idea because I was trying to figure out the nature of consciousness.” The course is so popular, Smaw believes, because students want to understand the psychological, sociological and neurological underpinnings of inexplicably brutal behavior. Others may simply be into zombies. While brain-devouring creatures such as those depicted in George Romero’s 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead don’t really exist — at least, hopefully they don’t — zombies such as Jessica may be all around us, says Smaw. You — yes, even you — may lapse into a zombie state at times, although hopefully not while you’re reading Winter Park Magazine. It can happen when the electrical frequencies used to measure brain waves dwindle and you zone out — most likely while you’re performing a monotonous task that requires little thought. Neurological zombies, as Smaw calls them, are not conscious of their actions and may even commit murder while in a zombie state. If so, can they be held responsible for

RKO’s 1943 horror classic I Walked With a Zombie (above) more accurately depicts the sort of zombies that really exist than George Romero’s 1968 gorefest Night of the Living Dead (right), with its lumbering reanimated corpses.

their actions? “To be guilty of murder, you have to have conscious intent, not just accidentally fire a gun and hit someone,” Smaw says. “And then you also have to consider diminished mental capacity.” Diminished mental capacity is a condition in which brain activity has been diminished to such an extent that conscious intent is impossible. Usually defense attorneys employ this strategy when an accused killer has been under the influence of drink or drugs. But Smaw discovered several cases in which people who committed criminal acts appeared to have been operating on what he calls their “unevolved brain,” which controls autonomic systems such as breathing. Smaw cites the story of Canadian Kenneth Parks, who in 1987 drove to the home of his inFA L L 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E




Smaw reviews debate strategy with students Kelsey Eelman and Yolie Bezverkhova. The Rollins College Debate Team, which he directs, is a national award winner.

laws, entered with a key they’d given him and used a tire iron that he’d brought along to bludgeon his mother-in-law to death. He then turned on her husband, attempting but failing to choke him to death. The blood-soaked Parks got back into his car and drove to a nearby police station, where he confessed. It seemed to be an open and shut case against Parks, who even had a motive for murder. A compulsive gambler, he had been caught embezzling money from his family. But at his trial, Parks insisted that he had dozed off while watching TV and was sleepwalking when he attacked his in-laws and turned himself in. A jury ultimately ruled that Parks wasn’t responsible for his actions because he was asleep when they occurred. The 23-year-old wasn’t even sentenced to a psychiatric hospital because sleepwalking isn’t a form of insanity. He simply walked out of the courtroom a free man. The Canadian Supreme Court later upheld the acquittal. “So there really are people who commit murders without being conscious of it,” notes Smaw. “There’s even a term for it — homicidal somnambulism.” Nonsense, you say? Have you ever driven along a seemingly endless stretch of highway and realized that an hour or more had passed about which you can remember nothing? Somehow, despite diminished neurological activity, you managed to navigate your vehicle and avoid a traffic accident.

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But “Zombies, Serial Killers and Madmen” isn’t a legal or a medical course. It’s a philosophy course, which necessitates a deep dive into what zombification means from a moral perspective. Is rationality necessary for responsibility? To what degree can behavior be blamed on society? How do our conclusions about these issues impact the ways in which crimes are punished? Required reading includes Phantoms in the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran. The fascinating 1998 book explores neurological processes, their relationship to physiological mechanisms and speculates about the ways in which both inform who we are and how we think. Also required are books about serial killers and a psychological profile about Hitler — without whom no course about madmen can be comprehensive. But for the first couple of weeks, before the heavier material, there’s plenty of Hollywood blood and gore. “I get that out of the way early,” says Smaw, who notes that Romeroesque zombies are an American pop-culture construct. In the Caribbean, witch doctors have a tradition of using herbs, shells, fish, animal parts, bones and other objects to create “zombie powders” that contain tetrodotoxin, a deadly neurotoxin found in pufferfish and some other marine species. Used at sub-lethal doses, the powders could cause zombie-like symptoms such as difficulty walking,

mental confusion and respiratory problems. High doses of tetrodotoxin lead to paralysis and coma. A victim could appear dead and be buried alive — then later revived. Although Smaw has gotten plenty of attention for his zombie course, he’s a serious philosopher and an accomplished professor. A native of Washington, D.C., he earned a Ph.D. in the philosophy of law and human rights from the University of Kentucky before doing post-doctoral work in human rights at the University of Massachusetts. Smaw — an ACLU board member who describes himself as “a civil libertarian in theory and practice” — is the college’s director of forensics and coach of the award-winning Rollins College Debate Team. Each year the team invites debaters from around the world to campus for an event dubbed Great Debate. This year, a team from Rwanda visited Rollins as part of an international exchange program that also includes college debate teams and debating societies from England, France, China and Jamaica. “I see the college campus as a laboratory for democracy,” says Smaw, who recalls admiring monuments to U.S. history as a child in the nation’s capital. “Debaters have to think about issues from both sides. When we travel, or when teams come to campus from other countries, they find that everyone is struggling with many of the same questions.”






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AND THE POETRY OF ART September 21 – December 29, 2019

FREE ADMISSION Samuel Hollyer, Walt Whitman, age 37 Frontispiece to Leaves of Grass. Steel engraving from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison. Olin Library Archives, Rare Whitman Collection.

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Believe It or Not! BY GREG DAWSON

As vice president of archives and exhibits for Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ed Meyer visited six continents, 42 countries and 47 states in search of intriguing, grotesque, disturbing, awesome, revolting and, yes, often unbelievable objects.

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In his book, Meyer insists that the study of his Winter Park home is not a museum, although it’s chock full of Ripley-style oddities as well as books and memorabilia related to his other passion, traditional blues music.


he sixtysomething man who answered the door at his suburban Winter Park home — barefoot, balding, moon-faced with a fringy white beard, baggy algae-green shorts, a blousy Route 66-themed shirt tenting a modest paunch — would never be mistaken for “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” Instead of the daring dandy in those ubiquitous Dos Equis beer commercials, Edward Meyer looks to me like a guy waiting in line at the DMV. A regular Joe named Ed. But for 33 years, Meyer held arguably The Most Interesting Job in the World — believe it, or not! In fact, that’s exactly where Meyer worked. Ripley Entertainment Inc., a division of the Jim Pattison Group, is a global company with annual attendance of more than 12 million in 30-plus museums (the company calls them “odditoriums”), including the delightfully dizzying off-kilter building on International Drive in Orlando. As vice president of archives and exhibits for the Ripley empire — which also includes books, games and a syndicated television show — Meyer visited six continents, 42 countries and 47 states. And he came back with intriguing, grotesque, disturbing, awesome, revolting and, yes, often unbelievable objects — from shrunken heads and conjoined farm animals to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in Duct tape and a bovine hairball the size of large grapefruit. I ask a question Meyer has probably answered many times before. Is “Believe It or Not” a boast, or is the “or Not” a caveat meant to provide wiggle room on authenticity? “It’s a boast,” Meyer insists. “We would not put our name on it unless we were 100 percent convinced it was real. These things are so weird, we know you’re going to have doubts. But despite the title, you should believe it.” Meyer, 63, retired in June of last year due partly to festering friction among Ripley executives over his paying $5 million at auction in 2016 for the dress Marilyn Monroe wore to croon “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962. The company owner had OK’d the purchase, Meyer says, but other higher-ups begged to differ, and he was uncomfortable in the crossfire.

L’affaire de dress is recounted in minute and colorful detail in Meyer’s memoir, Buying the Bizarre: Confessions of a Compulsive Collector, published in May. But such are the staggering volume and variety of his Ripley adventures that the story of what Meyer calls “the most significant pop culture piece in history” doesn’t appear until chapter 74 of the 547-page saga. “I’m the guy who spent over five million dollars on a dress that didn’t even fit me,” Meyer writes with wry, self-deprecating humor that marks his storytelling. In a fond farewell to Meyer on the Ripley’s website, the company credits him with acquiring well over 500 artifacts a year for 33 years, which equals, at a minimum, 16,500 objects. At first glance, it appears that all 16,500 are stored in his home. Seated in a beaded African throne at the table where he does his writing on a laptop, Meyer scans the expansive family room in which every inch of wall and shelf space is taken. “My house is a disaster area,” Meyer says, noting a half-complete renovation awaiting an MIA contractor. “My desk was a disaster area, but I know where everything is. There’s an organizational thing in here that most people couldn’t comprehend by seeing it. I never liked to put things away, because I was sure I was going to need them. I liked to have as much as possible within reach.” In his book, Meyer insists that his home is not a museum despite “six chockfull glass display cases, African statuary, tribal masks, exotic rugs including a full-length Tibetan tiger rug made from yak hair, a vial of dust from a Martian meteorite, a few old valuable coins and stamps, over 200 framed pieces of art … and an antique map of Iceland.” Deep breath. And then there’s the personal stuff: a pocket watch collection, a bookshelf shrine to baseball and 13 racks containing thousands of record albums and CDs. Meyer recently put the finishing touches on the manuscript of his second book, A Man and the Blues: A Love Story, an ode to his passion for African-American blues. Then there are more than a dozen large bookshelves “filled with everything I’ve ever read, and then some.” FA L L 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



Robert Ripley (above) began his career as a sports cartoonist. Today the Ripley empire includes 30-plus “odditoriums,” including the dizzying off-kilter Orlando location (left).

The dress Marilyn Monroe wore to croon “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962 (left) was purchased at auction by Meyer for $5 million, the most by far Ripley’s had ever paid for an artifact. Winter Park was immortalized in a Believe It or Not! cartoon (opposite page) when a huge sinkhole swallowed up a home, several businesses, a swimming pool, a truck and five cars in 1981. Meyer remembered the cartoon, which inspired him to suggest that the local odditorium be designed to appear as though it were being sucked into the ground.



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Meyer grew up in Toronto reading the Believe It or Not! cartoon panel, which debuted in 1918 in The New York Globe under the name Champs and Chumps and featured oddities from the world of athletics — not surprising, since the 28-year-old creator Robert Ripley had been a sportswriter. Ripley began adding non-sports items to the column and a year later settled on Believe It or Not!, the cornerstone of an entertainment empire. Catnip though Believe It or Not! was to a young boy’s brain, the cartoon did not inspire Meyer to make Ripley’s wacky wonderland his career. And why would it? Few read Believe It or Not! and think “job opportunity!” Meyer’s career goal was grounded in deeply mundane reality — an orderly, hushed utterly believable universe. He wanted to be a librarian. “Most people wouldn’t believe it,” he says. “My high school teachers thought I was crazy. ‘What do you mean, you want to be a librarian?’” What’s unbelievable is that nearly everything about Meyer’s early years, including the nerdy ambition, appears to have been uncanny preparation for his future job as buyer of the bizarre for Ripley’s. “I believe that 100 percent,” he says. “I thought about it a lot writing the book.” Meyer’s mother, Sylvia, imbued him with a love of books and an omnivorous hunger for knowledge — birds, flowers, insects, trees, mummies, history, poetry, dinosaurs. He and his sister were expected to check out three books a week from the library. “At the time, travel wasn’t all that available to me,” Meyer recalls. “Armchair travel, that’s really what it was all about. There was a librarian in grade school, Mrs. Taffe, that really put that in my head — that there’s a world in this building at your fingertips.” Visiting exotic locales wasn’t in the family budget, but Canada afforded frequent low-cost road trips — camping only, no motels — that gave Meyer a Ripleyesque taste for the awesome, weird and tacky. “We did things that other families didn’t do,” he says. “We went to unusual places and I absorbed it all.” At a roadside nature attraction, they fed a




The new owner, Jim Pattison Sr., wanted to build more museums. And Pattison, one of Canada’s wealthiest men, had the resources to do as he wished. His net worth in 2018 was estimated to be some $5.7 billion, and his company included such diversified holdings as truck dealerships, radio and television stations and the Guinness Book of World Records. “We probably had enough [objects] to build two more museums at most,” Meyer recalls. “[Pattison] said, ‘That’s not good enough — I want to build two a year. Somebody has to go buy more stuff.’ My job changed overnight.”


Ed Meyer (above right) nearly qualified as a Ripley’s exhibit himself. He had a morphing two-toned beard — brown and red, then brown and white — the result of a childhood pigment condition. President Jimmy Carter, whom Meyer met twice, remembered him specifically because of his distinctive facial hair. Meyer’s beard is now uniformly white — a badge of seniority. Meyer has chronicled his colorful career in a new book (below) entitled Buying the Bizarre: The Confessions of a Compulsive Collector.

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chained bear a blueberry pie. At a trading post in Banff, Alberta, they were mesmerized by a Fiji Island mermaid. They visited forts, graveyards, museums, monuments and welcome centers. Still, all the fateful basic training for an unbelievable career with the oddball empire might have gone for naught but for a serendipitous moment that pointed Meyer to his destination. It was spring 1978, and Meyer had just completed the final exam for his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto with plans to enroll in the graduate library science program in the fall. In the meantime, he needed a summer job. After dozens of fruitless visits, he had all but given up on the campus office for student employment. But a friend insisted that he give it one final try and dragged him through the doorway. Once inside, sunlight through a window appeared to illuminate an innocuous 5-by-5 card tacked to a bulletin board. The card read: “Wanted: Library Science Student to catalog cartoons for Ripley International, 10 Price Street, Downtown, Toronto.” Meyer could scarcely believe his good fortune. “I loved cataloging, as I assume most would-be librarians do, and I loved cartoons,” he recalls. “So, it sounded like the perfect job.” The world lost a librarian but Believe It or Not! gained a successor to Robert Ripley, who was the company’s first and only buyer until his death in 1949. Since Ripley’s untimely passing, the company had acquired only 74 new items. But in 1985, Meyer was promoted from archivist to hunterbuyer of exhibits. At the time, he recalls, there were eight Ripley museums containing only artifacts snared by Ripley himself.

During his first year, Meyer bought 485 objects. The most significant, he says, was a small patch of skin from a young Englishman who had murdered his teenaged lover in the 1700s by striking her with a flung rock. He was hanged then dissected in hopes of discovering the source of his evil. The skin, which Meyer purchased for $300, was signed by the doctor who performed the dissection. “It’s just a tiny piece,” he says, “but if you ever see it, you’ll remember it.” I’ll just bet. That’s true, for me, of the archetypal Ripley object: the shrunken head. It’s creepier and more unsettling than the iconic two-headed calf or “Mike” the headless rooster that toured sideshows for 18 years because, well, they’re farm animals. The downsized human head — such as the one from Ecuador at the Orlando odditorium — hits a bit too close to home. There, but for the grace of God, goes my own deflated noggin. “A lot people assume it’s not real,” Meyer says. “And almost universally no one understands how it can be done. It’s very simple. You remove the skull. You cannot shrink bone, but you can shrink skin because it’s basically just leather.” To convince skeptics, Meyer made a film, a vivid re-enactment of the head-shrinking process for the exhibit. Let’s just say it’s not a popcorn movie. It did convince me — not to visit Ecuador anytime soon. “I hope you liked the film,” he says. “I spent a lot of time making it. I bought the heads shown in it. The head in the Orlando museum is the best one in the company.” (In 33 years of transporting unsettling objects, Meyer was stopped only once by airport security. “I had trouble getting into Ireland because I had a shrunken head in my suitcase,” he recalls. “They had never dealt with that before, so it was an interesting day.”) Marilyn Monroe had been an object of fascination for Meyer since his teens. “I was spellbound by her beauty and sensuality,” he writes in his memoir. He was just the man to do Ripley’s bidding when the dress came up for auction in 1999 at legendary

Christie’s Auction House in New York. But he lost out that day. The “hammer price” was $1.1 million, topping Meyer’s final bid of $1 million. He came home with consolation prizes from the Monroe collection including a sweater ($150,000), a traveling makeup case ($240,000) and six snapshots of Monroe’s dog, “Maf ” (short for Mafia), a gift from Frank Sinatra ($200,000). Meyer wasn’t going to miss again when the dress hit the auction block in 2016 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Confident that he had Pattison’s support, Meyer kept raising his paddle until the hammer came down on his bid of $4 million. Julien’s 22 percent commission and taxes pushed the price tag to $5 million, the most by far Ripley’s had ever paid for an artifact. Quibbling and second-guessing in the executive suite ensued. “I’m in the middle,” Meyer says. “My life became not as pleasant as it should be for a full year afterwards. It’s not the only reason I retired, but it was a big part of it.” Ironically, one of Meyer’s proudest acquisitions didn’t cost Ripley a dime. That’s fortunate, since packing and shipping was a bear. Have you ever priced shipping a large quantity of concrete overseas? I’m guessing not. Meyer, however, has. Three days after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Meyer rushed to Germany with an empty suitcase and a hammer and chisel in hopes of bringing back some literal pieces of history. The suitcase proved inadequate for the 10-by-10-foot sections of wall he secured, 16 slabs adorned by the most artful spray painting. (One of the sections is on display at the Orlando odditorium.) The addition met with resistance from some people, Meyer says: “More than once we were chastised, ‘Why is this in Ripley’s? It belongs somewhere else.’ There are no rules to what goes in a Ripley’s museum other than it’s unique. I felt I was preserving history.” Speaking of the Orlando odditorium, which was built in 1992, it was Meyer’s stroke of genius to suggest a design that makes it appear the building is sliding into a sinkhole. His inspiration came from a Ripley cartoon featuring the Winter Park sinkhole of 1981. The cartoon ran long before there was any thought of an Orlando odditorium. In 1993, a year after the I-Drive opening, Ripley moved its corporate headquarters from Toronto to Orlando. “The reason we looked at Orlando is that it already had Disney,” says Meyer. “Not a whole lot else, but it had Disney. We thought: ‘This is an entertainment city. Our company can grow there.’ For the company, it was a very, very good decision instantly.” Orlando and Ripley did indeed seem to be a marriage made in pop-culture heaven. Yet, it almost didn’t happen. Meyer was on the five-person

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search committee scouting possible new locations. “We were very seriously looking at Los Angeles,” he says. “We were literally on the ground in Los Angeles the day of the Rodney King episode, and that changed our mind on Los Angeles.” King was the construction worker beaten in 1992 by police, who were subsequently acquitted of using excessive force. The beating sparked six days of rioting during which 63 people were killed. “We also looked at Dallas, New York and Chicago,” Meyer says. “Orlando was at the bottom of everyone’s list but turned out to be the right spot.” The vote to move to Orlando was 3-2, with Meyer in the minority. “I was all for moving to California,” he says. “Orlando in my mind was still a little town. Compared to Toronto, 26 years ago, Orlando was the boondocks. I struggled with it. It took me a good two years to call this home.” Meyer’s most pressing concern was education. He and his wife, Giliane, had school-age children, Curtis and Celeste. “Florida was rated number 48 out of 50,” Meyer says. “I didn’t want my kids growing up in a place that didn’t give your kids a decent education. I knew two people in Florida at the time and both said the only

good [public] schools are in Winter Park. We never even looked anywhere else.” Curtis, now 35, and Celeste, 32, attended Brookshire Elementary, Glenridge Middle and Winter Park High. “I’ve always been the coolest dad in the neighborhood,” Meyer laughs. “I’ve done lots of school presentations and show-andtell for many classes. I took valuable stuff and let kids touch it. I’d wrap an anaconda skin around them, put tiger shark jaws over their heads.” Pity the parent on career day who had to follow Meyer’s act. “Yeah, I’d blow ‘em out of the water,” he says. “The fireman has a chance, but the doctor and accountant might as well go home before they start. I was a major hit for years and years. They almost cried when I said I don’t think I can do it this year because I don’t have access to the stuff anymore.” For about 25 years, from age 25 to 50, Meyer nearly qualified as a Ripley’s exhibit himself. He had a morphing two-toned beard — brown and red, then brown and white — the result of a childhood pigment condition. “It took me years to convince people it was real,” he says. “For many years people thought I got my job because of the beard. Sometimes I would tell them the truth, sometimes I wouldn’t.

That beard got me to a lot of places. I’ve met six presidents. I met Jimmy Carter twice, several years apart, and that’s what he remembered: ‘You’re the guy with the two-toned beard!’” Not anymore. Meyer’s beard, if he didn’t shave, would be uniformly white — a badge of seniority. Teasingly, I asked the man who’s visited 42 countries if he looks forward to traveling in retirement. “Yeah, I do,” he says. “There are still places I want to go for sure, like Egypt. But I don’t know if I can afford to travel. I spent too much on things. I haven’t been real good at saving.” So, believe it or not, Edward Meyer, once holder of The Most Interesting Job in the World, is now like so many of us nondescript retirees — just another housebound guy in cargo shorts waiting for the contractor to show up. Maybe the only way Meyer will get to Egypt is via his armchair. But he lives in a museum (might as well admit it, Ed), his own personal odditorium, surrounded by the things he loves. And what his childhood librarian in Toronto said is true of all that Edward Meyer surveys from his beaded African throne: “There’s a world in this building that’s at your fingertips.”


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hrough the decades, various people of fame and fortune have called Winter Park home, contributing successively to the town’s wide reputation today as a canopied oasis of culture and fine living. They have been actresses and comedians, business executives and television personalities, poet laureates and NBA stars. Perhaps the first in this distinguished list was Isabella Macdonald Alden, a Victorian literary celebrity known to her readers as “Pansy.” The world-renowned children’s writer moved with her husband and son to Winter Park in 1886, when developers Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman had barely completed platting the town and opening roads. Population was under 300. Alden’s ornate three-story home at the corner of Interlachen and Lyman avenues, known as the “Pansy Cottage,” became a hub of local culture. Alden considered her family to be “Florida pioneers [who] located in the new little town of Winter Park as the most desirable town to build a home.” Her husband, Presbyterian minister Gustavus Rossenberg Alden, became a trustee of Rollins College, and her son, Raymond, attended the college and went on to an illustrious academic career. Alden, an educated woman with a missionary’s quiet zeal, possessed both the talent and skill to impart life lessons through her Christian books and stories. In this churchgoing era, she became an international publishing phenomenon — and the synergy of the media platforms in which her work appeared was positively Disneyesque. She wrote hundreds of stories for both young children and young adults, edited dozens of compilations and penned more than 70 full-length novels — some translated into French, German, Russian and even Japanese. The books sold hundreds of thousands of copies, easily making her one of the genre’s most popular authors.

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Pansy Alden became an international publishing phenomenon. She wrote hundreds of stories for both young children and young adults, edited dozens of compilations and penned more than 70 full-length novels.



Alden’s ornate three-story home at the corner of Interlachen and Lyman avenues in Winter Park, known as the “Pansy Cottage,” became a hub of local culture.

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Alden also edited a widely circulated magazine for children called The Pansy. It featured her own serialized stories and those written by friends and family, as well as literature and educational articles on topics such as world history, geography, science, literature and botany. And her fiction was a favorite of Sunday-school teachers and church librarians. She often said, “I dedicate my pen to the direct and continuous effort to win others for Christ and help others to closer fellowship with him.” At the height of her career, Alden received thousands of fan letters each week from her young readers and did her best to respond personally to as many as she could. Children who subscribed to The Pansy could join the “Pansy Society,” which encouraged members to work hard at overcoming a single fault “For Jesus’ Sake.” Alden produced Sunday school lessons for the Westminster Teacher, a publication of the Presbyterian Church, and wrote for or served on the editorial staff of periodicals such as Trained Motherhood, The Advance, The Interior and Herald and Presbyter — a weekly Presbyterian newspaper. She contributed stories and was a regular columnist for two weekly youth papers, Christian Endeavor World and its counterpart, Junior Christian Endeavor World. “She wove her stories around common, everyday [lives], until all her characters became alive and real to those who read,” wrote Grace Livingston Hill, Alden’s niece and a novelist whose first published book was written in Winter Park. Alden even had her own board game, “Divided Wisdom: A Game Based on Hymns and Bible Proverbs.” She was included among other wellknown writers in two editions of the “Authors” card game, too. The author often endorsed the work of others, including Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, whose 1905 facts-of-life tome What A Young Girl Ought to Know she described as “just the book to teach what most people do not know how to teach, being scientific yet simple, and plain-spoken yet delicate.” The so-called “Pansy Books” and their creator are all but forgotten now, except by dedicated bibliophiles who collect early editions for their rarity rather than their literary quality. Alden’s works were out of print for decades until a Christian publishing house released a handful of edited and abridged titles in the 1990s. In 1981, Elizabeth Eschbach wrote in the

The so-called “Pansy Books” and their creator are all but forgotten now, except by dedicated bibliophiles who collect early editions for their rarity rather than their literary quality. Alden’s works were out of print for decades until a Christian publishing house released a handful of edited and abridged titles in the 1990s. Orange County Historical Quarterly: “Somewhat simplistically by today’s worldly sensibilities, Alden’s books emphasized the perils of popular amusements, the evils of worldly temptations, necessity of abstinence and self-sacrifice and the trials of leading a good Christian life.” Nonetheless, there has been a resurgence of interest today, and a small-butloyal following is growing on social media. Nearly all of Alden’s novels have been re-released as high-quality ebooks, ready for modern readers to discover. If the Pansy books don’t hold up particularly well as literature, they do hearken back to a simpler time, both in the United States and in the quaint Central Florida town where the author and her family spent many of their happiest and most productive years.

Isabella Macdonald Alden was born November 3, 1841, in Rochester, New York. Her parents, Isaac and Myra Spafford Macdonald, instilled in their six children a commitment to moral and social reform. Late in life, Alden wrote that her father “in all his lifetime struggled with the handicap of a suffering body, and sometimes found it burdensome to meet the daily expenses of a large family.” However, she added, “looking back, we all knew — and I, left here alone, the others having all reached home before me, know — that there could never have been a more faithful, conscientious, earnest, loving father and mother than God gave to us.” Precocious Isabella began her schooling at home and showed an early propensity for writing. She recalled that as a child she “possessed a temper that was easily set aflame, and a will of my own that took careful training to educate.” Her father tasked her with keeping a daily journal. That routine not only helped to calm her stormy temper, it also set into motion her life’s work. The youngster’s first published story, Our Old Clock, appeared in a Gloversville, New York, newspaper that her brother-in-law edited when she was just 10 years old. The byline read simply, “Pansy.” The distinctive nom de plume, Alden recalled in her autobiography Memories of Yesterdays, “had to do with a certain tea party connected with my childhood.” Her mother wanted to rest before her guests arrived, and Isabella wanted to be helpful. Knowing that five or six pansies were to decorate each place setting, she went out to the garden and picked every one, pulling off the stems. Her mother, who had planned on making pansy bouquets for her guests, scolded her daughter, and Isabella began to cry. Her father intervened. “Didn’t you hear her tell you to look in her apron and see what a lot of work she had saved you? Can’t you see how she thought it out?” The outcome was this: “I was kissed and told that Mother did not believe I meant to be naughty. She washed my face and brushed my hair and dressed me herself in my best white dress… and my familiar home-name ‘Pansy’ dates from those stemless ones of the long ago.” After those early days of home schooling, Isabella attended the Oneida Seminary in Oneida, New York. It was here that she met Theodosia Maria

Toll Foster, charmingly nicknamed “Docia,” Foster would become Isabella’s best friend, collaborator and ultimately go on to write more than 30 of her own books as “Faye Huntington.” After graduating from Oneida Seminary, Alden promptly joined the faculty in 1860 and, a few years later, taught in Auburn, New York. It was Docia who, in 1864, helped start the Pansy phenomenon. She surreptitiously rescued and submitted a manuscript that her friend had written and then set aside, believing it to be unworthy. Helen Lester had been written at Docia’s urging in response to a contest sponsored by the Cincinnati-based American Reform Tract and Book Society, which published and distributed evangelical materials. The organization was seeking the best children’s holiday gift book setting forth the principles of Christianity. In her autobiography, Alden recalls telling Docia, in no uncertain terms, that her decision to abandon the story was final. “If I can’t write a better story than that, it proves I ought never to write at all,” she said. “Tear the thing into bits and throw it into the grate with the other rubbish. I’ll set fire to them tonight.” Docia, who told her friend that she was “acting like a born idiot,” then appeared to drop the subject. Two months later, however, Alden received a $50 check and notification that her story had won first prize. Chastened but delighted, Alden later recalled her reaction: “Shall I make an attempt at describing the hour of bewilderment, amazement, embarrassment, oddly mingled with delight, which followed the first reading of that letter?” Alden sent autographed copies of Helen Lester — and the prize money — to her parents. One of these rare copies of Helen Lester resides in the archives at Rollins College’s Olin Library, signed in her own hand, “A birthday gift to my dear father from his daughter Pansy.” In the story, Helen, known as “Nellie,” is a darling but imperfect child whose once-wayward older brother, Cleveland, undergoes a religious conversion that he is eager to share with his siblings and his wealthy, worldly parents. For example, while headed home from a prayer meeting that has stirred his little sister, Cleveland says: “Oh, Nellie, I want you to be a Christian. I don’t want you to grow up without loving this dear Savior who loves you so much. I want you to learn to pray; to learn to ask Jesus every day to take care of you; to help you to love him more than anybody else.” Shortly after Helen Lester appeared, the young author met her future husband over a piece of her Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. She was living at Auburn Theological Seminary with her sister and brother-in-law, Charles Livingston, who was studying for the ministry. After their holiday dinner, Charles took a walk to see if there were any lonely students about campus and returned with Gustavus Rossenberg Alden. The couple married in 1866 and moved to Almond, New York, where Reverend Alden pastored a church. Other assignments would take them to Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. As she assisted her husband in his work, Alden found constant inspiration. “Whenever things FA L L 2 0 1 9 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


The Alden house, which eventually became the Interlachen Inn, survived as a local landmark until 1955. Winter Park promoters eagerly touted the fact that one of the country’s most popular authors, who could have lived anywhere, had selected “the bright New England town on the Florida frontier.”

went wrong,” she recalled, “I went home and wrote a book to make them come out right.” Alden seemed to truly find her niche after the publication in 1870 of Ester Ried: Asleep and Awake. Ester, who toils grudgingly at her family’s New York boardinghouse, believes herself to be “a Christian in name only” until she visits a cousin, Abbie, who teaches her to base her life on God’s word. The book begat a series featuring the same character and her relatives, with the final installment published in 1906. Like Helen before her, Ester comes to realize that carefully reading the Bible and following its precepts is the only prescription for her attitude problem. “That is what has been the trouble with me,” Ester tells herself. “I’ve neglected my duty…well, the first opportunity then that I have — or no — I’ll stop now, this minute, and read a chapter in the Bible and pray; there is nothing like the present moment for keeping a good resolution.” The Herald and Presbyter magazine, owned by Monfort & Company, serialized many of Alden’s book-length stories, including Ester Reid and several of its sequels, then published them in book form. In 1874, Alden and Monfort founded The Pansy, a monthly magazine that cost just 25 cents a year. As the magazine and its readership grew, it was described as “a finely illustrated monthly, containing 35 to 40 pages of reading matter from the pens of the best writers especially prepared for the boys and girls of the world.” The editor was identified only as “Pansy,” but by then that name was well-known in the world of children’s Sunday-school literature. By the end of its first year, The Pansy had more than 20,000 subscribers and would be published for another 21 years. Alden’s productivity was all the more remarkable given that she suffered from severe migraines and could work only a few hours each day. Mornings were her sacred time for writing, and between the rapid clicks of the typewriter and sharp ring of its bell, there was “scarcely a pause for thought,” according to her niece, Grace. “Much of her thinking is done when going about her house attending to small duties, making her bed, or putting to rights a room,” Grace wrote in an April 21, 1892, article called “Pansy at Home” for The Golden Rule magazine. “When she sits down to write, her thoughts are drilled like a wellordered army, ready to march at the word.”

On March 30, 1873, in New Hartford, New York, the Aldens’ only son was born. As a child, Raymond Macdonald Alden suffered with frail health and doctors advised a move south to a warmer climate. The family decided to join Alden’s sister, Marcia Macdonald Livingston, and brother-in-law, Reverend Charles Montgomery Livingston, in Winter Park in 1886. In late 1885, Reverend Livingston had been called as a Presbyterian “Home Missions Pastor” to Seneca and Sorrento churches in Lake County.

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The Pansy Cottage was completed in the fall of 1888, although the term “cottage” was a bit of a misnomer for the Alden home. A lavish, three-story Victorian masterpiece built from virgin pine, it was replete with verandas, turrets and every architectural flavor of gingerbread. Almost every room had a fireplace. The Aldens lived in Winter Park until 1891. The Alden house, which eventually became the Interlachen Inn, survived as a local landmark until 1955. Winter Park promoters eagerly touted the fact that one of the country’s most popular authors, who could have lived anywhere, had selected “the bright New England town on the Florida frontier.” An 1888 brochure listed Alden among the literary luminaries who called Winter Park home and described Pansy Cottage as “a center of literary, religious and civic activity.” The Aldens became involved in a variety of community betterment causes. Reverend Alden was elected to the Rollins board of trustees, and the family helped found the Winter Park Public Library and the local chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU was one of Alden’s favorite organizations. Although abstinence is a long-lost cause, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, per-capita alcohol consumption was far higher than it is today and was blamed for such problems as spousal abuse and child abandonment. Alden had been deeply affected by an event in her childhood in which a baby from a family she had known suffered permanent brain damage after being kicked by a drunken father. The temperance theme appears throughout many of her books. Notably, the WCTU was involved in such social issues as suffrage and public health. The Aldens joined the city’s First Congregational Church, which had founded Rollins in 1885 and attracted a socially prominent congregation. Raymond began his studies in the college’s Preparatory Department but eventually transferred to Columbian University (now George Washington University) in Washington, D.C. He also studied at Harvard and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Ph.D. in English in 1898. In an early Rollins promotional pamphlet, Reverend Alden is quoted saying, “My son went to Florida as an invalid, by the advice of his physician; he left with health fully restored.” Raymond taught English at Penn as well as Columbia, Harvard and Stanford. He would later chair the English department at the University of Illinois and become one of the world’s preeminent scholars of Shakespeare. He would be awarded an honorary degree in literature from Rollins in 1910. Alden used the influence she had to herald Rollins. In the August 1888 issue of The Pansy, she wrote an entire column about the college, imploring her “many thousand helpers” to “tell every Northern friend you have that in Winter Park, Orange County, Florida, is a college; … a real honest, wellbuilt well-managed college with four good buildings.” Alden frequently used envelopes advertising Rollins to respond to letters from her readers.

Like many children’s books of the Victorian Era, Alden’s volumes were lavishly illustrated with lovely, well-behaved and impeccably clad youngsters.



Children who subscribed to The Pansy could join the “Pansy Society,” which encouraged members to work hard at overcoming a single fault “For Jesus’ Sake.”

Alden had a long association with the organization that became the prestigious Chautauqua Institution in New York. The grassroots adulteducation movement was named for the lake where its first meetings were held. Though Chautauqua expanded in time to include secular topics, it had its origins in 1874 as a summer assembly of Sunday School teachers. Alden and her family spent summers either at Chautauqua or traveling to various Sunday School assemblies or regional Chautauquas as speakers. One of her series of books, The Chautauqua Girls, is based on summer days spent at those meetings. Chautauqua meetings were initially held only at the New York compound, but eventually there were large-scale gatherings throughout the country spotlighting speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and subject-matter experts. In fact, Reverend and Mrs. Alden and their niece, Grace, were frequently a part of the Florida Chautauqua meetings, including those at Mount Dora and DeFuniak Springs. Eventually, a “Pansy Cottage” was built in DeFuniak Springs, too.

By 1891, the Aldens’ time in Winter Park had come to an end. On December 5, the local paper reported that “Rev. G. R. Alden is in town looking after his Winter Park interests and sending some of his belongings to his new home in Washington, D.C. His change of residence reminds one of the familiar saying: ‘Another good man gone wrong.’” The family moved to Washington, D.C., to accept the call to a church there while Raymond studied at Columbian University. The books continued,

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however, including Four Mothers at Chautauqua and the final installment of the Ester Ried series. In 1924, at the age of 83, Alden suffered the loss of her husband, her sister, Marcia, and her son, whose deaths were separated by only six months. Distraught, she moved to Palo Alto, California, to live with her daughter-inlaw and five grandchildren. A concerned Hill suggested that Alden might want to revisit Ester Ried, but Alden demurred. “I am not capable of writing a story suited to the tastes of present-day young people,” she wrote. “They would smoke a cigarette over the first chapter and toss it aside as a back number. I haven’t faith in them, nor in my ability to help them.” Jean Kerr, whose biography of Hill describes Alden’s final days, wrote: “Lonely for those who had gone before her and saddened by the godless trends of the modern world, she found her escape in her memories of the golden days that were past: memories of school-mates, of family gatherings, of the old Chautauqua assemblies, of satisfying work and pleasant associations.” Disillusioned but unwilling to cap her pen for a final time, Alden began work on her autobiography. Memories of Yesterdays was incomplete when she died on Aug. 5, 1930, at the age of 89. Her beloved niece, Grace, finished the book. Although her passing received national coverage, she had lived longer than her audience. One critic wrote: “Isabella Alden has suffered the fate of all those who survive beyond their own day and attract attention only as anachronisms on the modern scene.” A piece published in the St. Louis Star was more kind: “But what’s the use of judging this once popular author by modern tastes and standards? … Were their efforts wasted? We don’t believe it. Nobody need be too sure that the present generation wouldn’t be better off if once in a while it sat down with a Pansy book in its hands…” Isabella Macdonald Alden made the news again in December 1993 when Winter Park City Commissioner Rachel Murrah was shopping on Park Avenue for a red holiday coat and noticed a book in Talbots’ display window. The book, which was meant purely for decoration, was an early edition of Esther Ried: Asleep and Awake. Recognizing the author’s name, Murrah persuaded the store to donate it to the Winter Park Public Library. “What do you call this? Serendipity?” said Renae Bennett, then the library’s historian, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “We’re thrilled.” The items on display in the Winter Park Talbots, like those in the 339 other Talbots across the country, had been bought in lots from antique dealers through the company’s Boston headquarters. The fact that a Pansy Book ended up in its Winter Park store was an extraordinary coincidence and a reminder: Pansy, after all, still has something to say. Kimberly Mould has researched and written about the lives of significant people in Winter Park’s past as part of a project sponsored by the Winter Park Historical Association. The project was funded by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council Scholar/Humanist Fellowship. Daena Creel is an historian, author and archivist who lives in York Springs, Pennsylvania. She maintains websites dedicated to the work of Isabella “Pansy” Alden and her niece, Grace Livingston Hill. Archival images in this story are courtesy of Rollins College Archives and Special Collections at the Cornell Library. Thanks to archival specialist Darla Moore and department head Wenxian Zhang for their assistance. Illustrations as well as some portraits from Alden’s and Hill’s books are courtesy of Creel, whose informative website can be found at and Stories written by Mould and Creel have been combined, along with new material, for this story and the following story on Hill.





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sabella “Pansy” Alden was already a household name across the smiles, copied her ways and breathlessly listened to all she had to say, sitting U.S. when she arrived in Winter Park. But it was here that her niece, at her feet worshipfully.” Grace Livingston Hill, took the first steps in becoming her Auntie Her aunt’s financial success no doubt also made an impression on Grace. Belle’s literary legacy. In the late 19th century, society viewed the arts as a respectable vocation for Grace, whose fame as a novelist would eventually eclipse Isabella’s, came women. Hill wanted to earn money to help her family travel. to Winter Park in 1885 at age 20 with her parThe move to Florida did wonders for Reverend Livents, Reverend C.M. Livingston and Marcia ingston’s throat, but Grace, restless, longed for sumMacdonald Livingston, who was Isabella’s sister. mers in New York on the shore of Chautauqua Lake, Afflicted with a respiratory condition, Grace’s where she grew up attending the popular camp meetfather had been given a leave of absence from ings that combined religious instruction with cultural his pastorate in Campbell, New York, to see if a and literary offerings. “more congenial climate” could restore his health. The meager salary of a home missions pastor made The Livingstons subsequently encouraged Isaa trip north prohibitive. Looking to her aunt as a role bella and her husband, Rev. G.R. Alden, to join model, it only seemed natural that Grace, too, could them in Winter Park, where their invalid son, publish a novel. For its subject, she chose her beloved Raymond, could grow stronger — and they had Chautauqua. made a happy home. A Chautauqua Idyl tells the story of “the birds and The two families spent a great deal of time tothe trees and the running brooks” deciding to have their gether, working in what might be called the famown Chautauqua-style meetings. The unique imagery ily business. Everyone — including Grace and and simplicity of Grace’s writing caught the attention of young Raymond — wrote stories or regular colher aunt’s publisher, and once the contract was signed, umns for Isabella’s children’s magazine, The Pansy. there was enough money available for the Livingstons Loring Chase, one of the founders of Winter to make the journey. The book was published in 1887. Park, noted that “literary merit seems to belong Grace would publish several more volumes during to almost every member of the family, and thouher years in Winter Park. A daily devotional called sands have been delighted with the pen pictures Pansies for Thoughts combined passages from her aunt’s of not only Dr. Alden and Pansy, but of Reverend “Pansy Books” with Scripture verses for each day of A Chautauqua Idyl, Grace Livingstgon’s first novel, and Mrs. Livingston, Miss Grace Livingston and the year. tells the story of “the birds and the trees and the running brooks” deciding to have their own Raymond Alden. They all work industriously to She also wrote a children’s book, A Little Servant, Chautauqua-style meetings. give to the youth of our land good moral readand contributed chapters to two family efforts: A Seving, as the excellent reputation of their writings enfold Trouble and The Kaleidoscope, which included attest.” a chapter contributed by a Rollins professor and would-be but ultimately Grace adored her aunt. “As long ago as I can remember, there was always unsuccessful suitor, Dr. Frederick Starr. a radiant being who was next to my mother and father in my heart, and who Grace herself was sought out by Rollins College, but not for her gifts with the seemed to be a sort of combination of fairy godmother and saint,” she wrote English language. Admired for her athleticism, she was asked in 1889 to join years later. the faculty as an instructor in calisthenics and heavy gymnastics — at no salary. Isabella, wrote Grace, was “beautiful, wise and wonderful; I treasured her She readily accepted, later writing that “the days spent in Winter Park FA L L 2 0 1 9 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


Some of the early 20th century’s top illustrators created frontispieces for Hill’s numerous books.

with the dear Rollins students will ever stand out as a sweet and delightful experience.” The new Lyman Gymnasium, where her classes were held, was an attraction unto itself. But Grace’s sessions also began to draw large crowds of spectators. According to the Florida Times-Union, “the system of calisthenics and very pretty, and from 5 o’clock each afternoon the guests’ galleries are thronged with a delighted audience.” It’s no wonder the galleries were full. Rollins was one of the few places in the 1890s where a woman instructor led vigorous physical education classes, including “club swinging, fencing, free work, wand, dumb-bell and hoop exercises.” One of the most notable and entertaining was “Greek posing” for young men and women. Reverend and Mrs. Livingston left Florida in 1892 after receiving a call to pastor a Maryland church. Grace went with them and a few months later married Rev. T.G.F. Hill. It was as Grace Livingston Hill that she would become familiar to generations of readers. But there’s no doubt that Grace kept Winter Park close to her heart, and in her writing, she sometimes hearkened back to her Florida sojourn. If there is a “dear old aunt” in a Grace Livingston Hill book, she, who usually wore “becoming shades of gray,” is almost always based on Pansy. Among Grace’s books with Florida settings, two stand out. The Story of a Whim (1903), a gentle romance, appeared first as a serial in The Golden Rule magazine. Its setting among the orange groves in fictional Pine Ridge, Florida, was no doubt inspired by the fact that her uncle, Reverend Alden, owned 12 acres of citrus between Winter Park and Maitland. The town near the groves was modeled after Sorrento, where the church building at which Reverend Livingston pastored still stands and holds services today. In Lo, Michael (1913), Rollins itself serves as the backdrop. As the book opens, an angry mob is gathered outside the Manhattan home of Delevan Endicott, president of a failed bank. A shot rings out and a newsboy, nicknamed Mikky, throws himself in the bullet’s path to save the life of Endicott’s young daughter, Starr. In gratitude, Endicott sends the unpolished but angelic lad to a small school in Florida, unnamed in the book but clearly based on Rollins. Years later, Endicott and Starr travel to the college town for a visit. Grace’s memory of Winter Park’s early days is sprinkled throughout the narrative, and readers can almost see the Dinky Line station in the twilight or Rogers House (Winter Park’s first hotel, today the site of The Cloisters condominiums.) across the way: Starr, as she walked on the inside of the board sidewalk and looked down at the small pink and white and crimson pea blossoms growing broad-cast, and then up at the tallness of the great pines, felt a kind of awe stealing upon her. But here in this quiet spot, where the tiny station,

the post office, the grocery and a few scattered dwellings with the lights of the great tourists’ hotel gleaming in the distance, seemed all there was of human habitation; and where the sky was wide and even to bewilderment; she seemed suddenly to realize the difference from New York. Now an enthusiastic and exemplary student, Mikky gives his benefactor and his pretty daughter a tour of the campus — and modern readers a glimpse at Rollins life over a century ago: “That’s the chapel, and beyond are the study and recitation rooms. The next is the dining hall and servant’s quarters, and over on that side of the campus is our dormitory. My window looks down on the lake. Every morning I go before breakfast for a swim.” Finally, he shares a Florida sunset with the girl he saved so long ago: Starr followed his eager words, and saw the sun slipping, slipping like a great ruby disc behind the fringe of palm and pine and oak that bordered the little lake below the campus; saw the wild bird dart from the thicket into the clear amber of the sky above, utter its sweet weird call, and drop again into the fine brown shadows of the living picture; watched, fascinated as the sun slipped lower, lower, to the half now, and now less than half. Breathless they both stood … and watched the wonder of the day turn into night. Grace’s charmed life took a tragic turn in 1899, when her husband died suddenly after just seven years of marriage. Her father died just a few months later. With her mother and two daughters, ages 2 and 6, to support, she took a cue from her aunt and redoubled her effort at writing. In less than a decade, despite a failed second marriage to Flavious Josephus Lutz, a church organist 15 years her junior, she was a best-selling author with a lifetime contract from J.B. Lippincott Co. Her protagonists were most often young Christian women or those who converted to Christianity during the course of the story. Grace’s ability to appeal to secular audiences by combining romantic themes with an ever-present gospel message was key to her ongoing popularity. New Grace Livingston Hill books appeared three times a year for much of her career and have never been out of print. Prior to the advent of talkies, three were adapted as films. She ultimately wrote more than 100 novels and dozens more short stories, with book sales steadily approaching the 100 million mark today. Grace died in 1947 at 82. Her final book, Mary Arden, was completed by her daughter, Ruth Livingston Hill Munce, a St. Petersburg resident who founded The Grace Livingston Memorial School in1953, today the Keswick Christian School. Outside of the Christian realm, Grace’s books never received much critical praise. Many called them “formula” or “fluff” or even “out-and-out escapism.” But as with her aunt, who viewed her work as a calling, that never bothered Grace: “I have had no desire to find favor with critics. I knew my Lord could look after these things wherever He wanted my work to reach lost souls.”


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The 1899 Rollins womens’ basketball team models the uniforms that some faculty members considered scandalous. Hill later said she was amused that her faculty peers were so prim, and enjoyed watching their awkward reaction as she modeled the athletic togs herself.

A MATTER OF DRESS, OR UNDRESS, AT ROLLINS As a popular young physical education instructor at Rollins College in its nascent years, future novelist Grace Livingston had some thoroughly modern ideas. At least one caused the old guard alarm. In a letter to the college four decades later, she recalled an 1891 incident that she considered to be “exceedingly amusing in the light of present-day freedom and daring in the matter of dress, or rather undress.” She wanted her female students to wear uniforms. She suggested dark blue serge suits with long-sleeved, sailor-collared blouses. The controversy arose over the “divided skirt” — think culottes — which would be fastened just below the knee. Grace described them as “very neat and graceful, worn with long black stockings and gymnasium sneakers.” It was hardly a revolutionary concept. At the time, many girls who participated in athletics of one kind or another, primarily riding, wore split skirts, which allowed for greater freedom of movement while preserving modesty. “I was to appear formally before the faculty to talk over the matter of costume for the gymnasium work, and it never occurred to me that it was going to be a difficult task to get what I had requested,” Grace wrote. After all, she had “been brought up in a most conservative manner as to attire, and I was heartily in accord with my father and mother on the subject. So I was much amazed to find that all but two or three of the faculty were very doubtful and failed to give way at my eager description of its modesty and appropriateness.” Grace “waxed eloquent” about the proposal, noting that the gym uniforms were, in fact, more conservative than much of what her students donned outside of class.

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Seeing that her arguments were making little headway, she shocked the prim professors by making an audacious offer: “Why, I have it on now and I can show it to you. I’ll step into the hall and take off this skirt and come back and let you see how it looks.” One of the female teachers “tried to protest, but I whisked into the hall before they could stop me and walked back in my gymnasium dress, and in reality, it was a pretty graceful affair. Even now it might be thought so. But the affect [sic] on the troubled faculty was astounding.” Grace watched as the attendees “sat in a circle with downcast eyes, hands in their laps, feeling perhaps that a great crisis in college affairs was upon them. Only the two brave ladies who had been privileged to see the skirt before, and were in hearty accord with me about it, looked up with serene countenances and smiled upon me.” The others, she recalled, began to cast “furtive sideways glances, first at my toes, and then cautiously letting their frightened eyes travel upward till they got the whole effect. They one by one drew sighs of relief and permitted their eyes to resume a normal outlook on the world once more.” Dr. Edward Hooker, the college’s first president and minister of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, finally broke the awkward silence. “I think,” he said, “that this dress is much more modest than the garb that is worn in social life. I can see nothing whatever objectionable in it. In fact, I heartily approve it.” Thus ended the “great crisis,” and soon thereafter girls could be seen hurrying across the campus wearing the sensible, graceful garb. “Nobody thought any more about it,” Grace wrote.

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OCTOBER 10 Quantum Leap Winery

ELIN HILDERBRAND What Happens in Paradise (Hachette, $28) In Hilderbrand’s new book, a sequel to Winter in Paradise, a wife discovers that her husband is leading a secret life in the Caribbean. Lush with tropical details, romance and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is an immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

OCTOBER 29 Bush Auditorium at Rollins College

DECEMBER 6 Trinity Preparatory School


Beverly Right Here (Candlewick, $16.99)


Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Time (Hanover Square Press, $26.99)

The former CBS Evening News anchor and much-admired 60 Minutes correspondent recalls and reflects upon some of his most dramatic, moving and inspiring encounters in the field — and how they exemplify what’s good about humanity, both in America and abroad. A Truth Worth Telling is a book about values, ethics, and the importance of telling the truth.

From the bestselling author of Because of Winn Dixie and Tales of Desperaux comes a story originated in Louisiana’s Way Home and Raymie Nightingale. DiCamillo, a two-time Newbery Medalist, turns her focus to the tough-talking, inescapably tenderhearted Beverly. It’s a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to DiCamillo’s beloved Three Rancheros. Buy the book when it’s released on September 24 and apply the cost of the book towards admission.

For more information or to sign up for author events, go to 316 N. Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida | | | 407-335-4192 Like or follow us on social media #writersblockread






Winter Park’s Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Founded in 1961, the Polasek holds a collection focusing primarily on American representational sculpture, with more than 200 works by Polasek himself. One of the most beautiful places in Central Florida, the Polasek and its grounds are a favorite setting for Winter Park Magazine’s fashion features — particularly in the fall. The complex is located at 633 Osceola Avenue, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 407-647-6294 or visit for more information.


58 W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | FALL 2019

Brooke wears a printed silk poncho ($1,055) by Etro, a black leather beret ($295) by Eugenia Kim, a black cashmere turtleneck ($265) by Vince, a red quilted fanny pack ($1,250) by YSL and a cream patent leather tote ($2,790) by Fendi, all from Neiman Marcus, Mall at Millenia. Her dark wash flare jeans ($218) by Citizens of Humanity and burgundy platform sandals ($150) by Jeffrey Campbell are both from Tuni, Winter Park. She also wears a pair of gold-tone statement earrings ($248) by Lele Sadoughi and a gold-tone lariat necklace ($295) by Lulu Frost, both from Neiman Marcus, Mall at Millenia. FA L L 2 0 1 9 W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E


60 W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | FALL 2019

Brooke wears a three-quarter sleeve dress ($1,695) by Dolce & Gabbana and a black structured jacket with gold button accents ($2,050) by Balmain, both from Neiman Marcus, Mall at Millenia. Her pearl-detail leather belt ($700) by Gucci is from Her pearlaccent barrette and her rhinestone hair clip ($16 each) by Tuni, are from Tuni, Winter Park.

Brooke wears a trench coat detail jacket ($495) by Vince and a cashmere turtleneck sweater ($388) by 360 Cashmere, both from Tuni, Winter Park. She also wears a pair of floral culottes ($345) by Vince and a pair of tall monogram western boots ($1,490) by Fendi, both from Neiman Marcus, Mall at Millenia. The hat is the stylist’s own.



Brooke wears a semi-sheer leopard mesh top ($395) by Fuzzi, a pair of Herringbone Suit Pants ($425) by Victoria Beard, a matching Herringbone Suit Jacket ($695) by Victoria Beard, a pair of industrial visor-style sunglasses ($1,015) by Gucci and a pair of gray sneakers ($995) by Balenciaga, all from Neiman Marcus, Mall at Millenia.

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Brooke wears black biker shorts ($178) by Elaine Kim, a Jimmy Hendrix T-shirt ($105) by SoJara, a short-sleeve blazer ($258) by Amanda Uprichard, a pair of red embossed alligator boots ($249) by Vince Camuto, a faux leather headband ($16) by Tuni and an electric blue embossed alligator structured shoulder bag ($298) by Rebecca Minkoff, all from Tuni, Winter Park.



Welcome to the first steps on your journey to achieving your goals! Dr. Barbara Coffee’s individual, marriage and relationship counseling services: Available to help with • Couples communication and intimacy issues • Crisis situations (urgent appointment usually available same day or within 24 hours) • Depression/Anxiety • White Glove Services (confidential email/text/ phone access same day/within 24 hours)

Barbara Coffee, Ph.D., LMFT Dr. Barbara sees her profession as a calling and truly loves what she does. Her education represents a continuing quest to be able to offer her clients the newest and most effective methods available to make the changes in their lives that they want. Her passion for helping people has grown out of personally witnessing suffering and successfully navigating her own life challenges. Compassion has come from having “been there” and learning to get through and thrive.

Contact her today to begin your journey!

Please make your first appointment at now. (407) 644-4911

Winter Park 2180 N. Park Ave., Suite 220 Winter Park, FL 32789

CORPORATE EVENTS • WEDDINGS • SOCIAL EVENTS Cheryl’s Distinctive Creations • 407.648.8175 • Est. 1993

64 W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | FALL 2019

353 NW Ivanhoe Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32804

365 W Welbourne Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789

Custom designed and built College Park Lake Ivanhoe waterfront home Southern-inspired pool home with wraparound porch | 4,800 sq. ft. | 5 bedrooms | 4.5 baths

Immaculate Brownstone in the heart of Winter Park, close to Park Ave. and Hannibal Square City life meets privacy | 2,734 sq. ft. | 3 bedrooms | 3.5 baths

UNPARALLELED MARKETING. EXCEPTIONAL RESULTS. SUPERIOR SERVICE. The Mosley Team is powered by the husband-wife team of Alison and Frank Mosley, combined with the enduring brand of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Together, they provide extraordinary marketing services locally and globally for listings at every price point. Their collaborative approach, creative marketing strategies and exceptional negotiating capabilities have contributed to multimillion-dollar sales volume year after year. As an 8-time award winner of Orlando’s Top 100 Realtors and with over 50 years of combined experience, The Mosley Team is a proven market leader.

ALISON MOSLEY 407.304.6458 | FRANK MOSLEY 407.489.9508

Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate.



Nazih Sebaali has been delighting Central Florida diners for years with authentic (and healthy) Lebanese cuisine. Many of his longtime customers have found their way to Meza, which is located in Baldwin Park.

TASTES OF THE MIDDLE EAST At Meza in Baldwin Park, a veteran chef offers the flavors of Lebanon. The menu has something for everyone, but this is a place where adventurous dining is rewarded. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL

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f conversation lags during your meal at Meza, break the silence by playing “what’s that flavor?” The restaurant, which opened last summer, specializes in Lebanese foods. The dishes will look familiar: hummus, kebabs and stews, which here are called “tagines.” Take a taste, though, and you’ll realize these aren’t the Americanized staples you know. They’re not even the more familiar Greek varieties. Is that cinnamon in the chicken? Cardamom? Turmeric? Expect to be stumped. The Lebanese lace aromatic spices into their recipes, and they do it in a way that’s tantalizingly unfamiliar to most of us. The result is a host of appetizers and entrées with an intriguing tinge of — well, we kept having to ask our server. “Onions, garlic, cinnamon, allspice and olive oil are the basics of Lebanese cuisine,” explains Nazih Sebaali, chefowner of this table-service establishment, hidden away on Baldwin Park’s Jake Street, just off New Broad Street. “Those are the basics, and they’re in most everything we serve.” But as seven of us dipped, spread and sliced our way through much of the menu, we discovered dashes of yet more unusual-for-us extras. Take the kebobs, for example. We chose the mixed grill to try three meat options at once — and kept tasting to conquer the what’s-that-flavor challenge. As it turns out, the chicken is marinated in a garlic sauce, while the beef and lamb soak up the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and yogurt before heading to the gas open-flame grill. The yogurt also tenderizes the meat. The vegetarian tagine is simmered with ginger, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin. Add chicken or lamb to your order and you’ll have a heartier version with the same flavor foundation — all with a visually regal golden glow thanks to the spices. And so it goes. As in all Middle Eastern restaurants, I’m happiest with a tableful of starters. Meza’s first courses, like the rest of the menu, are made in-house every day. That makes them fresher. “Fresh hummus can’t last more than a day,” Sebaali says. “The hummus in the supermarket is loaded with preservatives. I don’t know what they add to make it last a month.” At Meza, the chickpea mash is blended with tahini, garlic and lemon juice. (Side note: I got the hummus for free because I made a reservation through Our server, who was a weak link throughout dinner, knew nothing about the website’s free hummus option and frankly seemed disinterested. So speak up. If you reserve online and see that you get a gift for doing so, be sure to ask for it.) Baba ghanoush is another classic Middle Eastern starter meant to be swiped up with flatbread. Sebaali makes it the same way he makes the hummus. It’s even better, if you like strong flavors. The eggplant is grilled in the kitchen each morning, giving the silky insides a seductive smoky element that pairs wondrously with the tahini, garlic and lemon juice. If you

Meza offers plenty of variety. That’s Lebanese flatbread at the top. On the second row (left to right) is labneh (yogurt dip served with extra virgin olive oil and mint) and hummus (chickpea purée served with tahini sauce, garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil). On the third row (left to right) is baba ghanoush (fresh eggplant smoked and puréed and served with tahini sauce, garlic and lemon juice drizzled with extra virgin olive oil); dolmades (stuffed grape leaves served with Tzatziki sauce); and tabouli salad (fine parsley served with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice and extra olive oil). The item at the bottom is spinach fatayers (flaky pies filled with spinach, onions and pine nuts). FA L L 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



Meza’s vegetarian tagine (above left) is simmered with ginger, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin and served with Basmati rice. Add chicken or lamb to your order and you’ll have a heartier version with the same flavor foundation — all with a visually regal golden glow thanks to the spices. The grilled calamari (above right) is finished with wine butter garlic sauce and tomatoes. “This is cooking like my mom made,” says Sebaali. “It’s all from scratch.”

want leafy greens instead, dig into the lemony parsley-based tabouleh. It’s a standout. Just in case some in your party are less adventurous than others, Meza always has a few American favorites available, such as steak. But Sebaali is eager to educate locals about the foods of his homeland, as he has done for more than 20 years. You may recall Sebaali’s Café Annie, a cafeteriastyle restaurant in downtown Orlando. He offered Lebanese fare, but in a self-serve format. “Office workers, judges, attorneys, bankers, everyone who worked downtown ate at Café Annie,” recalls

68 W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | FALL 2019

Sebaali, who has an engineering degree from LSU. “It was a landmark.” It was also unusual for Central Florida. “When we opened, nobody knew what hummus was,” Sebaali says, noting the food’s ubiquity today. Because lunches at Café Annie were quick, affordable and healthful, the restaurant enjoyed a two-decade run and closed only when rent became prohibitive. Café Annie was so much a part of regular customers’ lives that a large percentage of Meza’s guests are former Café Annie denizens who can’t do without Sebaali’s cinnamon-laced beef-filled

kibbeh or his gooey, cheese-filled triangles in puff pastry, for example. Those faithful followers, along with Sebaali’s Lebanese friends from the Dr. Phillips area, have gotten Meza off to a strong start. The challenge now is to lure more Winter Parkers. Sebaali says he’s certain that once guests sample his fresh and naturally low-fat offerings, they’ll make Meza part of their dining-out rotation. (Lebanese cuisine is indeed known to be particularly heart-healthy.) “This is cooking like my mom made,” he adds. “It’s all from scratch. If the lettuce is brown, I throw

The mixed grill is a trio of chicken, beef and lamb kabobs served with fresh vegetables and Basmati rice. The chicken is marinated in a garlic sauce, while the beef and lamb soak up the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and yogurt before heading to the gas open-flame grill. FA L L 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



Meza has a fine selection of wines to accompany its intriguing entrées. Falafel or chickpeas patties (facing page) are served with lettuce, tomatoes and tahini sauce.

it away. If the cucumber has spots on it, if it doesn’t look appealing, I throw it away. I’m here 24/7 to make sure that the staff does things this way.” Sebaali says he’s starting to see some new faces at Meza, which he finds encouraging. “I developed a menu where I can please everybody,” he emphasizes. “You can have a garden salad. You can have lentil soup. I even have mussels with traditional garlic butter on the menu.” Let your dining companions go for those items. You, though, should pick up a piece of traditional Lebanese flatbread and enjoy it with a soujok lamb and beef sausage sautéed with lemon juice, or a savory eggplant caponata, or one of those enticing kebabs. What’s not to like?

70 W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | FALL 2019

Meza 1780 Jake Street Baldwin Park, Orlando, FL 32814 407-440-3603 •

Whole-person health care for the body, mind & spirit.

The brand new, state-of-the-art Center for Health & Wellbeing is a unique healthy living center focused on improving the quality of life for our community. The Center is excited to expand their services and welcome Dr. Arianna Becker to the team! Her areas of interest include: • Sick and well visits (age 18+)

• Geriatric medicine

• Chronic disease management

• Men’s and women’s health

• Dermatologic care (including cryotherapy)

• Weight loss management

• Depression and anxiety

• Preventive medicine

Now Accepting New Patients | Same-Day Appointments To schedule an appointment, call 407-646-7380. Arianna Becker, DO AdventHealth Medical Group Family Medicine at Center for Health & Wellbeing 2005 Mizell Avenue, Suite 1600A | Winter Park, FL 32792 19-AHMG-03458

19-AHMG-03458 Living in Winter Park May PCP-Feel Whole Intro Ad.indd 1


4/15/19 3:31 PM


Enjoy specialty stores, delicious restaurants, luxurious salons, the latest movies, convenient grocery store, lifestyle apartment homes, or sit by a sparkling fountain and watch the world go by. It’s a one-of-a-kind destination.

shop, dine, unwind & live in style! 407.571.2700

All that glitters … Graduation u Anniversary Birthday u Holidays Engagement u Wedding

Specializing in precious gems and fine jewelry. We carry some of the finest Swiss watches and offer watch repair. Large selection of diamond rings, earrings and necklaces.

“Serving Winter Park For Forty Five Years” 232 Nor th Par k Avenue • Winter Par k • 407.645.2278 • w w w.R

There was a full house of more than 150 people at the Alfond Inn for Winter Park Magazine’s annual Influentials event. Shown (above) is the Class of 2019, most of whom we managed to corral for a group photo. They include (from left to right) Bronce Stephenson, Charles Clayton III, Roy Allan, John Rivers, Heather Alexander, Dykes Everett, Anna Bond, Debra Crown, Bill Walker, Tony Nicholson, Sonja Nicholson, Susan Johnson, Diane Holm, Eric Holm, Elizabeth Tiedtke Mukherjee, Robynn Demar, Charlene Hotaling, Matthew Swope, Todd Weaver and Jere Daniels. Not shown are John and Rita Lowndes, Paula Madsen and Stephanie Murphy.




sold-out crowd of 150 celebrated the fifth anniversary of Winter Park’s Most Influential People, a program launched by Winter Park Magazine in 2015 to recognize those who — sometimes quietly — make a difference through their professions, their volunteerism, their philanthropy, their talents or their community engagement. The annual event, held at the Alfond Inn, was hosted by Winter Park Magazine Publisher Randy Noles and Bolder Media Group President and CEO Marc Middleton of Growing Bolder TV renown. Special entertainment was provided by guitarist Steve Moore of Moore than Jazz and MV Voices, an 11-member a capella group. Here, in alphabetical order, is the Class of 2019: Roy Alan and Heather Alexander, Anna Bond, Charles Clayton III, Deborah Crown, Jere F. Daniels Jr., Robynn Demar, Eric and Diane Holm, Charlene Hotaling, Susan Johnson, John and Rita Lowndes, Paula Madsen, Elizabeth Tiedtke Mukherjee, Stephanie Murphy, Tony and Sonja Nicholson, John Rivers, Bronce Stephenson, Matthew Swope, Dykes Everett and Bill Walker and Todd Weaver. Here, in alphabetical order, are the Most Influential People from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018: Richard O. “Rick” Baldwin, Jim Barnes, Dan Bellows, Rita Bornstein, Jill Hamilton Buss, Jeffrey Blydenburgh, Daniel Butts, Sid Cash, Billy Collins, Grant Cornwell and Peg Cornwell, Linda Costa, Julian Chambliss, Patrick

74 W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | FALL 2019

Chapin, Carolyn Cooper, Mary Daniels, Mary Demetree, Betsy Gardner Eckbert, Jeff Eisenbarth and Andrea Massey-Farrell. Also: Carolyn Fennell, Meg Fitzgerald, Sue Foreman, Scot French and Christine Madrid French, Shawn Garvey, Hal George, John Gill, Alan Ginsburg, Steve Goldman, Sarah Grafton, Elizabeth “Betsy” Gwinn, Ralph V. “Terry” Hadley III, Jane Hames, Ena Heller, Debra Hendrickson, Catherine Hinman, Herb Holm (deceased) and Jon Hughes and Betsy Hughes. Also: Gary I. Jones and Isis Jones, Phil Kean, Allan Keen, Linda Keen, Tom Klusman, Randy Knight, Debbie Komanski, Linda Kulmann, Cindy Bowman LaFronz, Jack C. Lane, Steve Leary, Fairolyn Livingston, Lawrence Lyman, Lambrine Macejewski, Jesse Martinez, Brandon McGlammery, Genean Hawkins McKinnon, Joanne McMahon, Micki Meyer, Johnny Miller, Anne Mooney and Ronnie Moore. Also: Patty Maddox, David Odahowski, Betsy Rogers Owens, James Petrakis and Julie Petrakis, Jana Ricci, John Rife, Randall B. Robertson, Laurence J. “Larry” Ruggiero, Greg Seidel, Peter Schreyer, Polly Seymour, Thaddeus Seymour, Shawn Shaffer, Sarah Sprinkel, Susan Skolfield, Sam Stark, Chuck Steinmetz and Margery Pabst Steinmetz, Dori Stone, John Sinclair and Gail Sinclair, Fr. Richard Walsh, Jennifer Wandersleben, Harold A. Ward III, Debbie Watson, Bill Weir, Chip Weston, Pete Weldon, Cynthia Wood and Becky Wilson.


A Rare Lakefront Opportunity In Winter Park CHARLES CLAYTON





Through the Looking Glass


WELCOME Museums & Cultural TO

Health & Beauty 23 9 12 6

Advanced Park Dental 407-628-0200 Clean Beauty Bar 407-960-3783 Eyes & Optics 407-644-5156 Kendall & Kendall, Hair Color Studio 407-629-2299 17 One Aesthetics 407-720-4242 15 See Eyewear 407-599-5455

Hotels The Alfond Inn Park Plaza Hotel

California Closets Ethan Allen Monark Premium Appliance The Shade Store

800-633-0213 407-622-1987 407-636-9725 321-422-1010

Jewelry Alex and Ani Be On Park International Diamond Center Jewelers on the Park Orlando Watch Company Reynolds & Co. Jewelers

8 11 3

321-422-0841 407-644-1106 407-629-5531 407-622-0222 407-975-9137 407-645-2278

Bicycle Parking

Shoes 25 Rieker Shoes 17 Shoooz On Park Avenue

407-539-0425 407-647-0110

Specialty Shops 2 5 14 7 15 13 3 13 20 18 19 6

Fig and Julep 321-972-1899 The Ancient Olive 321-972-1899 Brandywine Books 407-644-1711 Christian Science Reading Room 407-647-1559 Frank 407-629-8818 Maureen H. Hall Stationery & Invitations 407-629-6999 New General 321-972-2819 Partridge Tree Gift Shop 407-645-4788 Rifle Paper Co. 407-622-7679 The Spice and Tea Exchange 407-647-7423 Ten Thousand Villages 407-644-8464 Writer’s Block Bookstore 407-592-1498



FREE 4 Hr Parking 4th & 5th levels




Park 23 Place


5 23



407-740-6003 321-274-6618



300 N

7 16 20 15 18 17 12 21



8 3 1 5 4 6 2 9


Post Office

Central Park

200 N



4 Hour Public Parking

Weddings • = Not on Map

400 N


Travel Services

The Collection Bridal Winter Park Wedding Co


Park Place Garage

1 Ben and Jerry’s 407-325-5163 1 Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream 407-622-6292 14 Peterbrooke Chocolatier 407-644-3200

1 3

N 500 N



10 Luxury Trips 407-622-8747 18 Winter Park Welcome Center 407-644-8281

3 5


West Meadow


P FREE 4 Hour Parking LOT A



11 5 2 15 16 3

10 9 11 5

407-998-8090 407-647-1072

Interior Design 3 11 10 9


FREE 3-HOUR Street Public Parking

Beyond Commercial 407-641-2221 Brandywine Square 407-657-5555 Fannie Hillman + Associates 407-644-1234 Great American Land Management, Inc. 407-645-4131 Keewin Real Property Company 407-645-4400 Kelly Price & Company 407-645-4321 Leading Edge Title 407-636-9866 Olde Town Brokers 407-622-7878 Premier Sotheby’s International Realty 407-644-3295 Re/Max Town Centre 407-367-2000 Winter Park Land Company 407-644-2900 Winter Park Magazine 407-647-0225

5 10


2 1 6

Rose Garden

100 N


13 14 15




2 14 4 1 15 13


6 7 5

Veteran’s Fountain


8 9

FREE Public Parking

12 11

4 8 2 7 3 1

8 10 9 17 100 S


WELBOURNE AVENUE 6 P 3-hour Public Parking on ground level

Bank of America Parking Garage

200 S 12



Financial Services

Real Estate Services 7 5 9


FREE 4-hour Public Parking


Bank of America 407-646-3600 F4 Wealth Advisors 407-960-4769 Florida Community Bank 407-622-5000 The Kozlowski CPA Firm LLC 407-381-4432 Moss, Krusick and Associates 407-644-5811

Parking Key


5 21 28 5 8

407-647-7277 407-629-0042 407-636-7366 407-960-3778 407-644-8609 407-790-7997 585-766-9886 407-671-4424 407-599-4111 407-335-4548 407-647-7520 321-972-2819 407-645-3939 407-629-7270 407-335-4914 407-381-4432 407-645-3616 407-262-0050 407-951-8039 407-960-3993 407-696-9463

Winter Park, Florida


5 Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens 407-647-6294 2 Bach Festival Society of Winter Park 407-646-2182 407-628-8200 2 Casa Feliz 3 Cornell Fine Arts Museum 407-646-2526 1 Morse Museum of American Art 407-645-5311 3 Scenic Boat Tour 407-644-4056 • The Winter Park Playhouse 407-645-0145 10 Winter Park History Museum 407-647-2330


310 Park South Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen BoiBrazil Churrascaria blu on the avenue Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine Cocina 214 Garp and Fuss Laurel Latin Cuisine Luma on Park Maestro Cucina Napoletana mon petit cheri cafe New General Panera Bread Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant Park Avenue Smoothie Cafe The Parkview Power House Cafe Prato Rome’s Flavours UMI Japanese Restaurant The Wine Room on Park Ave




1 1 19 2 2 3 3 6 1 5 4 12 4 2 1 6 7 2 4 7 3

Small Business Counsel



Law Firms



14 Arabella 407-636-8343 12 Bebe’s/Liz’s Fashion Experience 407-628-1680 2 Charyli 407-455-1983 9 Cottonways 321-203-4733 407-628-1087 6 Current 1 Evelyn and Arthur 407-740-0030 13 Forema Boutique 407-790-4987 15 The Impeccable Pig 407-636-4043 2 J. McLaughlin 407-960-3965 407-629-7944 7 John Craig Clothier 6 Lilly Pulitzer 407-539-2324 407-628-1222 19 Lucky Brand Jeans 5 Maestro Cucina Napoletana 407-335-4548 4 Max and Marley 407-636-6204 16 Siegel’s Winter Park 407-645-3100 407-647-7241 4 Synergy 321-209-1096 • TADofstyle 12 The Grove 407-740-0022 20 tugboat and the bird 407-647-5437 407-628-1609 17 Tuni


 D 17  C 15  B 21  B 12  D 12

 B 16 Zingara Souls

(321) 295-7175

Business Services  E2

Moss, Krusick and Associates  D 18 Forward Law Firm  E 8 The Kozlowski CPA Firm

(407) 644-5811 (407) 621-4200 (407) 381-4432

Dining  E 10 Antonio’s House of Pizza  D 23 310 Park South  C7

Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen

 D 25 blu on the avenue  C 16 Cocina 214  B9

Garp and Fuss

 D 21 Luma on Park  D 16 mon petit cheri cafe  B4  E 11  D 29  C2  C 22  D 31

Panera Bread Park Avenue Smoothie Cafe Power House Cafe Prato Proper & Wild Sushi Pop

 C 17 The Imperial  C 10 The Parkview  D 20 The Wine Room  E5

UMI Japanese Restaurant

(407) 636-7222 (407) 647-7277 (407) 629-0042 (407) 960-3778 (407) 790-7997 (585) 766-9886 (407) 599-4111 (407) 647-7520 (407) 645-3939 (407) 335-4914 (407) 645-3616 (407) 262-0050 (407) 543-8425 (407) 542-5975


 A1

 C 11 Be On Park

(407) 644-1106

 C 12 Jewelers on the Park

(407) 622-0222

 B 19 Orlando Watch Company

(407) 975-9137

 D 15  D 27  D 22  C1

Orlando Skin Solutions Pristine Nail & Day Spa See Eyewear Taylor’s Pharmacy The Lash Lounge

 B8

The Collection Bridal

(407) 740-6003

 E1

Winter Park Photography

(407) 539-1538

 D 24 Partridge Tree Gift Shop

(407) 645-4788

 C 21 Winter Park Wedding Company (321) 274-6618

(407) 647-0225

 D1

Rifle Paper Co.

(407) 622-7679

 C 23 Winter Park Maitland Observer (407) 218-5955

 B5

Ten Thousand Villages

(407) 644-8464

 B6

The Spice and Tea Exchange

(407) 647-7423

Media  A4

Winter Park Magazine

Museums & Culture  E 12 Albin Polasek Museum

& Sculpture Gardens

(407) 647-6294

 D6

Axiom Fine Art Consulting

(407) 543-2550

 F4

Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

(407) 646-2182

 F7

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

(407) 646-2526

 A2

Morse Museum of American Art

(407) 645-5311

 D 17 Ocean Blue Galleries

(321) 295-7317

 F3

(407) 646-2000

Rollins College

 C 20 Scenic Boat Tour

(407) 644-4056

 F1

(407) 645-0145

The Winter Park Playhouse

 D 10 Winter Park History Museum

(407) 641-2221

 E4

Fannie Hillman + Associates

(407) 644-1234

 D 11 Keller Williams Winter Park

(407) 545-6430

 D9

Kelly Price & Company

(407) 645-4321

 D8

Leading Edge Title

(407) 636-9866

 D7

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

(407) 644-3295

 B1

The Keewin Real Property Company

(407) 645-4400

 C8

The Winter Park Land Company (407) 644-2900

 D 32 The Alfond Inn at Rollins

Maureen H. Hall Stationery & Invitations

(407) 628-5900

 D 30 Writer’s Block Bookstore

(407) 335-4192

 F6

(407) 775-2155

(407) 647-2330

 D 18 Beyond Commercial

(407) 646-2133

 C 13 Williams-Sonoma

Real Estate

Summer Classics



500 N


Cole Ave.


400 N


Canton Ave.

4 4 25 3 19 5 6 7 8

FREE 4-Hour Parking 4th & 5th levels



300 N



Main Stage

Post Office

23 18

20 12 21 13 22

Garfield Ave.



16 17


4-Hour Public Parking

(407) 415-8053 (407) 647-9103 (407) 696-9463 (407) 960-3993


2 3 4

100 N



17 7 12 8 9 10 13 11 15

FREE 4-Hour Parking Lot A

Welbourne Ave.






17 18

Rose Garden

30 28

E. New England Ave. 6 3-Hour Parking Lot B



12 13 14 15

22 23 24 25


4-Hour Parking

K E Y Comstock Ave.

300 S





7 8


400 S

Comstock Ave. 2 13

Public Parking

4 1 6

27 29 31

3-Hour Public Parking Saturday & Sunday

4-Hr Street Parking



Lyman Ave. 1

Bicycle Parking


200 S

20 21

Lyman Ave.

3-Hr Street Parking


16 3-Hour Public Parking on Ground Level

W. New England Ave. 3


100 S

Welbourne Ave.

Veteran’s Fountain

7 8 9




Morse Blvd.


(407) 644-5156 (407) 960-4003 (407) 636-7539 (407) 622-1611 (407) 599-5455 (407) 644-1025 (321) 617-5274

(407) 647-1072 (407) 998-8090

200 N

Lincoln Ave.

Morse Blvd.

Hotels  D 13 Park Plaza Hotel

(407) 622-8747

(407) 629-6999

 C7

Pennsylvania Ave.

 D3

 C 17 Luxury Trips


Follett Bookstore at Rollins College

 C 14 Frank.

 C 19 On The Strip Lash & Brow

Travel Services

(407) 467-5397

(407) 629-8818

 F5

Health & Beauty  B 13 Eyes & Optics

Brandywine Square

 B 20 Christian Science Reading Room (407) 647-1559

Interlachen Ave.

 D 28


Knwoles Ave.

 B9

Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream (407) 622-6292

Center St.

 B 18

(321) 972-8250

 C3

Center St.

 B 17

Gelato Go

Park Ave.

 D 15

 E5

Park Ave.

 C4

(407) 790-4900

(407) 647-0110

Shoooz On Park Avenue

W. Park Ave.

 C 10

 E 13 Ben & Jerry’s

 B7

New York Ave.

 B 15


New York Ave.

 B 22

(407) 539-0425

(800) 633-0213 (407) 622-1987 (321) 316-4086 (321) 422-1010


 B 14

 B 23 Rieker Shoes

California Closets  B 3 Ethan Allen  B 24 Piante Design  B 16 The Shade Store

P A R K ,

 B 25


 E6


 C9

Charyli Current Dear Jame Evelyn and Arthur Forema Boutique J. McLaughlin John Craig Clothier Lilly Pulitzer Lucky Brand Jeans lululemon Max + Marley Sara Campbell Siegel’s Winter Park Synergy The Grove The Impeccable Pig Tugboat and The Bird Tuni

Interior Design


 E7

(407) 628-1680 (407) 455-1983 (407) 628-1087 (407) 951-8890 (407) 740-0030 (407) 790-4987 (407) 960-3965 (407) 629-7944 (407) 539-2324 (407) 628-1222 (407) 628-0033 (407) 995-4747 (321) 972-1232 (407) 645-3100 (407) 647-7241 (407) 740-0022 (407) 636-4043 (407) 647-5437 (407) 628-1609

Virginia Ave.

 D 14 Bebe’s & Liz’s


Fairbanks Ave.

5 6

12 10

500 S 1







Getting Crafty at Crealdé

Examples of the fine craft art on display in Crealdé’s twin exhibitions include (top) a vase created by wood-turner John Mascolli and (above) a bowl created by glass artist Chuck Boux.

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They’re mighty crafty folks at the Crealdé School of Art. You can see why during simultaneous exhibitions of fine craft artists at the facility’s main campus just off Aloma Avenue and the related Hannibal Square Heritage Center on the city’s historic west side. Collecting for Half a Century: Fine Craft from the Florida CraftArt Permanent Collection is on view at the main campus’s Alice and William Jenkins Gallery, while Soul Utterings: Creative Works by Kianga Jinaki and John Mascoll is on view at the Heritage Center. Jinaki and Mascoll are prominent African-American artists and members of Florida CraftArt, a statewide not-for-profit organization that has promoted the state’s craft artists since 1951, when it was founded as the Florida Craftsmen Gallery by Stetson University art professors Elsa and Louis Freund. The goals of the collection are to recognize the cultural significance of the state’s fine craft art, to document the rich tradition of craft art, and to educate and inspire future generations of craft artists and arts appreciators. The dual exhibitions in Winter Park mark the first time Florida CraftArt has showed its permanent collection away from its home gallery, where the work of more than 250 creators from across the state is showcased. “Crealdé’s exhibition will offer Winter Park and surrounding communities the opportunity to see work by many of the artists who’ve been influential in the state’s artistic growth,” says Katie Deits, executive director Florida CraftArt. Adds Barbara Tiffany, curator of the Crealdé exhibit: “I could see that the collectors did not focus on just one style but opened up to the individual artist’s talent, quality and inspiration. After seeing a few examples, it was clear to me right away that Crealdé was a perfect fit.” The exhibition at Crealdé’s main campus encompasses works by John Eckert, Christine Federighi, Bill Ives, Ray Ferguson, Bob Kopec, Tim Ludwig, Laura Militzer Bryant, Bonnie Seeman and Vince Sansone, manager of Crealdé’s ceramics studio. Also on display will be works by Barbara Sorensen, a Winter Park-based sculptor whose creations have been seen in numerous exhibitions locally and nationally. Perhaps you’ve noticed Sorensen’s whimsical Ripples in White, fashioned from painted duct work, which is part of Orlando International Airport’s expansive permanent art collection and is hung at the South Airport Automatic People Mover Complex. Kianga Jinaki is a self-taught fiber and mixed-media artist from West Palm Beach. In 1991, she began creating soft sculptures and “story quilts” that honor the rich cultural traditions of Africa and the African diaspora. John Mascoll, originally from Barbados, is a wood-turner who creates vessels, often bowls or vases, inspired by nature. Trained as a civil engineer, he has a studio in Safety Harbor. Crealdé’s Alice and William Jenkins Gallery is located at 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is located at 642 West New England Avenue. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to both exhibitions is free. For more information call 407-671-1886 or visit

This colorful quilt was made by Kianga Jinaki, a self-taught fiber and mixed-media artist from West Palm Beach. In 1991, Jinaki began creating soft sculptures and “story quilts” that honor the rich cultural traditions of Africa and the African diaspora. FA L L 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. On view through December 1 is Tongue in Cheek: Humorous Sculpture. The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays through Saturdays. And it offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. The Capen-Showalter House, built in 1885, was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294. Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is Central Florida’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Admission to the art center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17) and free for children age 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. On view through January 5, 2020 at the art center and the nearby Maitland Historical Museum is Sweet, Fresh, Juicy: Florida Oranges in Art and History, which celebrates the region’s most ubiquitous export, from its cultural impact to iconic fruit-crate labels. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Telephone Museum, located within the historical museum at 221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. 407-539-2181. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. On view through September 2020 is a major exhibition, Earth into Art — The Flowering of American Art Pottery. The displayed objects, which date from the 1870s to the early 1900s, are drawn from the museum’s collection of American art pottery — one of the largest such collections in the U.S. Also on view is Iridescence — A Celebration, which runs through September 2021. The dazzling display showcases art glass, enamels and pottery of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that replicate the shimmering optical effects previously only found in nature. The museum kicks off the holidays with its first-ever Thanksgiving Open House on November 29, a Friday, with free admission all weekend to launch the season’s festive schedule of free Friday night events. For five subsequent Fridays through December 27, admission will be free from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live jazz and classical music from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, at 7 p.m. on December 6,

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13 and 20, the museum will offer evening tours of the permanent exhibition, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall. A special night of family programming on December 13 will include a tour of selected galleries and a resin-casting demonstration with a free take-home art activity for participants. On December 5, the museum and the city will present the 41st annual Christmas in the Park, always a major seasonal highlight. (See “Holidays” on page 86.) Coming up early next year is the museum’s Wednesday Lecture Series, which will include Stories from the Archives: Louis Comfort Tiffany and His Studios, by Jennifer Perry Thalheimer, the museum’s curator and collection manager (January 22, 2020); Jewelry for America, by Beth Carver Wees, curator of decorative American arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (February 19, 2020); Art Nouveau in the United States, by Richard Guy Wilson, chair of the architectural history department, University of Virginia (March 11, 2020); and Artist, Inventor, Activist: Laura Anne Fry and the American Art Pottery Movement, by Laura F. Fry, senior curator of art, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 1, 2020). All lectures are at 2:30 p.m. in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion, located behind the museum. Also looking ahead, the museum will present its “Friday Brown Bag Matinees,” with several film series. First up this winter is “Architectural Stories” (every Friday at noon from January 31, 2020 through February 28, 2020), which highlights important architectural structures from around the world. There is also a spring film series, “Art, Taste or Money,” (April 3 through April 24, also at noon), which explores the world of auctions and auction houses. The films are shown in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch and museum will provide soft drinks and materials related to the films. There is no additional charge for special events unless otherwise indicated. Regular admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the Cornell houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Three exhibitions are on view through December 29: African American Art in the 20th Century, a traveling collection of pieces from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Ut Pictura Poesis: Walt Whitman and the Poetry of Art, which commemorates the bicentennial of the poet’s birth with contemporary artistic responses to his work; and At Leisure: Images of Repose, featuring depictions of casual, private moments at home and in nature from the 17th to early 20th centuries. Ruptures and Remnants: Selections from the Permanent Collection offers material manifestations, from antiquity to the present day, of ruptures ranging from personal crises to nation-state upheavals. Works periodically rotate through this longterm exhibition, which continues through December 31, 2020. Guided tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, where a selection of more than 400 works in the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art are on view. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first

Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Admission is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this notfor-profit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. Currently on view is Collecting for Half a Century: Fine Craft by Definitive Florida Artists, which showcases a variety of works from Florida CraftArt’s permanent collection. Florida CraftArt, a St. Petersburg- based not-for-profit organization that seeks to boost the state’s creative economy by promoting the work of artists who create handmade jewelry and work with such mediums as glass, ceramics, wood and fiber. The exhibition closes January 11, 2020. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically AfricanAmerican west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are together known as the Heritage Collection. Admission is free. On view through January 11 is Soul Utterings, featuring the works of Florida CraftArt members Kianga Jinaki and John Mascoll. Also ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. The center offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, the center’s chief historian. The tour, offered the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10, or $5 for those with student IDs. Historic sites include the Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, the Welbourne Avenue Nursery & Kindergarten and the Masonic Lodge, all built in the 1920s. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680.


Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” in continuous operation since 1932, continues its 2019-20 season with The Humans (through October 5). Winner of the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play, The Humans is an eerie portrait of the modern American family that The New York Times described as “blisteringly funny, bruisingly sad and altogether wonderful.” The rest of the season includes Private Lies: Improvised Film Noir (November 15 through 23), The Good Person of Setzuan (February 14 through 22, 2020) and Mamma Mia! (April 17 through 25, 2020). Curtain time for the shows are 8 p.m., 4 p.m. or 2 p.m., depending upon the day of the week. Tickets are $20. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater continues its 2019-20 mainstage


633 Osceola Avenue Winter Park, FL Image by 28 North Photography | 407.647.6294 Image by 28 North Photography


4 Speakers Still to Come in Our 2019-2020 Series

Annika Sorenstam

Jeffrey Brown

Billy Collins

Laura Ling

NOVEMBER 18 AT 7 P.M. Bush Auditorium, Bush Science Center

FEBRUARY 18 AT 7 P.M. Tiedtke Concert Hall

MARCH 4 AT 7 P.M. Tiedtke Concert Hall

APRIL 7 AT 7 P.M. Bush Auditorium, Bush Science Center

Journey from Hall of Fame Golfer to Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

On the Value of Arts and Culture in a Global Community

Poetry and Music— Aspiring to the Condition of the Other

Journey of Hope


Visit for more information or to buy tickets.



EVENTS season with Desperate Measures, which runs through October 13. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, it’s a critically acclaimed musical caper set in the Wild West about a dashing and dangerous cowboy who must team with a cast of colorful characters to escape the sheriff’s noose. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (November 15 through 24 and December 5 through 15), Beehive: The ’60’s Musical (January 24 through February 22, 2020), The Andrews Brothers (March 13-April 11, 2020) and Pump Boys and Dinettes (May 8 through 17 and May 28 through June 7, 2020). Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 for students to $45 for evening shows. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145.


Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. This two-day art show and sale, now in its 46th year, is the only juried fineart festival in the state to feature Florida artists exclusively. The event, held downtown in Central Park along Park

Avenue, runs October 12 and 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to art, there’s live entertainment. 251 South Park Avenue, Winter Park. Maitland Rotary Art Festival. The 43rd edition of this boutique art festival brings the park around Lake Lily to life with artists, live entertainment and other free activities from November 8 through 10. Friday evening will see a return to its “Art Under the Stars” theme, lasting from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., while Sunday’s are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only 150 artists are admitted to this juried show, held near the heart of downtown Maitland. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. Oktoberfest. Held in the historic freight depot at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, this October 24 event is hosted by Leadership Winter Park. The program, sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, squeezes plenty of brats and beer into three hours starting at 5:30 p.m. Naturally, there’s an “oompah” band as well as savory German appetizers, beer and wine. Tickets are $25 and $50

for a VIP experience. Proceeds benefit the Legacy Fund of Leadership Winter Park, which offers scholarships for adults and youth seeking entry to the Leadership Winter Park program. 407-644-8281.


Enzian. This cozy, not-for-profit alternative cinema kicks off its fall season with a trio of festivals. The 25th annual South Asian Film Festival takes place over three days, from October 12 through 14, showcasing a diverse lineup of acclaimed independent films about the Indian subcontinent. Then, from November 9 through 12, the 21st annual Central Florida Jewish Film Festival celebrates Jewish life, culture and history. Finally, on November 23 and 24, the 29th annual Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase features locally produced films and videos plus the best work from film-school students statewide. Festival admission varies. For regular showings, tickets are usually $12 for standard admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Children under age 12 are admitted


Rami Shapiro

Mirabai Starr

Next year’s GladdeningLight symposium of the spiritual arts, staged annually in Winter Park, will feature an intriguing pair of keynote speakers: Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of more than 30 books on spirituality and recovery, and Mirabai Starr, interpreter of divine wisdom from mystics throughout the ages. The theme of the symposium, slated for February 6-9, 2020, is “Wild Surrender: Inter-Spirituality in a Time of Trial.” You’ll get the connection when you read the speakers’ most recent bestsellers: Starr’s Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True, 2019) and Shapiro’s Surrendered: The Sacred Art (Skylight Path Publishing, 2019). “The way of spirituality is forged by many voices of the holy,” says GladdeningLight founding director Randall B. Robertson. “Patriarchal paradigms are now being balanced by voices of the divine feminine, where wisdom pours forth amid the splendor of all faith traditions. Rabbi Rami and Mirabai exemplify this new dynamism of what might be called inter-spirituality.” Past GladdeningLight symposia have welcomed visitors from 33 states and all over the world. Two years ago, Robertson moved the event to the campus of Rollins College, where he and his wife, Pat, will host it in 2020.

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Barbara Brown Taylor

Also on the roster is Barbara Brown Taylor, whose most recent book is Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others (HarperCollins 2019). Taylor, who recently appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, will moderate a Saturday panel discussion with Starr and Shapiro at the college’s Tiedtke Concert Hall. The arts play a prominent role in every GladdeningLight symposium, and 2020 will be no different. “The Beauty We Love,” a prayer-in-concert from cellist Eugene Friesen, will highlight the opening convocation on Friday. Irish a cappella singers Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin, always symposium favorites, will also perform. Shapiro, a provocative and entertaining speaker, has been called a “holy rascal” for challenging preconceived belief systems. Starr, an advocate for feminine wisdom, offers revolutionary new translations of Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross, The Interior Castle and The Book of My Life by St. Teresa of Avila and the “showings” (revelations) of Julian of Norwich. The cost to attend the entire weekend and all the scheduled events is $220. An opening reception Thursday evening at the home of Rollins College President Grant Cornwell is $30, while a Saturday luncheon in the campus’s newly renovated Rice Family Pavilion is $20. Visit for more information.

free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Other series include Saturday Matinee Classics (the second Saturday of each month at noon), Cult Classics (the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m.), and Midnight Movies (every Saturday night). The next scheduled FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films and is held the second Sunday of alternating months, is October 6 at 1 p.m. During October, many of the theater’s regular film series feature appropriately spooky Halloween themes. A full schedule of titles and showtimes is available online. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family-friendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are on the second Thursday of each month and start at 7 or 8 p.m. Upcoming films include Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (October 10), Wall-E (November 7) and Elf (December 6). Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 407-629-1088.


Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor most Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see “Music”). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating antiSemitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other works of art. Admission to the center is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibition is Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park, which will run through June 6, 2020. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city and sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African-American artists and is an integral part of the annual, weeklong Zora! Festival each January. The current

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EVENTS exhibition is Zora Neale Hurston’s “Native Village”: Historic Eatonville Remembered — Autobiography, Folklore, Literature. Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188.,,


Eden’s Bar Halloween Party. Have a spooktacular time at this adults-only Halloween party on October 26 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission to the outdoor bar — part of Maitland’s Enzian movie theater complex — is free of charge. There’ll be drinks, snacks, music and a costume contest. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). 9th Annual Pumpkins & Munchkins. Kids of all ages are invited to a city-sponsored Halloween gathering at Shady Park, located in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square district. The free event, which runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on October 31, includes games, bounce houses, a costume contest and a Trick-or-Treat Trail. Corner of New England and Pennsylvania avenues, Winter Park. 407-599-3334. Handel’s Messiah. The Messiah Choral Society is a Winter Park-based not-for-profit that assembles volunteer vocalists to perform George Frederic Handel’s most famous composition every Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season. The main event this year — its 47th annual local performance — is December 1 at 3 p.m. in the Bob Carr Theater, 401 West Livingston Street in downtown Orlando. Admission is free. 41st Annual Christmas in the Park: The Morse Museum of American Art and the City of Winter Park present this annual exhibition of century-old Tiffany windows combined with a free outdoor concert of holiday favorites by the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s choir and brass ensemble. This year’s event is on December 5 from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. in Central Park. North Park Avenue at Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. Winter on the Avenue. Park Avenue is transformed into a winter wonderland for this annual holiday street party, set for December 6 at 5 p.m. Festivities include the traditional tree-lighting ceremony at dusk, carolers, and a visit from Santa Claus — the real one, not just a guy dressed up in a red suit. As a gift to the community, the Morse Museum of American Art will offer free admission from 4 to 8 p.m. 407-599-3399. winter-on-the-avenue. 67th Annual Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. This venerable tradition, held on December 7 beginning at 9 a.m., has delighted locals since the early 1950s. More than 80 parade units are expected to make their way south along Park Avenue beginning at Cole Avenue and ending at Lyman Avenue. Participants in the 90-minute event include marching bands, dance troupes, police and fire departments, local dignitaries and, of course, Santa Claus — who will have appeared the night before at Winter on the Avenue. You can also help turn pancake batter into dough

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— the spending kind — for civic-leadership scholarships at the 20th Annual Leadership Winter Park Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. The breakfast is served in Central Park near the outdoor stage. Tickets are $5 and proceeds benefit the Winter Park Improvement Foundation, a program sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. 407-644-8281., Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert. Celebrate the spirit of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in Central Park. The Phil’s program, set for December 8 at 5 p.m., will include holiday favorites for all ages. Bring a blanket and a picnic to this free event, made possible by the Charlotte Julia Hollander Trust. 407-599-3399. A Classic Christmas. Take part in yet another cherished Winter Park holiday tradition — this one purely musical. The program, part of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park’s Choral Masterpiece series, features beloved Christmas works performed by the society’s choir, youth choir and orchestra. Knowles Memorial Chapel on the campus of Rollins College is the venue for the performances, which are set for December 14 and 15 at 2 and 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $79. 407-6462182.


Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Each year, the institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. The second lecture of the 2019-20 season, on October 27, features Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and activist for immigration rights. His presentation, “Migration: The Changing Landscape of Immigration, Travel and America,” begins at 7 p.m. in the Warden Arena in the Alfond Sports Center. On November 18, LPGA golfer, businesswoman and wellness advocate Annika Sörenstam presents “Journey from Hall-of-Fame Golfer to Entrepreneur and Philanthropist” at 7 p.m. in the Bush Science Center’s Bush Auditorium. The final three speakers include: Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour’s chief correspondent for arts, culture and society, whose topic will be “On the Value of Arts and Culture in a Global Community (February 18, 2020 at 7 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall); Billy Collins, former two-term U.S. poet laureate, whose topic will be “Poetry and Music: Aspiring to the Condition of the Other” (March 4, 2020 at 7 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall); and Laura Ling, journalist and documentarian (April 7, 2020 at 7 p.m. in the Bush Science Center’s Bush Auditorium). Tickets for all lectures are $25. 407-6462145. University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to make a $5 donation

each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) Check the club’s website for the next lecture or special event. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149.


Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The openair market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park.


Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s signature festival of concerts occurs every February and March, but it offers musical programs throughout the year. Here’s what’s coming for the remainder of 2019. First, as part of the Visiting Artists series on October 20, is pianist Sergei Babayan, artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music who is acclaimed for his emotional intensity, bold energy and the deep understanding he brings to his diverse repertoire of both classical and contemporary pieces. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall, and tickets are $25 to $69. Next, as part of the Choral Masterworks series on October 26 and 27, is Joseph Haydn’s The Creation. The oratorio depicts the creation of the world as depicted in Genesis and was considered by the composer to be one of his greatest challenges and most profound accomplishments. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 3 p.m. (Sunday) in Knowles Memorial Chapel, and tickets are $25 to $69. Then, as part of the Insights & Sounds series on November 14, is Bach’s Moravian Music Heritage. The concert features the music of the Moravian Church, which was instrumental in bringing baroque and classical European masterpieces to America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall, and tickets are $20 to $45. The year concludes with two Christmas programs: Christmas in the Park and A Classic Christmas (see “Music”). Tickets are $35 to $79. 407-646-2182. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are sometimes on the schedule. Admission generally ranges from free to $25. Just a few of the upcoming

The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park (left) boasts a 160-member choir and a permanent orchestra, which have made five European tours and performed in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and in Royal Albert Hall, London, with the Bach Choir of London. Music during the season is not limited to Bach — or even to classical music. Artistic Director John Sinclair has helmed the organization, which was launched in 1935, for nearly 30 years.

GOING BACH: A YEAR-LONG MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park stages the oldest continuously running Bach Festival in the nation. It began at Rollins College, on a Sunday in 1935, with a performance to commemorate the 250th birthday of the revered German master. From that auspicious beginning, the Bach Festival has grown to a three-week extravaganza of concerts, lectures and events offered annually in February and March. The society, which features a permanent orchestra and a 160-voice choir, also offers an eclectic, year-round schedule that includes choral and orchestral performances highlighted by world-renowned guest artists. The artistic director is John V. Sinclair, who is also chair of the department of music at Rollins. Bach Festival-related events are already underway, so shown below are events still to come in 2019 and 2020. For more information visit

n Sergei Babayan, piano: Sunday, October 20, 3 p.m. n Hayden’s The Creation: Saturday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 27, 3 p.m. n Insights & Sounds: Bach’s Moravian Music Heritage: Thursday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. n Christmas in the Park: Thursday, December 5, 6:15 p.m. n A Classic Christmas: Saturday, December 14, 2 and 6 p.m.; Sunday, December 15, 2 and 6 p.m. n Insights & Sounds: The Greatest Composers (You’ve Never Heard Of): Thursday, January 23, 2020, 7:30 p.m. n Paul Galbraith, guitar: Sunday, January 26, 2020, 3 p.m.


n Stefan Kiessling, organ: Friday, February 7, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

n Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Dvorak’s Symphony from the New World: Friday, February 21, 2020, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 22, 2020, 3 p.m. n Concertos by Candlelight: All Beethoven: Friday, February 21, 2020, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m. n Spiritual Spaces: Reflect, Restore and Revive: Sunday, February 23, 2020, 4 and 6 p.m. n Quink Vocal Ensemble: Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 7:30 p.m. n Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle: Saturday, February 29, 2020, 7:30 p.m. n J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor: Sunday, March 1, 2020, 3 p.m. AND MORE n Diaz Trio: Sunday, March 29, 2020, 3 p.m. n Mendelssohn’s Elijah: Saturday, April 25, 2020, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 26, 2020, 3 p.m. FA L L 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E



2019–20 SEASON

EVENTS performers include singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters (October 19, 8 p.m.), jazz pianist Richard Drexler (November 13, 8 p.m.) and blues musician Corky Siegel (December 21, 8 p.m.). 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based not-forprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts usually held on the last Sunday of each month (unless a holiday intervenes). The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. Upcoming acts include vagabond guitarist Penn Johnson (October 27), Americana duo The Rough and Tumble (November 17) and soulful songstress Claudia Nygaard (December 15). Performances start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum presents free acoustic performances most Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Past selections include opera, jazz guitar and flamenco dancers. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. Performing Arts of Maitland. This not-for-profit group works with the City of Maitland and other organizations to promote performances for and by local musicians. It supports various groups, including the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, Maitland Market Music, the Maitland Stage Band and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. A full schedule of dates is available online. 407-339-5984, ext. 219.


Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author Rik Feeney. Upcoming events are slated for October 2, November 6 and December 4 at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for speakers and discussions organized by author Nylda Dieppa-Aldarondo. Upcoming events are slated for October 10, November 14 and December 12 at the Maitland Public Library, 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longestrunning open-mic poetry nights happens every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. 407-975-3364. Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour, a literary open-mic night, meets the second Wednesday of most months at 7 p.m. at Stardust Video & Coffee (1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park). It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming meet-ups include October 9, November 13 and December 11. Orlando WordLab, a workshop that challenges writers to experiment with new techniques or

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methods, meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Winter Park Public Library (460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park) starting at 7 p.m.; upcoming dates include October 23, November 27 and December 25.,,


Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Scheduled for the second Friday of most months, upcoming dates include October 4, November 1 and December 13. Networking begins at 8 a.m. followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. Winter Park Professional Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Upcoming dates include October 7 and November 4. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for chamber members and $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.


Keep Winter Park Beautiful. Volunteers who help the City of Winter Park collect litter around lakes Sue, Chelton, Forest, Grace and Baldwin on November 9 receive breakfast, a T-shirt, a snack and water. Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags are also provided. Kayakers and paddle boarders are welcome to participate; everyone is asked to bring a reusable water bottle. The 8 a.m. assembly point is 2000 South Lakemont Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3364. 13th Annual Peacock Ball. The Winter Park History Museum’s annual fundraiser takes place this year on October 5 at the newly renovated Rice Family Pavilion on the campus of Rollins College. Tickets are $200 per person, or $1,900 for a non-sponsor table of 10. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-2330. Curtains Up! 2019. Winter Park Playhouse’s annual fundraising gala, set for November 2 from 6 to 10 p.m., includes more than 20 musical performers in a one-ofa-kind show, delicious food, an open bar and a live auction. Proceeds benefit Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater. Tickets are $150 each; seating is limited to 123 persons. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145. Backyard Biodiversity Day & Native Plant Sale. The local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will do more than just sell plants at Winter Park’s Mead Botanical Garden on October 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free activities include guided hikes, workshops, food trucks and

children’s activities. All proceeds from the sale — which includes native wildflowers, trees and shrubs — benefit ecological restoration projects ongoing at the garden. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-622-6323. Cows ‘n’ Cabs. The 8th installment of this annual fundraiser features food from dozens of local restaurants and more than 200 varieties of wine. Best of all, 100 percent of the proceeds go to Elevate Orlando and After-School All-Stars, two local not-for-profit programs that help underserved middle- and high school students. The November 9 event, which includes live music, begins at 6 p.m. in the West Meadow of Central Park. General admission tickets are $120; VIP tickets are $160. 10th Annual Pumpkin Run 5K. This family-friendly event in Winter Park’s Mead Botanical Garden — for runners, race-walkers and casual walkers — is a fund-raiser that supports mission projects undertaken in Haiti by St. Margaret Mary and St. Stephen Catholic churches. Registration for the November 9 race ranges from $20 for students before November 3 to $35 for adults on race day. The chip-timed 5K begins at 7:30 a.m., with last-minute registration opportunities beginning at 6:30 a.m. All participants receive a race T-shirt and are invited to an after-race celebration and awards ceremony. Free digital photos are available. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-421-2151. CoffeeTalk. These free gatherings, sponsored by the City of Winter Park, are held on the second Thursday of most months and offer residents an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with local officials. Coffee is supplied by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. Upcoming guests include city commissioners Carolyn Cooper (October 10) and Todd Weaver (November 14). The hour-long sessions begin at 8 a.m. at the Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644-8281.


Elixer Mixer. Meet and watch the best shakers and stirrers in the area as they compete for your vote at Eden Bar’s 7th annual Elixir Mixer on November 2 at 1 p.m. A $20 ticket to the outdoor bar — part of Maitland’s Enzian movie theater complex — offers access to this tasting event, during which drinks are created by some of the region’s most talented (and most flashy) bartenders. Of course, you must be age 21 or older to attend. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). Sip, Shop & Stroll. Experience the charm of Winter Park’s world-famous Park Avenue, the region’s premier shopping district, while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres at participating businesses. The November 21 event, organized by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Park Avenue Merchants Association, runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Check out fashions, gift ideas and seasonal menus during this lead-up to Small Business Saturday, which this year is November 30. Tickets are $25; check in at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard between 5 and 7 p.m. to receive your wine glass and “passport.” 407644-8281.,

Early Detection Makes a Difference By Kamy Kemp, MD Breast Surgeon, AdventHealth Medical Group


f you haven’t already noticed, you’ll soon see a sea of pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This transformation represents breast cancer awareness at a time when improved detection and treatments offer a cure or long-term survival for most. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, but early detection through mammography is making a difference. Mammograms and ultrasounds detect most breast cancers. However, even with normal imaging, a palpable mass should always lead to consultation with a physician, as biopsy may still be indicated. Other signs to report include puckering, nipple scabbing or crusting, and discharge that comes out of the nipple without squeezing. Annual mammograms are the first step in screening, remembering that ultrasound does not replace mammograms since calcifications, which are not seen by ultrasound, can lead to the diagnosis of early breast cancer. During October, the tests are readily available at a highly reduced cost, and for those with insurance, screening mammograms are generally covered 100 percent. Many women complain of the discomfort from the compression of a mammogram. However, this compression allows the tissue to spread out, making abnormalities easier to detect. Please remember, the time in compression is only a few minutes. Think of these few minutes as something that could save your life, so get your annual mammogram and let’s cure breast cancer! Schedule a 30-minute mammogram at one of 12 AdventHealth locations. All offer same-day appointments, and extended weekend and evening hours. 3D Mammograms are just $30 in October and are fully covered if you have insurance. Visit for more information.


E THE NEW YOU. Wardrobe Styling Travel Packing Fashion Production Closet Assessment Personal Shopping







ne way to think about form and content — the yoked oxen of literary study — is to see content as the poem’s interest in the world, and form as the poem’s interest in itself. In “Gold,” the content is the sunrise, and the form is the poem’s search for the best simile to convey its special brilliance. The poem sits in a tradition of “dawn poems” called aubades, and the spin here on this tradition is the speaker’s anxiety about being too overthe-top with his hyperboles. We should notice that his fear of losing the reader’s trust does not delay him from tossing off his final (and most ridiculous) exaggeration, in which one of the greatest achievements in Western literature is used to convey what this fellow’s bedroom looks like early in the morning.

GOLD I don’t want to make too much of this, but because our bedroom faces east across a lake here in Florida, when the sun begins to rise and reflect off the water, the whole room is suffused with the kind of golden light that could travel at dawn on a summer solstice the length of a passageway in a megalithic tomb. Again, I don’t want to exaggerate, but it reminds me of the light that might illuminate the walls of a secret chamber full of treasure, pearls and gold coins overflowing the silver platters. I feel like comparing it to the fire that Aphrodite lit in the human eye so as to allow us to perceive the other three elements,

Billy Collins is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. He served as U.S. Poet Laureate (2001–03) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, “Gold” originally appeared in Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins © 2011. Reprinted by permission of Random House.

but the last thing I want to do is risk losing your confidence by appearing to lay it on too thick. Let’s just say that the morning light here would bring to anyone’s mind the rings of light that Dante


deploys in the final cantos of the Paradiso to convey the presence of God, while bringing the Divine Comedy to a stunning climax, and leave it at that.

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