Thaddeus Seymour Don Sondag, Jr.
THAD SEYMOUR (1928–2019) | YOUNG LEADERS | A POEM BY BILLY COLLINS
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CONTENTS WINTER 2020
FEATURES 30 | THAD — AN APPRECIATION When word came last October that Thaddeus Seymour, 12th president of Rollins College, had passed away, the reaction was grief, naturally, tempered by gratitude for a life well lived. By Randy Noles 52 | THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS COFFEE No matter how you take it, Winter Park offers plenty of options for a cup of joe. Here are a few of our favorite places to get a caffeine boost. By Emily Sujka, photography by John Ruggiero 58 | THE BEST OF WINTER PARK 2019 A salute to more than 30 companies — in an array of categories — that won “Best of ” awards based upon online voting. 60 | PEOPLE TO WATCH Meet our inaugural squad of young influentials, who are shaping their community with activism, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and political engagement. By the Editors 78 | MOODY AND MAYAN The Maitland Art Center offers a surreal setting for winter fashion. Photography by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab
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DEPARTMENTS BUSINESS 18 | WHERE WORDS STILL MATTER Writer’s Block shows that independent bookstores can thrive in the face of online competition by offering personal service, and bringing readers and writers together. By Greg Dawson 25 | WINTER PARK-STYLE SMILES Dr. Drew Byrnes celebrates the opening of Park Smiles, a dental practice on Fairbanks Avenue that capitalizes on its long history in Winter Park. By Greg Dawson DINING 86 | CHICKEN LIKE GRANNY MADE John Rivers has gone back to basics on The Coop’s signature protein. There’ve been some other changes at this homey local favorite, which just marked five years. By Rona Gindin, Photography by Rafael Tongol
IN EVERY ISSUE 8 | FIRST WORD 12 | COVER ARTIST 98 | EVENTS 110 | OUR TOWN 112 | THE POEM
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MISTER ROGERS: BACK IN BRONZE
The initiative to commission British sculptor Paul Day — whose works include The Meeting Place, a sculpture in London’s St. Pancras International (top) — to create a life-sized bronze statue of Fred Rogers (center) began with Allan Keen (bottom), owner of Keewin Real Property Company and twice chairman of Rollins College’s board of trustees.
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red McFeely Rogers — known to the world as children’s television icon Mister Rogers — graduated from Rollins College in 1951. But throughout his life, he continued to visit the campus and Winter Park. Now, the beloved former music composition major, who taught generations of youngsters about kindness and tolerance through his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, will have a permanent presence at the college, where as an undergraduate he was inspired by a plaque that read “Life is for Service.” British sculptor Paul Day — whose works include The Meeting Place, a 30-foot-tall sculpture in London’s St. Pancras International, a major railway station — has been commissioned to create a life-sized bronze statue of Rogers. The work, slated for completion in the spring of next year, will be placed on campus at a location yet to be determined. Of course, the world never entirely lost interest in Rogers, who died in 2003. But during the past several years — perhaps because the values for which he stood seem under daily assault — the soft-spoken native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, has made a posthumous resurgence. In 2018, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Rogers’ life, became the topgrossing biographical documentary ever produced. And a big-budget theatrical film, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, was released in late 2019 starring Tom Hanks as Rogers. Rollins has saluted its most famous alumnus before, displaying his sweater and sneakers in the archives and arranging self-guided tours of Rogers-related locations on campus. Most recently, faculty, alumni and students along with a cappella superstars Voctave staged a heart-tugging concert, Mister Rogers: The Musician, at Tiedtke Concert Hall — where a Don Sondag portrait of Rogers hangs in the lobby. A statue, though, will be a fitting tribute to a man whose comforting presence and emphasis on essential human values has guided (and still guides) millions of people through personal challenges while easing the trauma of social upheaval and national tragedies. Like much of what happens in Winter Park, the initiative began with Allan Keen, owner of the Keewin Real Property Company and twice chairman of the college’s board of trustees (from 2006 to 2008 and 2016 to 2019). Keen and his wife, Linda, were enjoying a barge canal cruise through rural France when they noticed some intriguing sculptures in the vessel’s
gathering area. The wife of the barge captain told the Keens that Paul Day, who happened to be a family friend, was the artist, and asked if they would like to visit Day’s studio near Dijon in Burgundy, France. Well, of course they would! Then Keen had a thought. Because of Day’s international reputation, wouldn’t a Mister Rogers statue created by him be a meaningful addition to what has already been dubbed the most beautiful college campus in the country? Day, it turned out, was unfamiliar with Rogers and his cultural significance in the U.S. So, at Keen’s invitation, the sculptor visited Rollins last September to scout locations and interview administrators and staffers who knew the man — including Daniel Crozier, a professor of music theory and composition who is also Rogers’ nephew. What Day discovered will come as no surprise: Mister Rogers was the real deal. “[Rogers’] many talents, coupled with stupendous discipline and seemingly unlimited kindness, make him a most remarkable man,” Day said in a statement released by the college. Ironically, as the Keens discovered during their European trip, Day’s work already has a connection to Rollins. Hung above The Meeting Place in St. Pancras International is a neon work of art called I Want My Time With You by artist Tracey Emin. “I thought it looked familiar,” recalls Keen. As well it might. Another distinctive Emin piece, Everything For Love, is part of the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at the college’s Alfond Inn and currently hangs behind the check-in desk. “This all must have been meant to be,” adds Keen, who along with other private donors is funding the statue’s estimated $150,000 to $200,000 price tag. The college isn’t yet releasing renderings of the statue and may not, so it’ll be a surprise when it’s unveiled. But whatever form the final work takes, there’s no doubt that it will cause nostalgic smiles, perhaps some wistful tears and at least a neighborhood’s worth of good vibes.
Randy Noles CEO/Editor/Publisher email@example.com
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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 JOHN RUGGIERO, RAFAEL TONGOL | Photographers WILL SETZER | Digital Artist RONA GINDIN | Dining Editor MARIANNE ILUNGA | Fashion Editor HARRY WESSEL | Contributing Editor BILLY COLLINS, GREG DAWSON, CATHERINE HINMAN, MICHAEL MCLEOD, EMILY SUJKA | Contributing Writers
WINTER PARK PUBLISHING COMPANY LLC RANDY NOLES | Chief Executive Officer ALLAN E. KEEN | Co-Chairman, Board of Managers JANE HAMES | Co-Chairman, Board of Managers THERESA SWANSON | Vice Chairman, Board of Managers MICHAEL OKATY, ESQ. | General Counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP
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Copyright 2020 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.
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10 W I N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | WI N TER 2020
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A PORTRAIT’S POWER DON SONDAG’S BRUSH CAPTURES MORE THAN A GOOD LIKENESS.
Don Sondag’s work has been featured on posters for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Casa Feliz, and is prominent in many private collections. But he is best known for his portraits, and painted this issue’s cover using photographs for the likeness and his own memories of Seymour for the radiant spirit.
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hen Thaddeus Seymour died in October, there was no doubt that the beloved former Rollins College president would be the cover subject for the upcoming issue of Winter Park Magazine. But since Seymour was such an original character, we wanted to use an original image — not, for example, his official college portrait, which had been reproduced many times. Thankfully, the city’s most renowned portrait artist also happened to be an admirer of Seymour’s. Don Sondag, a Winter Park native who has rendered images of many community leaders and notable personalities, graciously agreed to drop what he was doing and turn out a cover. In just a few days, working from photographs and his memories of Seymour, the indefatigable Sondag managed to capture not only his subject’s likeness but also his ebullient humor and oversized personality. The paint was barely dry when the completed work was delivered. Sondag, a native of Winter Park, earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He also studied painting and portraiture at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York City. In addition to painting commissioned portraits and landscapes from his space at McRae Art Studios, he teaches portraiture and painting at the Crealdé School of Art, where he joined the faculty in 1990. He also has taught at Seminole State College, Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Feature Animation. It is for his portraits that Sondag is best known. He has accepted commissions from the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation, Seminole State College, Tupperware Brands Corporation, and the University of Central Florida among many other institutional clients. His image of the iconic Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) hangs in the lobby of Tiedtke Concert Hall on the campus of Rollins. Sondag’s work has also been featured on posters for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Casa Feliz, and is prominent in many private collections. “I paint portraits primarily but love to paint outdoors,” he says. “Capturing the light, color and form is what I try to compose in my paintings.” You can see a sampling of the artist’s photorealistic landscapes and waterscapes at Venetian Canals of Winter Park: The Art of Don Sondag, a new exhibition that runs through April 12 at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Venetian Canals explores why Winter Park once dubbed itself “the Venice of North America” through a fascinating collection of archival photographs, documents and assorted memorabilia accompanied by Sondag’s vivid paintings of the charming channels that connect the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. The exhibition is supported by Fannie Hillman + Associates, United Arts of Central Florida, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation and the City of Winter Park. Venetian Canals may be viewed during regular hours at the museum, which is located at 633 Osceola Avenue. Admission, which allows access to the entire complex, is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, and $3 for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Members and children under age 4 are admitted free. For more information, visit polasek.org. — Randy Noles
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At the coffee bar in her bookstore’s new Park Avenue digs, owner Lauren Zimmerman reads a novel by Ann Patchett, whose NPR interview inspired her to launch the venture.
WHERE WORDS STILL MATTER Writer’s Block shows that independent bookstores can thrive in the face of online competition by offering personal service, and bringing readers and writers together. BY GREG DAWSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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o paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of independent bookstores — much like similarly grim pronouncements regarding Tylenol, Tiger Woods and vinyl records — were greatly exaggerated. Had the rampant R.I.P.’s been accurate, Lauren Zimmerman would be practicing law or doing social work today — not fine-tuning the new Park Avenue location of Writer’s Block Bookstore, which she launched in 2014 around the corner on East Welbourne Avenue. Recalls Zimmerman: “People said, ‘You’re out of your mind, why are you doing this? I thought [independent bookstores] were extinct. I shop on Amazon.’ Well, I wasn’t going to not do it. I mean, how do you go through life that way?” Zimmerman adds that there were also plenty of naysayers — whom she pointedly ignored — when she decided to enroll in law school in her late 30s. “For people who’ve known me all my life, it wasn’t a surprise that I did this,” she says. “I’ve always been the kind of person who, when I say I want to do something, I do it.” At 62, the energetic Zimmerman has the heart of a bookworm and the work ethic of a honeybee — ideal traits for her vocation. But selling books wasn’t a career that she ever anticipated. It was a destiny arrived at via a circuitous route and a moment of serendipity in early 2014. “I’m one of those professional students,” says Zimmerman, who majored in pre-law at the University of Central Florida (then Florida Technological University) before earning an in-
The new Writer’s Block is 500 square feet more spacious than it used to be. Although the space features several welcoming nooks and crannies, it’s essentially a long, open expanse without the warren of separate rooms that made the former Welbourne location feel so cramped.
W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
BUSINESS Like every good bookstore, Writer’s Block has a robust children’s section where young readers feel comfortable and welcomed.
For Zimmerman, the interview was an epiphany: “I pulled over on the side of the road and called my husband and said, ‘I think I want to open a bookstore,’ And he said, ‘Go for it!’ I didn’t show up for that last class in the fall.”
terior design degree at the University of Florida. After working locally as a commercial space planner, she revisited her original career goal and graduated from St. Thomas University’s School of Law in 1995. She then opened a practice in Orlando specializing in children and dependency, and married Scott Zimmerman, president of AGPM, a property management company with about 6,500 apartment units in its portfolio. When Zimmerman stopped practicing law — the hours had become problematic for a mother
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of three — she decided to pursue social work and was within one course of completing a master’s degree at UCF when she happened to hear an interview on NPR with novelist Ann Patchett. The subject of the discussion was Patchett’s Nashville bookstore, Parnassus — named for the mountain in Greek mythology that was the seat of literature, learning and music — and how the endearing establishment brought the community together and “valued books and readers above muffins and adorable plastic watering cans.”
FINDING A HOME Patchett, who penned the novel Bel Canto and other bestsellers, may have supplied the inspiration for the “crazy” idea. But the perspiration required to make it happen was all Zimmerman’s. “It’s a very hard job, much harder than I thought it would be,” she says. First, she needed to locate a suitable space: “It had to be in an affluent area, where the community could support a bookstore.” Park Avenue came immediately to mind, but Zimmerman also flirted briefly with opening a store in Winter Park Village. She was dissuaded, however, by indie bookstore veterans to whom she turned for advice: “They said shopping centers are not your friend, unless you only want to do business on Friday and Saturday nights after the movies.” Zimmerman eventually found a vacancy on Welbourne Avenue, a side street just off Park Avenue. “It wasn’t the best location, but it was downtown Winter Park — it met the qualification,” she says. “I knew people would eventually find it.” Prior to Writer’s Block, there hadn’t been an independent bookstore downtown since Park Books — originally The Little Professor — closed in 1994. A nearby chain bookstore, B. Dalton, lasted until 1999. (Yes, there was Brandywine Books in Greeneda Court. But it stocked only second-hand titles.) Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that until Zimmerman came along no one was eager to invest in bricks-and-mortar bookselling, even in an affluent city filled with writers and readers. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of indie bookstores in the U.S. — bleeding customers to Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Barnes & Noble and Borders — fell 43 percent, according to the American Booksellers Association. The debut of Amazon in 1995 was expected to deliver the fatal coup de grace. But a funny thing happened on the way to extinction. Amazon was an existential threat to big boxes across the retail landscape, including chain bookstores. By 2011, Borders, B. Dalton and Waldenbooks had folded and Barnes & Noble was losing stores. But in the process of decimating their major retail competitors, the online colossus had inad-
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BUSINESS vertently given nichey independent bookstores a new lease on life. Between 2009 and 2015, their number rose 35 percent, from 1,651 stores to 2,227. At last count, in 2018, the total was 2,524. How did this happen? A perfect storm of cultural churn. Indies such as Writer’s Block found themselves occupying a nostalgic sweet spot as sterile mall culture withered and downtowns were reinvigorated as centers of community life. “Independent bookstores have become anchors of authenticity,” says Harvard professor Ryan Raffaelli, who has studied the great revival. “This is almost like a social movement.” Indies were in the vanguard of the “buy local” movement, offering perks not available on Amazon: lectures, book signings, game nights, reading groups, children’s story times and shelf space for local authors. Most important, the stores were run by proprietors who genuinely loved books and knew what their customers enjoyed reading. TURNING THE PAGE “When people come in, they feel safe; they don’t feel they’re obligated to buy,” says Zimmerman, whose literary preferences lean toward historical fiction. “Even if you’re not a reader, you still like going through the books and being around people. If you were in a bad mood when you walked in, you were in good mood when you walked out.” Naysayers notwithstanding, customers did indeed find their way to the cozy bookstore on Welbourne Avenue. “I was growing out of that space,” Zimmerman adds. “Events were a nightmare. It was hard on the authors. People would get stuck in the hallway and they could only hear — they never got to sit down.” Last September, Writer’s Block began a new chapter when the Zimmermans bought the building at 316 North Park Avenue, formerly home to The Impeccable Pig, a boutique that moved a few blocks south. Aptly, the bookstore’s next-door neighbor is Tugboat & the Bird, an independent children’s gift and clothing store. Take that, Amazon. The 5-minute walk from Welbourne to Writer’s Block’s new digs is an exercise in so-near-yetso-far, like turning the corner from Baltic Avenue to Park Place on a Monopoly board. “The exposure is going to make a huge difference,” states Zimmerman. The store is 500 square feet more spacious than it used to be. But it seems even larger than that because of light streaming in through tall windows up front and a covered patio — complete with cozy furniture — outside the rear door. There’s also a coffee bar tucked in the back corner. Although the space features several welcoming nooks and crannies, it’s essentially a long, open ex-
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Books and coffee make an ideal blend, The store’s coffee bar, tucked into the back corner, opens onto a comfortably furnished outdoor patio.
panse without the warren of separate rooms that made the Welbourne location feel so cramped. On her first walk-through, Zimmerman knew what could be done: “I saw it. I saw the tables, I saw everything. There’s a lot of joy in seeing something before it’s built.” Such moments of rhapsodizing are an indulgence Zimmerman allows herself before returning to her natural worry-bead mode. “There are lots of challenges with this space,” she frets. “There’s no guarantee it won’t fail. I worry about sales, I worry about staff, I worry about inventory, I worry about events. I worry about… everything. My husband says just make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. From all outward appearances, I’m enjoying it.” In the course of mothering Writer’s Block, Zimmerman has become the accidental godmother of Central Florida’s belated emergence as a destination for bestselling authors. Oh, you thought we already were there? So did Zimmerman, before traveling to New York in 2014 to pitch her fledgling enterprise to the kahunas of publishing such as Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster. BUILDING CREDIBILITY It was a struggle just to get an appointment, Zimmerman says, because “bookstores come and go, and everybody is opening a bookstore in their backyard or garage — so major publishers are skeptical of new bookstore owners.” Even
more sobering, Zimmerman discovered that she was living in fly-over country as far as big publishers were concerned. “We hadn’t had an independent bookstore in this area for 25 years,” she says. “They fly over Orlando to Miami, then fly over Orlando again to Atlanta. Orlando, to them, is Disney World. There is no town called Orlando.” On her next visit, in 2015, “I felt like I was a representative of the economic development commission. They wanted to see numbers. I had graphs and charts. I mean, the presentation was thorough. They were impressed. They were shocked. But they said we still weren’t a major market as far as they were concerned.” On her third visit, Zimmerman talked more about the area’s cultural amenities — including Rollins College and the museums in Winter Park as well as the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Eventually, her message got through. “Every year I went up, there’d be more people in the room.” she says. “They finally started inviting the real publicists to attend. That’s when I knew I’d cracked the ceiling.” One day last year, Zimmerman got an unexpected phone call from a publicist at Hachette, publisher of The President Is Missing, co-authored by James Patterson and former President Bill Clinton. “They said Bill Clinton wanted to come to Orlando, and they needed a facility that could hold a thousand people,” Zimmerman says. Writer’s Block holds 125, tops. So Zimmerman arranged for the Patterson-Clinton event to be held in the Winter Park High School auditorium and brought the Orlando Sentinel aboard as a co-sponsor. Shortly thereafter, that same connection brought former CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley (Truth Worth Telling) and bestselling romance novelist Elin Hilderbrand (What Happens in Paradise). Patterson and Clinton spoke before a full house, as did Hilderbrand, who appeared at Quantum Leap Winery in Orlando. Pelley, whose presentation was at Rollins, nearly filled the Bush Auditorium. The crowds warmed Zimmerman’s anxious heart. “I get on a soapbox about this,” says Zimmerman. “You need to come to events. When I go up to New York, I have to prove to them that audiences come to the events. I can tell them all day that we’re turning into a big city, but if they send an author and nobody comes, they’re not going to send any more authors.” The people who have known Lauren Zimmerman all her life would be surprised if the architectturned-attorney-turned-bookseller — who always does what she says she’ll do — ever let that happen.
INTRODUCING WINTER PARKSTYLE SMILES
Dr. Drew Byrnes and his dapper son, Drew Jr., celebrate the opening of Park Smiles, a dental practice on Fairbanks Avenue that capitalizes on its long history in Winter Park.
ost folks in the 1930s — except perhaps movie stars — didn’t have the wide, white smiles that you see today. “Be grateful you weren’t a kid then,” says Dr. Drew Byrnes, the bearded, bowtie-wearing dentist who took over a venerable Winter Park practice in 2014 and reshaped it as Park Smiles. “[In the 1930s] there probably was no air conditioning, so any dental office smells you can think of, multiply that,” says Byrnes. “Novocain wasn’t as common or effective then. There were different kinds of drills that weren’t as effective — belt-driven with a lot of rotary going on. There may have been some smoke coming out of the equipment.” Most certainly, Byrnes adds, there would have been a spit bucket next to the chair. And because gloves weren’t normally used, the dentist “would have his bare hands in your mouth.” No wonder a visit to the dentist was so frightening for the generation that won World War II. And for subsequent generations as well, despite improved equipment and refined techniques. Byrnes, 33, even admits to having dreaded dental visits as a youngster. Fast forward 80 years to Park Smiles, with a new facility on Fairbanks Avenue that offers a “Comfort Menu” of amenities that include internet radio, Bluetooth headphones, massage chairs, warm scented towels and cozy blankets. The hallways are bathed in white noise to mask sounds emanating from exam rooms where televisions that stream Netflix and Apple TV are mounted on the walls at eye-level for reclining patients. The welcome area has a coffee bar. “We took everything that looked clinical and tried to get rid of it or hide it to create a nonthreatening environment,” Byrnes says. “Those big old lights that come down from the ceiling? We got rid of those and installed indirect light.” A year after he graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Byrnes — who was born in Winter Park and raised in Altamonte Springs — took over the practice of retiring dentist Dr. Alan Price, who led the effort to fluoridate the city’s water supply in 1983. (Yes, there was opposition to fluoridation.) The practice, then located on Knowles Avenue, goes much further back than that. It was started in W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Park Smiles offers a “Comfort Menu” of amenities that include internet radio, Bluetooth headphones, massage chairs, warm scented towels and cozy blankets. Its examination rooms, such as the one dedicated to Fred Rogers, have adopted local themes.
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1939 by Dr. Wilbur Jennings, a 1927 graduate of Rollins College and a former owner of the city’s iconic Capen-Showalter House. Jennings and his wife, Edith, were for years prominent in local civic affairs. So Park Smiles — that’s the name Byrnes gave the practice in 2016 — boasts deep Winter Park roots (no pun intended) and is almost certainly the oldest continually operating dental office in the city. In fact, Byrnes says, his patients include children and grandchildren of patients from the practice’s early years. Byrnes and his wife, Julie, whom he met at the University of Florida, quickly fell in love with their new neighborhood. They lived in an apartment complex on Park Avenue across from their church, St. Margaret Mary. They later moved to
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Kraft Azalea Garden Exedra Henry Peter
CROSS AT THE CREEK | WHERE FOLKIES FROLICKED | A COLLEGE PAYS ITS DUES
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another apartment but remained within walking distance of Park Smiles. Julie, 30, a Coral Gables native, found Park Avenue “happier than Disney World — genuine happiness.” If it were possible, Drew says, “we would have stayed in downtown Winter Park forever.” That hope was dashed when Price, who kept ownership of the building after retiring, decided to sell the property. Byrnes searched in vain for another space on or around Park Avenue, but found that the main obstacle was — surprise — parking. Byrnes even toyed with valet service before reluctantly extending the search beyond the downtown core. That search ended on west Fairbanks Avenue, next to a 4 Rivers Smokehouse. But Byrnes realized that to fulfill his vision of how a dental practice ought to look and operate, he’d have to build a new facility from scratch. “Our new office isn’t just a game-changer for Park Smiles, but it’s a game-changer for dentistry as a whole,” he says. “We aim to change the dental experience.” A rundown bar and hulking billboard were razed to make room for a gleaming Aegean blueand-white facility with state-of-the-dental-art technology and a spa-like ambience. That welcoming vibe reflects the influence of Julie, an interior designer who found her career bingewatching HGTV as a teen. The couple now lives in a vintage Orwin Manor bungalow with their month-old son, Drew Jr. “We made sacrifices to make this happen,” Byrnes says. “We were seeing a lot of our friends buying their first homes and making big life moves. We decided to invest in the future of our practice — to give something amazing to our patients and the city; something that we can be proud of.” The practice — which also includes Dr. Eric Holtz — offers general and cosmetic dentistry. “We’re a guilt-free office,” Byrnes insists. “I don’t care if it’s been six months or 16 years since your last dental visit. We’ll not make you feel bad for coming back and promise to make it as easy as a walk in the park.” Byrnes, who says his professional calling was confirmed by dental mission trips to South America, has turned the new offices into an homage to the downtown Winter Park he never wanted to leave. Interior walls are lined with large photographs of iconic local buildings and scenes. Exam and treatment rooms carry city-specific names: Kraft Azalea Gardens, Hannibal Square, Central Park, Rose Garden, Emily Fountain, Rollins College and Mister Rogers. There’s even a family room where children can watch TV or play games while mom and dad are getting their teeth cleaned. Posted on the wall are the practice’s core values, the first of which is: “Always do the right thing.” — Greg Dawson
PHOTOS (TOP AND FACING PAGE) COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES: DIGITAL ART BY CHIP WESTON
he death of a 91-year-old man is never truly a surprise. So when word came last October that Thaddeus Seymour, 12th president of Rollins College and arguably the most beloved citizen of Winter Park, had passed away following a year of precarious health, the reaction was grief, naturally, tempered by gratitude for a life well lived. Even so, and despite ample time to prepare for the inevitable, it quickly became apparent that the community simply wasn’t ready to let him go — at least not yet. Shared one poster on social media: “It feels like someone turned out a light.”
Exactly. Of the hundreds of tributes Seymour received in the coming days, none better described the collective realization that this giant of a man — whose booming voice and irrepressible spirit were as integral to the city as its lakes, its brick streets and its cultural institutions — was truly gone. But Seymour’s influence will be felt for generations to come, in ways large and small. He directly impacted many thousands of lives through his long career as a college administrator and later as a civic activist whose interests ranged from historic preservation to affordable housing. His effectiveness in those roles was magnified by his humor and humanity. So genuine was Seymour’s ebullience that nearly everyone who met him left the encounter feeling better about themselves and more hopeful about the world in general. “Let’s face it: Thad was a quick read,” says Billy Collins, the former two-term U.S. Poet Laureate and now Senior Distinguished Fellow at the college’s Winter Park Institute. “It took only a minute of exposure to the man to be pulled into the magnetic field of his spirited personality,” adds Collins, whose witty and gently profound poetry Seymour enjoyed and sometimes shared with friends on typewritten, laminated cards. “To be in his company was to be uplifted and enlivened; you couldn’t help bring a little bit of his brightness away with you.” Inspirational personalities, though, aren’t always effective administrators. Not so with Seymour, who was without question among the 135-year-old college’s most consequential presidents. He placed the struggling institution on sound financial footing while reinforcing its traditional liberal arts mission during an eventful 12-year stint that ended when he stepped down — but not away — in 1990. Fortunately for Winter Park, Seymour would spend nearly three additional decades lavishing attention on the community.
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Seymour and his wife, Polly, were named Citizens of the Year by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in 1997. But the award would have been just as appropriate the following year — or in any of the 20-plus productive years still to come. Winter Parkers who agreed on little else remained united in the belief that the Seymours — whose 71-year marriage appeared to have struck an ideal balance between romance and friendship — were community treasures. Even when Seymour publicly endorsed candidates for city commission, no one questioned his motives. “I always appreciated Thad’s thoughtfulness, his consideration and his role as a valued statesman of Winter Park,” says Mayor Steve Leary, who knows a thing or two about how rough-and-tumble local politics can be. “He took this status seriously and was always a gentleman to all parties — regardless of your position on a topic.” If there was a dark side to Seymour, he never showed it in public. “Dad was pretty much the same guy in every setting,” says Thaddeus Seymour Jr., eldest son and now acting president of the University of Central Florida, who describes his father as“a mentor, a great moral compass and a best friend.” Dinnertime conversations at the Seymour household, he recalls, were often prompted by one of his father’s favorite questions: “What was your best thing today?” The premise — that whatever else may have happened, there was always something for which to be grateful — epitomized Seymour’s view of the world. “I’ll forever cherish the fact that I got to have a dad like that,” says the younger Seymour, one of four surviving siblings including son Sam and daughters Liz and Abigail. “Yes, he understood that his words carried weight. But he had such genuine humility. He would be surprised by the outpouring.”
THAD An A
n o i t ppre cia
BY RANDY NOLES
The ebullient Seymour was often known to lead raucous, fist-pumping cheers at a variety of occasions, including student gatherings and sports contests. He may have perfected his technique at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
“There was a lot of child in the man Thaddeus Seymour. His enthusiasms were often as boisterous as a child’s. If something caught his interest, he was all in. His energy was contagious. ‘Come on with me,’ he seemed to say like a benevolent Pied Piper. ‘You’ll feel better about yourself if you get off the bench and onto the playing field.’”
— Billy Collins
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES: DIGITAL ART BY WILL SETZER/CIRCLE 7 DESIGN STUDIO
TADDEO THE GREAT
Thaddeus Seymour, born in New York City in 1928, was the son of Lola Virginia Vickers and Whitney North Seymour, assistant solicitor general in the Hoover administration and later president of the American Bar Association. As a child, Seymour was fascinated by magic and frequented Manhattan’s Tannen’s Magic Shop — which was founded in 1925 and remains in operation. He honed his sleight-of-hand skills, and as a young man spent a summer traveling the carnival circuit with his equally tall older brother, the late Whitney North Seymour Jr., who would become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “[Magic] has been a happy part of my life,” said Seymour — who dubbed himself “Taddeo the Great” when performing solo — during a lengthy 2005 oral history interview for the college’s Olin Library. “And part of the fun is, it’s intended to bring people pleasure. There’s nothing unkind about it. Nobody loses in magic.” Seymour attended private schools as a youngster and enrolled at Princeton University in New Jersey when he was just 16. He unceremoniously flunked out after a year, but excelled as an athlete on the school’s nationally ranked crew team. After a year of “growing up and getting my bearings,” Seymour returned to Princeton and did well. He might have graduated from there, but chose instead to marry Polly Gnagy, his childhood sweetheart. Because Princeton didn’t allow married students, the couple moved west, to be near Polly’s family. Seymour enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley and completed an undergraduate degree in English literature. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina
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at Chapel Hill after completing a dissertation called “Literature and the South Seas Bubble.” The bubble in question was a 1720 financial crash in Great Britain. “It’s a wonderful graduate topic because nobody knows anything about it,” said Seymour. “I discovered in my little paper that some major literary figures had had an association with it. It was great fun.” In 1954, Seymour became an English professor and later dean of students at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where in the turbulent 1960s protestors tried to shout down a speech by Alabama Governor George Wallace and later surrounded and jostled the vehicle in which Wallace was being driven. Seymour, certainly no fan of Wallace’s, issued a public apology, regretting that “certain Dartmouth undergraduates so flagrantly abused the cardinal principle of an academic community by infringing on your rights as a guest on our campus.” In 1969, students occupied the administration building to protest the Vietnam War and the oncampus presence of an ROTC chapter — which was, ironically, already being phased out. Working behind the scenes, Seymour had agreed in advance to allow his ejection from the building by protestors. “I had already signed a contract at Wabash,” said Seymour, referring to Wabash College, where he had been named president. “I was the youngest and biggest, and it sort of fell to me to be the one who was forcibly evicted.” At that point, it was determined, the college would seek an injunction barring further occupation of the building. Police would be called only if the students violated a court order by refusing to leave. And even then, negotiation would replace confrontation. A grainy news photograph shows a young man
hustling the compliant — and seemingly bemused — dean from his office. At a muscular 6-foot-5, Seymour, a volunteer coach of the university’s crew team, dwarfs his spindly captor. Students — including members of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) — and authorities orchestrated an anticlimactic exit that resulted in 45 erstwhile occupiers being charged with criminal contempt and serving 30day jail sentences. Seymour remained proud of the fact that, unlike similar situations at campuses across the U.S., the Dartmouth incident wasn’t marred by bloodshed. “No violence, no tear gas,” Seymour said. “It came out as it should have.” Dartmouth’s deft handling of a potentially incendiary situation won praise from a New Hampshire representative in the Congressional Record. But Seymour, although he was sympathetic to the students, later admitted that the incivility on display troubled him deeply. Nearly 50 years later, in 2018, Seymour reconnected with the young man in the photograph. David Green, now a Boston-based national distributor of water filtration systems, visited the Seymours in Winter Park and dined with them at their home on Lake Virginia. “David has been a special teacher,” Seymour later posted on Facebook. “His friendship has taught me the importance and the rewards of reconciliation.” Wabash College, a small (800-student) all-male liberal arts college in Crawfordsville, Indiana, was an ideal fit for the congenial Seymour. “Very personal, very good humored,” he said. “[Our children] grew up in a traditional Midwestern county seat … a small town in a county that exports more corn and hogs than any county I can think of.” But, although Wabash was a more placid place than Dartmouth, it wasn’t lost on Seymour that the college had run through five presidents in six years, one of whom had suffered a nervous breakdown and one of whom was “a fancy guy” who had been hired from Harvard and had failed to adapt to the down-home culture. Noted Seymour: “More than anything else, [Wabash] wanted a sense of self-worth and a sense of stability and continuity. And that’s exactly what I wanted after what we’d been through.” The laid-back ambiance at Wabash allowed Seymour’s more whimsical side to come to the fore. A lover of distinctive if sometimes eccentric college traditions, he started a holiday called Elmore Day to honor a notoriously bad Indiana poet named James Buchanan Elmore. As part of the festivities, to which townspeople were invited, Seymour would read aloud Elmore’s
A lover of quirky campus traditions, Seymour restored Fox Day at Rollins as one of his first official acts as president. “When the Vietnam War ended, we didn’t need to feel guilty about having fun again,” he said.
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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES: DIGITAL ART BY WILL SETZER/CIRCLE 7 DESIGN STUDIO
During the 1980s, Taddeo the Great’s magic act was featured in an annual show staged by the Rollins Players at the Annie Russell Theatre. The cast introduced him by singing “Suddenly Seymour,” from the stage musical Little Shop of Horrors. To Seymour’s left is Alice Fairfax, now public relations manager at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. One of her cherished memories: When Seymour was conducting a tour for prospective students, he memorably called upon Fairfax, peering down from the window of her third-floor dorm room, to join him an impromptu balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.
florid works — including “The Wreck of the Monon” and “When Katie Gathers the Greens” — at an outdoor assembly. He was also prone to bound from the bleachers and lead raucous, fistpumping cheers at basketball and football games. But Seymour’s tenure at Wabash was all business when it needed to be. During his nine-year presidency, he raised nearly $32 million during one two-and-a-half-year span — said by The New York Times to have been “the most successful small college campaign in the history of higher education.” Then in 1977, Seymour told the trustees that he would be leaving in 1978, the year of his 50th birthday. He didn’t yet have another job but “had begun to fantasize about what to do next; about what adventure would be right for us.” Many prestigious institutions were interested in talking to the quirky but charismatic leader who had brought support and stability to an out-of-the-way college in the rural Midwest — and not only colleges were calling. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art also interviewed Seymour for its presidency. But Rollins proved particularly intriguing because it faced many of the same challenges as had Wabash. “I would have to say,” Seymour recalled, “as I look at my career in education, all of that was simply preparation for Rollins.”
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Seymour was amused — and likely not surprised — to learn that the first action taken by the Wabash faculty upon his departure was to eliminate Elmore Day.
BIG MAN, BIG IDEAS
When Seymour arrived in Winter Park in 1978, he was described by the Orlando Sentinel as “about as different from his predecessor as a Hush Puppy is from a patent-leather loafer.” The previous president had been Jack Critchfield, a button-down personality who went on to a successful career in private business, becoming president of Winter Park Telephone, then group vice president and ultimately CEO of the $3.5 billion Florida Progress Corporation (whose subsidiaries included Florida Power). Seymour was likely not displeased with the oddly apt comparison to casual footwear. He, in fact, often wore sneakers with his khakis and blue blazer (he also favored bowties) and quickly energized the campus with his larger-than-life personality. “If you’re going to be a liberal arts college, you’ve got to be a liberal arts college,” was Seymour’s mantra as he sought to lift the somewhat threadbare institution out of the financial and intellectual doldrums. “When I saw [Rollins], I saw a physical plant
in quite serious disrepair,” said Seymour. “I saw a place that was embarrassed by its Jolly Rolly Colly reputation. I saw a place that needed to feel loved. It needed to feel good about itself.” Seymour, looking ahead to the college’s centennial, appointed the blandly labeled College Planning Committee in 1978. The group — led by Daniel R. DeNicola, dean of education and associate professor of philosophy — would spend the next year and a half evaluating programs and setting a five-year institutional agenda. By 1985, its centennial year, Seymour wanted Jolly Rolly Colly to be nothing less than “the finest small college in the Southeast, standing among the finest small colleges in the country.” “We felt very strongly that in the planning process we needed to be clear about what liberal arts education was,” said Seymour. “Liberal arts education was not the majority of your students studying business and the second-largest group studying communication, which is what was going on.” When the 500-page Report of the College Planning Committee was released in October 1980, its most daring recommendation was to eliminate the popular undergraduate business administration major — a move that pleased liberal arts purists but, not surprisingly, displeased students majoring in business administration. “Any time you have a shift in an organization,
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“Do you know the difference between being involved and being committed? If you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning, the chicken was involved — but the pig was committed.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES: DIGITAL ART BY WILL SETZER/CIRCLE 7 DESIGN STUDIO
— Thaddeus Seymour you have naysayers,” says Seymour Jr. “Dad used to say that moving a college is like moving a cemetery — you get no help from the inhabitants.” Business administration, the report concluded, was rightly a graduate-level subject. If the undergraduate program was dropped — except as a minor — then the Crummer Graduate School of Business could seek accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. (AASB accreditation was granted in 1985.) “Dad had a vision for Rollins,” adds Seymour Jr. “He was so confident in the future of the place that he stayed true to that vision. When that happens, obstruction eventually melts away.” In 1987, a Master of Liberal Studies program was introduced and the School of Continuing Education — where the curriculum had been revamped to be more reflective of the traditional day school — was renamed the Hamilton Holt School in honor of the college’s legendary eighth president. As the 1980s wound down, Seymour could look back over a decade of successes. A $33 million capital campaign was successfully completed, and the college’s endowment doubled, to nearly $20 million. Faculty salaries had risen by 80 percent. Olin Library was built with a $4.7 million grant from the Olin Foundation. Other physical plant additions and improvements included Cornell Hall ($4.5 million), Alfond Stadium ($1.5 million) and a renovation of Mills Memorial Hall (now Kathleen W. Rollins Hall) as a learning resource center and student government offices ($1.8 million). Four endowed chairs were added: Classics — a favorite of Seymour’s, who delighted in its popularity — Latin American and Caribbean Studies, English Literature, and Finance in the Crummer School. Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report now covered the college not for its contro-
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versies or its gimmicks but for its academic prowess. The business administration major returned in 2011. Generally, however, the trajectory set by Seymour has continued through today, with Rollins ranked No. 1 among regional universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings of “Best Colleges.” It has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 for 25 consecutive years. “Thad was larger than life,” says Rita Bornstein, who succeeded Seymour as president in 1990. “He was a big man. He thought big, he acted big, and had big ideas and ambitions. Thad pulled and pushed Rollins to be better and better. That’s his legacy.” Bornstein recalls that following Seymour’s retirement, when he began a new career as an English professor, he asked her for a favorite poem that he might share with his incoming group of freshmen. She selected a work by Marge Piercy, “To Be of Use,” which he loved and shared widely on one of his laminated cards. “I still cherish mine,” says Bornstein, who adds that the words remind her of Seymour’s time at Rollins: I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, Who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, Who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, Who do what has to be done, again and again. It’s unknown how many such cards are still nestled in purses, wallets and dresser drawers. But Seymour surely dispensed many hundreds featuring favored poems, including “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost. If “To Be of Use” described Seymour’s work ethic, then “Dust of Snow” explained his eternal optimism, without which he could never have accomplished so much: The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.
It didn’t take long for the campus and the community to get a sense of Seymour. During the first year of his presidency he revived Fox Day,
a whimsical all-campus holiday declared spontaneously each spring at the president’s discretion. Fox Day, established in 1956 by President Hugh McKean, had been eliminated in 1970. “It was understandably a very frivolous activity at a time when the nation was addressing the war,” Seymour said. “If you took a day off, it was to talk about a moratorium for peace or address substantive moral issues. When the Vietnam War ended, we didn’t have to feel guilty about having fun again.” Later that year, Seymour was compelled to defend freedom of expression when the city threatened to arrest director Jeff Storer and actors David McClure and Darla Briganti from the cast of Equus, which contained a 10-minute nude scene. The play was slated to open within a few weeks at the Annie Russell Theatre. The brouhaha began when the Orlando Sentinel ran a story about the notably muted response from season subscribers, who had been alerted in advance to the nude scene. “I have faith in the maturity of our audience,” Storer told reporter Jody Feltus, who also quoted Seymour as being supportive of the production because the college “is an intellectually free environment.” But when about a dozen people lodged complaints, city officials vowed to enforce a vague 1912 ordinance that prohibited nudity and, strictly speaking, would have made bathing in one’s home illegal. In response, about 400 students marched on City Hall and draped a nude statue with panties and a bra. On May 3, Seymour, who had earlier that day reluctantly agreed to order the troublesome scene altered, presided over an all-campus meeting during which he announced a change of heart. He now expressed support for performing the play as written, and promised legal representation for anyone arrested. Still, did anyone really have to go to jail? Because the city attorney and the college attorney — Richard Trismen — were one in the same, Seymour asked legendary local lawyer Kenneth Murrah, who had volunteered to help the college, about going to court and seeking a restraining order against the city. On May 4, just hours before the curtain was set to rise, U.S. District Judge John A. Reed presided over a hastily called hearing. Ironically, Reed had two tickets for Equus and wondered aloud if this conflict of interest should prevent him from ruling at all. Attorney Lee Sasser, an associate of Murrah’s, said: “Your Honor, Dr. Seymour, president of Rollins, is in the courtroom, and I know if you requested it, he would fully refund your tickets for
One of Seymour’s magic tricks, it appeared, was pouring his massive frame into a well-worn Volkswagen Beetle. Seymour’s car, naturally, bore a “Fiat Lux” custom tag. Other times he would traverse the campus on a bicycle.
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PHOTO (ABOVE LEFT) COURTESY OF THE SEYMOUR FAMILY; PHOTO (ABOVE RIGHT) BY RAFAEL TONGOL
When Seymour was dean at Dartmouth, he helped organize Hanover’s 1961 Fourth of July Parade, which also celebrated the 200th anniversary of the town’s founding. In 2011, 50 years later, he returned as grand marshal, driving the same 1929 Packard that he had driven in the parade a half-century earlier Always at Seymour’s side — and pursuing causes of her own — was Polly, his wife of 71 years. She is shown (above right) at the Winter Park Public Library’s New Leaf Bookstore, now named in her honor.
tonight.” Replied Reed: “OK. But you’ll have to explain this to my wife.” The judge issued a temporary restraining order that allowed the show to go on without immediate legal consequences for the participants — but he did not, as the college had hoped, rule that the ordinance was unconstitutional. Theoretically, arrests could be made later, when the order expired. Ultimately, however, neither party pursued the matter further. That night, Seymour noted a handful of picketers on campus led by Rev. John Butler Book, a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist who led a small church in Winter Park. “I remember one of the signs distinctly,” he said, always laughing when he repeated the story. “It read, ‘Seymour Wants to See More!’” While shaping the college’s future, Seymour also bolstered appreciation for its past. He oversaw renovation of Pinehurst Cottage, the campus’s oldest building, and had it placed on the Winter Park Register of Historic Places. In addition, he revitalized and rededicated the neglected Walk of Fame, which had been launched in 1929 by President Hamilton Holt, and added commemorative stones for such diverse figures as folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Chief
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Osceola, leader of the Seminoles. In 1985, Seymour presided over the college’s yearlong centennial celebration, which he later described as “the most fun I ever had.” It began with the dedication of Olin Library and continued through the ensuing months with such activities as picnics, performances and panel discussions. But of the most significance to Seymour was the college’s centennial-year decision to divest from companies that did business with apartheidera South Africa. On the day of the trustees’ annual meeting, students called attention to the hotbutton issue by setting up shanty-style housing on the Mills Lawn. Trustees had to walk past the makeshift village to get to Mills Memorial Hall. “Now, for Rollins that was big,” Seymour recalled. “And I was so proud of that part of the coming of age — not just of shedding the Jolly Rolly Colly [image] … not just of being in U.S. News & World Report, but of having the conscience to act out of a principle about the endowment.” However, most students and community members have memories of Seymour that are more related to personal interactions. “Dad Thad” — a moniker that was also used at Princeton and Wabash — was a peripatetic presence on campus and in the community. But Seymour was also an easily accessible ad-
ministrator who was never too busy for a private chat with anyone who wanted to see him. Perhaps more accurately, he was nearly always too busy — but made time regardless. And he carried around silver dollars to bestow upon surprised students whom he had spied doing a good deed — even something as simple as picking up trash. “It didn’t count if they saw me coming and faked it,” he insisted. Seymour seemed entirely lacking in presidential affectations. He washed cars, led square dances, marched in parades and even donned tights to portray King Arthur in the Rollins College Renaissance and Baroque Festival. He also performed his magic act at the beginning of each academic year during a show staged at the Annie Russell Theatre by the Rollins Players. The student ensemble usually introduced Seymour by singing “Suddenly Seymour,” from the stage musical Little Shop of Horrors. “The words were just so perfect,” says Alice Fairfax, a theater major who is today public relations manager at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Suddenly Seymour, is standing beside me. He don’t give me orders, he don’t condescend. Suddenly Seymour, is here to provide me, sweet understanding, Seymour’s my friend.
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“Thad was larger than life. He was a big man. He thought big, he acted big, and had big ideas and ambitions. Thad pulled and pushed Rollins to be better and better. That’s his legacy.”
— Rita Bornstein
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROLLNS COLLEGE
As long as he was able, Seymour participated in Rollins commencements. He ultimately spent 14 post-presidential years at the college as a part-time professor. “I was able to devote myself … totally to what I’d set out to do in the first place,” he said when he formally retired in 2005. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the privilege. I mean that.”
Often, Seymour personally conducted campus tours for groups of potential students. Fairfax, who lived in Lyman Hall on the third floor overlooking Mills Lawn, remembers one Saturday morning in 1985 when she overhead a distinctive voice extolling the college’s virtues and opened her window to see what was happening. Seymour, who happened to glance upward, spied Fairfax and immediately decided that an impromptu scene from Romeo and Juliet would enliven the proceedings. “He didn’t miss a beat, and called out to me, ‘But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?’” recalls Fairfax, who was, of course, expected to respond as Juliet with, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Taken by surprise, however, she didn’t remember the lines. Seymour later typed the iconic exchange on a three-by-five card and instructed Fairfax to tape it to her window so she would be prepared the next time. “Anytime he was leading a tour, I would be at my open window and we would do the scene for prospective students,” says Fairfax, who still carries the card as a memento. When Seymour stepped down from the presidency in 1990, he simply said that “it’s time for a change at Rollins College, which deserves new ideas and inspirations, new vision and leadership. It’s also a time for a change for me.” He would return to the classroom, he said, and teach English.
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It was assumed that Seymour, as befitting a former president, would choose to lead a handful of workshops for advanced students. Instead, he tackled freshman English courses — which in short order were wait-listed because of their popularity. For a semester, Seymour was part of a “master learner” program in which he took biology and pre-calculus courses with undergraduates. “I want to see if there’s still a tune left in the old violin,” said Seymour when asked why, at age 63, he would try to master subjects that had bedeviled him as a young man. He was proud of the B’s he earned. Seymour ultimately spent 14 post-presidential years at the college as a part-time professor. “I was able to devote myself … totally to what I’d set out to do in the first place,” he said when he formally retired in 2005. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the privilege. I mean that.”
For Seymour, “retirement” meant lavishing even more attention on Winter Park. “Those involved in education should demonstrate to their students concern for their communities,” he said. “It’s the best form of teaching by example.” Throughout his career, wherever he lived, Seymour made it a point to become a stalwart of civic
life. In Winter Park, among many other volunteer committees, he chaired the board of trustees of the Winter Park Public Library, and in 1995 helped Polly found the library’s New Leaf Bookstore, now named in her honor. Later, Seymour was energized by an effort that seemed to call for the skills of a magician. In order to save the Capen-Showalter House from demolition, funds had to be raised to float the historic residence — via barge and in pieces — across Lake Osceola to the grounds of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, where it would be reassembled and restored. Preservation Capen, co-chaired by Seymour and former State Attorney Lawson Lamar, rallied the community and the relocation was completed in 2013. Two years later, the circa-1885 home was opened as a community events center. For many, spearheading such an audacious effort would qualify as a legacy project. But for Seymour, dozens of less showy homes built by Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland were even more important. Seymour chaired the worldwide nonprofit’s local affiliate since it was started in 1993. Seymour’s involvement originated with Hal George, founder of Parkland Homes and a 1976 Rollins graduate, who had been concerned about the lack of affordable housing in and around Winter Park. “From the very beginning, Thad was our leader and our public face,” says George, who still serves as president of the organization. “He could be found on work sites, chairing our board meetings, raising funds for homes and doing anything that was needed to ensure our success.” Seymour also presided over the heart-tugging ceremonies when ground was broken and homes were completed — consistently awing the lowkey George with his effortless eloquence.
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SIP. SAVOR. CELEBRATE.
World-class wines, celebrity chefs and stars from the Orlando Magic create a
trifecta of fun for the second annual Orlando Wine Festival & Auction on March 13-15, all to benefit at-risk children through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF). The weekend starts on Friday, March 13, with vintner dinners featuring notable winemakers and award-winning chefs in private homes all across Central Florida. On March 14, the party moves to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, where chefs pair their creations with extraordinary wines for an outdoor feast, where guests can taste, sip and mingle with chefs, winemakers and Orlando Magic players and coaches. That evening, a fabulous auction and dinner with unique bidding opportunities including trips, dinners, wine and more wrap up the day. The three-day extravaganza ends Sunday afternoon, March 15, with an Orlando Magic home game.
Chefs include: • Headlining Chef – Chef Michael Symon, Food Network, Lola flagship restaurant, Cleveland • Chef Akshay Bhardwaj, Junoon, New York • Chef Kathleen Blake, formerly of The Rusty Spoon, Orlando • Chef Melissa Kelly, Primo, Maine and Orlando • Chef Jamie McFadden, Cuisiniers, Winter Park • Chefs James and Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park • Chef Art Smith, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs Wineries include: • Featured Vintner – Dr. Madaiah Revana of Revana Family Vineyard, Napa • Casa Piena Vineyards, Napa • Dakota Shy Wines, Napa • Gracianna Winery, Sonoma • Hourglass Winery, Napa • O’Brien Estate Winery, Napa • Penfolds Wine, Australia • Peter Michael Winery, Napa • Relic Wine Cellars, Napa • Roy Estate, Napa • Rudd Winery, Napa
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Orlando Magic Youth Foundation- The not-for-profit Orlando Magic Youth Foundation is committed to helping children in Central Florida realize their full potential, especially those most at risk, by supporting programs and partnerships that empower families and change lives. OMYF fundraising events and programs like the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction have raised more than $24 million since its inception in 1990. Other fundraisers include the OMYF Open Golf Tournament, State of Florida License Plate Program, employee giving campaigns and on-line and in-game silent auctions. The foundation was created with no administrative costs, so 100 percent of gifting goes directly to benefit children and families in need throughout Central Florida.
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Orlando Wine Festival & Auction package purchases benefit the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3). A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free, within the state 800-HELP-FLA or by visiting www.800helpfla.com. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state. IRS registration #59-2940230. Your gift is tax deductible as a charitable contribution only to the extent that it exceeds the value of goods or services you received in exchange. Please consult your tax professional for the most up to date and complete information on tax deductibility.
“Thad was truly magical. Not only because he was a magician, but magical in the sense that he made things happen — and he inspired people to do things they didn’t know they were capable of doing.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ALBIN POLASEK MUSEUM & SCULPTURE GARDEN
— Hal George “Thad was truly magical,” says George. “Not only because he was a magician, but magical in the sense that he made things happen — and he inspired people to do things they didn’t know they were capable of doing.” Accolades continued to pile up in recent years. Seymour was a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year in 2013. And the Seymours were individually named to Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential People list: Thad in 2015 and Polly in 2017. “Frankly, I never thought of myself as influential, except that I’m pretty tall and have a loud voice,” said Seymour when accepting the magazine’s award. “It was the role of college president that provided the influence. I always tried to take that seriously because the college is, and always has been, such an essential part of the character of the community.” The Seymours dealt forthrightly with an unthinkable tragedy in 2014 when their daughter Mary, 56, a mental health counselor and gifted writer who had for years struggled with bipolar disorder, took her own life in North Carolina using a gun that she had legally purchased earlier that day. Another daughter, Liz, wrote movingly about the loss of her sister in the Triad City Beat, a respected alternative newspaper distributed in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The article frankly described Mary’s illness and delivered an indictment of the porous process that allowed her to so easily obtain a gun license. “That was the hardest part of my dad’s life,” says Seymour Jr. “But there was no hesitation on his part when it came to speaking out. He wanted something constructive to come of it.” Several times, the elder Seymour posted a Facebook link to Liz’s article along with a brief but urgent plea — most recently last September. “I just learned that yesterday was Gun Suicide
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Those who didn’t believe in magic became believers after Seymour spearheaded a fundraising drive to save the CapenShowalter House from demolition. It was necessary to float the historic residence — via barge and in pieces — across Lake Osceola to the grounds of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, where it was reassembled and restored.
Day,” he wrote. “It was reported that there were 800 gun suicides last year. Our dear Mary died that way, and I feel compelled to post again this powerful article by our daughter, Liz. I hope you will take the time to read it. We must take action.” In 2016, the entire community got an opportunity to thank the Seymours, who were told that they had been invited to a “unity party,” the purpose of which was to heal divisions that had resulted from a contentious city election. Of course, they probably knew better. But they were gracious enough to attend anyway — and to feign surprise when it turned out that the party, attended by hundreds on the grounds of the Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, was to honor them. In fact, the “unity party” descriptor wasn’t entirely untrue. Affection for the couple had been a nonpartisan issue in the community for decades. “Thad was the most go-to guy in this town,” says public relations executive Jane Hames, who was the volunteer president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce when Seymour was hired by Rollins. Locals had respected the conservative, corporate style of Jack Critchfield, says Hames. But the buoyant Seymour, she notes, was almost immediately both respected and loved — “and he responded in kind by giving himself to us all.” Hames recalls Seymour’s favorite admonition to fellow community volunteers: “Do you know
the difference between being involved and being committed? If you had bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning, the chicken was involved — but the pig was committed.” The “surprise” celebration, which Hames dubbed the Seymour Family Reunion, involved support from 21 local nonprofit organizations whom Hames had asked to participate. It was certainly not a hard sell: “Whoever I was on the phone with, the result was that we both cried.” Under a tent facing Lake Osceola, the crowd listened to a Dixieland jazz combo, enjoyed tricks from strolling magicians, feasted on catered cuisine and shared seemingly countless stories The Seymours, at turns deeply moved and laughout-loud entertained by a series of sometimes tongue-in-cheek (but always sincere) speeches, accepted one plaudit after another with their usual combination of modesty and good humor. During the event, Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary declared May 1 Thaddeus Seymour Day. Rollins President Grant Cornwell presented the couple with a framed silver coin of the sort Seymour randomly handed out on campus when rewarding good deeds. Debbie Komanski, executive director of the Polasek, gave Seymour a small replica of Man Carving His Own Destiny, a sculpture on the property. The figure, she said, represented Seymour’s indomitable spirit — which she observed firsthand during the Capen-Showalter House campaign.
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Hal George announced that the next Habitat for Humanity home built in Winter Park — the 53rd overall — would be dubbed the Thad Seymour House. “We’ll try to do a better job on that one,” deadpanned George. And Diana Silvey, then program director for the Winter Park Health Foundation (now vice president of programming for the recently opened Center for Health & Wellbeing), noted that Seymour had been a longtime volunteer for the organization. But, she added, “we know that the wind beneath his wings this whole time has been Polly.” Without much prompting, Seymour was persuaded to sing “The Dinky Line Song,” which dates to the 1890s and bemoans the notorious unreliability of the ramshackle railroad that ran between Orlando and Winter Park and had a Victorian-style depot on Ollie Avenue, near today’s Dinky Dock Park on Lake Virginia: Oh, some folks say that the Dinky won’t run. But listen, let me tell you what the Dinky done done. She left Orlando at half past one. And she reached Rollins College at the setting of the sun. Seymour had belted out that delightful ditty dozens if not hundreds of times at community presentations, campus gatherings or just for friends. It was silly, of course, but it was also an homage to local history. No wonder he enjoyed singing it so much. He had even performed “The Dinky Line Song” backed by a rock band. Chip Weston, a local artist and activist, recalls playing a set with his combo in Central Park as part of a fundraiser during the Capen-Showalter House campaign. Says Weston: “Thad came onstage and did the song with great aplomb.”
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
THE NEXT ADVENTURE
During the past several years, both Seymours had been hospitalized for an array of age-related illnesses. They were frustrated when they were unable to participate in civic events but lovingly tended to one another at their home in Westminster Winter Park. Then, as the old magician began to inexorably fail, his family gathered around him to help ease his transition to the next adventure. Yet, at times Seymour rallied. Just days before his death, he asked Hal George to arrange a meeting with Winter Park Magazine to encourage more publicity for upcoming Habitat for Humanity projects. On October 21, Liz Seymour posted an up-
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date about her father’s condition on his Facebook page — and Winter Parkers began to steel themselves for the inevitable: “Please send a loving thought to my parents as they come to the end of their long and wonderful partnership. My dad is very weak and under hospice care; my mother spends a lot of time lying next to him in bed holding his hand. He is as sweet and funny and loving as ever, but tired. I’m down in Florida with them, so grateful for this precious, tender time together.” Seymour, unrivaled as Winter Park’s First Citizen, slipped peacefully away five days later, enveloped by love from his large extended family and from the communities where his presence still resonated decades later — including Princeton and Crawfordsville. “Thad was a great man and a great president of Rollins,” says Allan Keen, a 1970 Rollins graduate who was appointed to the board of trustees by Seymour in 1989. “His large physical presence and love of the liberal arts, guided by his warm and sincere personality, made a mark on the college and its history.” Adds President Grant Cornwell: “Thad has been a friend and mentor since the moment I accepted the position [at Rollins]. It was so good to be able to talk about the history of the college and current issues with one who shared a love for the institution and profound optimism for its future. I valued Thad as a wise counselor and as one of the kindest, most good-hearted people I have ever known.” Billy Collins, as expected, describes Seymour using poetry — more specifically William Wordsworth’s “The Rainbow,” which contains the much-quoted line “the Child is father of the Man.” “[The phrase] is shorthand for the thought of the poem, which is the poet’s wish that his heart will continue to leap up in adulthood as it did in his childhood,” says Collins. “The child will teach the man how to do this — how to sustain this spontaneous love of his natural environment.” Adds Collins: “There was a lot of child in the man Thaddeus Seymour. His enthusiasms were often as boisterous as a child’s. If something caught his interest, he was all in. His energy was contagious. ‘Come on with me,’ he seemed to say like a benevolent Pied Piper. ‘You’ll feel better about yourself if you get off the bench and onto the playing field.’” Collins — who, like Seymour, began his career as an English teacher — recalls an observation from William Carlos Williams about poetry: “Men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” Seymour, says Collins, was not one of those men. “He died suffused with poetry.”
My father teaches poetry to yawn-eyed college students who think T.S. Eliot is some kind of department store. He captures their attention with the skill of a magician — Now you see it, now you don’t — teaching them the fleeting ways of symbol and metaphor. My father didn’t read poetry until later in his life when the solid stomp of prose finally failed to rouse him. He sought out a frailer form, wisped and condensed, fraught, metered, and sly — with new-gathered understanding that life was knowable as light. My father sends poetry to his friends and children, letting the words of Whitman, Frost, Collins, Dickinson, speak the meter of his heart, the depth and breadth of feelings too precious to commit to ordinary words. My father is poetry as he rises each day, beginning fresh stanzas without regretful glance at limping rhymes or scuttled lines, moving forward with the measured speed of a life-lived, graced with the language of joy. — Mary Seymour, 2002 This poem was read aloud at Seymour’s memorial service by his granddaughter, Maddie Seymour, daughter of Thaddeus Seymour Jr. and Katie Glockner Seymour.
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A Pretty Good Magician for a College President By Daniel R. DeNicola
PHOTO (ABOVE) COURTESY OF DANIEL DENICOLA; (BELOW) COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Dan DeNicola (above) chaired the College Planning Committee, formed by Seymour in 1979, that ultimately revitalized Rollins. DeNicola and Seymour (below) are shown reviewing the report’s raw data with Marsha L. Clore, committee secretary, and Connie Riggs, assistant to the president.
I had the great pleasure of working with Thad Seymour in various positions in academic administration and institutional planning during the years of his presidency. From the outset, I had great respect for his leadership — and it is one of the great privileges of my life that we developed a close, lifelong friendship through those years. What I owe him, personally and professionally, is enormous. He touched — and shaped — so many lives. I have known many college presidents, but I have never known anyone to get more joy, more pure fun, out of doing the work of the presidency. Thad loved the idea of building each year’s class and believed that among the diversity of the academically gifted, we should always have a banjo player, a magician and singers to form a glee club. For a while, he kept a balloon-inflating machine in his office. He always kept a pocket of silver dollars to give spontaneously when, unobserved, he witnessed someone pick up litter on campus. His smile and knee-smacking laugh were contagious. He clearly adored Polly and generously shared his family. He also loved his magic. He once considered
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adding a motto to his business card: Should it read, “A pretty good magician for a college president,” or the reverse? From early on, Thad loved convertibles — including the family’s heirloom 1929 Packard touring car and his well-worn VW Beetle. He also loved the rituals of holidays and celebrations, and reinstated Fox Day at Rollins to encourage every member of the college community to enjoy the beautiful setting and the wonderful people on campus. Not all plans worked, of course. Thad wanted a Latin diploma for Rollins undergraduates, and we worked together with a classicist — deciding, for example, whether the student “earned” or the faculty and trustees “bestowed” his or her degree. But student reaction suggested that we would need to print an English version as well. Thad also wanted the diploma to be on genuine parchment vellum. But true parchment, we learned, is amazingly expensive. And it involves sheepskin, which brought the proposal to the attention of animal-rights activists on campus. That, in turn, inspired Thad’s tongue-in-cheek proposal for a “Mostly Mutton Concert” with a program ranging from “Sheep May Safely Graze” to “It Had to be Ewe.” Ultimately, no lamb was skinned. When Thad had just arrived at Rollins, a solicitous assistant wanted to be sure the new president would be pleased with the arrangements for a formal dinner. She had many questions and kept seeking decisions about the details: the decorations, the music, the seating, the meal. After much discussion about the menu, she asked, “Do you want to have mashed or home-fried potatoes?” Thad replied, “You know, I have only two or three good decisions a day in me, and if I have to spend one of them on the potatoes…” The assistant got the message, and thereafter all he needed to say was “potatoes.” A college president receives a lot of crank letters, and Thad once shared his technique for dealing with them — a technique I admit to having borrowed. He would write a simple letter of reply: “Dear ____: You may be right. Sincerely, Thad Seymour.” Thad’s leadership was strong and gentle. A directive was rare; he was more likely to say, “If I were doing that, I would…” and the message was understood. Anger was unthinkable. He was a thoughtful optimist; he trusted and entrusted — and you wanted to be worthy of that trust. Though Thad had a keen institutional vision, amazing writing and speaking skills and impressive accomplishments throughout his long career, what made him so special was a deep if light-hearted wisdom, a sense of what really matters — in the college, in the community and in life. I am so grateful to have these and so many more cherished memories of Thad and of Polly. I still see him, greeting arriving guests at his home by throwing open the door, and in that hearty voice, booming, “Welcome, friends!” Dan DeNicola is professor emeritus of philosophy at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He came to Rollins in 1969 as an instructor of philosophy and eventually became dean of the faculty and later provost before chairing the Department of Philosophy and Religion until 1996, when he became provost at Gettysburg College. At Rollins, DeNicola also chaired the College Planning Committee formed by Seymour in 1979 to clarify the college’s mission and evaluate its programs. Recalled Seymour in 2005: “In my 51 years in higher education, the person I have valued the most is Dan. Knowing how important planning was — and knowing that Dan was the brightest, most enlightened, most engaging person I have known in my professional years — I asked him to head the committee. I depended on him, I turned to him, I was guided by him, I was educated by him. I count him as the major figure in my administration.”
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more devastating diagnosis came in 2013. Chioji, a routine MRI had revealed, now had Stage II thymic carcinoma, a rare, aggressive cancer apparently unrelated to her previous bouts. Just a few weeks after undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, however, she and other cancer survivors and advocates climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Her zealous defiance of such punishing health obstacles made Chioji the perfect fit for Growing Bolder. She also co-anchored Bolder Media’s Surviving & Thriving show, a quarterly broadcast that chronicled the lives of people coping with various serious illnesses. It aired first on WKMG-Channel 6 and in 2016 moved to WESH. The thymic carcinoma, which had initially responded to treatment, recurred in the fall of 2014. Chioji continued to fight — to “defy,” as she often put it — and was accepted into a clinical trials program at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. In her final blog, September 25, she recounted her chemotherapy at NIH, her fear of losing her hair, her sleepless nights, her fatigue, her refusal of hospice — and yes, her optimism and gratitude. “I am grateful I have lived well on my borrowed time for five years this Labor Day,” she wrote. “I am hopeful I’ll borrow five more.” Chioji was bolstered by the positivity of her legion of followers, and they were bolstered by hers. One of her closest friends was Mike Gonick, a broker associate with the Winter Park office of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. He often joined her on overseas trips and was constantly amazed at her unflagging enthusiasm — and at her feats of daring. “Wendy would bungee jump in Africa, when it looked like there was at least a 50 percent chance that you’d die doing it,” says Gonick. “She was never showing off, though. She was sending the message: ‘I’m doing this; what are you doing?’” — Catherine Hinman
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOLDER MEDIA GROUP
Living well on borrowed time. Beloved Central Florida news anchor Wendy Chioji, whose courageous public battle with cancer inspired untold numbers of people, lived in Winter Park from 1993 to 2008. During that time, she was often spotted working out at the Winter Park YMCA, jogging along Cady Way Trail or cheering for the Rollins College Tars men’s basketball team. And it was a Winter Park-based company, Bolder Media, that ensured Chioji would continue to have a platform for her story — and for telling the stories of others — even after she relocated to Park City, Utah, to pursue a life of vigorous outdoor adventure and extensive world travel. Chioji, who died in October at age 57, finally succumbed — but not before setting an example on how to live each day to the fullest. Her exuberance for life will be her legacy, says Marc Middleton, founder of Bolder Media Group and a former colleague of Chioji’s at WESH-Channel 2. “Wendy’s words and her actions were a constant reminder of the beauty of life, the value of time and the importance of friendship,” says Middleton, whose company produces the Growing Bolder television and radio programs. “If we not only remember those lessons but actually live them — then Wendy continues to live on through us.” A California native, Chioji grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in broadcast reporting. She joined WESH in 1988 as a reporter and eventually worked her way up to the anchor desk. In 2001, she made a brave on-air announcement that she had Stage II breast cancer at age 39. Her response then, as it was for the rest of her life, was to battle the disease with all the strength and savvy she could muster while embracing life even more fiercely and joyfully. After moving to Utah in 2008, Chioji swam, cycled and ran — completing five Ironman distance triathlons, dozens of half-Ironman distance races and shorter races of various kinds. Although it appeared that she had beaten breast cancer, a
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DEFY WITH WENDY
Wendy Chioji was a tireless fundraiser for Pelotonia, a nonprofit that raises money to fund innovative cancer research. It was this research that continued to give her hope and empowered her to live with passion and purpose. Growing Bolder is honoring Chioji’s wishes by producing a special edition T-shirt emblazoned with her personal mantra: DEFY. Proceeds will be donated in Chioji’s name to Pelotonia. You can buy a shirt at wendychioji.com.
A bipartisan civic champion. Former U.S. Congressman Lou Frey Jr. loved his family, his country and baseball. Although he was at times a national figure, Winter Park was the congenial consensus builder’s home base for almost 60 years prior to his death in October at age 85. At their Genius Drive home on Lake Mizell, Frey and his wife of 63 years, Marcia, held ritual Sunday dinners that were open to their five children, seven grandchildren and assorted friends who enjoyed the company and the opportunity to engage in civil, informed discussions of pressing issues. Frey, however, was sometimes known to sneak away to watch a ballgame on television. And who could blame him? He had certainly earned some down time. During his five terms in the U.S. Congress, the results-oriented Republican had, by some accounts, made a billion-dollar-plus impact on life in Central Florida. But it was likely his passion for civic affairs and amiable discourse that most endeared him to the public. For 20 years on 90.7 WMFE — first on The Notebook and then on Intersection — he bantered cordially with Democratic analyst Dick Batchelor, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, about state and local politics. Voices were never raised, and listeners always learned something — not the least of which was that friends could still agreeably disagree. Frey got things done through bipartisanship. “He was a bring-people-together congressman,” said former Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson at a public memorial service, held at St. John Lutheran Church in Winter Park. Julia Frey, his eldest child and an Orlando attorney, said her father believed that the surest path to a better world was through the next generation. “He was interested in getting kids educated, involved in the political process, involved in the community,” she says. To that end, Frey founded the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida to advocate for civic education and to encourage public awareness and engagement.
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PHOTO (TOP) BY PHIL COALE/ASSOCIATED PRESS, (BOTTOM) COURTESY OF THE LOU FREY INSTITUTE
The New Jersey native, who was the first in his family to graduate from high school, once aspired to be a baseball coach. But after a stint in the U.S. Navy, he earned a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Frey began his career in Central Florida, where his parents had earlier settled, in 1961 as the assistant county solicitor for Orange County. Longtime locals will remember his partnership in the law firm of Gurney, Skolfield & Frey, with offices on Park Avenue, and later Mateer, Frey, Young & Harbert, with offices in Orlando. At age 34, Frey was elected to Congress, serving what was then the 5th but is now the 9th District for five terms from 1969 to 1979. During that time, he sat on the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, the Science and Technology Committee and the Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. Frey was the first chairman of the Republican Task Force on Drug Abuse, and in 1969 helped author Congress Looks at the Campus with 22 other House members led by Representative William E. “Bill” Brock of Tennessee. The Brock Report became the basis for the 18-year-old vote and expansion of various college loan programs. He was also a standout shortstop on the baseball team fielded by House Republicans and was named the GOP’s Most Valuable Player three times between 1968 and 1978. His image even appeared on a baseball card celebrating the Congressional game alongside Major League legend Willie Mays. Afterward, Frey launched unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate and for governor, but never returned to elective office. Until his retirement in 2016, he was senior shareholder emeritus with the law firm Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed. Notably, Frey is considered a founding father of Orlando International Airport. He successfully appealed to President Richard M. Nixon to allow the City of Orlando to take over the former McCoy Air Force Base property and turn it into a commercial airfield. The price was only $1. Frey’s legacy also includes ensuring that Kennedy Space Center became the home of the Space Shuttle, and the creation of Spessard Holland Seashore Park, now Canaveral National Seashore Park. He and Democratic U.S. Representative Bill Chappell co-sponsored legislation creating the park. Although he practiced law for a living, Frey was never far removed from current events through his radio commentary, his books and his institute. He wrote and co-edited two books: Inside the House: Former Members Reveal How Congress Really Works (2001) and Political Rules of the Road: Representatives, Senators and Presidents Share Their Rules for Success in Congress, Politics, and Life (2009). Frey, according to the institute, was “always a participant, never a spectator.” In his optimistic, inclusive leadership style, he set an example that will be forever relevant and remembered. — Catherine Hinman
The Answer is Always
COFFEE Ready to perk up? No matter how you take it, Winter Park offers plenty of options for a cup of joe. Here are a few of our favorite places to get a caffeine boost.
By Emily Sujka Photography by John Ruggiero A latte from Foxtail Coffee Co.
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here’s always something brewing in Winter Park. Events, openings, parades, exhibitions, concerts and, of course, coffee. The cause and effect relationship might be a bit murky, but the result is the same: Where there’s activity, independent coffee shops pour in. These “third places” act as common (coffee) grounds for locals. They fuel and filter all the goings-on and encourage reflection, often lending tables and stages to meetings and performances. Local coffee shops are vital, there’s no denying it. And thankfully, Winter Park is abrim with options. So, drink up!
929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park 407-975-3364 • austinscoffee.com Open 24 hours Always the hippest kid on the block, Austin’s Coffee is a venue that wears many hats. Jazz, poetry readings and stand-up comedy for all ages can be found here weekly. And the interior is constantly coated — ceiling to floor — with local art. The mixed-media works, framed and unframed, three-dimensional and those on the cusp of breaching the third dimension, are never the same a second time through; and the same can be said of the furnishings. After a decade of ordering from Austin’s, what I must insist that you do is this: Get the Sweet Coffee. A beautiful blend of milk, ice, cold brew and a bearable sweetness, it’s always the same size (24 ounces) and there are a plethora of dairy choices. However, I say be bold and grab it with some coconut milk. I always do, and it’s never let me down.
Sean Moore, co-owner, Austin’s Coffee W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
155 East New England Avenue, Winter Park 321-972-2819 • newgeneral.us Tuesday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; Closed Monday For many longtime Winter Parkers, discovering a coffee shop occupying a portion of the space where Colonial Pharmacy operated for decades will come as a surprise. New General blurs the distinction between shopping and coffee experiences, and makes you question the need to always pitch your cup before peeling off into a department store. It combines caffeine with fair-trade kitchenware and clothing for seamless, simple living. There’s a kind of modern-day undercurrent to the establishment, which serves brews, in whiterimmed and gray cup-and-saucer sets, made with beans from Orlando’s Lineage Coffee Roasting. As you sip, you can cross a New Year’s resolution off your list — one that’s also spelled out on New General’s fabric-felt board: “1. DRINK MORE COFFEE.”
Scott South and Michelle Morse
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430 West New England Avenue, Winter Park 407-637-2335 • cfscoffee.com Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
CFS Coffee in Hannibal Square offers a dulce dose of café culture that dutifully complements your sugar packet, spoonful of brown sugar or added whip. It serves coffee brewed from Columbian beans, widely consumed and known around the world for their balanced flavor. If that wasn’t enough, CFS provides unexpected elements of excitement when serving this crowdpleasing concoction. An iced latte is delivered in a mason jar, while a cup of CFS traditional coffee will be set on the table in a ceramic cup, of the proper volume, set atop a saucer feathered in full-stemmed floral glazes in cobalt and tropical colors. If you’re feeling adventurous, the rainbow latte is smooth, with lavender and espresso, and unapologetically spunky with a colorful latte tulip on top. Snag a 75-cent chocolate chip cookie — they’ll offer to heat it up, and you’ll say yes — and sneak away to seating that will make you feel as though you’ve been swept away to the gathering area of a jungle dwelling. Fernando Botero Angulo figures on canvas endearingly adorn the walls, while an artificial fireplace adds purely visual warmth to the wide alcove, which could easily be topped with a tree canopy. Rest assured, coffee in hand and settled into the bench cushions and pillows lining the converted wood crates, you’ll look up at the handless clockface with the word “now” at its center and go blithe to time and place.
118 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-629-0042 • barniescoffee.com Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Setting out south on Park Avenue, from the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art to The Ancient Olive — following a brief salutation to Central Park’s Emily Fountain along the way — you arrive at historic Greeneda Court. Here, a bustling Winter Park original continues to serve locals who recognize its aroma as being synonymous with home. Since 1980, Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen has been pouring just what those taking a break from the busy thoroughfare’s charms have needed. There’s sweet and potent cold brew, nitro brew, freezers in several flavors and a singular, seasonal brew announced daily. Taking a seat at one of the wooden chair-table sets, you’re surrounded by bookshelves of bagged beans and echoes of aerating wands and clinking pitchers. The bounty of baked goods — prepared at Blue Bird Bakery on Corrine Drive — or some brunch huevos rancheros will satiate as you caffeinate. Whatever you do, don’t think about leaving without ordering a Santa’s White Christmas Blend latte (or Santa’s White Christmas Blend anything, really). The drink is the stuff of legend and was once only sold in November through Yule time. Fortunately for all of us, now the prescription for starting the holidays and delaying their end is the same — and quite coconutty.
Kevin Rivera W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Stardust Video and Coffee
1842 East Winter Park Road, Orlando 407-623-3393 • stardustvideoandcoffee.wordpress.com Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–Noon; Saturday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–Noon A fixture on Winter Park Road, Stardust Video and Coffee never stops twinkling. It isn’t simply a coffee shop; it may as well be the beginnings of a coffee shop castle. You walk through one of its three doors and travel freely through each rounded portal, discovering high ceilings, cluttered walls flanking the cashier counter’s salon and a space illuminated by a constellation of Chinese paper lanterns. The interior combines the ambience of a bar with cafeteria-style openness, and somehow still offers several nooks to which you’re free to escape. When choosing what to drink here, with many years of experience comes a mastery that can be trusted. A cappuccino is my go-to for winter, while an iced mocha is my savior in the summer. And if you’re hungry — and with friends — order a totzilla, which is a pyramid of tater tots that you’ll be eating the next day, too. If you find yourself in the area on a Monday night, Stardust has hosted the Audubon Park Community Market in its parking lot for more than a decade. Rain or shine, you can reclaim a bit of the evening with a coffee pick-me-up and enjoy locally sourced goods and entertainment under the stars.
Foxtail Coffee Co.
1282 North Orange Avenue, Winter Park 407-951-7931 • foxtailcoffee.com Sunday–Monday, 6 a.m.–10 p.m.
Paige Lucas and Sarah Branson
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Foxtail Coffee Co. sits on busy Orange Avenue, with coffee drinkers sipping beverages under the glow of outside lamps and bargoers pulling up chairs inside at Foxtail’s Farmhouse, located alongside the coffee shop, which serves both mixed drinks and fancy coffees. It’s the kind of place that attracts a mixed crowd with a later bedtime. As the flagship store of the locally based chain, Foxtail goes above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to the coffee shop and bar, it houses under one roof a wholesale roastery and package room. Not only is the path from bean to brew crystal clear, but also — with everything prepared in front of you — nothing limits achieving the exact flavor you want. Espresso machines, French presses, Hario V60 drippers and siphons are all at your disposal. In fact, here Foxtail lays claim to the largest siphon bar in the world. All the siphons — coffee-brewing contraptions dating back to the 19th century — are based with gold-colored burners, brilliantly lining the counter and elevating the room’s glint. Foxtail also serves cold brew flights and affogato floats — espresso poured over ice cream slightly altered with some root beer. Should you begin to tire of your everyday latte routine, Foxtail is the antidote.
New, Notable and Unexpected
There are many well-marked coffee shops in Winter Park. And there are others that manage to fly under the radar. You could end up walking right past some of them, unless you ask a local or disconnect from your routine map app. Look up, ask around — and you may just find yourself filling up in a church listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places or in a bookstore that’s part of Park Avenue’s newest chapter.
All Saints Student Coffee Shop 338 East Lyman Avenue, Winter Park 407-647-3413 Sunday–Thursday, 4–9 p.m. Closed Friday and Saturday
All Saints Episcopal Church is a neighbor for many in Winter Park, and — as with everything it does — the church takes its role as coffee purveyor to heart. The All Saints Student Coffee Shoppe is an effort by the church to connect with its acrossFairbanks neighbor, Rollins College. Fostered by Charli Jane and Eric Braun, two of the church’s active congregants, the comfortably-lit creation has couches and free WiFi. It’s designed for students wishing to take a break from the library or for anyone else in the community looking for a change of scenery. You’ll be warmed both inside and out with one or more free cups of drip Credo coffee — there’s Infusion tea, too — after an evening sojourn at this reposeful pit stop.
Café at Writer’s Block Bookstore
316 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-335-4192 • writersblockbookstore.com Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. You know what goes well with a good book? A cup of joe. Writer’s Block Bookstore, in its new location on Park Avenue, has thought ahead, infusing each turned page with some ancillary java. A few steps past the freestanding shelves, swinging around the journal displays and venturing toward the children’s book nook, a compact La Cimbali espresso machine sits behind a low, effortless counter eager to provide you with your cappuccino or Americano made from AXUM Coffee’s beloved beans. Sustainable, local, and — in their handling of coffee and latte art — reverable, AXUM is headquartered in Winter Garden. Now there’s a way to get a taste of AXUM in our own neighborhood. Purchased book in one hand, coffee in another, you can proceed ever further out onto an enclosed, turf patio to settle in. I think we can all agree that it’s a precisely novel idea.
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Felsing LLC • 1419 Gene Street, Winter Park, FL 32789 • Phone: 407-412-9299 • Fax: 407-900-2045 • www.felsingcpa.com
We’re Proud and Grateful
to have been voted the Best Law Firm in Winter Park.
200 E. New England Ave., Suite 300, Winter Park, FL 32789 (407) 647-2777 • swannhadley.com
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THEY’RE SIMPLY THE BEST OF THE BEST
undreds turned out on a nippy November night to celebrate winners of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce “Best of Winter Park” competition. The block party, in front of the chamber’s headquarters on West Lyman Avenue, saluted more than 30 companies — in an array of categories — that had won “Best of” awards based upon online voting. Betsy Gardner Eckbert, the chamber’s CEO, said more than 14,000 votes had been cast. Many companies had booths, and attendees enjoyed live music, beer and wine and light bites from Bolay, Outback Steakhouse, Salata and Sushi Pop. The event was a partnership between the chamber and Winter Park Magazine, with Park Smiles Dentistry as the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors included Edwards Financial Services and Genesis North Orlando. Below are the winners: Best Accountant
Best Lunch on the Go
Best Medical Practice
Dr. Scott Rotatori
Best Museum/Art Gallery
Best Car Dealership
Car & Quest
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Best Performing Arts
Best Community Event
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival
Central Florida Community Arts
Park Smiles Dentistry
Best Place to Take Visitors
Scenic Boat Tour
Best Power Lunch
Best Dinner Spot
Winter Park Magazine
Best Financial Planning
Security Financial Management
Best Residential Real Estate Firm
Fannie Hillman + Associates
Best Retail Therapy
Best Happy Hour
Best Home Builder
Phil Kean Designs
Best Hospital/Urgent Care
Best Senior Living Community
The Mayflower at Winter Park
The Alfond Inn
Best Travel Agency
Be On Park
Best Wedding Venue
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum
Best Law Firm
Swann Hadley Stump Dietrich & Spears
Club Pilates Winter Park
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T H A N K YO U FO R VOT I N G US
B E ST R E S I D E N T I A L R E A L E STAT E C O M PA N Y I N W I N T E R PA R K
Come visit our newly added office on Park Ave! 205 W. Fairbanks Ave. 122 S. Park Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789
THANK YOU, WINTER PARK!
Central Florida Community Arts is thrilled to be a Best of Winter Park winner! Our mission is to build and serve the community through the arts. We create a platform where every person can join an artistic family and connect, serve and perform to advance the arts in Central Florida.
With the reimagining of the School of the Arts in 2018, the school now has an Academy offering private lessons and group classes; outreach programs for undersupported or otherwise marginalized populations; arts experiences for healthy, older adults; and arts and wellness programs at more than 70 sites.
Starting out in 2010 as just an idea for a small choir, Central Florida Community Arts has grown exponentially to become the nation’s largest Community Choir, Florida’s largest Symphony Orchestra, a flourishing community theatre and a multitude of performing arts programs for students of all ages.
This organization thrives in its partnerships and collaborations, and reaches thousands of artists of all ages and abilities across a four-county region. With the vision to give everyone in Central Florida the opportunity to connect, serve and perform, CFCArts strives to create a safe place where the arts are affordable and accessible to all — no one is left behind.
Winner: “Best Performing Arts”
(407) 937-1800 • cfcarts.com
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WATCH Meet our inaugural squad of young influentials, who are shaping their community with activism, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and political engagement.
By the Editors
K, boomers. It isn’t true that all of Winter Park’s important movers and shakers are eligible for Medicare. Winter Park Magazine’s annual compilation of Most Influential People, in fact, has featured a handful of under-40 honorees — although many more have tended to be, well, boomers and beyond. Consequently, we’ve had several suggestions to initiate a similar annual list exclusively for the city’s up-and-comers (and, of course, those who’ve already arrived in a given field but may yet embark on new adventures). This being Winter Park, we found no shortage of millennials (often defined as being born between 1981 to 1996) making a mark. The same was true of Generation Xers (often defined as being born between 1965 to 1980). From those demographic cohorts, we selected a diverse assortment of intriguing honorees based upon feedback from past Most Influential People of all ages. We also sought nominations through social media, and selected several through our own interactions with local civic leaders. The criteria, beyond demographics, were broad. We sought people who were activists, influencers, creators, givers and entrepreneurs who were personally interesting and were making positive things happen. People to Watch, then, is essentially an extension of our well-established Most Influential People list. Its launch does not mean that those under 40 may not still be selected for our more traditional annual Influentials list. The new list, however, is more likely to encompass people whose most important contributions are yet to come. We wanted to limit People to Watch to 10 the first time out, but were tripped up by two sets of three brothers. In any case, there were far more nominees than space to profile them — which demonstrated that this project has staying power for next year and beyond. On the following pages, then, are an assortment of younger people who are doing remarkable things and are leaders in the community’s business, creative, charitable and philanthropic worlds.
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Clayton Louis Ferrara Executive Director, IDEAS for Us Clayton Louis Ferrara is a young man in a hurry to save the world. “I was just at a United Nations meeting, and it’s projected that deaths from climate change in this century will be in the billions,” he says with urgency. To Ferrara, 33, that’s not a death sentence, it’s a challenge — one he has eagerly tackled as executive director of IDEAS (Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions) For Us, an Orlando-based, U.N.-accredited nonprofit whose audacious goal is to “heal the planet and grow prosperity at the community level through the education, engagement and empowerment of those we serve.” Since 2008, IDEAS for Us has worked in 30 countries with thousands of volunteers on projects centered around what the organization has dubbed “5 Pillars of Sustainability: Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Ecology.” IDEAS for Us now counts more than 200 chapters worldwide — many of them in schools and colleges — and has earned awards from the Vatican, Hewlett Packard, the Centers for American Progress and the White House Office of Public Engagement. When Ferrara was a toddler, his family emigrated from Chile to New York, where he was transfixed by the towering Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton at the Museum of Natural History: “I have yet to recover from the experience. It changed my life — opened my eyes to a greater world.” Ferrara went on to earn degrees in biology and environmental studies from Rollins College, and upon graduation landed a job as head curator of the Oakland Nature Preserve on the southern shore of Lake Apopka. There he built a small natural history museum by collecting plant and animal specimens and designing exhibits and interactive programs. Ferrara, now an internationally known thought leader on environmental issues, is a member of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s GreenWorks task force and a founding board member of the Winter Park Land Trust. “When the opportunity arose to create a land trust, I knew I had to be part of it. I want to see Winter Park grow in green space, not just protect what’s there.” Globetrotter Ferrara is happy to watch the grass grow in Winter Park: “I could live anywhere in the world, but I have chosen to live in 32789.” Bloom where you’re planted, they say. Or in Ferrara’s case — transplanted.
Clayton Louis Ferrara at the French House at Rollins College. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Michelle Heatherly Director of Operations/Strategic Development, Demetree Global When Michelle Heatherly was director of client engagement for Axia Public Relations, her company pitched the Park Plaza Gardens account. Mary Demetree, whose company owned the iconic Park Avenue restaurant, ultimately hired a different firm. But the savvy Demetree was impressed by Heatherly, a polished professional who held an undergraduate degree in communications and public relations from the University of North Alabama in Florence. Heatherly had managed top-tier national and international accounts — such as Southern Comfort and Dave & Buster’s — for Axia and had previously served as marketing director for chains of 13 health clubs and 52 franchise restaurants. She had also been workplace solutions officer for Birmingham, Alabamabased BBVA Compass Bancshares (now BBV USA), a bank holding company with responsibility for 26 Florida branches. Demetree hired her from BBVA in 2015 as director of marketing for her diversified real estate organization, which holds an interest in nearly 500,000 square feet of space in Winter Park and owns 11 prime acres on the corners of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Orange Avenue. Heatherly was promoted to her current position in 2017, at a time when city officials — later bolstered by an 11-member citizens’ steering committee — had begun seriously studying how Orange Avenue could be reshaped via the flexibility available within a mixed-use overlay district. Demetree’s crucially positioned property, says Heatherly, 37, offers an opportunity “to create a beautiful gateway into Winter Park and provide a welcoming, vibrant, active neighborhood for residents and visitors.” Look for Heatherly, a polished presenter who has won multiple awards from regional public-relations professional associations, to be front and center alongside Demetree when communicating the company’s proposals to the public. “Leading with a Servant’s Heart” is the title of a talk Heatherly often delivers before civic groups — and she practices what she preaches. An active member of Celebration Church in Orlando, she has for eight years sponsored a child in Zimbabwe whom she met during a 2014 mission trip to Africa. Heatherly and her family have also raised more than $300,000 for research into GM1 gangliosidosis, a rare terminal genetic disorder that claimed the life of her nephew. “I want to leave the world a better place than when I found it,” Heatherly says. “I want to live a life that matters and inspire others to do the same.”
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Michelle Heatherly at the offices of Demetree Global.
Thank You! WE ARE SO APPRECIATIVE FOR ALL WHO MADE 2019 A GREAT YEAR. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HELPING YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES MAKE MORE MEMORIES IN 2020.
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.
Chase Heavener Creator/Entrepreneur Chase Heavener could live wherever he pleased. “I have no urge to move,” says the 40-year-old former professional wakeboarder and filmmaker. “There’s no place like Winter Park. And I’ve been all over, so I guess you could say Winter Park is my favorite place in the world.” Heavener — son of James W. “Bill” Heavener, co-chairman and CEO of Full Sail University — is an exemplar of Winter Park’s vibrant creative class, a group identified by social scientist Richard Florida as consisting of “people in design, education, arts, music and entertainment whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or creative content.” Heavener’s childhood home was along Lake Maitland, where he became an aficionado of wakeboarding — a cross between waterskiing, surfing and skateboarding. He became one of the best, and as a teenager snared corporate sponsorships and traveled the world on the competitive tournament circuit. He also began producing wakeboarding videos and co-founded a wakeboarding magazine with friends Matt Staker and Tony Smith. As Heavener’s career as a pro athlete wound down, he enrolled at Full Sail and graduated in 2004 with a degree in digital media. In 2009, he — along with Staker and Smith — started a production company, FCTN (pronounced “fiction”), to produce videos, infomercials and documentaries. The company, housed in an 8,000-square-foot modernist building on Welbourne Avenue, had about 10 employees at its peak. FCTN’s most high-profile project was 2010’s Tim Tebow: Everything In Between. Directed by Heavener, the film offered a behind-the-scenes look at the Heisman Trophy winner’s hectic personal and professional life following his final college game for the University of Florida (the Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome) through NFL draft day, when he was taken in the first round — 25th pick overall — by the Denver Broncos. The critically acclaimed work was shown as part of ESPN’s “Year of the Quarterback” series. These days, FCTN has scaled back as Heavener has become immersed in construction of a new home abutting Lake Maitland for him and his wife, Jovanna. However, he remains invested in several artisan-run businesses, including Mama’s Sauce, a boutique letterpress print shop that started in Winter Park and is now located in Orlando. Notes Heavener: “The creative talent that comes from Winter Park is amazing.”
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Chase Heavener on Lake Maitland.
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to present one of Winter Park Magazine's
PEOPLE TO WATCH CONGRATULATIONS AMIE MORGAN Director of Leadership Programs Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
CONGRATULATIONS DREW, GREGG AND GRAY. Park Hill Townhomes
Drew, Gregg and Gray Hill are young, but their achievements so far are timeless. Zoltan Kecskes at Fannie Hillman + Associates is proud of his affiliation with Hill/Gray/Seven, and we’d like to add our kudos to those of Winter Park Magazine. The Hill Brothers — who have made Winter Park a more beautiful place with their stunning residential developments — are absolutely People to Watch. Thank you all for a decade of partnerships in building and real estate.
Drew, Gregg and Gray Hill
Penn Place Townhomes
Zoltan Kecskes, Realtor 205 W. Fairbanks Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789 Cell: 407-741-3081 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Drew, Gregg and Gray Hill at Park Hill Townhomes.
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Drew Hill, Gray Hill and Gregg Hill Jr. Principles, Hill/Gray/Seven Everyone likes to think they’ll leave legacies in their communities. But the Hill brothers — Drew, Gray and Gregg — simply need to drive around Winter Park to view theirs, impressively wrought in brick, stone, glass and steel. The siblings, who live in Winter Park and operate Hill/ Gray/Seven as something of a triumvirate (“We’re not big on titles,” notes Gray, 36), are responsible for Park Hill, an uber-luxury townhome community on North Park Avenue. Drew, the youngest of the trio at age 35, took the lead on the townhomes, just as the other brothers have taken the lead on initiatives that captured their interest. “No one has attempted anything like this in Central Florida,” says Drew, a graduate of Rollins College. “And the only place it could have worked was Park Avenue.” Drew’s instincts — bolstered by research suggesting that a market existed for the kind of project he envisioned — proved correct. All but two of the 10 townhomes are under contract and fetched prices as high as $3.3 million. “We all pick a project,” says Gray, who’s also a Rollins graduate. “Then it’s divide and conquer. We all get along and support each other, but we’re also open to criticism. When the family’s successful, I’m happy. For us, it’s all about family.” Adds Gregg, a 42-year-old graduate of the University of Southern California: “We’re all invested in this town; if it’s not special, we don’t want to do it.” Hill/Gray/ Seven also developed Penn Place, a smaller infill townhome project at the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and Minnesota avenues, across from the Winter Park Ninth Grade Center. Penn Place, with just four units, sold out quickly. Now the brothers are poised to impact the city’s commercial landscape. Last year, Hill/Gray/Seven — based in Oviedo — bought a 2.7-acre site on South Orlando Avenue that’s now the home of the Ranch Mall. In its previous incarnation, the strip center was a mom-and-pop motel. The brothers say they’re angling to redevelop the site for luxury retail and, hopefully, an upscale restaurant of the sort that will create excitement even in a city with many fine dining options. Says Gregg: “There’s not another place in the country like Winter Park. And I think its best days are still ahead.”
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Chris King Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Elevation Financial Group On the night Chris King suffered his most heartbreaking political defeat, a supporter offered sympathy and a challenge: “Do something in life Nobel Prize-worthy.” King had a head start on that. The platform of his quixotic race for governor and then lieutenant governor with Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum was drawn from work he had done since 2006 as CEO of an enterprise he describes as “one part for-profit, one part nonprofit, one part change the world.” Elevation Financial Group is a real estate investment firm that acquires and revitalizes distressed affordable housing complexes for senior citizens and working families. Some of the net proceeds support the Elevation Foundation, a nonprofit that tackles inequality through education and entrepreneurship. The foundation has helped secure college scholarships for 63 high-performing students from poor families in Orange County. It has also supported charitable work in Haiti, and in 2016 helped start an elementary school in the Democratic Republic of Congo. King, student class president at Winter Park High School, studied religion and politics at Harvard and earned a law degree at the University of Florida. He then returned home and joined his father’s law firm, King Blackwell Zehnder & Wermuth. But soon King became restless. He began seeking investors who were interested in a business that would both make money and that “they would feel comfortable telling friends about at a cocktail party.” Elevation was born. It was the same restlessness, the same desire to “fix things that are broken” — such as housing and families and education — that spurred King to jump into a race for governor that pundits said the neophyte could not win. They were right. But Gillum admired the energy and progressive platform of his young primary opponent and put him on the ticket. The memory of their 2018 loss to Republican Ron DeSantis by 30,000 votes — a mere whisker — still stings. King, 41, says he has been encouraged not to forsake politics. But as a person guided by his faith, he contends that “it’s out of my control if I’ll be on the ballot again.” Meanwhile, his focus is on healing, redemption and justice: “I want to figure out how to bring people together, to foster better relationships. That’s really what I want to work on.”
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Chris King at the offices of Elevation Financial Group.
Amie Morgan at the offices of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.
Amie Morgan Director of Leadership Programs, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Amie Morgan had her midlife crisis early. At 31, the University of Florida grad (bachelor’s degree and MBA), already had been flying and succeeding in rarified corporate air with the likes of Verizon, Conagra and Walmart. And yet, she recalls, “I wasn’t that happy. I was going about my career without thinking through what I wanted in life. At the large corporations, my roles were sales-driven. I was a small piece of a huge puzzle. I needed to feel that when I go to work every day that I’m able to make a difference.” She has enjoyed that feeling every day since joining the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in May 2018 as Director of Leadership Programs. Now, at the end of a busy week, “I can feel it was for something worthwhile.” Morgan runs three programs: Youth Leaders, for high school students; Relaunch, career reentry for professional women; and the chamber’s signature program, Leadership Winter Park, which hones the skills and expands the horizons of civic up-and-comers. More than 950 denizens of the city’s business, government and philanthropic worlds have passed through Leadership Winter Park, now in its 30th year. That program, in fact, is a thread that runs through Winter Park Magazine’s annual Most Influential People list. More than likely, honorees have been Leadership Winter Park alumni. It’s Morgan who organizes the curriculum, chooses field trips, recruits guest speakers and is the lead admissions officer. The program is selective, with the current class of 45 drawn from a pool of some 75 applicants. “We curate a well-balanced class with a focus on diversity,” she says. That’s the fun part for Morgan: “My best skills are organizing, relationship-building and creating a community — empowering everyone in the class to go out and make a difference.” With her midlife crisis now in the rearview mirror, Morgan realizes that it led to a career that was waiting to happen, deep in her DNA. “My [maternal] grandfather was a huge influence on me,” she says. In New York, he ran a trade association of printers. “He built a community out of those people — he helped them connect with each other.” After moving to Melbourne (Florida), her grandfather started a club for other transplants from New York. “Somehow,” Morgan marvels, “this ended up being what I do.”
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Matt, Steve and Andrew Orosz Co-Presidents (Matt and Steve), Vice President and General Counsel (Andrew), Hanover Family Builders When the Orosz brothers want to blow off some steam at work, they organize spur-of-the-moment games at an indoor basketball court — complete with a lighted scoreboard —that anchors their headquarters near Orlando Executive Airport. Not that the brothers, all of whom are Winter Park residents, have an abundance of playtime. Their company — Hanover Family Builders — is a rare privately owned homebuilder that’s able to regularly shoot and score against the formidable publicly traded conglomerates that now dominate Central Florida’s production-home market. Matt, 36, and Steve, 41, are co-presidents of the company, which was founded in 2017 and has already notched more than 1,000 new-home starts. Andrew, 39, vice president and general counsel, says the sibling-run enterprise is successful in part because its operation reflects sturdy family values. Those values were learned from the legendary Bill Orosz, the trio’s father, who started Cambridge Homes in 1991 and sold it to national builder K. Hovnanian in 2005. The family then founded Royal Oak Homes, for which Matt and Steve were co-presidents, in 2010. That fast-growing company was sold to another national builder, AV Homes, in 2015. Matt and Steve dutifully reported to the company’s new owners for two years, then were joined by Andrew, an attorney, and veteran homebuilding executive Colby Franks — a fellow Winter Parker and former Royal Oak Homes vice president — to jump back into the fray with Hanover Family Builders. The upstart enterprise made its debut by launching an unprecedented 10 communities and selling 366 homes in its first 12 months. Hanover Family Builders’ biggest project to date, Hanover Lakes in St. Cloud, has more than 600 homes, most of which back up to navigable canals that access the Alligator Chain of Lakes. The brothers believe strongly in philanthropy; the Orosz Family Foundation has most recently invested in the Elevation Scholars Program founded by another local resident featured in this issue, Chris King. Matt, who earned an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business, says Winter Park is home to the brothers and their families because of its beauty and its plethora of cultural and recreational offerings. Andrew notes that out-oftown visitors are often amazed at the amenities most locals take for granted, such as the city’s abundance of lakes. Adds Steve: “It’s a vibrant, charming city.”
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Steve, Andrew and Matt Orosz at the offices of Hanover Family Builders.
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Emily Russell at Rollins College.
Emily Russell Vice President, Platform Project Management, StackPath Director, Winter Park Land Trust A high school teacher once told Emily Russell that there are many paths to the same destination. She didn’t know what her destination was, but “I always took that advice to heart.” Russell’s many paths ultimately led her back home to her dream job: director of the Winter Park Land Trust. “My goal in life is to leave this world better than I found it — my city and community — and the land trust is a vehicle to do that,” Russell says. Her ties to the land are visceral. A Winter Park High School graduate, Russell attended Rollins College and cherished the quiet moments at Dinky Dock. “Now, when I have days off, I go have lunch at Leu Gardens and listen to the bamboo and wind,” she says. “I feel like my connection to this place is inextricable.” When Russell was younger, she did leave this place to follow her passion — for theater. At Rollins she studied stage management and lighting, and after graduation became a freelance stage manager for Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando Ballet and other companies. In 2009, she left for a job as assistant lighting coordinator at the new Winspear Opera House, home of the Dallas Opera. Two years later, Russell — then Emily Jarrell — came home to be with the man she would marry, Tim Russell. “I drove by the Emily Fountain [in Central Park] and stopped at the Farmers’ Market for a bagel,” she recalls. “Looking around, I realized how lucky I was.” In 2012, after another stint as a freelancer, she joined the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden as director of operations and stayed until 2016, leaving for an executive title and better pay at StackPath, a Dallas-based software engineering firm with an office in Winter Park. “That opened the door for me to be more generous with my time,” says Russell, 33. She feels “a moral imperative” to continue stage managing Park Maitland School’s annual musical production at the Bob Carr Theater and The National Young Composers Challenge at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The “composium” and the land trust were both launched by Winter Park tech entrepreneur Steve Goldman, who clearly knows talent when he sees it.
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MICHELLE HEATHERLY Director of Operations/Strategic Development at Demetree Global Recognized as one of Winter Park Magazine’s “People to Watch”
CONGRATULATIONS From Your Demetree Global Family
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Taylor Womack Director of Sales and Marketing, The Mayflower at Winter Park For Taylor Womack, enthusiasm comes naturally. Womack, 32, was captain of the cheerleading squad — one of the best in the country — at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she majored in communications and minored in public health. When she graduated, she focused all that positive energy on helping others through sales and marketing roles in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in the TampaSt. Petersburg area, where there’s a heavy concentration of retirees. “I knew I wanted to help people,” says the can-do Womack, who earlier this year was named director of sales and marketing for The Mayflower at Winter Park. “So, I left something good to become a part of something great.” The Mayflower, founded in 1989 as a nonprofit retirement community by members of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, has 336 residents who range in age from 60ish to an astonishing 108. Womack’s arrival coincides with the most significant expansion in the facility’s history: the addition of a new neighborhood, Bristol Landing at The Mayflower, which will encompass 47 two- and three-bedroom waterview apartments, a 9,800-square-foot clubhouse and an 84,842-square-foot health center that will include a 24-unit memory care operation and a 60-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. The $105 million expansion, which is taking shape on a 16-acre site just west of the main campus, will feature walking trails, water features and plenty of green space. The Mayflower has always taken corporate citizenship seriously, so Womack — who was raised in Windermere — is settling into her new job while also learning about the unique nature of civic life in Winter Park. Next year, she says, she plans to enroll in Leadership Winter Park, a program of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce through which many up-and-coming community leaders have passed. Says Womack: “I’m looking forward to exploring Winter Park and learning how I can contribute.” She’ll undoubtedly get plenty of guidance from Mayflower residents — a fascinating crosssection of accomplished people including many long-time Winter Parkers. “It feels like home here,” says Womack, whose husband, Danny, is a financial planner. The couple has a 3-year-old daughter, Taytum. “The team here is really strong, and the residents are very smart and have stories to tell. I want to work here for the next 30 years.”
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Taylor Womack at The Mayflower at Winter Park.
TOP TOPPRODUCER PRODUCER ATATFANNIE FANNIEHILLMAN HILLMAN+ +ASSOCIATES ASSOCIATESFROM FROM2002 2002TO TO2019 2019 EXPERIENCED EXPERIENCED| HONEST | HONEST| DEDICATED | DEDICATED
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Maria@FannieHillman.com Maria@FannieHillman.com | 407.256.8066 | 407.256.8066
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790 790 PINETREE PINETREE ROAD, ROAD, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 5 bedrooms 5 bedrooms / 4.2 / 4.2 bathrooms, bathrooms, 4,313 4,313 sq.sq. ft. ft.
147147 S. INTERLACHEN S. INTERLACHEN AVE. AVE. #202, #202, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 3 bedrooms 3 bedrooms / 4.1 / 4.1 bathrooms, bathrooms, 3,272 3,272 sq.sq. ft. ft.
3312 3312 EAGLE EAGLE BOULEVARD, BOULEVARD, ORLANDO ORLANDO 2 bedrooms 2 bedrooms / 3/bathrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1,986 1,986 sq.sq. ft. ft.
1590 1590 DALE DALE AVENUE, AVENUE, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 5 bedrooms 5 bedrooms / 5.2 / 5.2 bathrooms, bathrooms, 5,085 5,085 sq.sq. ft. ft.
1585 1585 CHESTNUT CHESTNUT AVENUE, AVENUE, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 4 bedrooms 4 bedrooms / 2.1 / 2.1 bathrooms, bathrooms, 2,420 2,420 sq.sq. ft. ft.
2521 2521 TUSCALOOSA TUSCALOOSA TRAIL, TRAIL, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 4 bedrooms 4 bedrooms / 2/bathrooms, 2 bathrooms, 389,900 389,900 sq.sq. ft. ft.
730 730 PINETREE PINETREE ROAD, ROAD, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 4 bedrooms 4 bedrooms / 3.1 / 3.1 bathrooms, bathrooms, 3,724 3,724 sq.sq. ft. ft.
4220 4220 GABRIELLA GABRIELLA LANE, LANE, WINTER WINTER PARK PARK 3 bedrooms 3 bedrooms / 3.1 / 3.1 bathrooms, bathrooms, 3,621 3,621 sq.sq. ft. ft.
206 206 QUAYSIDE QUAYSIDE CIRCLE CIRCLE #PH, #PH, MAITLAND MAITLAND 2 bedrooms 2 bedrooms / 2/bathrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,270 1,270 sq.sq. ft. ft.
205 205 W. W. Fairbanks Fairbanks Ave. Ave. | 122 | 122 S. Park S. Park Ave. Ave. Winter Winter Park, Park, FLFL 32789 32789 fanniehillman.com fanniehillman.com
Adam Wonus Partner, Atrium Management Company
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Adam Wonus on the shores of Lake Killarney.
When Adam Wonus was a youngster, he traveled the country with his mom, Linnette Reindel — now a business coach and a vice president of marketing for Tupperware Brands — who had worked her way up the corporate ladder to become senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Longaberger Company, an Ohio-based manufacturer and distributor of handcrafted maple wood baskets and other home and lifestyle products. One of Reindel’s jobs was to scout locations for employee incentive trips, which required trips to far-flung resort properties. “I fell in love with hotels,” says Wonus, 36, whose family struggled until his mother’s career picked up steam. “We were always treated so well. I never forgot how special those places made us feel.” One day, Wonus dreamed, he would build a one-of-a-kind hotel that offered a comparable experience for its guests. That’s the inspiration behind the Henderson Hotel, a proposed 118room boutique showplace on 2.6 acres south of Beachview Avenue, east of Killarney Drive, west of U.S. 17-92 and north of Fairview Avenue, next to Hillstone. The finely detailed Victorian-style structure would replace several unoccupied houses, and the site plan would create public open spaces along Lake Killarney. At press time, the project had several hurdles to overcome — particularly from the Planning & Zoning Board and, ultimately, the City Commission, which must approve rezoning and conditional-use requests for the hotel to get built. But Wonus, whose optimism and enthusiasm are contagious, says the project is an homage to the city’s grand turn-of-the-century hotels as well as to the 60-plus family-owned motels that once stretched along U.S. 17-92’s so-called Million Dollar Mile. Even the Henderson Hotel name has significance; the Henderson family operated the now-demolished Lake Shore Motel on a portion of the site now owned by Wonus — who began his career as a banker specializing in small-business loans — and his partner and mentor, restaurant entrepreneur Eric Holm. Wonus’s holdings through Atrium Management Company and A.T. Wonus Development Group — which he owns with his wife, Monica — reflect his aesthetic. Many of the apartment complexes he has bought in downtown Orlando are in renovated old buildings. And the infill townhome projects he has developed in the Milk District, a hipster enclave just east of downtown, won a 2017 Community Impact Award from the Orlando Business Journal.
AURORA AWARD WINNER FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION & REMODEL
FROM CENTRAL FLORIDA TO COASTAL VOLUSIA, THE CHARLES CLAYTON CUSTOM HOME COLLECTION REFLECTS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE.
Â©Cucciaioni Photography 2019
MAYAN THE MAITLAND ART CENTER OFFERS A SURREAL SETTING FOR WINTER FASHION.
There’s plenty of magic (and a bit of a nip) in the air at the Maitland Art Center, founded and designed by architect and artist J. André Smith in 1937 as an artists’ colony. The unique Mayanrevival facility is one of five museums encompassed by the Art & History Museums – Maitland. It earned designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2014 and is a popular site for weddings and other special events. Winter Park Magazine got special permission from Smith’s ghost — who’s still in residence — to stage our winter fashion shoot at this extraordinary site. Visit artandhistory.com for more information about visiting hours and the center’s exhibitions and educational programs.
PHOTOGRAPHY: RAFAEL TONGOL STYLING: MARIANNE ILUNGA MAKEUP AND HAIR: ELSIE KNAB MODEL: BRI FROM MODERN MUSE MODELS LOCATION: MAITLAND ART CENTER
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Bri wears a leopard multiprint shirtdress ($598) and matching leopard multiprint pants ($298), both by Diane Von Furstenberg. She’s also wearing embossed crocodile tall brown boots ($250) by Sam Edelman. Her black silk top ($305) is by Goby and her multicolor faux fur jacket ($385) is by Love Token Anika. All are from Tuni on Park Avenue. The black beret is the stylist’s own. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Bri wears a camel-color suede jacket ($298) and a white buttondown blouse with long French cuffs ($284). She also wears a tweed top with feather trim ($248), camel side-zip pants ($168), a triple-strand pearl bracelet ($68), a gold-tone coin necklace ($88), a gold-tone link necklace ($58), pearl-drop earrings ($38), and carries a creamcolor embossed Crocodile tote bag ($108). All are by Sara Campbell from Sara Campbell on Park Avenue. The camel felt hat and sunglasses are the stylistâ€™s own.
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Bri wears a black turtleneck ($58) by All Row, a green leopard-print jumpsuit ($88) by Yady and a mustard-yellow trench coat ($88) by French. Her gold-tone bangle ($210-$265), gold-tone ring ($185) and gold-tone stud earrings ($125) are all by Julie Voss from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. The black beret is the stylistâ€™s own. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Briâ€™s oatmeal-color jacket ($698), cream-color turtleneck ($198), light gray leggings ($168), fingerless gloves ($148), cream-color knit beanie ($128) and platform Oxford shoes ($225) are all by Eileen Fisher on Park Avenue.
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Bri’s black graphic tee ($70) is by South Parade and her leather woven baseball cap ($46) is by WYETH. Her leopard skirt ($80) and a gold-tone statement earring ($64) are both by Buddy Love. She’s also wearing a vintage refurbished Gucci cuff ($268) and carrying a vintage refurbished crossbody Gucci bag ($654), both by Michelle Mabelle. All are from Dear Jane on Park Avenue. Her bejeweled denim jacket ($525) by Lecmost & Lola is from Tuni on Park Avenue. The black boots are the stylist’s own. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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
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SO SOLD LD 402402 Genius Genius Drive, Drive, Winter Winter Park Park $1,515,000 $1,515,000 | 6 |Beds 6 Beds | 6.1 | 6.1 Baths Baths | 4,970 | 4,970 SF SF
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1752 1752 Elizabeths Elizabeths Walk, Walk, Winter Winter Park Park $980,000 $980,000 | 4 |Beds 4 Beds | 3.1 | 3.1 Baths Baths | 3,545 | 3,545 SF SF
733733 Terra Terra Place, Place, Maitland Maitland $829,000 $829,000 | 6 |Beds 6 Beds | 5 |Baths 5 Baths | 5,076 | 5,076 SF SF
1525 1525 Glencoe Glencoe Road, Road, Winter Winter Park Park $1,650,000 $1,650,000 | 5|Beds 5 Beds | 4|Baths 4 Baths | 4,554 | 4,554 SFSF
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331331 E. Reading E. Reading Way, Way, Winter Winter Park Park $875,000 $875,000 | 4 |Beds 4 Beds | 4.1 | 4.1 Baths Baths | 3,361 | 3,361 SF SF
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471471 Sylvan Sylvan Drive, Drive, Winter Winter Park Park $1,765,000 $1,765,000 | 5 |Beds 5 Beds | 4.2 | 4.2 Baths Baths | 6,430 | 6,430 SF SF
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611611 Penn Penn Place, Place, Winter Winter Park Park $1,075,000 $1,075,000 | 3 |Beds 3 Beds | 2.1 | 2.1 Baths Baths | 3,516 | 3,516 SF SF
635635 N. Park N. Park Avenue, Avenue, Winter Winter Park Park $3,185,000 $3,185,000 | 3 |Beds 3 Beds | 3.2 | 3.2 Baths Baths | 4,237 | 4,237 SF SF
2920 Cove Trail, Winter Park 2920 Cove Trail, Winter Park $650,000 4 Beds | 2.1 Baths | 2,813 $650,000 | 4|Beds | 2.1 Baths | 2,813 SF SF
205 205 W. W. Fairbanks Fairbanks Ave. Ave. | 122 | 122 S. Park S. Park Ave. Ave. Winter Winter Park, Park, FL FL 32789 32789 fanniehillman.com fanniehillman.com
John Rivers, a comfort-food perfectionist, samples a drumstick from The Coop. Chicken at the downhome eatery is prepared using a new recipe that he hopes will have locals licking their fingers.
CHICKEN LIKE GRANNY MADE John Rivers has gone back to basics on The Coop’s signature protein. There’ve been some other changes at this homey local favorite, which just marked five years. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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hen it comes to The Coop, John Rivers doesn’t just wing it. He tests, he launches, he fixes, he tweaks, he tests and then he tweaks again. That goes for all menu items and service features but is particularly true of the restaurant’s signature protein — that’s chicken, ya’ll. Rivers launched The Coop, featuring Southern fare and counter service, with a fried chicken recipe he adored back in 2014. But the times, they are a-changing. He introduced a third version of this tried-and-true entrée last fall because, he says, that’s what customers wanted. “I put my pride aside a long time ago,” notes the mastermind behind the down-home establishment on Morse Boulevard, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last April. “I’m here to serve the community. If people aren’t going to enjoy what I prepare, what good does it do?” Which is why, success notwithstanding, Rivers — who’s also behind the 15-units-and-growing 4 Rivers Smokehouse chain — found himself back in the kitchen trying to get that fried chicken just right. Again. When The Coop was brand new, the fryers didn’t work out, so Rivers quickly replaced the dang things. Then he reworked the batter because customers said it was too thick. Over time, the kitchen team started steaming the chicken before frying it. That allowed them to deliver golden, tender and sizzling meals to tables in four minutes instead of the previous 14 to 17 minutes. And now, this ever-evolving eatery has changed its chicken once again — by going back to basics. The revamped recipe, as a result, is more like Granny’s than ever before. Gone are the rosemary and thyme in the brine. There’s less black pepper, while the 4 Rivers all-purpose rub has been added. And the breading? Some of the heft, which was originally removed, has returned. Recalls Rivers: “A very dear friend who loves The Coop told me, ‘You know, John, I love the food but you overcheffed the chicken. It’s not what I would get from my mom.’” That gentle critique was all the prompting Rivers needed to start testing. As luck would have it, Derek Perez was available to assist in the quest for poultry perfection. Perez was a chef at both Luke’s and Luma on Park for a combined 13 years. Just a few months prior, while still at Luke’s in Maitland, he told Winter Park Magazine that, despite Luma’s gourmet-forward fare, “I like to make honest food that’s not cheffed up.” Now that’s a kindred spirit. What’s more, Perez, like Rivers, is a fanatical recipe tester who dives deep into details. “If you change the salt by an eighth of a teaspoon, it makes a difference,” says Rivers. So, the duo launched a study of fried chicken — not just their own, but fowl from Publix, Popeye’s, KFC and Golden Corral because that’s what surveys revealed folks crave. Notes Rivers: “None of those, other than Popeye’s, is
Chicken sandwiches are all the rage these days, and The Coop has a dandy. The Cheerwine Chicken Sandwich, created for the annual Cows ‘n’ Cabs fundraiser, features chicken marinated in the Cheerwine soft drink and topped with hot sauce and cole slaw. Further enhancing the flavor is a housemade lemon aioli (flavored mayonnaise) and house-jarred pickles.
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The Coop now offers an Express Menu during lunch hours with three menu items: a three-piece chicken tender meal and a choice of two salads. The Express Menu, which is offered Mondays through Fridays, allows guests to place their orders, sit down, receive their food, eat and bolt back to the office.
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The Coop, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, is located on Morse Boulevard in a building that housed a small grocery store in the 1940s. Its renovation won an award in 2015 from the Winter Park Historic Preservation Board. Members praised the way in which the unpretentious structure’s character had been preserved.
fancy or has a lot of seasoning.” Once Rivers and Perez nailed what they believed to be the perfect fried chicken recipe, they tested it by selling both the old and new versions for several weeks and asking for feedback. An overwhelming number of diners said they preferred the simpler offering. Consequently, the new recipe is now offered exclusively. Plus, Rivers and Perez used the same batter for a fried chicken sandwich, which comes with a housemade lemon aioli (flavored mayonnaise) and house-jarred pickles. Then they kept experimenting to create a specialty sandwich to serve at Cows ’n’ Cabs, an annual autumn fundraiser that Rivers created.
Admittedly, they got playful — and came up with a winner in the process. The Cheerwine Chicken Sandwich, now on the regular menu, is marinated in the carbonated soft drink Cheerwine, then topped with hot sauce, cooled with a dollop of cole slaw and placed on a brioche bun. If our reaction is an indicator, we’d say it’s a keeper. Cows ’n’ Cabs serves so much food that we usually take one bite of each offering. But with that darned sandwich, we kept having another bite, and another, until the plate was empty. Spicy and sweet, hot and chilled — it works. We share all this chicken chat to make a point: This unfussy restaurant with an old-timey menu is a vibrant enterprise that’s continuously evolving.
In fact, we’re not quite done talking turkey — er, chicken. The Coop also recently rolled out a chicken club sandwich consisting of fried chicken tenders tossed in buffalo sauce. Also new is a breakfast item called The Early Bird, an eye opener featuring a chicken tender and a scrambled egg with cheese and bacon bits, hollandaise sauce and scallions on a toasted hoagie roll. The food isn’t all that’s been tweaked. Over time, The Coop revamped its service model. Instead of plating up at the counter, staffers began taking orders up front, composing each plate in the kitchen and delivering it to guests after they’ve seated themselves. That change delighted breakfast and dinner W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Wherever you look in The Coop, you’re likely to cry fowl. Chickens are everywhere, including this one stuffed with Tootsie Rolls on the counter. Speaking of counters, the restaurant has revamped its service model. Staffers now take orders up front and deliver meals to guests after they’ve seated themselves.
crowds. Lunch, not so much. People received their meals in the same amount of time when served at tables — but the wait apparently felt longer, and traffic dipped. In response, The Coop now offers an Express Menu during lunch hours with three menu items: a three-piece chicken tender meal and a choice of two salads. The Express Menu, which is offered Mondays through Fridays, allows guests to place their orders, sit down, receive their food, eat and bolt back to the office lickety-split. The restaurant also added online ordering, so those wishing to take their meals back to their desks — hey, we’ve all had to do it — can swoop by the takeout window and find their orders hot and ready. All the restaurant’s greatest hits are available for the grab-and-go crowd — including meat-
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loaf, fried chicken, chicken tenders, chickenfried steak, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and catfish and grits along with three fixins’ (sides). In case that’s not enough change to deal with, The Coop has also introduced a daily special of Giant Buttermilk Chicken Tenders. And since the beginning of the year, the restaurant has begun offering monthly specials for breakfast and lunch. In January, for example, the specials are blueberry lemon pancakes for breakfast and a grilled chicken gyro with a side of cucumber tomato salad for lunch. February is Southern poutine (french fries and cheese curd topped with gravy) for breakfast and Nashville hot chicken tenders with a side of hoppin’ john (rice, ham, onion, celery and black-eyed peas) for lunch. March brings with it Southern eggs benedict
(ham, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese and hollandaise sauce on a biscuit) for breakfast and a Buffalo shrimp sandwich with a side of broccoli salad for lunch. A meatless Portobello burger is in the works (no plant-based chicken product is up to snuff yet, says Rivers, so no poultry substitute is likely for a while). And the restaurant’s logo sports a fresher, more youthful look. You’ve got to give Rivers a feather in his cap for not resting on his laurels or his recipes. The Coop — perhaps unlike your granny — aims to please and is amenable to change. The Coop: A Southern Affair 610 West Morse Blvd Winter Park, FL 32789 407-843-2667 • asouthernaffair.com
J A PA N E S E R E S TAU R A N T & S U S H I B A R I N W I N T E R PA R K
(407) 960-5533 4 0 0 S. O r l a n d o A v e Maitland, FL Francescos-Rist.com
(407) 599-2929 4 0 7 - 9 6 0 - 3 9 9 3 | 5 2 5 S Pa r k Av e n u e w w w. u m i w i n t e r p a r k . c o m
5 3 3 W. N e w E n g l a n d A v e Winter Park, FL chezvincent.com
RESTAURANT TOUR® presents
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Q: What age did you begin cooking? A: 21 years old
Q: What age did you begin cooking? A: 10 years old
Q: What age did you begin cooking? A: 15 years old
Q: Where did you train? A: Palermo, Sicily
Q: Where did you train? A: New York, Shanghai & Hong Kong
Q: Where did you train? A: Clermont, France
Q: What is your favorite dish? A: Risotto Pescatore
Q: What is your favorite dish? A: Tuna Tartar
Q: What is your favorite dish? A: Rack of Lamb w/ blue cheese sauce
Q: What is your favorite ingredient? A: Everything fresh (how I was raised)
Q: What is your favorite ingredient? A: Steak & Lamb
Q: What is your favorite ingredient? A: Clarified Butter
Q: What is your favorite wine? A: White Falanghina & Red Etna Rosso
Q: What is your favorite wine? A: Hot Chokaisan Sake
Q: What is your favorite wine? A: Pomerol Bordeaux
Graphics by GalehouseDesign.com
©2020 Restaurant Tour Interactive
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Start the New Year on the Right Track By Melissa Morello, MD AdventHealth Medical Group
ike most of us, you may feel there’s some room for improvement in your life — in your physical fitness, your relationships or your work/life balance. Kick off 2020 right with these four steps:
See Your Primary Care Provider Have an honest conversation about your health goals and how you and your care team can achieve them. A physical exam will provide baseline numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and other measurements.
Get A Move On Exercise at a quick enough pace that you can’t converse or update social media. Do it every day for 30 minutes. Getting started is as simple as walking in one direction for 15 minutes and walking back.
Rest You need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you think you’re sleeping but are still tired, that’s a problem. People believe fatigue is a natural part of aging, but it isn’t. You may have a treatable sleep disorder.
Eat, Drink, But Be Healthy Get your provider’s recommendations based on the findings of your physical. If you need to lose weight, prepare healthy meals in advance. Also, challenge yourself to drink 64 ounces of water a day for a week. Melissa Morello, M.D., is a board-certified family medicine physician. To learn more and to make an appointment, visit YourCentralFloridaDoctor. com/FamilyMedicine for a customized search by zip code or call 407-646-7380. All of our health care providers are part of the AdventHealth Care Network.
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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. Itâ€™s a one-of-a-kind destination.
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205 W. Fairbanks Ave. | 122 S. Park Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 fanniehillman.com
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
Shoes 25 Rieker Shoes 17 Shoooz On Park Avenue
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
Hannibal Square NEW ENGLAND AVENUE
Park 23 Place
7 16 20 15 18 17 12 21
8 3 1 5 4 6 2 9
4 Hour Public Parking
Weddings • = Not on Map
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
N 500 N
CHARLES HOSMER MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART 1
10 Luxury Trips 407-622-8747 18 Winter Park Welcome Center 407-644-8281
P FREE 4 Hour Parking LOT A
11 5 2 15 16 3
10 9 11 5
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
2 1 6
13 14 15
3 BOAT TOUR
2 14 4 1 15 13
6 7 5
FREE Public Parking
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
NEW ENGLAND AVENUE
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
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
NEW YORK AVENUE
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
THE PARK AVENUE MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION • EXPERIENCEPARKAVENUE.COM
D 17 C 15 B 21 B 12 D 12
B 16 Zingara Souls
Business Services E2
Moss, Krusick and Associates
D 18 Forward Law Firm E8
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 D 25 C 16 B9 D 21 D 16 B4 E 11 D 29 C2 C 22 D 31
Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen blu on the avenue Cocina 214 Garp and Fuss Luma on Park mon petit cheri cafe 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
C 11 Be On Park
C 12 Jewelers on the Park
B 19 Orlando Watch Company
D 15 D 27 D 22 C1
Orlando Skin Solutions Pristine Nail & Day Spa See Eyewear Taylor’s Pharmacy The Lash Lounge
The Collection Bridal
Winter Park Photography
D 24 Partridge Tree Gift Shop
C 21 Winter Park Wedding Company (321) 274-6618
Rifle Paper Co.
C 23 Winter Park Maitland Observer (407) 218-5955
Ten Thousand Villages
The Spice and Tea Exchange
Winter Park Magazine
Museums & Culture E 12 Albin Polasek Museum
& Sculpture Gardens
Axiom Fine Art Consulting
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Morse Museum of American Art
D 17 Ocean Blue Galleries
C 20 Scenic Boat Tour
The Winter Park Playhouse
D 10 Winter Park History Museum
Fannie Hillman + Associates
D 11 Keller Williams Winter Park
Kelly Price & Company
Leading Edge Title
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty
The Keewin Real Property Company
D 32 The Alfond Inn at Rollins
Maureen H. Hall Stationery & Invitations
D 30 Writer’s Block Bookstore
D 18 Beyond Commercial
C 13 Williams-Sonoma
CHARLES HOSMER MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
4 4 25 3 19 5 6 7 8
FREE 4-Hour Parking 4th & 5th levels
20 12 21 13 22
4-Hour Public Parking
The Winter Park Land Company (407) 644-2900
(407) 415-8053 (407) 647-9103 (407) 696-9463 (407) 960-3993
2 3 4
17 7 12 8 9 10 13 11 15
FREE 4-Hour Parking Lot A
N O R T H
3-Hour Public Parking on Ground Level
3-Hour Parking Lot B
12 13 14 15
22 23 24 25
K E Y
Comstock Ave. 2
4-Hr Street Parking
3-Hour Public Parking Saturday & Sunday
4 1 6
Lyman Ave. 1
27 29 31
E. New England Ave. 6
3-Hr Street Parking
W. New England Ave. 3
7 8 9
(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
Hotels D 13 Park Plaza Hotel
C 17 Luxury Trips
Follett Bookstore at Rollins College
C 14 Frank.
C 19 On The Strip Lash & Brow
Health & Beauty B 13 Eyes & Optics
B 20 Christian Science Reading Room (407) 647-1559
Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream (407) 622-6292
Shoooz On Park Avenue
W. Park Ave.
E 13 Ben & Jerry’s
New York Ave.
New York Ave.
(800) 633-0213 (407) 622-1987 (321) 316-4086 (321) 422-1010
B 23 Rieker Shoes
California Closets B 3 Ethan Allen B 24 Piante Design B 16 The Shade Store
P A R K ,
W I N T E R
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
PA RK AVE NUE
(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
D 14 Bebe’s & Liz’s
500 S 1
ROLLINS COLLEGE 3
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EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
Reinterpreting the Four Freedoms Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s an election year — a fact that has certainly not gone unnoticed at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Consequently, the museum will partner with For Freedoms, an artistrun federation based in New York, to stage an exhibition called 2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism. The thought-provoking display opens January 18 and runs through April 5. The museum will feature recent acquisitions to its collection, including original versions of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms posters and contemporary reinterpretations of those familiar images by artists Emily Shur and Hank Willis Thomas, who were among the founders of For Freedoms in 2016. The organization — described by Thomas as “an opportunity to join our Founding Fathers in the making of America” — emphasizes participation over ideology as the fundamental characteristic of democracy.
Its formation was inspired by Rockwell’s quartet of paintings, which were based upon four essential human rights named by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1941 State of the Union Address. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear were published in the Saturday Evening Post over four consecutive weeks in 1943 alongside essays by prominent thinkers of the day. By the end of the 20th century, it is thought that more than 25 million prints of the series had been purchased. “By juxtaposing works of art created between 1943 and 2018, this installation places current issues within their historical context,” says curator Gisela Carbonell. “In their creative practices, the artists included interrogate traditional definitions of freedom and patriotism and challenge us to reimagine what it means to be American.”
Among the works on display in 2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism are The Cotton Bowl (below) by Hank Willis Thomas and Freedom from Fear (facing page) by Thomas and Emily Shur. Freedom from Fear is one of four reinterpretations of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Four Freedoms series from 1943.
Other works by Shur and Thomas will be on display, along with additional pieces of art related to the exhibition’s general theme. In addition, several events will take place on campus to encourage open dialogue about today’s most pressing issues. Such activities include a talk by Jammal Lemy, a filmmaker, designer and former creative director for March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in Washington, D.C., and 800 other locations across the U.S. following the 2018 mass shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Lemy is a 2016 graduate of the school, located in Parkland, Florida. A Conversation with Jammal Lemy, slated for February 4 at 6 p.m. in the college’s Bush Auditorium, is free and open to the public. A town hall in conjunction with the University of Central Florida and several interactive components related to the exhibition were also being planned at press time. The Cornell houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. In addition to its on-campus location, pieces from the monumental Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art are on display throughout the nearby Alfond Inn. For more information, visit rollins.edu/cfam or call 407-646-2526.
IN BRIEF What: 2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism When: January 18 through April 5 Where: The Cornell Fine Arts Museum Notes: Works related to redefining patriotism in a polarized era, including original posters of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms juxtaposed with contemporary reinterpretations of those images. Related: A Conversation with Jammal Lemy, February 4 at 6 p.m. in the Bush Auditorium. Admission: Free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services For More: 407-646-2526 • rollins.edu/cfam
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EVENTS VISUAL ARTS
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. 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. polasek.org. 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. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone 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. 407-5392181. artandhistory.org. 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. Opening March 3 is Portraits of Americans, featuring works by John Singer Sargent, Charles Hawthorne, Cecilia Beaux and others. As photography made romanticized depictions of well-known figures obsolete, these artists guided portraiture into the 20th century with compelling works that captured not only the physical likeness of their subjects, but their innate character as well. Continuing through September 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 features art glass, enamels and pottery from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that replicates the shimmering optical effects previously only found in nature. 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. morsemuseum.org.
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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. Opening January 18 are two new exhibitions. 2020: Action, Freedom, Patriotism (through April 5), which encourages bipartisan civic dialogue, features, among other works, the original Four Freedoms posters by Norman Rockwell juxtaposed with contemporary interpretations of those images. (See page 98 for more information.) African Apparel: Threaded Transformations Across the 20th Century (through May 15) celebrates the artistry, diversity and symbolism of the continent’s garments — including headdresses, hand-woven textiles, and metal and beaded jewelry. Continuing through 2020 is Ruptures and Remnants: Selections from the Permanent Collection, which offers material manifestations of ruptures ranging from personal crises to nation-state upheavals from antiquity to the present day. Works periodically rotate through this long-term exhibition. 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. 407646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. 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. Visitors may take a selfguided tour through its lakeside sculpture garden, which includes approximately 60 three-dimensional pieces of contemporary outdoor art and educational panels that describe the diversity of expressive styles and durable media. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. 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 collectively known as the Heritage Collection. Also ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in AfricanAmerican history since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission is free. The center offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, 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 Good Person of Szechwan (February 14 through 22), German-born playwright Bertolt Brecht’s tale of a Chinese prostitute who is deemed by a visiting triumvirate of gods to be the only kind and decent person in her otherwise dishonest, avaricious community. As both a reward and a test, the gods provide her with the means to open a small shop. Will her innate goodness continue to prevail, or will she, too, become corrupted? The season concludes with the hit jukebox musical Mamma Mia! (April 17 through 25). 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. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater continues its 2019-20 mainstage season with Beehive: The ’60s Musical (January 24 through February 22), a revue that spans the decade when women went from pillbox hats to miniskirts to love beads. Six coming-of-age stories are woven together with songs by iconic female artists including Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. Up next is The Andrews Brothers (March 13 through April 11), a slapstick comedy set during World War II in which three soldiers find themselves headlining a USO show. This nostalgic romp, reminiscent of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “Road” films, is packed with the era’s hits, such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” The season concludes with Pump Boys and Dinettes (May 8 through 17 and May 28 through June 7). 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. winterparkplayhouse.org.
CELEBRATIONS AND FESTIVALS
Metro Cup Regatta. The oldest dual crew meet in Florida is fueled by a crosstown rivalry between teams from the University of Central Florida and Rollins College as well as teams from longtime scholastic foes Winter Park and Edgewater high schools. On March 7, eight- and four-rower boats race across Lake Maitland starting at 8 a.m. The competition is best viewed from the southeast shore at Kraft Azalea Garden on Alabama Drive or, better yet, from a boat on Lake Maitland. Admission is free, but a donation is requested. Parking is very limited near the garden. rotaryocewp.org. 35th Annual Taste of Winter Park. Sample all the best food that Winter Park has to offer on March 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. More than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, caterers, bakers, brewers, vintners and confectioners bring their best noshes and beverages to Winter Park’s ultimate foodie festival. Tickets range in price from $50
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EVENTS to $100. Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 West New England Avenue. 407-599-3580. winterpark.org/tasteof-winter-park. Unity Heritage Festival. This year’s 18th annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day promotes family history while raising funds for programs assisting economically disadvantaged youth. The event takes place on January 19 and 20 in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park, and features live music, concessions and various activities. Admission is free. 721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. Weekend of the Arts. This annual event, first organized in 2018 by the City of Winter Park’s Public Art Advisory Board and its Arts & Culture Subcommittee, draws upon the resources of more than 20 local arts and cultural organizations to present four days of free, live performances and special exhibitions around the city from Friday through Monday, February 14 through 17. 407-599-3428. cityofwinterpark.org/visitors/arts-culture.
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Among the oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals in the U.S., the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival celebrates its 61st year on March 20 through 22. The festival, which features more than 200 artists selected from more than 1,000 applicants, draws more than 300,000 visitors to Central Park on Park Avenue downtown. Participating artists compete for dozens of awards with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money at stake. In addition to works in a variety of media — painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, fiber, leather, wood, glass and jewelry — there are kid-friendly activities in the Children’s Workshop Village and an exhibition of student art from Orange County public and private schools. There are also dozens of food and drink concessions and live entertainment. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. wpsaf.org. Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. This popular, weeklong series of events and exhibitions, now in its 31st year, takes place mostly in Eatonville,
where the namesake author and folklorist spent much of her childhood. But there are also events in neighboring Winter Park, Maitland and Orlando. Running January 25 to February 2, the festival includes companion exhibitions at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts in Eatonville and the Art & History Museums – Maitland, conferences and programs at Rollins College and Orange Technical College in south Orlando, and several other events — all leading to the Outdoor Festival of the Arts, a three-day street party in the heart of Eatonville. Many events are free and open to the public. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum, 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zorafestival.org.
Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $12 for regular admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Other series include
AN AUTHOR EXTRAVAGANZA AT TRINITY PREP
PHOTO BY DANI RAINE PHOTOGRAPHY (CHEYANNE YOUNG)
J.K. Rowling once said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” The right book — and the person who wrote it — might happen to be at Trinity Preparatory School’s Author Festival, slated for February 7. Trinity Prep’s 5th annual Author Festival is a free, communitywide book and author event, open to the public and hosted by the school. This year, about 30 authors — including several of whom have written New York Times bestsellers — will be on hand to sign books, lead discussion panels and chat with young readers and aspiring writers. One of the headliners, Brigid Kemmerer’s, is best-known in youngadult circles for her books A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury) as well as paranormal novellas in The Elemental Series. Kemmerer’s fans — who call themselves Cursebreakers — have been snapping up her new release, A Heart So Fierce and Broken. Also on hand will be Dhonielle Clayton, author of the Belles Series, which includes The Belles and The Everlasting Rose (Disney Books), and Cheyanne Young, author of The Last Wish of Sasha Cade (Kids Can Press). Clayton’s 2016 book Tiny Pretty Things is being adapted for tele-
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vision by Netflix. Young’s most recent book has also been optioned for television or film. Past Sunshine State Young Reader Author Award-winners are also slated, included James Ponti (the Florian Bates mysteries and the Dead City Trilogy); Taryn Souders (How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer); and Sherri Winston (Jayda Sly, Artist and Spy); What makes the Author Festival especially exciting, say organizers, is student involvement. Students helped plan the event and will lead all the author panels. “I’m very excited for Author Fest because so many Trinity students get the opportunity to meet their favorite authors and talk to them,” says freshman Leah Keefe. “I think it’s so cool that we get to experience interactions with these authors that we probably wouldn’t get at any other school.” The event — the largest school-based author gathering in the region — takes place in the Rich Library on the school’s Winter Park campus from 3 to 6 p.m. Last year, more than 450 people attended. And with more authors participating this year, turnout is expected to be even higher. Visit tpsreads.org for more information.
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 January 19 at 1 p.m. A full schedule of titles and showtimes is available online. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-6291088 (theater offices). enzian.org. Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection as well as art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion on Canton Avenue, just behind the Morse. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunches; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The four-part Winter Series, Architectural Stories, highlights important architectural structures from around the world. It kicks off January 31 with The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu, a documentary revealing the city’s hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. On February 7 and February 14 is The Old Summer Palace, detailing the history of Yuanming Yuan — widely perceived as the height of Chinese garden and palace design. February 21 features Albert Kahn, Architect of Modern Times, about the man whose industrial architecture influenced the Bauhaus movement and the 20th-century urban landscape. The series concludes February 28 with Gray Matters: Architect & Designer Eileen Gray, which explores Gray’s long, fascinating life and how her uncompromising vision defined (and defied) modernism. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. 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 held on the second Thursday of each month and start at 7 or 8 p.m. Check online for upcoming titles — and don’t forget to pack a picnic and blankets or chairs. 407-629-1088. enzian.org. Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor movies each fall and spring on the field at Maitland Middle School. Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407-539-0042. itsmymaitland.org.
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. casafeliz.us.
TIFFANY at the MORSE The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Public Hours: 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.,Tuesday–Saturday (open Fridays until 8 p.m., November–April); 1 p.m.–4 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday
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The multiday Orlando Wine Festival is held at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes (above) and also includes vintner dinners at private homes (below). Several Winter Park chefs are participating.
A MAGIC WEEKEND FOR HELPING KIDS IN NEED
Orlando’s own NBA team will host the Orlando Wine Festival and Auction on March 13 through 15 to benefit the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. The event, held at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, debuted last year and is poised to become the premier fundraising event for the children of Central Florida. The weekend-long festival features exclusive vintner dinners with top chefs. The headliner will be Michael Symon, an Iron Chef on the Food Network, host of Burgers, Brew & ’Que on the Cooking Channel and formerly co-host of ABC’s The Chew. Several Winter Park-based chefs will also participate, including James and Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig) and Jamie McFadden (Cuisiniers). Others were being confirmed at press time. There’ll also be a wine festival and auction, with the weekend culminating when the Magic take on the Charlotte Hornets at the Amway Center. Each year, the team raises more than $2 million for charitable causes through sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. But the heart of the team’s philanthropy is embodied by the foundation, which is committed to helping children realize their full potential, by supporting nonprofit organizations offering youth-based programs in the areas of education, homelessness, the arts and health programs focused on preventing childhood obesity. Over the past 30 years, the foundation has raised and distributed more than $24 million to these worthy causes. Perk-packed packages range in price from $2,500 to $9,250. Visit wineauctionorlando.com for more information.
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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. holocaustedu.org. 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. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-6442330. wphistory.org. 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. (See “Celebrations & Festivals.”) Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zoranealehurstonmuseum.com.
Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Eatonville, arguably the oldest incorporated African-American municipality in the U.S., begins its 43rd annual parade on January 19 at 2 p.m. along Kennedy Boulevard, just east of Wymore Road and Interstate 4. 407-623-8900. townofeatonville.org. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Central Florida’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade is always held the first Sunday in March. This year the annual parade — now in its 42nd year — is slated for March 1 at 2 p.m., with more than 75 marching units starting by the Winter Park Country Club and heading south along Park Avenue through the city’s signature shopping district to Lyman Avenue. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
Gladdening Light Symposium. Wild Surrender: InterSpirituality in a Time of Trial is the theme of this annual event, organized by GladdeningLight, a Winter Parkbased nonprofit that explores the intersection of art and spirituality. This year’s featured speakers are Rabbi Rami
Shapiro and mystic Mirabai Starr. The three-day event, beginning February 7 at a half-dozen venues on the Rollins College campus, also includes author Barbara Brown Taylor, Grammy-winning cellist Eugene Friesen and Irish spiritual singers Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin. Tickets range from $30 (for the opening reception February 6) to $220 (for an all-access pass that includes every event). 407-647-3963. gladdeninglight.org. Morse Museum Wednesday Lecture Series. The Morse regularly invites recognized scholars in the field of late 19th- and early 20th-century art to speak on topics related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. This season’s offerings include: Stories from the Archives: Louis Comfort Tiffany and His Studios by Jennifer Perry Thalheimer, the museum’s curator and collection manager (January 22); Jewelry for America by Beth Carver Wees, curator of decorative American arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (February 19); Art Nouveau in the United States by Richard Guy Wilson, chair of the architectural history department, University of Virginia (March 11); 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). All lectures are at 2:30 p.m. in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion, located behind the museum. Admission is free. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.
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EVENTS 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 half of the 2019-20 season features 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, 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, 7 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall); and Laura Ling, journalist and documentarian (April 7, 7 p.m. in the Bush Science Center’s Bush Auditorium). Tickets for all lectures are $25. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/wpi.
The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park boasts a 160-member choir (above left) 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 (above right) has helmed the organization, which was launched in 1935, for nearly 30 years.
IT’S TIME AGAIN FOR THE ANNUAL BACH BLOWOUT
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 have been underway all year — but coming in February is the annual event. For more information visit bachfestivalflorida.org.
85TH ANNUAL BACH FESTIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF ROLLINS COLLEGE (CHOIR) PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL (JOHN SINCLAIR)
■ Stefan Kiessling, organ: Friday, February 7, 7:30 p.m. ■ Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and Dvorak’s Symphony from the New World: Friday, February 21, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 22, 3 p.m. ■ Concertos by Candlelight: All Beethoven: Friday, February 21, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 22, 7:30 p.m. ■ Spiritual Spaces: Reflect, Restore and Revive: Sunday, February 23, 4 and 6 p.m. ■ Quink Vocal Ensemble: Tuesday, February 25, 7:30 p.m. ■ Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle: Saturday, February 29, 7:30 p.m. ■ J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor: Sunday, March 1, 3 p.m.
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Winter with the Writers. Sponsored by the Rollins College Department of English and open to the public, this annual series dates to 1927, when it featured such luminaries as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ogden Nash and Carl Sandburg. This year’s series opens on February 13 with a master class workshop and reading by Kristen Arnett (a Winter Park High School and Rollins graduate), author of the memoir Mostly Dead Things, a New York Times bestseller. Next up on February 20 is a master class workshop and reading by Jamaican-born poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant.” Both workshops are held at 4 p.m. in the college’s SunTrust Auditorium; the readings are at 7:30 p.m. in the Bush Science Center’s Bush Auditorium. The series concludes on February 27 with a special presentation by the National Book Foundation featuring two National Book Award finalists: novelist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) and poet Ilya Kaminsky (Deaf Republic), who will host workshops at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, in SunTrust Auditorium. At 5 p.m. in the Galloway Room, the foundation’s executive director, Linda Lucas, will hold a discussion on the state of the art of literature. Finally, Fajardo-Anstine and Kaminsky will present a joint reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Bush Science Center’s Bush Auditorium. 407-646-2666. rollins.edu/winter-with-the-writers. 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. uclubwp.org.
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. itsmymaitland.com. 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 open-air 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. cityofwinterpark.org.
Bach Festival. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park celebrates its 85th season with another jam-packed series of concerts beginning February 15 and concluding March 1. (See page 106 for more information.) Most performances are in Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus. Tickets range in price from free to $79 each, depending upon the performance and the seating. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Bach Festival Society Insights & Sounds Series. On January 23, members of the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, under the direction of John V. Sinclair, perform The Greatest Composers (You’ve Never Heard Of) — a collection of pieces by accomplished composers whose works have somehow fallen into obscurity. The Insights & Sounds concerts, held at 7:30 p.m., combine surprising music with discussion of the works being performed; the programs are designed both for connoisseurs and classical music novices. Tickets range in price from $20 to $45. Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College campus, Winter Park. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Bach Festival Society Visiting Artist Series. The society hosts classical guitarist Paul Galbraith (January 26, 3 p.m.); an a cappella performance by the Quink Vocal Ensemble (February 25, 7:30 p.m.); and the internationally renowned Díaz Trio (March 29 at 3 p.m.). Tickets range in price from $25 to $69. Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College campus, Winter Park. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. 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. Just a few of the upcoming performers include Grammy-winning folk music singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale (January 23, 8 p.m.); the Orlando Jazz Orchestra (February 13, 8 p.m.); and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Maitland (March 18, 8 p.m.). Admission generally ranges from free to $25. 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com.
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Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based not-forW INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W INTE R PARK MAGAZ IN E
EVENTS profit 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 Celtic and medieval world music performers Four Shillings Short (January 26), singersongwriter C. Daniel Boling (February 23) and folk-rock veteran John Batdorf (March 22). Performances start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org.
month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author Rik Feeney. Upcoming events are slated for January 1, February 5 and March 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 January 9, February 13 and March 12 at the Maitland Public Library, 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. floridawriters.net.
Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum presents 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. A $5 donation is suggested. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.
Storytellers of Central Florida. Experienced and fledgling storytellers gather to share stories and practice their craft on the first Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Library. Upcoming meetings are slated for January 7, February 4 and March 3. Meetings are hosted by professional storyteller Madeline Pots. 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. 321-439-6020, firstname.lastname@example.org, wppl.org.
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. pamaitland.org. Yonetani Concert. The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens’ annual chamber concert, now in its 13th year, features internationally acclaimed violin/viola soloist Ayako Yonetani. This year’s performance, with a variety of guest instrumentalists, is on March 15 at 2 p.m. in the Capen-Showalter House on the museum’s grounds. Yonetani, who holds three degrees from the Juilliard School, is a professor of violin/viola at the University of Central Florida, travels the world as a guest soloist and is a member of Japan’s premier chamber ensemble. The Polasek concert, with seating limited to 45 people, is followed by a private reception. Ticket information was not available at press time. 633 Osceola Avenue. 407-647-6294. polasek.org.
Winter Park Garden Club. The club’s general membership meetings always offer something intriguing for lovers of gardening and the great outdoors, and are held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May, at 10 a.m. The January 15 meeting will feature a presentation by Todd Weaver entitled “The Ecology and Economy of Bees.” Field trips and other community events are also held throughout the year. All meetings are at the club’s headquarters at 1300 South Denning Drive. For additional information about the club, which was founded in 1922, and upcoming programs, call 407-644-5770 or email email@example.com.
Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each
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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. austinscoffee.com. 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 January 8, February 12 and March 11. Orlando WordLab, a workshop that challenges writers to experiment with new techniques or 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 January 22, February 26 and March 25. stardustvideoandcoffee.wordpress. com, wppl.org, meetup.com/writers-of-central-floridaor-thereabouts.
Park Avenue 5K. The fourth race in the Track Shack Running Series, slated for January 18, starts and finishes on Park Avenue. In between, it winds its way for 3.1 miles through beautiful neighborhoods surrounding downtown Winter Park. The 5K race starts at 7:30 a.m., while the Kids’ Run starts at 8:45 a.m. Runners and spectators are advised to arrive early, because race-related road closures snarl traffic near Central Park. Registration is $33 through January 4, $38-$45 after that. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com. Run 4 Love 4 Mile. This February 15 run is for those in love with running or walking — or perhaps with one another. The 4-mile run or walk starts at 7:30 a.m., followed by a Kids’ Run at 9 a.m., a costume contest and awards presentations. Registration for this, the fifth race in the Track Shack Running Series, is $33 through February 1,
$38-$45 after that date. Showalter East Field, 250 Perth Lane, Winter Park. trackshack.com. 43rd Winter Park Road Race. This March 7 event, the final race of the annual Track Shack Running Series, includes a 10K (6.2-mile) race at 7:30 a.m., as well as a 2-mile race at 7 a.m. and a Kids’ Run at 9:15 a.m. Registration for the 10K is $40 through March 9, $45-$50 after that. Central Park, 251 South Park Avenue, Winter Park. trackshack.com.
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 January 10, February 7 and March 6. 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. winterpark.org/ good-morning-winter-park. 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 January 13, February 3 and March 2. 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. winterpark.org/winter-park-professional-women.
9th Annual Chili for Charity. The Rotary Club of Winter Park’s chili cook-off, which sparks the creativity of top local caterers and restaurants, is slated for February 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. Participants in the fundraiser compete for awards and undergo the scrutiny of a select panel of judges. In addition to savory chili, there are drinks, a silent auction and live music. Net proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Winter Park Foundation, which provides grants to more than 30 local charities. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. chiliforcharity.org. Keep Winter Park Beautiful. Volunteers who help the City of Winter Park collect litter around lakes Maitland, Knowles and Wilbar on February 1 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 1365 Alabama Drive, Winter Park. 407599-3364. cityofwinterpark.eventbrite.com.
CAFE NOW OPEN (Hours Vary)
NEW LOCATION! 316 NORTH PARK AVENUE • Serving AXUM Coffee and Select Teas • NYT Best-Sellers, IndieNext, Children’s Books, Gifts, Games and Much More JANUARY EVENTS
JANUARY 7 ISABEL IBANEZ Woven in Moonlight
Debut author in conversation with Adrienne Young.
JANUARY 13 DANIEL LEVITIN Successful Aging
Crosby Wellness Center, Winter Park
JANUARY 16 CAROL FROST Alias City
Director of Rollins College “Winter with the Writers.”
JANUARY 21 BEATRIZ WILLIAMS LAUREN WILLIG KAREN WHITE
JANUARY 31 NATHAN HOLIC
The author in conversation with James C. Clark, in partnership with Burrow Press.
All The Ways We Said Goodbye Quantum Leap Winery, Orlando
Bright Lights, Medium-Sized City
COMING IN FEBRUARY WELL-READ BLACK GIRL BOOK CLUB LITERARY CHARACTER TRIVIA NIGHT
BOOKCLUBS GENERAL INTEREST: Last Wednesday of each month FEBRUARY 6 DOUGLAS PRESTON & LINCOLN CHILD Crooked River
Quantum Leap Winery, Orlando
FEBRUARY 29 ETHAN LONG Hello, World!
Award-winning author and illustrator.
MARCH 16 DAYMOND JOHN Powershift Inventor on Shark Tank.
Bush Auditorium at Rollins College
FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION: First Tuesday of each month For more information or to sign up for author events, go to
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Jack Kerouac was still unknown when he came to Orlando from New York City after finally finding a publisher for On the Road, his autobiographical road-trip novel. The bungalow in which he lived with his mother is now a hub for local bibliophiles and a residence for visiting writers. But the Jack Kerouac House is sinking in the back and funds are needed to shore it up.
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OUR TOWN | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
THE BEAT GOES ON — FOR NOW
For years, a friend and I have enjoyed late-evening walks through the older Orlando neighborhoods near our home, grumbling now and then when we pass yet another modern two-story being built over the tear-down ruins of yet another favorite old-Florida bungalow. Hope there’s at least one we don’t have to worry about. It’s in College Park, two blocks west of Edgewater Drive at the corner of Shady Lane and Clouser Avenue, protected on one side by a 250-year-old live oak with the stoic majesty of a palace guard and on the other by a green, gold-lettered historic marker that reads, in part:
JACK KEROUAC HOUSE
Writer Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) lived and wrote in this ’20s tin-roofed house between 1957 and 1958. It was here that Kerouac received instant fame for publication of his bestselling book, On the Road, which brought him acclaim and controversy as the voice of the Beat Generation. If you’re looking for a literary shrine with gravitas, curb appeal, a fancy gift shop and tours every hour on the hour, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Orlando’s only famous-author milepost is an unpretentious affair, with sturdy hardwood floors and an old-fashioned, howdy-neighbor front porch. The house might have disappeared altogether had it not been for Bob Kealing, who was a WESHTV journalist in the mid-1990s when he discovered its beat-generation heritage and wrote a magazine article and book about its former resident. Those efforts inspired The Kerouac Project, a grassroots effort among historic preservationists who purchased the residence and transformed it into a social hub for local bibliophiles and a revolving residence for authors — four of whom are selected from roughly 300 applicants from the U.S. and around the world to spend three months here focusing on works of their own.
“There’s something empowering in this house. You can feel it,” says Austin, Texas, author Chelsey Clammer, who worked on several autobiographical essays — and saw one of them published — during her recent residency. Kerouac was still unknown when he came to Orlando from New York City after finally finding a publisher for On the Road, his autobiographical road-trip novel that described a 1940s freight-trainjumping expedition punctuated by jazz, poetry, sex, drug use and spiritual ruminations. The bungalow was sectioned off into two units at the time, and the adventuresome yet chronically shy Kerouac holed up in a narrow, $35-a-month apartment in the back with a roommate: his mother. Kealing still marvels at the irony of it: “Here was this hitchhiking avatar of personal discovery, living in the suburbs of Orlando with his mom.” While On the Road was on the road to becoming both celebrated and vilified as a counterculture manifesto, Kerouac lived in relative anonymity while cranking out stream-of-consciousness prose for a sequel, The Dharma Bums. A series of black-and-white photos from a mid1950s magazine article, which shows him hovering over a portable typewriter, now hangs on the wall of the tiny bedroom where he worked, lending an atmosphere of literary industry to the apartment. So does a well-worn, padded rocker that Kerouac may have used while ruminating. A hobbit-sized back door opens onto a citrus orchard where he foraged for tangerines and sometimes spent nights sleeping under the stars. It’s all very neatly maintained, though over time the bungalow has inevitably settled; there’s a steep enough tilt to the floor to test your sea legs. That’s why some TLC is needed. “The house is sinking in the back,” says Vanessa Blakeslee, a local fiction writer and Rollins College adjunct instructor who’s a Kerouac Project volunteer. “Our challenge these days is making Central Florid-
ians more aware of its historic import — and finding funds to stabilize the home.” Maintenance, utilities and operating expenses of the nonprofit enterprise are covered by application fees for the residency program and rental income from a second house on the property. That’s not enough for larger expenses. This decade will mark several anniversaries for the Kerouac Project. The residency program has been in operation for 20 years. The bungalow itself will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2025. And all you have to do is to take another look at that historic marker to realize that we’re fast approaching an even more significant milestone: the century mark of Jack Kerouac’s birth. For information about the Kerouac Project and how you can contribute, visit kerouacproject.org. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate these Kerouac-related anniversaries than by helping to shore up the bungalow that served, however briefly, as the author’s refuge.
Michael McLeod, email@example.com, is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College. W INTE R 2 0 2 0 | W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO (FACING PAGE) COURTESY OF BOB KEILING, FROM HIS PERSONAL COLLECTION
THE POEM | BILLY COLLINS
he poem opens with a familiar gesture. Few can resist running a finger over a steamy bathroom mirror or the dusty hood of a car. It’s a primitive act as well, given the speculation that human culture began when someone drew something in the sand with a stick. The poem moves quickly line-by-line through a series of associations involving variations on the circle: cycle, wheel, ring, sun and moon. As this circle-game is being played, a melancholy self-portrait emerges. The speaker is emphatically alone with no one to speak to but ghosts, passing birds and a crack in the wall. He is childless, without siblings, and there is only death in the family. And that is why, as we discover in the final line, the poet coats his table with salt, not flour or sugar.
PHOTO BY SUZANNAH GILMAN
Billy Collins is a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He served as U.S. Poet Laureate (2001–2003) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. “Design” originally appeared in Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins, © 2001. Reprinted by permission of Random House.
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DESIGN I pour a coating of salt on the table and make a circle in it with my finger. This is the cycle of life I say to no one. This is the wheel of fortune, the Arctic Circle. This is the ring of Kerry and the white rose of Tralee I say to the ghosts of my family, the dead fathers, the aunt who drowned, my unborn brothers and sisters, my unborn children. This is the sun with its glittering spokes and the bitter moon. This is the absolute circle of geometry I say to the crack in the wall, to the birds who cross the window. This is the wheel I just invented to roll through the rest of my life I say touching my finger to my tongue.
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DISC O VER
NEW WORLD Announcing Bristol Landing at The Mayflower:
WHERE YOUR LIFE PLAN COMES WITH AN ELEGANT LIFE STYLE Architect's rendering, subject to change.
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