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SUMMER 2013 | $3.99


Brittany Hodgins Photography

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WINPhotography TER PARK MAGAZINE Amy Smith

| SUMM ER 2013


Amy Smith Photography

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CONTENTS SUMMER 2013

departments 8 | force of nature

Ann Derflinger demanded your best — and you gave it. By Stephen DeWoody

12 | A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE

Tom Childers is a new kind of newsman. With a video camera and a website, this citizen-journalist keeps a watchful eye on Winter Park city government. He says his only agenda is ensuring openness and transparency. By Harry Wessel

18 | An engaging, exotic oasis

Times and tastes may change, but for generations, Park Avenue has defined Winter Park, enchanting locals and visitors alike. Now, in a cookie-cutter world, the quirky thoroughfare seems more relevant than ever. By Christopher Boyd

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26 | poet? show it!

Laureate Billy Collins gives young writers a welcome boost.

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | FIRST WORD 49 | DINING 57 | EVENTS 64 | just bob

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FEATURES 28|art is in the air AT PAINT OUT 2013

Premier plein air painters capture Winter Park in all its colorful glory as a fund-raiser for the Polasek Museum & Gardens. Here’s how it all comes together, plus a gallery of gorgeous images.

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40|the importance of being annie

The renowned stage actress brought professionalism and panache to the Winter Park cultural scene. But her life was marred by physical illness and emotional turmoil. By Kimberly T. Mould with Randy Noles

ON THE COVER: Among the artists participating in the 2013 Winter Park Paint Out was Cynthia Edmonds, whose Sailing Lessons depicts boats traversing Lake Virginia with the Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College marking the shoreline. Edmonds, who has a B.A. from Florida State University and an M.F.A. from the University of Florida, was raised in Winter Park and her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world. She’s a signature member of both the American Impressionist Society and Plein Air Florida.


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Windsong – Knowles Place: Gorgeous like new model quality 4 bedroom, 4.1 bath, 4,150 SqFt pool/spa home located in Winter Park’s most desirable new home community. Sold Price: $975,000

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Vias “Olde” Winter Park: No detail overlooked in this spectacular 5 bedroom, 5.1 bath, 5,980 SqFt pool/spa home situated on a large corner lot in the heart of the “Vias”. Sold Price: $2,187.500

4/8/1

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First Word

ANN AND AMANDA

I

haven’t acted in a play since 1973, when I was cast as Sid Davis, the proverbial drunken uncle, in a Winter Park High School production of Ah, Wilderness! That production was notable mainly because it starred Tom Nowicki, who went on to enjoy a solid career in movies and television. The Eugene O’Neil coming-of-age drama was directed by the late Ann Derflinger, the tiny but terrifying performing arts teacher for whom the school’s auditorium is named. Ah, Derf! I still dream, now and then, that I’m in a play she’s directing and have neglected to learn my lines, or to even discern what the plot is so I can improvise. Yet, I can honestly say that pretty much everything important I learned in high school, I learned from her. I think Tom would tell you the same thing about himself. As would actor and author Stephen DeWoody, who talks about this “force of nature” on page 8. Amanda Bearse heartily concurs. You may remember Amanda, who is today primarily a director, from the raunchy sitcom Married With Children, in which she played wacky neighbor Marcy D’Arcy. But if you’ve lived in Winter Park long enough, you may also remember her from local theatrical productions and various star turns on the WPHS stage. “She was such a powerful presence,” says Amanda from her home in Seattle. “To her, the theater was a place to create and explore, but it wasn’t playtime. She took it seriously and she demanded — commanded — you to take it seriously, too.” Amanda still cites Derf as the biggest influence on her life and career, as much for her ferocious work ethic as her depth of knowledge about the craft of acting. A compliment or an acknowledgement from this notorious perfectionist, she says, was all she needed to push herself harder and farther than she thought possible. “When you had her attention, when she engaged with you, that was the richest experience possible,” she says. “Those moments have stayed with me my entire life.” Actress and director Amanda Derf recognized something special in Amanda, who Bearse is a Derf disciple. could have graduated after her junior year but stayed for her senior year just so she could play the lead in The Diary of Ann Frank under Derf ’s direction. She also praises Derf for her egalitarian approach; she was equally tough on everybody, and maybe even tougher on uber-talented kids like Amanda, who in Derf ’s world passed for a teacher’s pet. “Plus, she made the theater a safe place, where kids who were a little different found sanctuary,” says Amanda, who announced that she was gay 20 years ago. There are plenty of Derf ’s acolytes out in the world today. Some, like Amanda, became actors. Most of us, though, got real jobs, and are better at whatever we do as a result of her example. Still, whenever I hear some idiot talk about what a waste of precious resources arts education is, and how it has no practical value, I can only think: “That person never took a class with Derf.”

Randy Noles Editor/Publisher randyn@orlando-life.com

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RANDY NOLES Editor and Publisher JENNA CARBERG Art Director LAURA BLUHM Advertising Designer LORNA OSBORN Senior Associate Publisher KATHY BYRD Associate Publisher Christopher Boyd, STEPHEN DEWOODY, Bob Morris, Kimberley T. Mould, Harry Wessel Contributing Writers RAFAEL TONGOL Contributing Photographer

GULFSHORE MEDIA DANIEL DENTON President RANDY NOLES Consulting Publisher PAM FLANAGAN General Manager PAM DANIEL Editorial Director NORMA MACHADO Production Manager

FLORIDA HOME MEDIA’S FAMILY OF PUBLICATIONS

Copyright 2013 by Florida Home Media LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulfshore Media LLC. SAll rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published three times yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Suite 128, Maitland, FL 32751

(407) 647-0225 WINTERPARKMAG.COM


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Appreciation

FORCE OF NATURE

O

Ann Derflinger demanded your best — and you gave it. BY STEPHEN DEWOODY

ne of the many things I learned from Ann Derflinger was an earnest appreciation of theatrical superstitions. You’ve probably heard that we should say “break a leg” to an actor before a show, especially on opening night, but never “good luck.” All drama teachers pass that along. But did you know that we should never whistle in the dressing room? Never speak the name of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play” aloud in the theater? And never, ever wear, or even have, peacock feathers onstage? I knew Ann Derflinger for more than 15 years. She was my drama teacher at Glenridge Junior High and again at Winter Park High School. While I was working toward my degree in Theater Education at Rollins College, she sponsored me as a student teacher. We finally became colleagues in the late ‘70s when I began my own teaching career. I don’t honestly know if Derf actually believed all these things —and I’ve only brushed the surface; there was a whole bell-book-and-candle catalogue of superstitions she taught us — but I’ll tell you this: we believed her. Of course, before Ann Derflinger was a renowned drama teacher/director, she was a very skilled actress. For all I know, “Superstitious Derfie” may well have been a role she enjoyed playing. Although she was notoriously tone deaf, Ann toured as Mammy Yokum in the musical L’il Abner. I’ve seen the pictures, and I’m sorry I never saw her in the role. She was also an accomplished costumer, stage manager, technical director and more. She had studied at Rollins; had worked on Broadway. She knew her craft. And she believed in teaching us every aspect of “theatre,” with no tolerance at all for effete pretenders who refused to get their hands dirty. Miss Derflinger, as we all called her until we earned the privilege of calling her “Derf,” was less than five feet tall and may once have weighed 100 pounds, though I doubt it. And was one of the most awe-inspiring people I have ever known. She was not warm and fuzzy; she was as apt to call us “Thing” as any version of our actual names. On at least one occasion, she compared my acting ability — unfavorably, of course — to that of her cat, the notorious Tartuffe. Her idea of high praise? “Not bad.” None of the current trend of lavish praise for mediocre effort for Derf. She expected our best effort. Like a good sports coach, she pushed us, and we all understood that a “not bad” from her was worth a dozen attaboys from anyone else. We could bask in the warmth of one “that wasn’t too embarrassing” for weeks.

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Woe to us if we got cocky, though. When we were auditioning for The Crucible during my senior year, I apparently strutted around as if I knew I was getting the lead. Heck, everybody knew I was getting the lead. Well, Derf approved of confidence. Arrogance, not so much. She put me through three callbacks. She pushed me; she insulted me; she questioned my commitment. Finally, she cast me. But I had learned my lesson. When Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel featured my old friend Tom Nowicki in an article a couple of years ago, he wrote, “Like generations of local actors, he first learned his trade from the late Ann Derflinger, the famed Winter Park High School drama teacher.” He went on to cite Tom’s college education at Yale and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, but notice who was singled out for a personal mention. “Generations” may be stretching the point a bit — Ann taught from the late ’60s until her final bout with cancer in 1983; only about 15 years. But her legacy is much, much larger than that. She died 30 years ago, but she still looms large in the memories of her students. Besides Mr. Nowicki — who has enjoyed an impressive career on stage, movies, and TV — some other notable Derflinger alumni include TV actress/director Amanda Bearse, Broadway star Davis Gaines and local theater favorite Rick Stanley. All of us give first and best credit to Derf for setting us on a balanced path in the unstable world of show business. Some of us even became teachers. Through a convoluted series of events, I found myself attempting to fill her shoes — which would be some trick in opposite directions, figuratively or literally! — at Winter Park High for three years, from 2003 to 2006. Standing on that same stage I had first trod when it was brand-new was a bit surreal. I don’t mean this in any spooky way, but during my brief sojourn as drama director at WPHS, I was constantly aware of her presence. And the kids surprised me by wanting to know what Miss Derflinger was like. Her name was on the building, but who was she, really? Some had heard their teachers, and in a few cases their parents, speak in reverent tones of this pint-sized force of nature who had become something of a local legend in theatrical circles. Ultimately, I told them that she was every bit as formidable as they’d been told. But the greatest lesson she had taught me — and, believe me, I tried very hard to pass this on — was simple: Strive. Expect more from yourself. Hone your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. “Act well your part; there all honor lies.” When you stride out on stage, believe in your words, and project them so the deaf old lady in the back row can hear you.


VEXING VENUE Although Winter Park High School is renowned for its performing arts program, the school’s elaborate productions far outshine the cheerless 43-year-old auditorium in which they are held. The on-campus facility, named the Ann Derflinger Auditorium in honor of the legendary drama teacher who died in 1983, seats 1,100, making it one of the largest venues in the region, and certainly the largest in Winter Park. However, much of the lighting and audio equipment is balky and obsolete. Seating is uncomfortable and the acoustics and aesthetics are sub-par. So the Winter Park High School Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for school improvement projects, has embarked on a three-year “Raise the Curtain” campaign to raise $500,000 to update the facility. “We need to make the space more worthy of the caliber of events to which it plays host,” according to principal Timothy Smith, who notes that the theater is also frequently used for community events unrelated to the school.  Contributions are tax deductible and any amount is welcome. If you can help, please send your gift to the WPHS Foundation at P.O. Box 1722, Winter Park, FL 32790.

The late Ann Derflinger and the auditorium that bears her name.

Maybe it stuck with some of them. Here’s something: at the end of my first year as director, the officers of Thespian Troupe 850 started working on ballots for their annual awards programs. I asked, “What do you call these awards?” After some discussion of the lame nicknames they’d tried in the past, a student named Emily, knowing that I had once been a member of this very same troupe, asked, “What did you call them back in the day?” “Derfies.” And Derfies it was, for those few years at least. I hope they still honor her in this small way. I sincerely hope that a part of any refurbishing of the auditorium that bears her name might include a simple retrospective of her career and legacy.

To the Powers That Be: I’m willing to put my effort where my big mouth is; contact me! And the final word of that retrospective might be the epitaph that anyone who lived a life in theatre would consider the highest honor: She knew her craft. Stephen DeWoody has enjoyed an eclectic creative career in performing arts, themed entertainment and education. He has worked as an actor, announcer, art director, carpenter, cartoonist, critic, costume designer, dialect coach, director, editor, ghostwriter, graphic artist, lyricist, muralist, painter, producer, teacher and writer. Visit his website at stephendewoody.com. S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | WIN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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RAFAEL TONGOL

Conversation

A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE Tom Childers is a new kind of newsman. With a video camera and a website, this citizen-journalist keeps a watchful eye on Winter Park city government. He says his only agenda is ensuring openness and transparency. By HARRY WESSEL

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om Childers is editor and publisher of the Winter Park Voice, a hyper-local news and opinion website that debuted in July 2012. Forgive us for not calling it a magazine — we reserve that term for something that’s actually printed on paper — but whatever it is, the Voice is attracting attention and getting Winter Parkers excited and intrigued about what goes on at City Hall. Childers, 60, who grew up in Maitland and graduated from Winter Park High School, spent his first two decades of adulthood in Los Angeles, where he worked in TV and movie production — first at CBS, later with Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and finally as head of his own motion picture advertising distribution company. He sold his business and moved back to Maitland in the mid-’90s to start a family. He and his wife, Susan, have a 9-year-old daughter. Before founding the Voice, Childers worked locally in the computer industry and then as a producer for a small event-planning company that specialized in staging panel discussions with well-known journalists and politicians. The Voice, which can be accessed at winterparkvoice. com, is a well-designed compilation of extraordinarily detailed but highly readable news stories, nearly always related to Winter Park city government and encompassing issues ranging from tree ordinances to zoning changes. The stories are illustrated — and often enlivened — by video of public meetings during which commissioners, city staffers and citizens are commenting, questioning and sometimes arguing. Voluble developer Dan Bellows, whose current mixed-use project, Ravaudage, is taking shape on U.S. Highway 17-92, nearly always provides lively moments. While local governments have broadcast their meetings for years on public-access cable channels, the Voice is more than an unwatchable archive of inexplicable municipal minutiae. Childers has created sort of a one-man, laser-focused CNN, providing analysis and background and inviting commentary from anyone who has a bone to pick and access to a keyboard. A self-described news junkie, Childers spoke with Winter Park Magazine about his burgeoning publication, the motivations behind it and the joys of videotaping marathon city commission meetings.


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Conversation

“Someone I know chuckled when he read a little statement that we include at the top of every comment page, which includes the word ‘foolishness.’ We really don’t have much tolerance for foolishness.”

Q. What motivated you to start the Winter Park Voice? A. An old friend of mine, [philanthropist and entrepreneur] Steve Goldman, had been interacting with Winter Park city government for quite some time, generally having to do with residential development in his neighborhood. He had been thinking about how the city works, and it occurred to him that another way to get the news — a news outlet constituted in a little different way — would really benefit the city. Steve began to talk to me about whether some kind of Internet-only news operation might be viable. He and I had known each other since we were at Maitland Junior High, and he was quite aware I had been an avid consumer of news since the time I was 12. I still remember sitting down with my father and watching Walter Cronkite; it was easy for someone my age to get interested in the news, because the news was so compelling in the 1960s. Anyway, when Steve began to talk about his idea, my ears perked up. Ultimately we decided I might be the right person to build out this concept. I had some basic web-design experience, and it seemed like the best, most economical, most far-reaching approach was a simple web news magazine. We decided that what was missing in the city was an in-depth focus on policies and issues. I always knew it would be a fairly narrow focus for people interested in that kind of information. And that’s our mission to this day. Q. How does your background in TV, movies and event planning relate to what you’re doing now? A. I’ve been around media professionally for many years. In college I started out as a political science major, but I came to realize my other love, movies, was something that was more compelling for me as a career. I made the decision in the mid-’70s to strap a surfboard on my old Dodge Coronet and head out to Los Angeles with a few hundred dollars in my pocket. Q. You spend a lot of time videotaping Winter Park Commission meetings. Why is that so important to you? A. The commission meetings are where an awful lot of important city business gets done, and there’s one very basic reason why videotaping commission meetings is helpful to me personally as a writer: Even though

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the city audio tapes and audio streams its meetings, I’ve listened to the audio streams, and sometimes it’s difficult to know who’s saying what. When you have it on videotape, there’s no question. Plus, it adds the additional element of, “maybe they were saying it with a smile on their face.” We all know there’s a lot more information in an image than there is in simple audio. So we videotape commission meetings not only to help me report accurately, but to help Winter Park residents view their government in action. Q. Are readers of the Voice actually watching these full videotaped meetings? A. In the first place, this is not just raw video that we load onto the site. It’s edited video. Q. Doesn’t that open you up to the charge you’re leaving important information out? A. Sure it does. Veteran reporters, who I occasionally talk to, have from time to time taken me to task for posting very long videos on the site, because traditional practice, as everyone who watches these things knows, is to take a one- or twohour proceeding and cut it down to two or three minutes of excerpts. I very consciously do not do that, because I’m sensitive to the concerns of the people who are being covered about being taken out of context. For that reason, we sort of break the unwritten rule of journalism, which is that you need to be absolutely concise because the attention span of the audience simply won’t sustain a long piece. Q. While there may be some fascinating discussions, a lot of what you record must be pretty dull. Do you have a lot of trouble staying awake? A. One easy way is that I’m standing virtually all the time. Meetings can take anywhere from an hour, which is unusually short, to three or four hours. I have a little stool that I rarely get to sit down on, because rather than take a video camera and push the on button — as anyone who has seen one of the videos knows — I’m panning and zooming. Q. It’s been nearly a year since the Winter Park Voice debuted. Have you noticed any difference in how friends and acquaintances treat you?


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Conversation A. Not really, no. We’re a fairly low-key operation. People come up with news tips, and I find that gratifying. What we want to do at the Winter Park Voice is to report the facts, and I do my best to keep my reporting opinion-free. As with most news operations, there’s part of our site available for opinion: not my opinion, but community opinion. We encourage columnists and letter writers to state their points of view about the news that we report. We want the community to interact on our site and put forward opinions and ideas. Q. How have you been treated by elected officials and city staffers? A. Just fine. I have a good, respectful relationship with the city. I do my best to always be straightforward and honest in my dealings with them, and they’ve treated me the same way. It’s true with any governmental entity that at times they want to hold information closely, and might prefer that certain things not be trumpeted in the press. But I have to say that when I ask questions, I get good cooperation. Q. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Winter Park? A. I think development is an important issue. What do the people who live in the city of Winter Park want it to look like 20 or 30 years from now? The decisions that are made now will make a difference in how our city grows, and I think it’s important to bring transparency to that process. Once again, I’m not pushing a point of view in that process, but I’m trying to bring that process to our viewers so they can make up their own minds about how decisions are being made. Q. You must track how many people are reading the Voice. A. There are analytics. Q. Care to share those analytics? A. No. Q. Can you give us some idea? A. Sure. I would say our readership has grown by leaps and bounds. We obviously started small, less than a year ago, and it’s gone from hundreds in the initial days to thousands now. The population of Winter Park is just under 30,000, and the citizens who are typically highly engaged in city governmental life, voters in essence, typically number somewhere close to 6,000. Q. In that case, it sounds like most of those highly engaged residents are checking your site. A. Many are. And as with any publication, it varies month-to-month depending on the stories. One story that our readers found very interesting was about the candidacy of Ross Johnston [who filed to run for a city commission seat and then dropped out]. If you’re a store owner, you put things on the shelf and after a while you get a pretty good idea of what your customers are interested in. It’s the same in the news business. With the analytics available, you get an idea of what people want to read. Q. In the news business that often means more stories on the sensational rather than the important. How do you balance the two? A. I think any writer wants to have readers, but our focus is very narrow. We typically don’t cover parades; we generally don’t cover stories that are primarily about places other than Winter Park. Our prime beat is City Hall. As it states at the top of every page, we’re a policies and issues magazine. I think we’ve been pretty true to that focus, and that’s our niche.

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Q. How are you going to build on what you’ve already achieved? A. We’re frankly looking for voices throughout the community, who have different points of view. I’m very, very interested in getting different points of view. We have a real high quality of input from those who do write letters and columns for the Voice. If you look at the comment sections attached to our articles, participation is growing. It’s not at all unusual to find three or four times the number of letters on a particular issue than you’ll find in any other media outlet in the city. I think for the people who want to be informed about what the range of opinion is in Winter Park, we’re hoping to be a place you can go and see that — not in our own reporting, but in our letters, in our readercomment section and in our columns. Frankly, if you look at the quality of the letters attached to our articles, I’ve had any number of people comment that they are quite compelling and that the letter writers themselves seem unusually literate. We have a high quality of input. I’m very happy about that, and I do everything I can to encourage that. Q. How do you keep the commentary civil? A. Someone I know chuckled when he read a little statement that we include at the top of every comment page, which includes the word “foolishness.” We really don’t have much tolerance for foolishness. Now, that doesn’t mean we censor with a heavy hand. In fact, I think it’s something that can be said for the city of Winter Park and the people who are interested in the kinds of policies and issues we cover. I read every single letter. And out of the many, many letters we’ve received over all these months, I think there aren’t more than a handful that I haven’t published. People have been very insightful as well as respectful of what it is we’re trying to do and the quality of the discourse we’re trying to promote. So it hasn’t been a big policing job for us. People have managed to follow the guidelines, not attacking others but trying to stay on the issues and presenting a well-reasoned argument. We’re interested not just in reason but in passion, and I think we have a good mix of that. Q. How is the site staying afloat financially? A. Our business model, as you can see if you read our magazine, isn’t advertiser-based. Even though we’re not a nonprofit, you could say our model is more PBS-oriented. We’re funded by contributions from the community, from our readers. And just as our readership has increased over the months, the same is true of our contributors. But I suspect I’ll never be buying a yacht or a second home from the proceeds of the Voice. Q. Are you confident it will be around years from now? A. That’s certainly the plan, and it’s my feeling the community is responding to what we do. I think we were correct that there’s a need in our city for serious, long-form reporting covering important policies and issues affecting the city. Our overhead is low and will continue to be low, so as long as we write what our readers are interested in reading, and as long as they continue to support us, we’ll be here. We’re here for the long term. Q. Does that mean it will last beyond its founder? A. I think it’s very clear that the need for this reporting will always exist. As far as my own involvement, I’m definitely in it for the long term.


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K

Shopping

CITY OF WINTER PARK COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Although the former Colony Theater now houses a Pottery Barn store, the iconic sign is a Park Avenue landmark.

AN ENGAGING, EXOTIC OASIS Times and tastes may change, but for generations, Park Avenue has defined Winter Park, enchanting locals and visitors alike. Now, in a cookie-cutter world, the quirky thoroughfare seems more relevant than ever. By CHRISTOPHER BOYD

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elly Goga turned her face toward the morning sun as it twinkled through the leaves of a Park Avenue oak tree. Strolling along Winter Park’s iconic eight-block main street in one of Goga’s favorite pastimes, and she soaks up its charms whenever she can. “Park Avenue is like an island,” Goga says. “I’m in sales and spend all day driving. But since I moved to Winter Park, I’ll park my car for the weekend and walk. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be.” It’s a story told over and over. Park Avenue and nearby side streets form a welcomingly walkable, engagingly exotic enclave in a land of far-flung strip centers and megamalls. For those who navigate Central Florida by GPS, it’s a place easily overlooked. But that doesn’t bother merchants, whose 130-plus small shops are a counterpoint to the region’s big-box chain stores. “People come to Park Avenue from other places because of what it is,” says Don Sexton, owner of the Downeast Orviz clothing store, an avenue fixture for 40 years. “It’s a destination, an attraction. People come here to see what everyone else is talking about.” Though most out-of-towners associate mouse ears and Wizarding Worlds with Central Florida, a growing number have learned about Park Avenue through magazine and newspaper articles. It’s a low-key shopping and dining alternative for those who favor quaint over flashy. Despite its longstanding reputation as one of Florida’s premier retail districts, Park Avenue is still striving for wider appeal. Merchants say most of their customers are locals — a fact that they simultaneously extol and bemoan. They want more from the tourist trade, but not so much that it diminishes what makes their Gilded Age oasis so special. Like the rest of Central Florida, the avenue’s stores skidded during the 2008 recession. Some retailers on the half-mile corridor struggled to meet rising rents, while others were forced to close their doors. Yet the commercial district was better prepared than most to withstand the downturn. Years before, the City of Winter Park had invested heavily in esthetic enhancements. It widened sidewalks, installed planters and replaced the asphalt street with brick pavers, enhancing the avenue’s historic flavor. Three years after the nadir, Park Avenue has largely recovered, though businesses still fail. But as jobs grow


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CITY OF WINTER PARK COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Shopping

more plentiful and Winter Park’s already affluent population rebounds financially, so have the shops and restaurants. A changing retail mix also helped. Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn joined Williams-Sonoma and Gap, bringing the panache of highprofile national brands to a street dominated by independent operations. And restaurants proliferated, many with bars and sidewalk tables that drew customers late into the night. “Not long ago, Park Avenue was a retail street with some restaurants,” says Michael Schwartz, owner of Pannullo’s restaurant, which opened on the avenue 20 years ago. “Now it’s many restaurants with some retail. The customers have changed, too. We used to be done serving dinner at 9, but now we have a whole new younger crowd that doesn’t start coming in until 10:30.” C.J. Michael, a waiter at Bosphorus, a nearby Turkish restaurant, sees a direct relation between the street’s increasingly cultivated appearance and growth in tourist traffic. “Every day I see new people here,” Michael says. “I would say half the people who come in are first timers. Like a lot of cities these days, Winter Park works on its appearance, and it makes a difference.” Park Avenue has another benefit — anchors. Shopping malls traditionally place department stores at opposite ends of a retail center to drive foot traffic. Park Avenue has a similar situation, but anchors are cultural instead of commercial. At its southern terminus, across Fairbanks Avenue, sits Rollins College, with its many arts and academic events. At the northern end, where the business district gives way to beautiful homes, sits the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art, home to the world’s foremost collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass work. And the avenue also has Central Park, an 11-acre spread of well-tended lawns and gardens and spreading southern oaks facing to the west. On most days, the park is a place for a stroll or a rest. But throughout the year, it’s also a place for events, including the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in the spring, an Independence Day celebration in the summer and a Christmas parade in December.

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Merchants and city officials say other changes will soon add to the avenue’s appeal. This summer, for the first time since the landmark Langford Hotel closed in 2000, the city will have a substantial hotel within walking district of the commercial district. The Alfond Inn at Rollins, which was built with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, is scheduled to open in August on the old Langford site on East New England Avenue. The 112-room Alfond will have a ballroom and additional meeting space. The Alfond joins two other Winter Park hotels. One, the 91-year-old Park Plaza, is on the avenue an oozes charm. But with 28 rooms, it isn’t designed for large groups. The other, the Best Western Mount Vernon Inn, has 143 rooms, but its location on U.S. 17-92, otherwise known as South Orlando Avenue, puts it out of walking distance from downtown. Transportation and parking remain an issue. Though city officials say about 98 percent of its retail space is occupied — only the southernmost block, where Burger Fi recently opened, has any empty storefronts — parking can be difficult, especially for those unfamiliar with the city. But relief may come next year, riding on steel wheels. SunRail, Central Florida’s long-planned north-south commuter-train, will launch in early 2014 with a stop at the existing Amtrak station in Central Park. “This community was originally built around a rail station, and SunRail will be real enhancement,” says Dori Stone, director of the Winter Park Economic Development/Community Redevelopment Agency. Though Winter Park won’t add additional parking spaces at the station, the rail stop promises to expand parking options by allowing visitors to leave their cars at other stations along the 32-mile corridor, which stretches from DeBary to Sand Lake Road south of Orlando. National travel magazines regularly gush over downtown Winter Park, which began to take shape in the 1880s. Its name, like other Central Florida communities that catered to turn-of-the-century Northerners, promised tourists respite from winter cold. But generations have passed since the erstwhile tourist destination became arguably the region’s most desirable year-round address. Winter Park business owners realize that in order to compete with the


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Shopping Mall at Millenia, Downtown Disney, Universal CityWalk and International Drive, the city has to actively protect its legacy. The Park Avenue Merchants Association and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce help keep the city focused on preserving and enhancing the commercial district’s atmosphere. In the late 1990s, they were much more focused on Winter Park Village, an upscale shopping center on Orlando Avenue that replaced the Winter Park Mall. Stone says the fear that the new center would pull business away from Park Avenue has dissipated. “Park Avenue and Winter Park Village seem to be complementary rather than competitive,” she notes. “Winter Park Village has a movie theater and fine dining chains, but it’s fundamentally a different kind of retail than what’s on Park Avenue.” Downeast Orvis’ Sexton says angst over the shopping center was misplaced. “Winter Park Village should never have been a concern,” he insists. “There’s really no competition. Winter Park Village is a tourist attraction, more than Park Avenue, and it does what it does well.” Lambrine Macejewski, owner of the restaurant Concina 214 and president of the merchant’s group, agrees. She says she considered other locations for her Tex-Mex eatery, but couldn’t find anywhere else with the right feel. “There’s something here for everyone,” she says. “It’s the kind of place where you want to bring friends. That’s something you want to preserve.” Yet Park Avenue isn’t free from worry. Even as its occupancy rate soars, concerns about parking and, yes, the neighborhood brand, remain on merchants’ minds. One looming controversy is a potential zoning change aimed at kick-starting activity along the block of South Park Avenue that terminates at Fairbanks Avenue. The city’s Economic Development Advisory Board, supported by the Planning and Zoning Board, has recommended changes that would make it easier for businesses other than shopping and fine dining to move into the block’s five vacant retail spaces. Many local merchants, however, oppose any changes that would open the door to fast-food restaurants and ground-floor professional services, saying such tenants would detract from the avenue’s ambience and discourage foot traffic. At presstime, consideration by the City Commission of such changes was on hold. “We need to have a community discussion about parking, which is a blessing and a curse,” Stone says. “We need to ask how to get our brand out there, and we will. There is still more to do.”

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Shady Park, in the heart of Hannibal Square, boasts a historic marker honoring the area’s storied past.

AROUND THE SQUARE

Hannibal Square’s roller-coaster history — from a bustling African-American business and residential district in the 1880s to a blighted area a century later to a trendy shopping, dining and arts district today — is still being written. But its next chapters look hopeful indeed, say boosters. Little more than a decade ago, Chez Vincent and a handful of other businesses clung in a knot to the intersection of New England and Pennsylvania avenues. Then the real estate boom of the 2000s unleashed a wave of redevelopment, filling vacant lots with commercial buildings and attracting retailers who liked the square’s bohemian ambience. Baxter Matthews, owner of Florida Frame House and Gallery and president of the 15-member Hannibal Square Merchants Association, said the transformation has been startling. “When we moved here 15 years ago, people were smoking crack in the street,” he says. “It was scary.” That began to change soon afterward. Bolstered by efforts from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, retail buildings rose along New England between west of Virginia Avenue and gentrification picked up steam. Developer Dan Bellows, a native Winter Parker, was among the first to see potential in an area most others had written off and invested heavily in the area. But it was still a long hike along New England Avenue from downtown Winter Park, and much of the span in between was marred by empty lots and rundown buildings. “We began developing an identity, but not a lot of foot traffic,” Matthews said. “People weren’t ready to walk down here.” Other restaurants, including Dexter’s of Winter Park, joined the mix, and the evolution of New England into an appealing connector between two lively shopping and dining hubs continued — until the financial collapse of 2008. Baxter says building stopped, and customers became less frequent. His frame shop, which caters to artists, suffered. “The recession hurt everybody, including the artists I represent,” Matthews notes. Though he says pedestrian shoppers are still in short supply, he sees the green shoots of recovery all around him. In fact, a growing demand for space and rising rents prompted him to move his shop. Daniel Muni, owner of the Muni Strings musical instrument store on New England, says Hannibal Square shows signs of pattern that has impacted artistically inclined neighborhoods worldwide. “What always happens is, an arts community develops, an area becomes attractive and then the artists start to move as the rents go up.” But he believes that Hannibal Square remains perfect for his business, which specializes in repairing violins, violas and cellos. “I have a destination business, and my customers come a long way to see me,” Muni says. “I don’t depend on foot traffic, but I can use the parking, which is available.” Muni notes that he and his wife, Allison, fell for the square during a trip to the nearby Winter Park Farmers Market several years ago, and moved from Gainesville to open their shop. “We love the feel of this street,” he said. “It’s very European, and that adds atmosphere to my shop. I would love see what’s happening on New England extend onto the side streets.” Of course, with gentrification often comes displacement of low-income, often elderly residents. Reacting to concerns that the square’s historic significance as a residential area might be lost in the rush to redevelop it, the city supported establishment of the Hannibal Square Community Land Trust. The trust offers encourages low- and moderate-income home ownership by offering options to those overlooked and underserved by more traditional low-income housing programs. The history of Hannibal Square and the city’s predominantly black west side is also celebrated through the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, established in 2007 by the Crealde School of Art in partnership with the city of Winter Park. — Christopher Boyd


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Shopping The mix of shops, restaurants and other businesses along Park Avenue has evolved over the years. But today, as has been the case for more than 100 years, you’ll find a little bit of everything in the heart of Winter Park. There’s a scattering of national chains as well as eclectic locally owned boutiques. And you can choose from restaurants of every type, from casual to fine dining. This page lists members of the Park Avenue Merchants Association, an organization that promotes the business district and sponsors an array of events. For information about happenings on Park Avenue, visit experienceparkavenue.com.

ACCESSORIES

HomeBanc N.A. (321) 214-1200 homebanc.com

APPAREL

Regions Bank (407) 740-6222 regions.com

Through the Looking Glass (321) 972-3985 Bebe’s/ Liz’s (407) 628-1680 bebesandlizs.com

BEAUTY SALONS

Bella (407) 644-6522 bellawinterpark.com

iLashWorks (407) 622-0226 ilashworks.com

Blue Door Denim Shoppe (407) 647-2583 bluedoordenim.com

Kendall & Kendall (407) 629-2299 kendallandkendall.com

Charyli (407) 455-1983 charylistores.com

Gary Lambert Salon & Spa (407) 628-8659 lambertsalon.com

Current (407) 628-1087 currentmen.com

BRIDAL

DownEast Orvis (407) 645-5100 Eileen Fisher (407) 628-9260 eileenfisher.com John Craig Clothier (407) 629-7944 johncraigclothier.com LaBella Intimates & Boutique (407) 790-7820 labellaintimates.com Lilly Pulitzer (407) 539-2324 lillypulitzer.com Siegel’s Winter Park (407) 645-3100 siegelclothing.com Sultre Boutique (407) 699-9696 sultre.com Synergy (407) 647-7241 synergysportswear.com

The Collection (407) 740-6003 thecollectionbridal.com

CHOCOLATES AND SWEETS

Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream (407) 622-6292 kilwins.com/winterpark Peterbrooke Chocolatier (407) 644-3200 peterbrookewp.com Sassafras Sweet Shoppe (407) 388-0101 sassafrassweetshoppe.com

COFFEE SHOPS

Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen (407) 629-0042 barniescoffeekitchen.com Palmano’s Café 407 647-7520 palmanos.com Smart Coffee HD (321) 422-0805 smartcoffeehd.net

HOTELS

Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn (407) 647-1166 bestwestern.com/mtvernoninn The Alfond Inn (407) 998-8090 thealfondinn.com

JEWELERS

Alex & Ani (321) 422-0841 alexandani.com Bay Hill Jewelers on Park (321) 422-0948 bayhilljewelers.com Be On Park (407) 644-1106 beonpark.com Filthy Rich Celebrity Jewelry Replicas (407) 256-2565 worldfamousjewelry.com Reynolds & Co. Jewelers (407) 645-2278 reynoldsjeweler.com Simmons Jewelers (407) 644-3829 simmonsjewelers.com

MUSEUMS

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (407) 647-6294 polasek.org Casa Feliz (407) 628-8200 casafeliz.us Morse Museum of American Art (407) 645-5311 morsemuseum.org

OPTICAL

Tugboat & the Bird (407) 647-5437 tugboatandthebird.com

Claret Cosmetics (407) 678-4400 claretcosmetics.com

Eyes & Optics (407) 644-5156 eyesoptics.com See, Inc. (407) 599-5455 seeeyewear.com

Tuni (407) 628-1609

GOURMET FOODS

PHOTOGRAPHY

BANKS

Bank of America (407) 646-3600 bankofamerica.com BankFIRST (407) 629-9089 bankfirst.com

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COSMETICS

The Ancient Olive (321) 972-1899 theancientolive.com The Spice & Tea Exchange (407) 64-SPICE spiceandtea.com

W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2013

Greenleaf Photo Studio (407) 456-2225 greenleafphotostudio.com Winter Park Photography (407) 539-1538 winterparkphotography.com

REAL ESTATE

Fannie Hillman & Associates (407) 644-1234 fanniehillman.com Rose Properties (407) 629-7673 myroseproperties.com The Keewin Real Property Company (407) 645-4400 The Winter Park Land Company (407) 644-2900 winterparkland.com

RESTAURANTS 310 Park South (407) 647-7277 310parksouth.net

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine (407) 644-8609 bosphorousrestaurant.com Cocina 214 (407) 790-7997 cocina214.com Luma on Park (407) 599-4111 lumaonpark.com Matilda’s (407) 951-5790 Panera Bread (407) 645-3939 paneraorlando.com Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant (407) 629-7270 pannullos.com Park Plaza Gardens (407) 645-2475 parkplazagardens.com Prato (407) 262-0050 prato-wp.com

The Bistro on Park Avenue (407) 539-6520 bistroonparkavenue.com

Sweet Traditions Bakery/Cafe (407) 622-2232

The Tiffany Deli (407) 673-3354 tiffanydeli.com Tolla’s Italian Deli & Cafe (407) 628-0068 tollasitalianrestaurant.com

Shoes

Shoooz On Park Avenue (407) 647-0110

Specialty Shops Christian Science Reading Room (407) 647-1559 HADCO (866) 787-1234 hadco.net

SPECIALTY SHOPS Lighten Up! (407) 644-3528

Partridge Tree Gift Shop (407) 645-4788 Rosey Wray’s Roost (407) 678-0077 roseywraysroost.com Ten Thousand Villages (407) 644-8464 winterpark.tenthousandvillages.com The Doggie Door (407) 644-2969 theddoggiedoor.com The Paper Shop (407) 644-8700 papershop.com Timothy’s Gallery (407) 629-0707 timothysgallery.com Tresor Gallery (407) 539-1199 tresorgallery.com You Need Art (407) 647 1122 youneedartbymm.com

THEATERS

The Winter Park Playhouse (407) 645-0145 winterparkplayhouse.org

TRAVEL ADVISORS Luxury Trips (407) 622-8747 luxurytrips.com

Wine Bar

The Wine Room on Park Avenue (407) 696-9463 thewineroomonline.com


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Honors

POET? SHOW IT!

F

Laureate Billy Collins gives young writers a welcome boost.

ormer U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins has this to say about his chosen mode of creative expression: “I’ve always said that high school is where poetry goes to die.” Anyone who has ever endured an excruciating secondary-school analysis of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and vowed never again to read a poem can probably relate. Collins, now a Distinguished Fellow at Rollins College’s Winter Park Institute, has made it his mission to change the negative perception of poetry among young people. In 2003 he wrote Poetry 180 to expose high-school students to new voices in contemporary poetry. This year, to mark National Poetry Month — that’s April, by the way — Collins invited Central Florida high school students to submit poems for his review and evaluation. More than 90 entries from 14 public and private high schools in Orange and Seminole counties were submitted. The top three winners read their works at an event dubbed “A Poetry Conversation.” It was moderated by Collins and featured a panel of high-school and college students. In addition, Orlando Life and Winter Park Magazine agreed to publish the first-place winner. Publisher Randy Noles noted that, unfortunately for aspiring poets, there are few general interest publications that consider poetry submissions. “Of course, on the Internet anyone can publish anything,” says Noles. “But there’s something about seeing a work in print that gives it credibility and legitimacy. I thought it was important to give these young people an opportunity like that.” The winner was Seminole High School senior Logan Schulman, whose poem was titled “Transcending Height.” First runner-up was Trinity Prep junior Richelle Burke and second runner-up was Timber Creek High School freshman Karen Watson.

Top finishers in the Winter Park Institute’s recent high school poetry contest gathered with former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Shown, left to right, are contest winner Logan Schulman, second runner-up Karen Watson, Collins and first runner-up Richelle Burke.

“I was honored to win this award, but just as honored to have Billy Collins even read my poem,” says Schulman, who plans to attend New College in Sarasota. “I hope to major in philosophy, which is the questioning of life. And I consider poetry to be the explanation of life — so they both complement each other.” Collins’ latest book, Aimless Love: New and Collected Poems, will be published in the fall. The Winter Park Institute will host a reading in November. Launched in 2008, the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College is a center for intellectual engagement through public lectures, readings, symposiums, seminars, master classes, interviews and special-interest sessions. Visit winterparkinstitute.org for more information.

Collins meets with panelists after addressing attendees of “A Poetry Conversation” on ways young people can become engaged in reading and writing poetry.

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Transcending Height By Logan Schulman I have always believed in height. In the tallness of things. In the great love that can occupy all spaces, even those too large for our hands to grasp or lips to touch. Redwoods, the Eiffel Tower, cell phone towers, the peak of Mount Everest just waiting to be rediscovered again, and smoke stacks and their billowing smoke that flavors the air of Chicago. All shaping this world. If we could change our height, we could change the world. If I could burgeon like the redwoods and cell phone towers and zoom past all the melting layers of atmosphere to reach five-hundred two billion feet tall, I would be among the stars, with their nebulas, comets, cosmic pixie dusts, and God. I extend my hand to whatever higher being or higher purpose would reach back to shake it. Standing in the Frigidaire space, waiting for some God to mirror the embrace. And then the sun comes up over the universe. I stretch out. Grab it. Take in its warmth. Feel it sting flesh like the fresh adhesive accidentally emitted onto my fingertips from a hot glue gun, amidst a production of a solar system diorama due yesterday. I throw the sun just as I had my dollar-store high-bounce ball dozens of times before. The shift in the sun’s radically new position alters our time continuum, where now, I am Skywalker, Vonnegut, Quasimodo and Samuel Beckett all wanting to screw over that beast we call time, and so I do. If we could change our height, we could change the world. But we can’t, so, we just look on as its grandeur unfurls and watch it, moving around us.

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Art is in the Air Premier plein air painters capture Winter Park in all its colorful glory.

Linda Apriletti

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W Ken DeWaard

Gary Rupp

Bill Farnsworth

hen people say Winter Park is as pretty as a picture, they may be speaking metaphorically — or they may be plein air artists. It’s more likely the latter in April, when the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden sponsors the annual Winter Park Paint Out. En plein, or plein air, is a French expression meaning “in the open air,” and refers to painting — sometimes sketching — outdoors with the subject in full view. It became a popular pursuit in the mid-1800s with the invention of box easels and paint in tubes. Plein air artists are particularly fond of Florida, with its vividly colored subtropical landscapes and year-round temperate weather. The 2013 Winter Park Paint Out, which ran April 20 through 27, was the fifth for the Polasek, which stages the event as a fund-raiser. The museum, which was founded in 1961, holds more than 200 works by the Czech-born sculptor, who moved to Winter Park in 1949. “Paint Outs” are popular all over the country, but the Winter Park event is emerging as a favorite for artists who follow the plein air circuit in part because of the lovely setting and in part because the museum is quite adept at selling paintings. The artist sets his or her own price and keeps half the proceeds when a sale is made. “What makes our Paint Out different is our use of technology,” says Rachel Frisby, curator at the Polasek. “You can see the paintings online, in real time, as they’re completed.” It works like this: artists fan out across the city, set up easels and create. Then they return their works to the Polasek to be photographed, scanned and posted on the museum’s website. They’re also hung in a designated “wet room” where in-person browsers are welcome. Hal Stringer, co-chair of this year’s event, also headed up the inaugural Winter Park Paint Out in 2009. Stringer, IT manager for Technologies Management Inc. in Maitland, organized his first plein air event in Crescent Beach as a benefit for a combination spa and art gallery then owned by his sister in law. “I really enjoyed it because it was a big family event and so many of the artists became personal friends,” says Stringer, who downplays his own artistic ability but in fact produces beautifully abstract landscapes using paint and a palette knife. “So when the Polasek was looking for something new to do, this concept seemed perfect.” Stringer and Winter Park plein air artist Cynthia Edmonds, whose painting is on the cover of this issue of Winter Park Magazine, were instrumental in starting the Winter Park Paint Out and continuing to elevate its status in the art world. The Polasek’s event has become so popular, in fact, that the number of artists allowed to participate has been capped at 25. Some artists are specifically invited while others apply and are selected by a panel. The museum simply couldn’t accommodate more paintings, Stringer says. In 2013, there were 233 paintings completed and 83 sold at prices ranging from about $200 to $3,000, depending upon the stature of the artist and the generosity of the patron. On the following pages are a selection of paintings from this year’s Winter Park Paint Out. We selected paintings that showed a variety of settings and those that simply appealed to us. You may find something you like even better by visiting polasek.org and browsing the entire selection. S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Jane Chapin Not Set in Stone Oil

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Charles Dickinson Peterbrooke Chocolatier Oil S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Linda Apriletti Papyrus Before Sunset Oil

Hiu Lai Chong Twilight Pairings Oil

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Bobbie Puttrich Unfettered Oil S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Ken DeWaard Park Avenue Chat Oil

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Gary Rupp Towering Skies Pastel S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Morgan Samuel Price A Study Oil

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Bill Farnsworth Gardenia Girl Oil S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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A frail but formidable Annie Russell, about 1933, onstage at the Rollins College theater that was named in her honor.

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The renowned stage actress brought professionalism and panache to the Winter Park cultural scene. But her life was marred by physical illness and emotional turmoil. Meet the woman for whom the beautiful theater is named. By kimberly t. mould additional material by randy noles

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I

n the shadows, you can almost see her: a delicate figure gently leaning forward from a distant balcony seat. You can certainly feel her presence and sense her energy emanating from the walls of this historic theater on the Rollins College campus. Annie Russell, for whom the Annie Russell Theater was named, was a celebrated, Irish-born stage actress who, in her heyday early in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, packed Broadway theaters and provincial playhouses in throughout the U.S. and Europe. Disappointed in love and weakened by illness, she relocated to Winter Park in 1929. There she was recruited by Rollins president Hamilton Holt to join the faculty and bolster the college’s fledgling performing arts program. Several years later she would give her final public performance in a beautiful new theater paid for by a wealthy friend. That theater celebrated its 80th season this year. But who, exactly, was Annie Russell? She was a somewhat reluctant ingénue — she derisively referred to her more frothy roles as “anniegénues” — who seemed to choose unfortunate husbands and was prone to work herself into states of exhaustion. Yet, even in old age, she retained the ability to charm. In 1934, a Winter Park resident name Irving Bacheller wrote an ode to the city’s resident celebrity: A shining star that led a host from toilsome weary ways,
 Enchantment in its light that eased the worry of our days!
 But better than the world’s acclaim and trumpeted renown,
 Is this great thing our lady knows — the love of a little town.
 Russell was born in 1864 — although she sometimes gave the date as 1869, making her neither the first nor the last actress to fudge about her age — in Dublin, Ireland to poor, but hardworking parents, John and Jane Russell. Although some sources give Russell’s birthplace as Liverpool, England, it appears that the family, including a younger sister and brother, didn’t move to Liverpool until Annie was 5 years old. John Russell died shortly thereafter and the family relocated to Canada, where Annie found work as an actress in a Montreal theatre. At the age of 7, she debuted opposite Philadelphia-born actress Rose Eytinge, who counted President Abraham Lincoln among her fans, in a play called Miss Moulton. Eytinge, according to theatrical lore, wanted an undersized adult to play Jeanne, the role for which Annie was angling. “I didn’t tell you to get me a child,” the actress complained to her manager. “Go out and scour the town, if necessary, but bring me someone who can act the role of Jeanne.”

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Annie began to sob and Eytinge agreed to allow her to audition. The youngster won the role and, ultimately, the seasoned actress’ respect. “I was a timid little girl, and have always been very timid, so timid that they used to call me the startled fawn,” Russell later recalled. “But I was never afraid of an audience, and I did very well on the first appearance.” After the run of Miss Moulton, Jane moved the family to New York so her daughter could pursue a career in the American theatre. In 1879, the 15-year-old was cast in a juvenile production of H.M.S. Pinafore, first as a member of the chorus then as Josephine, the female lead. Next Russell toured the West Indies with a theatrical company headed by Edward A. MacDowell, a popular composer and pianist. During the seven-month stint she played a variety of roles, including boys and older women. “I learned more in that time than I could have gained in five years of work in a city theater,” Russell said. In 1881, after fooling a director into believing she was older, Russell appeared at the Madison Square Theatre in Esmeralda, playing the title character. She would reprise the role more than 900 times in her career. As she was cast in increasingly high-profile roles, reviewers fell under Russell’s spell. Amy Leslie, one of the few female drama critics of the day, wrote: “Annie Russell, without a ray of intention illumining her way, really created a new school, a distinct type of ingénue, frosty, sagacious, piquant, dewy, with girlish pathos and fateful youth.” While on tour in Albany in 1884, Russell married Eugene Wiley Presbrey, a successful playwright and stage manager. But her groom was physically abusive, and after six years of marriage, her health collapsed. “At the moment when fortune seemed smiling upon me, and when all that I had missed of youth and happiness in my childhood seemed about to be granted to my hungry heart, the storm clouds of physical and soul disaster broke over my girlish head,” she wrote. “My health was wrecked, my career cast asunder.” Three prominent theater companies staged a testimonial that raised $3,000 to help defray Russell’s medical expenses. By 1891, she had recovered sufficiently to leave Presbrey and sail for Italy. She would divorce him in 1897 and rarely spoke of the marriage again. However, the physical and emotional hardships helped her to define her acting style. “My ideals,” she explained, “were simplified, and I learned to know what I want — to be natural, and feelingly to express the truth, generally sad, of life.” Russell returned to the New York stage, drawing rave reviews. “She is the same insubstantial, delicate, exquisite Annie Russell,” wrote one critic. Another noted: “Miss Russell is half celestial. She looks out from somewhere beyond, and always there is in her presence a suggestion of a tread that scarcely touches earth.” In Sue, a successful Wild West romance, Russell played a young girl who marries a man she doesn’t love in a desperate attempt to escape her father’s brutality. Plaintive and sad-eyed, she was clearly credible as a tragic heroine. Again, it was Leslie’s florid prose that most vividly described Russell’s ability to wring pathos from every line: “Miss Russell’s genius is as delicate, pliable and responsive as the sensitive strings of a harp. She is all force and emotion, all tears and fierceness, if called upon to reveal the intimations of misery; she is tender, timid, cool, innocent and arch if necessary.” Plaintive looks and fragile sighs were, without a doubt, Russell’s forte. Russell helps to lay the cornerstone during construction of the on-campus theater funded by her friend Mary Louise Bok. All images in this story courtesy of Rollins College Archives and Special Collections at the Olin Library. Special thanks to Wenxian Zhang and Darla Moore, department head and archival specialist.


“Keep steadily at work with a high purpose; get at the soul of the thing you are interpreting; keep it well in mind while you are on the stage that you typify an individual; never drop character because you are not speaking lines nor immediately concerned in the action. Work, work, work! Creatively, if you can; intelligently, always. An actor is born, then made.” —Annie Russell

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Yet, when called upon to play comedy, she rose to the occasion. In The Mysterious Mr. Bugle, she was “a daring flirt, all delicious abandon and mischief, saucy dash and quick wit.” Russell’s ability to master a range of roles, and her visceral connection with audiences and critics, helped to make her one of the most sought after and highest-paid actresses of the Gilded Age. One of her signature roles was that of Puck in a 1906 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dressed in animal furs and flying through the air, Russell “rose and floated about in the air with all the grace and ease of a veritable fairy elf in the woods,” wrote a critic. Although Russell loved playing Puck, her favorite role was as Viola in another Shakespeare production, Twelfth Night. In 1902, at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Russell discussed her craft with students, presaging her work at Rollins more than 25 years later. “Keep steadily at work with a high purpose; get at the soul of the thing you are interpreting; keep it well in mind while you are on the stage that you typify an individual; never drop character because you are not speaking lines nor immediately concerned in the action. Work, work, work! Creatively, if you can; intelligently, always. An actor is born, then made.” In 1904, while touring in England with Of Mice and Men, Russell married British actor Oswald Yorke. That marriage, too, was an unhappy one. Yorke

One of Russell’s signature roles was as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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proved to be a philanderer, although the couple didn’t divorce until 1929. Following another health-related hiatus, Russell returned to the stage in The Stronger Sex, which debuted in New York and then toured the country. But her mind was on creating her own production company. In 1910, she joined The New Theatre Company, which was financed by J. Pierpont Morgan and other wealthy New Yorkers to present plays “which might not be afforded if the field were left solely to be occupied by those who were compelled purely by commercial considerations,” according to Gov. Charles Evans Hughes, who spoke at the dedication ceremony for the company’s new auditorium. The New Theatre Company had alternating performing and producing units, so Russell was able to act and hone her production skills. In 1912, she organized the Olde English Comedy Company and served as its director as well as a featured performer. Her company, which occupied the intimate 299-seat Princess Theatre in New York, attracted a variety of patrons, but none more important in Russell’s life than Mary Louise Curtis, daughter of publishing magnate Cyrus H. K. Curtis, founder of Curtis Publishing Company. Curtis saw Russell in The Stronger Sex and was mesmerized. She later met the actress through her fiancé, Edward W. Bok, editor in chief of her father’s flagship magazine, Ladies Home Journal. For the rest of her life, Russell would regard the meeting as “the beginning of the dearest friendship I have ever established.” For years afterward, the bond between Russell and the Boks flourished. She and her family, including her mother, brother, sister and nephew, even bought property in Rockport, Maine, close to property owned by the Boks. This seaside retreat provided Russell, often accompanied by Yorke, the opportunity to relax and enjoy some rare carefree times. In 1917, during a Chicago production of The Thirteenth Chair, Russell’s health took another turn for the worse, forcing her into retirement. For the next 12 years, she lived in New Jersey and later settled in St. Petersburg, where the warm weather lifted her spirits. In 1929, after Russell broke her hip and finally divorced Yorke, the Boks encouraged her to move to Winter Park. Her friends, who had a summer home in Lake Wales and were in the process of developing Bok Tower Gardens, thought the small but sophisticated city would be an ideal place for the ailing actress to rejuvenate herself. Russell bought a beautiful Spanish-style home at 1426 Via Tuscany and made new friends among Winter Park’s affluent social set. But she was foundering. After a lifetime of working, her days now held little to distract or interest her. Her passion was the theater, and the theater seemed to have passed her by. In 1931, Russell attended a Rollins Players production of George Bernard Shaw’s Candide. Following the performance, which was staged in the college’s Recreation Hall, she and another arts aficionado, Rev. B.J. Thomas of All Saints Episcopal Church, discussed the need for a topnotch theatre in Winter Park. Thomas, noting Russell’s enthusiasm for the idea, contacted Mary Louise Bok, who agreed to donate $100,000 for construction of an intimate but ornate performance space on the Rollins campus if her friend would agree to direct plays and teach theater arts. Holt, the innovative president who sought to build the college’s reputation with celebrity faculty members, agreed enthusiastically. “Now we can go ahead and have the most perfect Little Theatre in the world, given by the most perfect donor, and under the direction of the most perfect director,” he wrote in a 1932 letter to Russell. On Jan. 9, 1932, Russell helped place the theater’s cornerstone, which contained such items as photographs of Russell in various roles, current is-


Annie Russell and her husband, Oswald Yorke, in a still from the only known moving pictures of the actress.

TIME MACHINE

Captured on film nearly a century ago, a smartly dressed couple and their frisky hound take a leisurely stroll along the rocky grounds surrounding a shingled coastal cottage. The pair are chatty and animated, yet seemingly heedless of the camera. As they pause before the front porch and pursue a newspaper, the woman peering over the man’s shoulder and seeming to comment on the day’s headlines, it’s almost as though they’re acting out a scripted scene. Of course there’s no sound, so it’s impossible to discern what’s being said. Is a story being told? Or is this flickering footage nothing more than an upper-class New England family’s ho-hum home movie, remarkable only for its age and its pristine condition? Margie Compton, an archivist at the University of Georgia’s Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, wondered who these obviously aristocratic but oddly flamboyant people could be. “They seemed ‘actory’ to me,” says Compton. “It looked like they knew what they were doing in front of a camera.” As it turned out, they did indeed know what they were doing. That reel, along with two others in different locations, turned out to be the only known moving images of stage actress Annie Russell and her husband, Oswald Yorke, an actor of considerably less renown. Together, the three reels last all of three minutes. How did long-hidden footage of Russell, an iconic Winter Parker, end up in a Georgia archive? The films are part of the Pebble Hill Plantation Film Collection, which includes Georgia’s earliest home movies. The collection was donated to the Brown Archives last year. Pebble Hill, a plantation located just outside Thomasville, was bought in 1896 by Howard Melville Hanna of Cleveland, Ohio, as a winter home. In 1901, he gave the property to his daughter, Kate Hanna Ireland, and her children Livingston and Elizabeth “Pansy” Ireland. Pebble Hill’s trustees donated the films in order to preserve their unique scenes of the family and property. They also donated an as-

sortment of printed records, including a privately published history, written by Kate, in which she chronicled the comings and goings of the family’s famous visitors. “I remembered reading about an actress named Annie Russell who would visit Pebble Hill,” says Compton. “I just had a feeling that the woman in the film might be Annie. So I started Googling images of her.” Outside the context of Pebble Hill’s archives, Compton had never heard of Russell. Few have, since her heyday as an actress was prior to the ascendancy of motion pictures. But the archivist found an online image that resembled the woman in the film, and read about her later connection to Winter Park and Rollins College. The rugged coastal setting added to the likelihood that the mysterious footage was of Russell. Compton knew from Kate’s book that the actress and her husband had a summer home in Maine, which was later bought by Kate’s brother, Livingston. Convinced that she had uncovered a rarity, Compton traveled to the Winter Park and showed the film to Olin Library archivists Wenxian Zhang and Darla Moore as well as to theater professor Jennifer Cavanaugh, who had co-authored a biographical play, Stage Fright, based on Russell’s life. The trio confirmed that the couple in the film was Russell and Yorke, probably in the summer of 1917 or 1918, at Russell’s Maine home. They had never seen moving images of the woman whose name graces the campus’s beautiful and historically significant performing arts facility. “Seeing this footage is tremendously exciting for those of us at Rollins who have heard so much about the legendary Annie Russell’s talent and charm — a quality that definitely comes through in these films,” says Moore. A second reel shows Russell visiting Boxhall Plantation, five miles from Pebble Hill, and a third shows her at Pebble Hill with Pansy Ireland and her stepfather, Perry Harvey, along with hunting dogs and dog handlers at the plantation’s kennels. Those were likely shot in 1919, according to Compton. As to the theatrical flair of the films, Compton thinks she has a simple explanation, apart from the fact that its subjects are actors. Taking home movies was not a casual undertaking in the early part of the 20th century, when few had the means to own cameras and projectors. “When people in that era took home movies, they were usually serious about it,” she says. “There wasn’t a lot of horsing around. They took a thoughtful approach.” Camera companies even sold title cards so people could shoot films around a plot and later insert displays showing exposition and dialogue, as in commercial features prior to the advent of talkies. However, Compton doubts that Russell and York were working from a script — they were simply actors being actors. As to the condition of the reels, Compton says that 28mm film, which was the format typically used for early home movies and educational films, holds up better than the 16mm format that supplanted it. Russell would surely have appreciated the timing of the discovery, which came just as her namesake theater was winding up its landmark 80th season. And she certainly would have enjoyed the opportunity to revel in one more Winter Park curtain call. The University of Georgia facilitated Russell’s beyond-the-grave comeback by donating a copy of the film to the college. It was then shown for the first time publically in April, at the Annie Russell Theater, just prior to a student performance of She Stoops to Conquer. It could only be kismet that the perennially popular Oliver Goldsmith comedy of manners, written 1773, toured the country 99 years ago and starred a 50-year-old, Irish-born stage actress named Annie Russell. — Randy Noles S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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sues of local newspapers, and a copy of the Program of Cornerstone Ceremonies. A Western Union telegram from Mary Louise Bok stands out. It reads: “Regret infinitely my inability to be with you today for the laying of the cornerstone of the Annie Russell Theatre. The building is just my loving tribute to you as woman and artist and dear lifelong friend, but you will give it soul. Your spirit and knowledge and artistic integrity will be the inspiration for the youth of Rollins College privileged to work under your guidance. My love to you and God Speed to the project.” The ceremony offered Russell the opportunity to express her appreciation for Bok’s generous gift and to affirm her commitment to making the project an enduring success. “I hope it is significant,” Russell told the gathered crowd, “that the initials of the name of the theatre spell ‘art.’ And so I devote my art and soul to Rollins College and her beloved President Holt.” The following month the college presented her with a Doctor of Humane Letters and the Annie Russell Company was formed. Despite continuing health problems and the stress inherent in completing a new facility, Russell plunged ahead with preparations for Robert Browning’s In A Balcony, which would open the theater and mark Russell’s return to the stage in the role of the queen. Opening night, May 29, 1932, was an unqualified triumph. Russell and her troupe earned a “deafening” standing ovation from the packed house, and several observers noted that while Russell was onstage, the years and the cares seemed to fall away. A student performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet followed, after which Russell recuperated at her Maine retreat before returning to Winter Park for the 1933-34 season. She directed and acted in The Thirteenth Chair then staged Hedda Gabler. Russell, and her students, treasured the informal discussion groups the actress would host in the theater’s green room. “I think of you in that exquisite room of yours, looking up to greet me and putting out your hand the way you always did,” wrote one student. “Nobody ever used her hands the way you do!” But one aspect of the season would mar Russell’s reputation for future generations. Thanks to the actress’ fame and the beauty of the theater over which she presided, many traveling companies sought to bring their productions to the Rollins campus. One such production was From Sun to Sun, written by legendary African-American folklorist Zora Neal Hurston, who had Eatonville roots, and featuring an all-black cast.

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An autographed picture of Annie Russell in 1901, at the height of her popularity.


BLITHE SPIRIT The Annie Russell Theater is said to be one of the most haunted places in Central Florida. According to believers in the paranormal, the actress for whom the theater is named was unwilling to take a final bow when she died in 1936, and remains a spectral backstage presence. Is there any evidence? Not at all, beyond vague reports of unexplained noises and unexpected electrical surges. Intriguing but ultimately unprovable sightings of an elderly woman wearing a Victorian-era purple dress have also made their way into local theater lore. Still, would-be ghostbusters continue to try and quantify the alleged haunting. Last October, WOFLChannel 35, the local Fox affiliate, sent a film crew and a team from an Orlando-based organization called American Ghost Adventures to make contact with the theater’s other-worldly residents, if any. The Ghost Adventures contingent brought along an array of gadgets, including devices that are meant to measure electromagnetic activity, thought by some to be an indicator of paranormal activity. While a breathless WOFL reporter attempted to bring drama to the proceedings, nothing particularly remarkable happened. A flashlight appeared to become brighter and dimmer in response to shouted questions, but it was hardly a jaw-dropping display. Still, that didn’t deter the intrepid investigators from insisting that the haunting had been confirmed. “I, along with the team from Fox 35 and American Ghost Adventures, came away from the experience convinced,” wrote Justin Braun, a Rollins community relations staffer who led the production crew. “Though the ghost of Annie Russell didn’t reveal herself, I want to believe that her passion for her theatre lives on. I’m no longer a skeptic. I’m a humbled and terrified believer.” Results were similarly underwhelming in 2005 and 2006, when U.K.-based White Light Investigations and Gainesville-based Peace River Ghost Tracker visited the Rollins College campus. Each team declared the theater haunted nonetheless. “There is obvious paranormal activity within the walls of the Annie Russell Theatre,” reported White Light. Peace River agreed, and claimed to have filmed Annie’s supposed favorite balcony seat unfolding as though it were being occupied by an invisible spectator. Now that would be genuinely difficult to explain. Can we have a look? Well, no. “The Annie Russell was a wonderful investigation and we experienced some great stuff,” according to the group’s website. “Unfortunately we had a very long weekend doing two investigations and by accident the theater video/audio evidence was deleted.” — Randy Noles S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Even at an enlightened college with a president known for his progressive ideas, there was resistance. W.R. Wunsch, an English professor, pled with Holt to open the facility to Hurston’s troupe. “Break the ground, as it were, to make the students sensitive to the lyric beauty of swamp and citrus grove,” he wrote, challenging Holt’s reticence. “I can think of no better way to introduce the students to the honest-to-the-soil material at their own doorsteps than to present it to them in a program of folk songs and dancers, a group of Eatonville negroes, headed by Zora Hurston.” Holt allowed the performance to take place, but in the Recreation Hall, not the Annie Russell Theater, where blacks weren’t allowed. And even in the Recreation Hall, black and white attendees were segregated. “Of course we cannot have negroes in the audience, unless there is a separate place for them,” Holt wrote in his response to Wunsch, adding, “I do not think I would advertise it very much outside our own faculty and students.” Russell’s opinions on race are not well documented, but the fact, that her theater prohibited both black audiences and theatrical troupes reflects poorly on her. And Holt’s unwillingness to take a stance likewise tarnishes his otherwise stellar legacy. By June of 1934, Russell was growing increasingly discouraged with what she perceived as a lack of financial support for her productions, despite continued contributions from the Boks, and a lack of theatrical professionalism at Rollins. The relationship between Russell and Holt, usually warm, became at times contentious, particularly when Russell demanded more than the college was able or willing to give. A letter from Bok to Holt shortly after Russell’s death hints at the discord. In discussing possible replacements for Russell, Bok wrote that professionalism was crucial. “This single point, although I doubt if you realize it, was the basis of whatever unhappiness Annie knew in her work at Rollins,” she scolded. “That the difference between amateur and professional was not clearly understood.” The 1934-35 season brought Russell to the stage one last time as Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals. She then directed, but did not act in, One Day of Spring. But she was wearing down, and contracted double pneumonia. Friends feared that she wouldn’t survive the winter and Holt, among many others, visited and sent good wishes her way. Responding to a note from Holt, Russell expressed a desire to get back to work. “Your precious Christmas letter has brought me much comfort and courage,” she wrote. “I’ve read and

Russell was so well known that her image was used to sell products, in this case cigarettes.

reread it. I have never needed help and courage more than I do now. My situation seems a bit hopeless just now. I just can’t make headway. You have been so good to me—so patient—and I must get well to prove my devotion to you.” But it was not to be. On Jan. 16, 1936, with Bok at her bedside, the remarkable Annie Russell died. From around the world, all those who adored Russell spoke of her with admiration and love. In Winter Park, Holt eulogized his friend and colleague. “As actress, producer, teacher, and neighbor she has been the delight and inspiration of this community,” Holt said. “And ever maintaining the highest professional and personal artistic standards, she has set an example to faculty and students alike of what good acting, and a good actress, should be. Her loss would be irreparable, did we not know that each generation renews itself and somehow, some way, the past blooms in the future. The original version of this story was written by Kimberley T. Mould for the Winter Park Historical Association through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council Scholar/Humanist Fellowship. It has been revised and updated with information from other sources for this publication.


Dining Restaurants of Winter Park

Masterfully Mediterranean Mi Tomatina, an indoor-outdoor eatery located in Hannibal Square, serves up the most delicious paella you’ll find outside the Valenicia region of Spain, where it’s said to have originated. The dish pictured here features lobster tail, which isn’t always on the menu, but you can order the savory rice-based staple with various combinations of squid, shrimp, snails, mussels, beef, oxtail, chicken, veggies and more. For a lighter snack, try the tapas with a fruity sangria or a frosty beer. 433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, (321) 972-4317 / mitomatina.com. $$-$$$

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Dining THE KEY $ Cheap eats, most entrees under $10 $$ Moderate, dinner entrees $15-20 $$$ Pricey, most entrees over $30 $$$$ Many entrees over $30 AMERICAN The Bistro on Park Avenue 348 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 644-2313 / bistroonparkavenue.com. Located in the Hidden Gardens, this low-key eatery’s glassenclosed garden room offers one of the prettiest settings on Park Avenue. Specialties include chef crab cakes, shrimp or crawfish étouffée and bistro-style pot roast. Breakfast is served on Saturdays with an excellent brunch featuring a variety of eggs Benedict made with salmon and soft-shell crab. It’s German Night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. $$-$$ Briarpatch Restaurant 252 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 628-8651. This Park Avenue institution is crowded during breakfast and lunch—and on Sunday for brunch— and incredibly noisy. Fare includes fancy burgers, such as the Grafton white cheddar and sugar-cured bacon burger, as well as sandwiches, salads and omelets. But most patrons are particularly fond of the oversized homemade desserts, including an array of ice creams and such super-rich treats as chocolate layer cake. A bit of trivia: The restaurant’s marble counter once topped the soda fountain at Irvine’s Pharmacy, an even more venerable Park Avenue institution that operated from 1925 to 1973. $$-$$$ The Cask & Larder 656 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 628-2333/caskandlarder.com. From the folks who brought us Ravenous Pig comes this “Southern Public House” in the former Harper’s Tavern location. “Cask” is for the beer that’s brewed on site and “larder” is an arcane term for a pantry used primarily in the South, so the cuisine is Southern-inspired, locally sourced and encompasses the general categories of sausage and country ham; vegetables and grains; fish and oysters; and such delectable oddities as grilled lamb heart, pork belly and foie-gras stuffed quali. Snout-to-tail specials for parties of eight or more involve serving up an entire animal, usually a pig. $$$ The Coach Room 110 S. Orlando Ave. Winter Park, (407) 647-1166 / bestwestern.com. This small restaurant at Winter Park’s venerable Best Western/ Mt. Vernon Inn isn’t flashy. But longtime locals know that The Coach Room, renowned for roasting turkeys daily, offers hearty lunches and tasty breakfasts. Still, the biggest draw is the adjacent Red Fox Lounge, a refreshingly retro watering hole where dapper elders and college hipsters alike enjoy strong drinks and campy but sincere lounge acts. $-$$ Dexter’s 558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, (407) 629-1150 / dexwine.com. Central Florida has three Dexter’s locations, each of which has become a neighborhood hangout, drawing diners of all ages for hearty portions of creative American fare (at fair prices), good wine and, in some cases, live music. Casual dress is the rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. For dinner, country-fried lamb—yes, lamb—is an unexpected but tasty choice. $$-$$$ Hillstone 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 7404005 / hillstone.com/hillstone. Formerly known as

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Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a high-end chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Killarney. Many have popped the proverbial question during romantic dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$ Keke’s Breakfast Café 345 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 629-1400 / kekesbreakfastcafe.com. Keke’s serves up a solid lunch, but this place is really all about breakfast, more specifically the waffles, French toast and oversized pancakes, offered with fruit, granola and chocolate chips. You may encounter a wait on weekend mornings, but be patient — it’s worth it. $$ Matilda’s On Park 358 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 951-5790 That seemingly cursed corner of Park and Canton avenues most recently occupied by Galopin and perhaps a half-dozen eateries ging back a decade or so is now Matilda’s. The logo features a kangaroo and a “Roo Burger” is offered on the menu, but that’s about as far as the Australian theme is carried. Otherwise it’s an eclectic assortment of traditional pub food such as chicken wings along with tacos, sandwiches and varieties of mac and cheese. The upstairs space, as it was during Galopin’s run, is a lounge with a casual but contemporary vibe. $$$ Park Plaza Gardens 319 S. Park Ave., (407) 645-2475, parkplazagardens.com. Located adjacent to the historic Park Plaza Hotel, this Winter Park institution boasts a clubby, cozy bar and sidewalk café for leisurely drinks, casual meals and unparalleled people watching. Café specialties include appetizers, soups, sandwiches, burgers and a lovely array of salads. At the rear of the building is the elegant atrium dining room, a posh, patio-style space where you are surrounded by large trees and lush vegetation beneath a soaring ceiling of glass. The food is worthy of the setting, melding American, European and Asian flavors and cooking techniques. Specialties of the house include beef carpaccio, filet of beef tenderloin, chicken curry salad and crab-stuffed grouper. Bananas foster is a showy but delightful dessert. $$$-$$$$ 310 Park South 310 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 647-7277 / 310parksouth.net. New American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, beef, pasta dishes, signature salads and sandwiches. Dine outside along the Avenue and enjoy daily lunch and dinner specials, a children’s menu or Sunday brunch. Steak, chicken and pasta entrées dominate the menu, but there’s a very nice, slowly roasted half duck finished with a plum demiglace. If you prefer to dine at home, call ahead and pick up your favorite dish. $$-$$$ Toasted 1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park (407) 9603922/igettoasted.com Yes, there really is a restaurant that specializes in that most beloved childhood comfort food, the grilled-cheese sandwich. But this isn’t Velveeta on Wonder bread; the menu includes combinations of exotic cheeses, artisan breads and other unexpected additions. For example, we doubt Mom ever served a “Fig and Goat” sandwich with goat cheese, fig preserves, basil and honey. This cheesy joint also offers an assortment of burgers and salads as well as vegetarian and vegan selections. $ Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, (407) 672-5753 / tibbysneworleans-kitchen.com. If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate dining experience, this is not the place for you. Tibby’s is loud, raucous and fun,

with Crescent City favorites like shrimp Creole, crawfish pie and, for dessert, powdered beignets. Tibby’s was named for the late Walter “Tibby” Tabony, a Big Easy native and great-uncle of restaurateur Brian Wheeler, who also founded Tijuana Flats. The old man, whose colorful biography is on the menu, would certainly have approved of the shrimp and andouille cheddar grits and the hand-battered fried pickle slices, which are expertly fried and served with a rich rémoulade sauce. $$

ASIAN Orchid Thai Cuisine 305 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 331-1400. Enjoy authentic Thai food — with orchids (what else?) garnishing many dishes — in a primo Park Avenue location. Traditional offerings include green curry highlighted by coconut gravy infused with kaffir lime and Thai basil, larb chicken, tom yum soup and curry puffs. For a light and refreshing dessert, try the Thai doughnuts, sweetened by a peanut-sprinkled dip of condensed milk. The cozy restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. $$-$$$ P.F. Chang’s China Bistro 436 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 622-0188 / pfchangs.com. The popular restaurant chain, with more than 200 locations in North America, offers upscale Chinese classics artfully presented, with many sauces made tableside by servers. Signature entrées include diced chicken wrapped in lettuce leaves, orange-peel beef with chili peppers and wok-fried scallops with lemon sauce. The busy Winter Park Village venue features an outdoor patio. $$

BARBECUE Bubbaloo’s Bodacious Barbecue 1471 Lee Road, Winter Park, (407) 628-1212/bubbaloos.com It now has five locations, but the original Bubbaloo’s is a Winter Park institution, serving up traditional pork and beef platters as well as brisket, livers and gizzards and sides of beans, greens and mac and cheese. It’s definitely an experience best suited to the barbecue purist. $ 4 Rivers Smokehouse 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 474-8377 / 4rsmokehouse.com. A diverse menu of barbecue specialties—from Texas-style brisket to pulled pork, smoked turkey and baconwrapped jalapenos—has gained this homegrown concept a huge following. The expanded Winter Park location also features scrumptious desserts created in the Longwood store’s in-house bakery. The Mississippi mud cake, in particular, is to die for. $

BAKERY/CAFE Panera Bread 329 N. Park Ave., Ste. 107, Winter Park/ panerabread.com. On the south end of Park Avenue sits a Starbucks; on the north end a Panera holds sway. But while Starbucks is pretty much strictly a place for coffee, Panera offers amazing bakery items and its signature fresh-and-healthy soups, salads and sandwiches. So we consider it to be as much a restaurant as a coffeehouse, as do most of its patrons. This particular location is a large space, conveniently located next to a parking garage, and offers abundant outside seating to facilitate people-watching. $

BURGERS BurgerFi 538 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 6222010/burgerfi.com. This Delray Beach-based chain joins Five Guys and Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries in Central Florida’s suddenly sizzling burger category. You order at the counter and a server brings your food. The burger buns, interestingly, are branded with the name of the restaurant while the burgers


themselves are fashioned from grass-fed, steroidfree beef. The fries are thick cut and house made and there are some 120 beverages from which to choose, including tea, wine, soft drinks and craft beer. Frozen custard is a nice treat on a hot day. $-$$

CREATIVE/PROGRESSIVE Luma on Park 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 5994111 / lumaonpark.com. If there’s pancetta in your salad, the salumi was made in the kitchen, by hand, starting with a whole pig. Most herbs are from local farms, fish from sustainable sources, pickled vegetables jarred in-house and desserts built around seasonal ingredients. Luma’s progressive menu, which changes daily, is served in a sleek and stylish dining room in the heart of Winter Park, under the passionate direction of Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery, Chef de Cuisine Derek Perez and Pastry Chef Brian Cernell. $$$ Fresh 535 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, (321) 295-7837/freshcafe.wp.com. You’d expect globally inspired cuisine in a restaurant owned by partners who are Filipino-Italian and Panamanian-Lebanese, respectively. And that’s what you get at aptly named Fresh, where the ingredients are uniformly fresh and largely locally sourced. The ever-changing menu features such entrees as seared scallops with limeginger beurre blanc, butternut squash ravioli and succulent beef tenderloin. The grilled peach with mozzarella, prosciutto, lemon honey vinaigrette and mint is an out-of-the-ordinary salad. $$$-$$$$ Ravenous Pig 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, (407) 628-2333 / theravenouspig.com. After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s first genuine gastropub. Dinner reservations have been tough to snag ever since. The ambitious menu changes daily based on the fish, meat and produce that’s available, and it’s executed by a dedicated team that abhors shortcuts. Besides daily specials, The Pig always serves up an excellent burger, soft pretzels, shrimp and grits and a donutesque dessert called Pig Tails. $$$

DINER Linda’s Winter Park Diner, 177 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 644-2343. Look up “diner” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Linda’s, which just celebrated its 25th year in Winter Park serving up hearty breakfasts and meat-plus-three lunch specials. It’s retro, but not in a precious, self-conscious way. It simply is what it is. Be sure to bring cash; Linda’s doesn’t take credit cards. $

FRENCH Café de France 526 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 647-1869 / lecafedefrance.com. Dominique Gutierrez, who’s from Vendée, on the Atlantic coast of France, still greets Café de France diners as if they’re old friends. At this point, many are. Despite a kitchen staffed with chefs, she still prepares the housemade pâtés the way her mother taught her years ago. Look for classics such as garlicky escargot and au courant entrées such as rack of lamb with mint, eggplant purée and crisp wild mushrooms. $$-$$$ Café 906 906 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 975-0600 / cafe906.blogspot.com. Within this nondescript freestanding building is a friendly, low-key little restaurant where French expat Vincent Vallée will brew you a cappuccino, warm up a slice of quiche Lorraine or indulge you with a peanut-butter filled lava cake — dark

chocolate or white. Be sure to try the “salted” pound cake, a savory snack made with goat cheese, walnuts and raisins stirred in, or the bacon quiche, a light, fluffy delight with a delicate and flaky crust. $ Chez Vincent 533 W. New England Ave, Winter Park, (407) 599-2929 / chezvincent.com. Orlandoans have headed to chef Vincent Gagliano’s Hannibal Square hideaway for 15 years, dressing up for formal evenings made even more special with trout in lemon-butter and pork tenderloin slathered with Dijon sauce. The intimate space has two sister enterprises: a belowground wine cellar that hosts private meals for up to 30, and a lounge known as Hannibal’s that dishes up American and French favorites. $$-$$$ Croissant Gourmet 120 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, (407) 622-7753 / croissantgourmet.com. Discreetly tucked onto a side street behind simple glass walls, Croissant Gourmet is so small you might not notice it. Seek it out. Under the expert guidance of pastry chef François Cahagne, this simple spot turns out tray after tray of the region’s finest croissants and pastries. Quiches are superb here, as are the grilled croque monsieur and madame sandwiches. $-$$ Dylan’s Deli 1198 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, (407) 622-7578 / dylansdeli.net. In a disjointed little space featuring warm fresco colors and distinctive touches such as arched doorways, Dylan’s Deli offers not only the pastrami sandwiches you’d expect but also a wondrous assortment of French fare. Crêpes and paninis filled with an array of Gallic and international flavors make for satisfying lunches, while montaditos (platters of meats, cheeses, nuts and more) and charcuterie plates pair well with French wines and beers after dark. $$-$$$ Le Macaron French Pastries 216 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (321) 295-7958 / lemacaron-us.com. Le Macaron serves up 16 flavors of petite pastel cookies, each made primarily with frothy meringue and ground almonds. The noshes are delicate yet filling, and come in varieties such as black currant, pistachio and chestnut-ginger-chocolate. These are nothing like similarly named macaroons, made with coconut. $ Paris Bistro 216 N. Park Ave., (407) 671-4424, Winter Park / parisbistroparkavenue.com. Paris Bistro is a restaurant divided: Some seats are tucked away behind Park Avenue’s Shops on Park building, past a koi pond. The others beckon along a bustling stretch of sidewalk. Wherever you choose to indulge, you’ll find French classics (coq au vin, beef burgundy) plus a slew of daily specials (roasted rack of lamb flambéed with brandy and topped with a porcini mushroom sauce) created by chef and co-owner Sebastian Colce. $$-$$$ Sweet Traditions 212 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 622-2232. After developing a robust business in downtown Winter Garden, proprietors Christine and Stephan Crocher snuggled a second café next to Paris Gourmet. Sweet Traditions offers breads, pastries, crêpes, sandwiches and quiches. The fruit tart is the ideal go-to dessert when you’re having company. Unlike the Winter Garden location, the Winter Park outlet offers crunchy and steamy pressed sandwiches, and breakfast is served all day. $

ITALIAN Antonio’s 611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, (407) 645-5523 / antoniosonline.com. Fine Italian fare comes at reasonable prices at Antonio’s, proprietor Greg Gentile’s culinary homage to his ancestors. The upstairs restaurant,

recently remodeled and expanded with a balcony overlooking Lake Lily, is somewhat formal, although the open kitchen provides peeks of the chefs in action. Its downstairs counterpart, Antonio’s Café, is a more casual spot that doubles as a market and wine shop. It’s easy to fill up on fresh, crusty bread and olive oil, but don’t—you’ll want to leave room for such staples as wood-grilled salmon, rigatoni with chicken, fettuccine Alfredo, pollo Marsala, veal picatta and many more. $$$ Brio Tuscan Grille 480 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 622-5611 / brioitalian.com. Located in Winter Park Village, Brio is a Tuscan treasure. Try the roasted lamb chops, a full rack, or the filletto di manzo toscana, an 8-ounce, center-cut filet. Lunch features paninis and sandwiches as well as lunch-sized servings of popular dinner dishes. Pastas are made in-house and breads are baked fresh in an Italian oven. The ambience is upscale, but kids have their own menu. $$ Buca di Beppo 1351 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, (407) 622-7663 / bucadibeppo.com. This national chain is owned by Orlando resident (and Planet Hollywood founder) Robert Earl, who has remade it onto a fun, kitschy place for family dining. The portions are humongous, and the food is served family style. A standout entrée is linguine fruitti di mari, a large portion of pasta served in a lasagna pan and filled with mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp drizzled with an olive oil sauce. The pizzas are excellent, too. $$$ Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant 216 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 629-7270 / pannullos.com. Housed in one of Park Avenue’s oldest buildings, Pannullo’s is approaching its 20th anniversary and has become something of a fixture itself. The menu features everything from pizza to classic pasta dishes, but you can’t go wrong with the lobster ravioli or the chicken gorgonzola. And check out the veggie-heavy salad bar. $$ Prato 124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 262-0050 / prato-wp.com. This is one of Orlando’s very best Italian restaurants, but don’t expect a classic lasagna or chicken parmigiana. Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and Chef di Cucina Matthew Cargo oversee an open kitchen in which pastas are made from scratch, pizzas are rolled to order, sausages are stuffed by hand and the olive oil is a luscious organic pour from Italy. Try the chicken liver Toscana, a satisfying salad Campagna with cubes of sizzling pancetta tesa, shrimp tortellini and citrusy rabbit cacciatore. Begin with a Negroni cocktail; it’s possibly the best around. $$-$$$ Rocco’s 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 6447770 / roccositaliangrille.com. Calabria native Rocco Potami oversees this romantic Italian eatery, where fine authentic fare is presented in an intimate dining room and on a secluded brick patio. Classics include carpaccio (raw, thinly sliced beef with white truffle oil and arugula), ricotta gnocchi and a breaded veal chop topped with a lightly dressed salad. It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a Winter Park strip center, but once you find it, you’ll be back. $$$ Tolla’s Italian Deli & Café 240 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Winter Park, (407) 628-0068 / tollasitalianrestaurant. com. Chef-owner Gary Tolla cooks up authentic home-style Italian fare in this small café in a quieter part of Winter Park. The offerings range from hot subs and pizzas to antipasto and veal saltimbocca. Be sure to try the bruschetta. $$ S U MME R 2 0 1 3 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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Dining

LOVING YOUR LIFE.

LATIN Mi Tomatina 433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, (321) 972-4317 / mitomatina.com. This eatery bills itself as a paella bar, and indeed guests share a half-dozen varieties of the signature Spanish rice dish. Yet others come for a mellow meal over tapas (garlic shrimp, potato omelet, croquettes) and sangria, enjoyed while seated within a small contemporary dining room or outdoors overlooking Hannibal Square. $$-$$$

MEDITERRANEAN Bosphorous 108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, (407) 6448609 / bosphorousrestaurant.com. This is the place for flavorful Turkish fare in either a white-tablecloth setting or alfresco along Park Avenue. Many couples fill up on the appetizer sampler with oversized lavash bread. For a heartier meal, try the ground lamb “Turkish pastry,” a shish kebab or a tender lamb shank. Outdoor diners can end their meals by smoking from a hookah. Or not. $$

MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN P.R.’s Taco Palace. 499 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 645-2225. This charmingly dumpy but iconic Winter Park eatery, located adjacent to the railroad tracks, serves up hearty portions of TexMex fare including chimichangas, fajitas, tostadas and, of course, tacos. A specialty of the house is the outrageously proportioned fundido, a deep-fried flour tortilla filled with your choice of shredded or blackened chicken, shredded or ground beef and cream cheese. Many, many margaritas are consumed on the premises, and discounted tequila shots are offered whenever a train rumbles past. $-$$

PUBS & GRILLS

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Fiddler’s Green 544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (407) 645-2050 / fiddlersgreenorlando.com. This is as authentically Irish as you’ll find in Orlando, with a menu featuring bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, hen in a pot, Irish stew and, of course, fish and chips as well as a wide selection of Irish beers. The ambience is enhanced by dark wood, cozy clutter and rowdy groups of “footballers” cheering televised matches. $-$$ Orlando Ale House 101 University Park Drive, Winter Park, (407) 671-1011 / millersalehouse.com. Part of the Miller’s Ale House regional chain of casual-dining restaurants, most of which are in Florida, the Winter Park location offers daily lunch and dinner specials. Along with a huge beer selection, the Ale House features signature boneless chicken wings and “Captain Jack’s Buried Treasure,” a layered ice cream cake. $-$$ Shipyard Brew Pub 200 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, (321) 274-4045 / shipyardemporium.com. This ultra-casual brewpub has been packed night and day since it opened in 2011, and not just because it pours a great lager. To complement suds brewed both in-house and elsewhere, a from-scratch menu offers Buffalo chicken dip, amazing white-bean hummus, sandwiches, flatbreads and entrées, including étouffée and pot roast. Stop in any time to pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread. $-$$

SEAFOOD Mitchell’s Fish Market 460 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 339-3474 / mitchellsfishmarket.com. A high-end seafood chain that prides itself on being “absolutely, positively obsessed with freshness,” the family-friendly restaurant also offers a glutenfree menu and special meals for kids. Signature dishes include charbroiled oysters, Maine lobster

bisque and a “Fish Market Trio” of blackened salmon, broiled salmon and sea scallops. $$-$$$ Winter Park Fish Co. 761 Orange Ave. Winter Park, (407) 622-6112 / thewinterparkfishco.com. Fish and seafood dishes are fresh and well prepared at this humble Winter Park spot, where a counter-service format helps keep prices reasonable. Crab cakes, lobster rolls, mahi-mahi sandwiches and more ambitious dishes such as grouper cheeks in parchment and stuffed grouper are among a typical day’s offerings. $$

STEAK Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Rd., Orlando, (407) 645-4443 / christnersprimesteakandlobster.com. Locals have been choosing this prototypically masculine, dark-wood-and-red-leather enclave for business dinners and family celebrations for more than a decade. Family-owned since 1993, Christner’s features USDA Prime, corn-fed Midwestern beef or Australian cold-water lobster tails with a slice of the restaurant’s legendary mandarin orange cake. And there’s a loooong wine list (6,500 bottles). On select nights, Kostya Kimlat hosts magic shows along with a prix-fixe menu in a private dining room. $$$$ Fleming’s 933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 699-9463 / flemingssteakhouse.com. Fleming’s puts a younger spin on the stately steakhouse concept, featuring sleek décor and 100 wines by the glass along with its prime steaks and chops. The tempura lobster “small plate” with soy-ginger dipping sauce is a worthy pre-entrée splurge. For a taste of the old-fashioned, visit on Sunday, when prime rib is served. $$$$ Nelore Churrascaria 115 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park, (407) 645-1112 / neloresteakhouse.com. This is one of two Nelore Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses— the other one is in Houston—where the servers, or “gauchos,” come to your table as often as you’d like bearing skewers of premier beef, chicken or pork. There’s a world-class salad bar and Brazilian cheese bread to keep you happy between meat courses. $$$$ Ruth’s Chris 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, (407) 6222444 / ruthschris.com. With three old-school steakhouses and its corporate headquarters near Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando special-occasion mainstay. Its service-oriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. Most side dishes are more than ample for two. $$$$

VEGETARIAN Café 118 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, (407) 3892233 / cafe118.com. Raw foods—none cooked past 118 degrees—are the focus of this health-conscious niche café, which attracts raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$ Ethos Vegan Kitchen 601-B South New York Ave., Winter Park (407) 407-228-3898/ethosvegankitchen.com. After serving up vegan fare for five years at its original location on North Orange Avenue, this 100 percent vegan eatery moved to Winter Park last year. A luncheon favorite is the Ethos Club Sandwich, with Tofurkey deli slices, Canadian bacon, lettuce, tomato, mustard and veganaise layered between three pieces of levain toast. A meat-free shepherd’s pie and crab cakes made from chickpeas are among the other unique offerings. $$


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Events ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE

Rambling Man J. Andre Smith (1880-1959), who founded the Maitland Art Center in 1937, was a first lieutenant in the Engineer Reserve Corps and an official war artist for the U.S. Army during World War I. He returned to Europe in 1940 and revisited the French countryside. There he painted Roof and Palms, which is one of the works on display during Andre Smith: Picturing Place, which draws from the center’s collection of prints, paintings and drawings reflecting Smith’s travels in the U.S. and Europe. The exhibit runs through Aug. 4 at the Maitland Art Center. For more information, see page 58.

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Events

VISUAL ARTS The Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens. Although the museum is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor, it also stages frequent exhibitions from internationally renowned artists working in all mediums. Running through June 21 is From Start to Finish: The Florida Sculptors Guild Exhibition, which uses photographs, sketches and models to explore the process of creating sculptures. Opening July 30 is The Awakening: The Art of Ursula Schwartz, which features the South African artist’s large-scale oil paintings accompanied by poetry written Schwartz and her young son. The exhibit runs through Oct. 27. Opening Nov. 5 is The Holy Art of Imperial Russia: Icons from the 17th-Early 20th Century. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Ave. (407) 647-6294. polasek.org.

SPOTLIGHT

After the legendary Langford Resort Hotel was demolished in 1999, Winter Park proper has been without an upscale hotel that can host large-scale events. The mid-range Mount Vernon Inn on U.S. 17-92 is comfortable but not lavish. The historic Park Plaza Hotel overlooking Park Avenue is a boutique property with just 28 rooms. So the opening of The Alfond Inn — ironically on a tract where the Langford once stood — is welcome news for visitors with sophisticated tastes and locals who want to throw a function or hold a meeting at a hotel closer to home. The Alfond, located on East New England Avenue, is slated to open its doors in August with 112 lavishly appointed guest rooms and expansive indoor and outdoor spaces. The business model is certainly an unusual one. The facility is owned by Rollins College and was built with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Net operating income will endow the Alfond Scholars program, which provides financial aid to Rollins students. Naturally, there’ll be a restaurant — and it sounds like it will be a terrific addition to the already eclectic local culinary scene. Hamilton’s Kitchen, named for Hamilton Holt, the college’s innovative eighth president, will offer traditional Southern cooking at breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. For weddings and social affairs, either a distinctive glass-domed conservatory or a lushly landscaped garden will provide breathtaking settings. And an elegant, 5,000-squarefoot ballroom will accommodate up to 350 guests. Because the spaces are divisible, intimate weddings and smaller social events can also be easily handled. There’s an additional 10,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space that can be divided for break-out sessions or to host smaller gatherings. That includes a 1,000-square- foot board room with state-of-the-art AV equipment and board-style seating. For an advance look, check out thealfondinn.com

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Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center at 231 W. Packwood Ave., was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith. The center, which offers exhibits and classes, is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Running through Aug. 4 is Andre Smith: Picturing Place, which draws from the center’s collection of prints, paintings and drawings reflecting Smith’s travels in the U.S. and Europe. Opening Aug. 16 is Images of Eatonville: Then and Now, which features Smith’s paintings of the historic African-American community in the ‘30s and ‘40s along with contemporary photographs by Rollins College students. Other monthly events include Family Days at the Museum, held the third Saturday of each month at 1 p.m; Artists’ Critique and Conversation, held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.; and Ladies Art Lounge, held the first Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Additional components of the Art & History Museums-Maitland complex include the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum, 221 W. Packwood Ave., which has a new permanent exhibit, Maitland Legacies: Creativity and Innovation; and the Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museum, 820 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The museum, located on the campus of Rollins College, houses one of the oldest and most eclectic art collections in Florida. Running through May 12 is Collecting for the Cornell, an overview of the many gifts and acquisitions that have made the facility one of the region’s cultural gems. Running through Aug. 4 is Jeffrey Gibson: Tipi Poles (Performing as Lines), which showcases four new paintings by the Native American artist, whose creations use traditional Indian motifs in contemporary ways; and running through Dec. 1 is Studio Malick, which features photographs by Malick Sidibe chronicling the ‘60s-era youth culture in the West African nation of Mali. Opening Sept. 13 is Collected for the Cornell: Purchases With Acquisition Funds, which highlights works by Dürer, Cézanne, Picasso and others. In addition, the exhibit marks the first public display of L.C. Armstrong’s triptych “Romantic Landscape” since the artist’s one-person show at Rollins in 2008. Admission to the museum is free throughout 2013. 1000 Holt Ave. (407) 646-2000. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealde School of Art. Established in 1975, this notfor-profit arts organization offers year-round visual arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40


Body and Soul: The Human Presence in Art from the OMA Collection On View Through August 11, 2013 This exhibition celebrates the OMA’s recent acquisition of the sculpture, Soundsuit, by Nick Cave. Soundsuit reflects Cave’s interest in costume as a means of transforming the performer’s identity. The work draws upon concepts in Africa and Caribbean cultures in which costume and dance allow a performer to become the supernatural being the costume represents. The exhibition also includes paintings, sculptures and photography by contemporary artists and a selection of traditional textiles and a dance mask made by African artists. Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2011, ceramic birds and figures, metal flowers, gramophone, wig, beads, metal armature, appliquéd, knitted and crocheted fabric on mannequin, 112 1/2 x 58 x 47 1/2 in., Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust.

Lesley Dill, Dada Poem Wedding Dress, 1994, acrylic and thread on paper on mannequin, 64 in. x 60 in. x 70 in., Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust.

Orlando Museum of Art 2416 North Mills Ave Orlando, FL 32803 www.omart.org

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Events

working artists. The school stages exhibitions at two Winter Park locations: the Main Campus, 600 St. Andrews Blvd., and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W. New England Ave. Opening June 14 at the Main Campus is the Annual Juried Student Exhibition, which showcases the best work in all genres from Crealde students. Running through Sept. 7 at the Heritage Center is Preaching to the Trees and the Animals: The Folk Art of O.L. Samuels, which features the artist’s elaborately carved, nature-themed wood sculptures. Admission is free at both locations. (407) 671-1886. crealde.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and the entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Running through Sept. 29 is Watercolors by Otto Heinigke—A Glass Artist’s Palette. Heinigke, a contemporary of Tiffany’s and a successful leaded-glass window maker, was also a formally trained painter whose watercolor works demonstrate his sensitivity to color, light and nature. Running through Jan. 26, 2014 is Vignette: The Art of Fountain Pens, which features more than 100 pens dating from 1875 to 1975. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. 445 N. Park Ave. (407) 645-5311. morsemuseum.org. 40th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. This year marks the 40th anniversary of this juried fine-art show, held in downtown Winter Park’s Central Park. There are more than 150 exhibits as well as live entertainment, children’s art activities, food vendors and more. Oct. 12 and 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. (407) 644-8281. autumnartfestival.com.

PERFORMING ARTS Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater presents a series of seven musical comedies, including: 8 Track: The Sounds of the 70s, June 21 through 30 and July 11 through 20; Forever Plaid, Aug. 2 through 24; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Sept. 13 through Oct. 5; Crazy for Gershwin! Nov. 15 through 24 and Dec. 5 thorugh 14; Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Jan. 24 through Feb. 15, 2014; Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters, March 7 through 29, 2014; and Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits, April 25 through May 17, 2014. 711 Orange Ave. (407) 645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.

FILM Popcorn Flicks in Central Park. You can’t beat this bargain: a free movie—and free popcorn!—under the stars. Features, shown on the second Thursday of each month, include classic films appropriate for the whole family. Next up is How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Betty Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall, on June 13. Grease, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, is up July 11, followed by the modern-day animated classic Shrek on Aug. 8. Flicks start when it’s dark or at 8 p.m., whichever is earlier. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets if you’d like. Co-sponsored by the City of Winter Park and Enzian Theater. Central Park, Park Avenue. (407) 629-0054. enzian.org.

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HISTORY Winter Park Historical Museum. If the Winter Park High School alma mater still evokes even a twinge of nostalgia, then you are still, and ever shall remain, a Wildcat. As WPHS celebrates its 90th birthday, the Winter Park Historical Association has marked the occasion with the debut of Growing up Wildcat: Winter Park High School Through the Years. The year-long exhibition, at the Winter Park Historical Museum, features old yearbooks, photographs and videos as well as other memorabilia that traces the history of the school decade by decade. Ongoing displays at the museum include artifacts dating from the city’s founding as an New England-style resort in the 1880s. Admission is free. 200 W. New England Ave. (at the Winter Park Farmers Market). (407) 644-2330. wphistory.org. The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida . The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice with the goal of developing a moral and just community through community educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibit space, archives and a research library. Admission to exhibits, programs and films is free. 851 N Maitland Ave.(407) 628-0555. holocaust.edu.org.

BUSINESS Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings attract chamber members, local residents and community leaders to hear speakers discuss an array of community issues. Events are typically held the second Friday of each month. Upcoming dates include June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m.; the program follows at 8:15 a.m. Admission is free, and a complimentary continental breakfast is served. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. (407) 644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings feature lunchtime networking opportunities for women business owners. Each month, a guest speaker addresses topics related to leadership development, business growth and local issues of particular interest to women. Upcoming dates include June 3, Aug. 5, Sept. 9, Oct. 7 and Nov. 4. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.; lunch and the program follow at noon. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members; reservations required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. (407) 644-8281. winterpark.org. Business After Hours. Sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings offer members and prospective members a chance to network with one another and learn more about local businesses that host the events. Appetizers and beverages are served. Upcoming dates include June 20 at Holler Hyundai, Aug. 15 at Light Bulbs Unlimited, Sept. 19 at the Alfond Inn and Oct. 17 with WUCF-FM at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Hours are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and admission is $5 for members, $15 for non-members. (407) 644-8281. winterpark.org. Small Business Education Series. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Small

Business Resource Network, this monthly program is aimed at helping entrepreneurs, managers and professionals run more successful businesses. Topics range from sales strategies to securing government contracts. Upcoming dates include June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15. Admission is free for chamber members, $10 for guests. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. (407)-644-8281. winterpark.org. Education Update Breakfast. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts a panel discussion featuring education and business leaders. The includes a hot breakfast and networking opportunities. Tickets are $25 in advance for members, $30 for non-members and $30 for everyone at the door. Corporate tables are also available. Winter Park Civic Center, 1050 W. New England Ave. (407) 644-8281. winterpark.org.

MARKETS 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 200 West New England Ave. (the old railroad depot). There you’ll find fine baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. cityofwinterpark.org. Maitland Farmers Market. This year-round, openair market features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses along with plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music provided by the Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a serene boardwalk, jogging trails and a playground as well as picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland. itsmymaitland.com. Food Truck Fiesta. This family friendly event, which takes place the fourth Saturday of each month, features live music and delicious food. Pets are welcome. Noon to 5 p.m. Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S. Lakemont Ave. (407) 296-5882. cityofwinterpark.com.

HAPPENINGS Winter Park Sip & Stroll. The Park Avenue Merchants Association invites the public to experience Park Avenue during a leisurely stroll through downtown’s iconic shopping and dining district. Participating businesses will offer an array of food and beverage pairings. Tickets are $25, reservations encouraged. June 13 and Sept. 12, 5 p.m. (407) 644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week. Winter Park’s local fashion and design community hosts a week of designer meet-and-greets, trunk shows, VIP parties and special events, culminating with a glamorous runway show in Central Park’s West Meadow. Join Central Florida’s favorite fashionista, philanthropist Harriett Lake, and the Park Avenue Merchants Association for this seven-day celebration. Oct. 13 through Oct. 19. Runway show ticket prices vary. (407) 6448281. parkavenuefashionweek.com. Champagne Thursdays. Sponsored by the Hannibal Square Association, this upscale street party features displays from award-winning artists, live musical performances, food from local restau-


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rants and, of course, $1 bubbly at select restaurants. West New England Avenue in the Hannibal Square commercial district is blocked off and shops are open late. The event is held the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. hannibalsquare.com.

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CAUSES Happy Hour for Hunger. Support the Second Harvest Food Bank during a fall-themed happy hour with appetizers and drinks compliments of Winter Park Village restaurants. Each ticket purchased will provide up to $180 in food for hungry families. Tickets are $20. Nov. 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Winter Park Village, 400 N. Orlando Ave. (407) 644-8281. winterpark.org.

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The Jeremiah Project, started 10 years ago by the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, is designed to improve the self-esteem and self-worth of at-risk middle-school students through participation in art, writing and technology. Part of the program is a summer camp, which runs Mondays through Thursdays, June 14 through July 18. The church’s partners include the Winter Park Community Center as well as branches of the Central Florida Boys & Girls Clubs in Eatonville, Pine Hills and East Altamonte. At least 80 kids are expected to attend and learn about making pottery and posting blogs while channeling their creativity and enhancing their critical thinking skills. There is no cost to participate. (407) 647-2416. fccwp.org


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Just Bob

THE JOY OF SWEAT

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The Floridian’s pungent credo: Perspiro ergo sum. BY BOB MORRIS

his is the time of year that tests the mettle of those of us who live in Winter Park. We are in the throes of our never-ending summer. Half the town has retreated to some place cooler, like North Carolina, where the residents are so desperate to escape Floridians they flee to Tennessee, or New Smyrna, where there is at least the prospect of a little breeze, even if it’s a sweltering one that carries whiffs of Jacksonville. Yes, we could cool off by jumping in one of our charming lakes were it not for the prospect of encountering Naegleria fowleri, the deadly amoeba that lives in lake sediment and becomes more prevalent when the water temperature exceeds 80 degrees, which is like from now until Thanksgiving. You’d think Naegleria fowleri might do us a small favor and at least kill some of the alligators, but no, life is unfair like that. My pal Wynn and his wife have decided to ditch Winter Park for a couple of weeks and take one of those cruises in Alaska. “I want to go an entire day without sweating,” Wynn told me before the two of them traveled clear across the continent to sit on a slow boat with strangers, eat buffet food and gaze at glaciers. For this they are paying several thousand dollars—a major allocation to avoid perspiration. True, a Florida fall, which is an absolute misnomer unless considered in the verb form to describe what one does when one faints, can be more miserable than a Florida summer. So buck up, the worst is still to come. A Florida summer arrives in early April and by October, inconsiderate houseguest that it is, it has changed its name. But it’s still sitting there on the couch, hogging the remote control, refusing to change the channel. I have brothers-inlaw with better manners. Lacking the wherewithal to subsidize distant voyages to cooler climes, not to mention the temperament to withstand either prolonged doses of Dramamine or forced dinner seatings with aluminum salesmen from Des Moines, I will combat the prickly wet glove of summer the only way I know how—by going outside and wallowing in it. With all due respect to Descartes: Perspiro ergo sum. I sweat, therefore I am...a Floridian. Besides, it’s time that someone defended sweat. And girding up for the battle I took it upon myself to research sweat, learning many interesting things that I’m now prepared to share whether you like it or not. For instance, I learned that the average person has 2.6 million sweat

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glands that are located everywhere on the human body except the lips and two other places that I can’t mention because of the high-minded nature of this magazine. Take my word, these are not places where we need to sweat. These are places that, even if we could sweat there...never mind. Here is something else I learned, something that speaks directly to people who move down to Central Florida from places that are, uh, humidity-challenged: If you’re not accustomed to a hot climate, the maximum amount of sweat you can produce is about one quart an hour. However, once you become acclimated you are transformed into a veritable artesian well of sweat, highly efficient at ridding the body of excess fluid and capable of producing as much as three quarts of sweat an hour. Which is all the justification I need for drinking more beer. Another thing: Sweat does not stink. The smell mistakenly associated with sweat really comes from tiny organisms that live on our skin and produce an unpleasant odor when they feed on the proteins contained in sweat. Deodorant kills these tiny little organisms. Nothing against the kind souls in PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) but this is probably all the proof we need that they really are more aromatic than the rest of us. Finally, although they probably don’t know it and would surely deny it even if they did, women find male sweat arousing. This was the finding of a recent scientific study in which a group of women actually volunteered to sit in a room for six hours and smell swaths of cloth containing the chemicals found in male sweat. The result? It relaxed them. “This probably traces back to our busy hunter-gatherer days when the males were often away from home for long periods of time. The female reproductive system may have evolved to be ready for her man by shifting hormonal levels in response to his scent when he returned,” said the scientist who conducted the sweat study. “The scent relaxed her. And a relaxed woman is more likely to be responsive to a man.” Which caused me to consider my pal Wynn sitting on the cruise ship in Alaska with the lovely Mrs. Wynn, gazing at glaciers and not sweating. As for me, I think I’ll take a quick walk in the sexy Florida midday sun and then hurry back home to my wife. Bob Morris, a forth-generation Floridian, is a Winter Park-based novelist who teaches creative writing at Rollins College and is founder of Story Farm, a custom publishing company.


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Profile for Orlando Life

Winter Park Magazine Summer 2013  

Winter Park Magazine

Winter Park Magazine Summer 2013  

Winter Park Magazine

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