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WINTER 2014


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FEATURES

28 | MAINTAINING THE MORSE MUSEUM’S MYSTIQUE When Laurence Ruggiero left a stormy but successful stint at the Ringling Museum, he’d barely heard of Louis Comfort Tiffany. But Hugh McKean felt he’d found the right man to protect and enhance this cultural treasure. By Jay Boyar

34 | ART NOUVEAU IS DELIGHTFULLY DECORATIVE If you think the Morse is just about Tiffany, then you haven’t visited lately. A new exhibit dedicated to Art Nouveau highlights an eclectic array of objects created primarily to look beautiful.

CONTENTS

42 | Zora Neale Hurston’s Challenge to Rollins

winter 2014

departments 8 | LIGHT, COLOR, MOOD

Cover artist Tom Sadler’s work is inspired by Florida’s natural beauty. By Randy Noles

10 | jesus and john denver Rev. Shawn Garvey, now in the pulpit at Winter Park’s oldest church, is a theologian who draws inspiration from the gospels as well as modern music about social justice. By Randy Noles

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16 | choosing a bolder path TV anchor Marc Middleton had it all. But one day he walked away from his high-profile job and vowed to start a revolution in how society views aging, possibility and reinvention. By The Rollins Lifelong Learners

22 | AVENUE INSIDER Interesting people and intriguing places along Winter Park’s signature street. By Clyde Moore

The college was known as an oasis of progressive thought in the Deep South. But when the folklorist sought to stage a musical production on campus about African American life, no one knew what to expect.

By Maurice J. O’Sullivan Jr. and Jack C. Lane

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | FIRST WORD 50 | neighbors 51 | DINING 57 | EVENTS 64 | JUST BOB


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Randy Noles Editor and Publisher Jenna Carberg Art Director Laura Bluhm Advertising Designer Lorna Osborn Senior Associate Publisher Among the Winter Parkers speaking out at a recent panel discussion sponsored by the Winter Park Voice were Arthur Blumenthal, Kenneth Murrah, Tommy Cullens and Martha Hall. Panelists included Randy Noles, editor and publisher of Winter Park Magazine; Michael McLeod, editor of Orlando Life (Winter Park Magazine’s sister publication); and Beth Kassab, columnist at the Orlando Sentinel.

FIRST WORD

PRIDE AND PASSION

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elcome to Winter Park Magazine. Or, perhaps, welcome back to Winter Park Magazine. Thanks to the support of readers (yes, this is a magazine for people who still like to read) and advertisers, we plan to publish quarterly in 2014 after producing two issues in 2012 and three in 2013. At a time when print publications are struggling, Winter Park Magazine has been a rare success story. And I believe that success has as much to do with the community as it does with the magazine. Winter Park has always been a unique place; a place where residents take pride its heritage and are fiercely protective of the qualities that make it special. Indeed, it has all the attributes a niche magazine publisher craves: a strong sense of place, a lively and distinct business district and an array of arts and cultural venues. Most of all, however, it has residents who care passionately. That fact was reinforced recently when I was asked to participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the Winter Park Voice, an extraordinarily comprehensive online newspaper published by Tom Childers and funded by private donations. The panel — which including Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel and Mike McLeod of Orlando Life (our sister publication) — was asked

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to discuss issues facing Winter Park, and ways in which the community could protect and enhance its unique character. The evening of the gathering, the parking lot at the Winter Park Country Club was so full that I assumed another event — perhaps a large wedding — was taking place concurrently. Much to my surprise, though, hundreds of people had turned out for the discussion — and it was a lively one, particularly when the floor was open to questions and comments. Let’s face it. Such an event wouldn’t have drawn flies in many other Central Florida communities. But in Winter Park, it doesn’t take a single egregious issue to rally the troops. Just a civil discussion about a wide range of issues is enough to draw a smart, informed and engaged crowd. It reminded me of the town meetings that were once integral to governing in New England. Given Winter Park’s genesis as a warm-weather oasis for Northeasterners, I could only imagine that the city’s founding fathers and mothers would have felt right at home. I know I did.

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

Kathy Byrd Associate Publisher Clyde Moore PARK AVENUE EDITOR Jay Boyar, Maurice J. O’Sullivan, Jack C. Lane, Bob Morris Contributing Writers Rafael Tongol Contributing Photographer Rick Walsh, Jim DeSimone FOUNDING PARTNERS

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 NEW FEATURE: MOvE-IN-READY hOMEs

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Copyright 2014 by Florida Home Media LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulfshore Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Suite 128, Maitland, FL 32751

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cover artist

LIGHT, COLOR, MOOD TOM SADLER’S WORK IS INSPIRED BY FLORIDA’S NATURAL BEAUTY. By randy noles

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hen Tom Sadler was participating in a recent Wekiva Paint Out, he noticed fellow artist Kevin McNamara working from a canoe floating along the Little Wekiva River. “It looked like a French Impressionist painting to me,” says Sadler, 60, describing the inspiration behind this issue’s cover image. “He was wearing a white hat and the whole thing looked kind of 19th century. Plus, painting while you’re canoing is pretty unique.”

Sadler, a native of Hunstville, Ala., earned a BFA from Auburn University and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since moving to Central Florida in 1983, Sadler has focused his work on capturing the light, color and mood of distinctive local landscapes. The intense light, combined with the beauty of the lakes, rivers and parks, provides a never-ending source of inspiration, he says. Sadler works primarily in oils because of their inherent versatility and permanence. He teaches

landscape painting at Winter Park’s Crealdé School of Art, where he is a senior faculty member. Sadler’s work is currently on display in Luxembourg as part of an Art in Embassies program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. His portrait of John McKay, president of the Florida Senate in 2001 and 2002, hangs in Tallahassee. Sadler is married to an artist, Sally Ezans, and lives in Maitland. For more information about his classes, visit crealde.org. For more information about his paintings, visit tomsadler.com.

Florida’s landscapes inspire Sadler, who teaches at Winter Park’s Crealde School of Art. He works primarily in oils because of their versatility and permanence.

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LEADERS

RAFAEL TONGOL

J

JESUS AND JOHN DENVER Rev. Shawn Garvey, now in the pulpit at Winter Park’s oldest church, is a theologian who draws inspiration from the gospels as well as modern music about social justice. BY RANDY NOLES

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esus, the gospels say, demanded social justice, railed against oppression of the poor and urged his followers to make a difference in the world. So did Seeger, Dylan, Baez, Chapin, the New Christie Minstrels and Peter, Paul and Mary. Of course, these ‘60s-era folksingers never became deities. Still, their influence was profoundly important to young Shawn Garvey, a native New Englander whose father was a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister. Consequently, Garvey grew up in a household filled with songs of protest and praise. Both musical genres made a lasting impression. “These [folk] performers seemed to be saying something important, something that resonated with me emotionally” he says. “What they were saying mirrored what my father was saying from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. They both moved people.” Garvey, 44, was recently named senior minister at Winter Park’s oldest and arguably most historically significant house of worship. First Congregational Church of Winter Park, founded in 1884, became a UCC affiliate in 1957 with the union of the Congregational and Evangelical and Reformed denominations. Although local congregations are autonomous, the UCC holds generally liberal positions on such social issues as reproductive rights, gay marriage and gender equality. Therefore, Garvey’s affinity for message-laden folk songs about the downtrodden isn’t particularly far afield. But of all the ‘60s and ‘70s folkies, young Garvey latched on to the one who was probably the least controversial and the most commercially successful: John Denver. As a child he taught himself to play the guitar and tried to learn every song from a well-worn Denver songbook. Later, as a minister, he became proficient enough to perform with such nationally known artists as Livingston Taylor, younger brother of James Taylor and a folk icon in his own right. “Liv was very encouraging,” says Garvey. “He told me to keep doing what I was doing.” He also teamed with Steve Weisberg, John Denver’s original guitarist, to stage a two-man tribute show to the prolific hit maker and environmental activist, who was killed in 1997 when a private plane he was flying crashed off the coast of Southern California. “Steve called me in 2009 after hearing my performance of a John Denver song I’d posted on Facebook,” recalls Garvey. “He said, ‘I can really hear John in your voice.’ I always love to hear that.” The pair presented their first concert at the church Garvey pastored, Stanley Congregational Church in Chatham, N.J., and have reunited several times since. Weisberg shares humorous and poignant memories of the singer and Garvey sings a selection of familiar standards, such as “Annie’s Song,” “Country Roads” and others. “I hope to get Steve to Winter Park this spring,” says


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LEADERS

Garvey was attracted to the music of socially conscious folksingers ever since he was a child. A devotee of John Denver, he has performed Denver tribute shows with the singer’s original bassist.

Garvey, whose guitar rests alongside a wall of shelves in his church office — and whose singing voice does sound eerily like Denver’s.    Garvey was born in Concord, N.H., and is the fourth ordained minister on his father’s side of the family. In his youth, his father led churches in Connecticut, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey. Though it seemed certain that Garvey would follow in his father’s footsteps, his path to a ministry of his own wasn’t lacking detours along the way. After he graduated from high school in Belmont, Mass., he enrolled at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus, where he planned to major in vocal performance. He later switched to philosophy “after I realized I didn’t have the constitution required to make it to Broadway.” After graduation, he enrolled at Andover Newton Theological School near Boston. But he admits that he wasn’t ready to make the commit-

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ment required, and didn’t return after his first year. “I didn’t fall away, but I will say that I got very lost,” Garvey says. “I went to Vermont, where my parents were living, and took four years off. I sang in a band, bought a motorcycle and worked in a shipping warehouse. Menial, parttime things.” Garvey says his decision to return to Andover Newton wasn’t the result of any particular divine revelation. Rather it was the accumulation “of many, many voices” — mainly from friends and family — encouraging him to “stop goofing off ” and find a direction in life. He returned to seminary in 1997. And this time — a little older, a little wiser and with a sense of purpose — he stuck with it.. While still a student, Garvey was asked to serve as interim pastor for a small Methodist-affiliated church in hardscrabble Pawlet, Vt., about threeand-a-half hours northwest of Boston. That experience, he says, provided an education that he never could have gotten in a classroom.

“I grew up in affluent communities like Winter Park,” Garvey recalls. “This was very far afield from what I was used to. These families were not wealthy; many of them were working on farms that were generations old. I learned a lot about giving when you don’t have very much to give. I learned how to minister to people through illness and death.” He also learned how to run a church, manage a budget and delegate authority. And he enjoyed the rural setting and the circa 1870s parsonage that he occupied on weekends while attending classes during the week. “The people in Pawelt very graciously accepted me,” says Garvey, who recalls spending a lot of time in a bowling alley around which community life seemed to revolve in small-town Vermont. “I felt in my element.” He graduated with a Masters Degree in Divinity in 2000 and married Kathy Saia, whom he had met the previous year through Match.com. He pastored several churches before landing at


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LEADERS

First Congregational’s Colonial Revival sanctuary is a Winter Park landmark. It was built in 1925, replacing the original Carpenter Gothic church where Rollins College first held classes.

Stanely, which established a reputation as leading edge in a variety of ways. The church adopted an “Open and Affirming” statement that explicitly welcomed LGBT members and touted itself as “a progressive church of radical welcome, committed to social and environmental justice.” It also participated in the GreenFaith Certification Program, the first-ever interfaith environmental certification program for houses of worship. During Garvey’s six-year stint in Chatham, he appeared in a concert production of Godspell and recorded several albums, including one called Signs and Wonders. The songs were about “the beauty of the natural world, and the things around us that we see or don’t see that perhaps give us a sense of wonder and, hopefully, purpose.” When the Winter Park opening came up, Garvey was interested because 600-member First Congregational seemed to be “a little bastion of New England Congregationalism” in the South. “Winter Park even looks like New England,” he adds. “And the church was a fit for me theologically. It

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embodied many things that are important to me.” The temperate climate and the adjacency to the attractions were plusses as well, especially for a family with young children. He and Kathy, a former fashion buyer and now a Weight Watchers instructor, have two sons, Ryan, 8, and Cooper, 6. First Congregational’s own Open and Affirming policy, which was adopted three years ago with virtually no dissent, its commitment to social justice and its renowned musical program “all spoke volumes about this church,” he says. Among the discoveries that fascinated Garvey most when researching Winter Park was the 125year connection between the church and Rollins College, which he recognized as a unique opportunity for joint programming and a powerful confirmation of his denomination’s longstanding commitment to higher education. Edward P. Hooker, the first pastor, was also the first president of the college, which the church founded. The first classes were held in the church’s original Carpenter Gothic sanctuary, which was replaced in 1923 by the impressive

Colonial Revival structure facing South Interlachen Avenue. Finally, Garvey noted, for all of First Congregational’s progressive stances, there was something quaintly traditional about it that many churches in the Northeast lacked. “The ethic and the ethos are different in the South,” he says. “Sunday morning has lost some sanctity in the North, but here it’s still important to families that they go to church.” He hopes that many of those families — particularly those who’ve become disillusioned by rigid and intolerant ideologies — will find their way to First Congregational. He plans to spread the word through a variety of means, including social media — he actually encourages congregants to send tweets during his sermons — that a church exists where “no one will tell you what to think” and intellectual exploration is encouraged. But don’t expect a concert every Sunday. In fact, Garvey doesn’t often perform in church because “I don’t want it to become the Shawn show.” He does, however, expect to break out the 12-string from time to time and to possibly invite some of his folksinging friends, such as Taylor and Weisberg, to visit. “We want to create buzz,” Garvey says. “We want to open the doors to the community, and the minute you walk in, you’ll feel good being here and will want to come back.” The goateed Garvey, who sometimes sports a subtle earring and often uses the word “awesome!” as a descriptor, enjoys woodworking and describes himself as “completely addicted” to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He watches all the extended versions back-to-back on his birthday every year. His blog “The Spiritual Smackdown: Keepin’ It Real with the Rev,” allows him to explore realworld theological questions (“Do we really want to believe in a God that is the architect of suffering and tragedy?”) and to issue calls to action (“How can we not realize that we have only one opportunity to make our mark on the world, on a life, and for the betterment of others?”) Not surprisingly, a gig at a vibrant “big-steeple” church in the heart of one of Florida’s most beautiful cities was considered highly desirable, and First Congregational’s search committee had an abundance of candidates from which to choose. Often, the work of such committees becomes acrimonious as supporters of one candidate or another align in various camps. “But after we interviewed Shawn, we just didn’t even want to interview anyone else,” says committee member Sally McArthur. “There was such a sense of genuineness about him. He seemed like a perfect fit. We knew that he was just right for us.”


PERSONALITY

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CHOOSING A BOLDER PATH TV anchor Marc Middleton had it all. But one day he walked away from his high-profile job and vowed to start a revolution in how society views aging, possibility and reinvention. BY THE ROLLINS LIFELONG LEARNERS

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ometimes we come to think of local television personalities as friends, or even extended family. After all, they’re with us morning, noon and night, explaining the events of the day and sharing stories about people and places we know. Often, we even share in their triumphs and tragedies. In Central Florida, however, many TV talkers are whisked away to glitzier jobs in larger markets before learning to properly pronounce “Kissimmee” or “Altamonte Springs.” A handful, of course, become local fixtures by remaining on the air for decades and immersing themselves in good works, thereby forming an emotional bond with the audience and the community. That describes Marc Middleton. But Middleton, former anchor at WESH-Channel 2, the Orlando NBC affiliate, hasn’t appeared on a local newscast for seven years. After a 20-year run, he walked away from his highprofile job in 2006. He then became arguably more recognizable as founder of a burgeoning multimedia empire focused on providing “hope and inspiration” for the 50plus crowd. Bolder Media Group, now based in Winter Park, produces the Growing Bolder television show, which debuted on PBS and was eventually picked up by more than 500 stations. Beginning earlier this year, new episodes were rolled out to a variety of cable networks. The commercial version of Growing Bolder, with its familiar mix of quirky but uplifting personality profiles and viewer-friendly health and wellness advice, will make its debut on WKMG Local 6, the Orlando CBS affiliate, on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 5 a.m. The company’s additional television offerings include Surviving and Thriving, which is also on WKMG but in prime time — a rarity for a locally-produced show. Surviving and Thriving shares stories about ordinary people who have overcome major challenges — often healthrelated — to live extraordinary lives. Other projects include Growing Bolder Radio, which is heard in locally on WMFE-FM 90.7, as well as Growing Bolder Magazine, which is produced in conjunction with Florida Home Media, publishers of Winter Park Magazine and Orlando Life. If all that weren’t enough, Bolder Media’s nine fulltime employees — several of whom are also high-profile WESH alumni — produce and license active lifestyle and wellness content for health-care providers and publish ebooks, including one on active centenarians entitled Rock Stars of Aging. The energetic Middleton, 62, is an articulate charmer — he was always a viewer favorite on WESH — and retains the lean and lanky physique of a competitive swimmer. In fact, the only obvious indicator that he’s not a youngster anymore — at least not chronologically — is a bald pate and a fringe of close-cropped gray hair at his temples.


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PERSONALITY

Bolder Media Group staffers, who spend their workdays promoting hope and inspiration, have plenty of reasons to jump for joy. Shown are, left to right, Jackie Carlin, Josh Doolittle, Jill Middleton, Bill Shafer, Marc Middleton, Katy Widrick, Pat Narciso and Jason Morrow. Not shown are Wendy Chioji, Bess Auer and Mike Nanus.

“I don’t like the term ‘senior citizen,’” says Middleton when describing the work that he believes is his destiny. “We’re in the business of smashing pervasive and damaging stereotypes about age — and proving that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and achieve your dreams.” Today, Middleton adds, people can reasonably expect 20 to 30 active years following retirement. “That’s a new life stage that has never before existed in human history,” he adds. “And too many people aren’t taking full advantage of what ought to be their happiest and most productive years.” It’s an unabashedly feel-good message. But make no mistake; Middleton believes there’s gold to be mined in a demographic that remains inexplicably overlooked by marketers. There are now 78 million Americans over the age of 55, Middleton notes, and 10,000 more join them every day. They control approximately 70 percent of the country’s disposable income and pack more than $2.3 trillion in annual spending power. For Middleton, those numbers mean opportunity. And that’s why he’s baffled by the shortsighted attitude of corporate America toward aging consumers. “For example, many companies don’t market to older people because they assume their brand preferences are already established,” he says. “That’s ridiculous. Boomers want value. They’ll change brands in a heartbeat. Plus, half the things I use today didn’t exist 15 years ago. How can my brand preferences be set in stone?” Middleton is passionate about his company in large part because he lives its philosophy. He’s always been driven to do more, to push himself beyond his comfort zone and to follow his dreams

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— even if they lead in unexpected directions. Born in Ohio, he was a star swimmer in high school and attended Florida State University on a swimming scholarship. During his college career he became an AAU All-American and an NCAA and Olympic Trials qualifier. And, despite joking that he “majored in fun,” he was also a solid student, earning a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. After graduation, instead of pursuing his original goal of attending veterinary school, Middleton moved to Phoenix, where his parents had retired, and landed a job coaching highschool-aged AAU swimmers. He led his team to three consecutive state championships and got the attention of local sportscaster — and soonto-be mentor — Mike Leonard. Leonard, who was impressed by Middleton’s dogged determination and effortless charisma, suggested that a career in broadcasting might be an option. He even helped the young coach, who had no previous training in television, to prepare an audition reel. “I couldn’t get on the air in Phoenix because I had no experience,” Middleton says. “But I sent that tape to nearly every small station in the country. What I had going for me was fearlessness. I wasn’t afraid to give it a shot.” Middleton was hired as a general-assignment reporter in Savannah, Ga., where he stayed for six months. Then Leonard got in touch to say that he’d been hired by NBC’s Today Show as a featured correspondent. That meant there’d be an opening at the sports desk in Phoenix. Leonard encouraged his protégé to apply for the job. Despite an admittedly skimpy resume, Middleton

was hired as an on-air personality in what was then the nation’s 17th-largest TV market. He quickly earned a following with his offbeat, personality-oriented sports stories. “I wanted to do sports that even non-sports fans would enjoy,” he says. “After a big football game, every other reporter would be interviewing the star quarterback. I might be interviewing the star quarterback’s mother.” In 1988 Middleton was hired by WESH, where he became something of a community institution along with colleagues — and later business associates — Wendy Chioji and Bill Shafer. He also met his future wife, Jill Kalstrom, who was a producer at the station. When he moved from the sports desk to an anchor position, he marked the occasion by tackling an art project. He cut up the expensive, sports-themed Nicole Miller ties he had worn on the air and used the scraps to create a quilt depicting his father lounging in an overstuffed chair while drinking a beer. “It was, in a way, not just an artistic expression but a foreshadowing of what was to come,” Middleton recalls. “I was creating something new out of pieces from my past.” Indeed, more changes were to come. During his tenure at WESH, Middleton was nominated for five Emmys — winning two — and was part of a team that won the duPont Award for Excellence in Journalism for coverage of the Challenger disaster. Still, he was becoming increasingly restless and disenchanted. Local TV news had begun moving in a direction that the eternally optimistic and upbeat Middleton found disturbing. More and more, he


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PERSONALITY

When he moved from the sports desk to the anchor desk, Middleton cut up his sports-themed ties and made a quilt from the scraps. Creating something new using remnants of his past has been a recurrent theme in Middleton’s life.

noted, newscasts were becoming crime reports, and sensationalism was replacing journalism. “I think local news programs should reflect what’s happening in the community,” Middleton says. “And for the most part, there’s a lot more good in the community than bad. I wanted to celebrate people who were doing cool stuff.” It got to the point, Middleton adds, that he didn’t want his daughters, Kelsey and Quinn, to watch the news broadcast on which he appeared. He says he pitched WESH’s parent company, Hearst Television, on the idea of airing a positive show about inspiring people, but found little enthusiasm for the idea. So, in 2006 he “walked upstairs” and resigned. “Probably my toughest personal challenge to date was to gather the strength and belief to walk away from a semi-glamorous, fairly well-paying and pretty easy job,” Middleton says. “I had no safety net whatsoever.” But he had a clear vision for Bolder Media Group

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and the strong belief that he could make it happen. All he lacked was the capital to make it a reality. Fortunately, he found an ideal business partner in Joe Lee, retired CEO of Darden Restaurants, who provided funding and offered advice and encouragement. Lee, a philanthropist who rose from humble beginnings to become a legend in the restaurant industry, bought into Middleton’s message — literally and figuratively. “America needs Growing Bolder to be successful,” says Lee, who today divides his time between Orlando and Georgia. “The good guys need to win — and we’re committed to creating a media company that builds up and doesn’t tear down.” Middleton, who calls Lee “the most kind and ethical businessman I’ve ever known,” soon was able to hire Shafer, producers Katy Widrick and Jackie Carlin and videographer Jason Morrow from WESH. Chioji, who left the station in 2008, later joined the team as a sort of roving correspondent. “I always saw myself as a line producer for TV

news,” says Widrick. “I was happy at WESH. But Marc came to me and explained what he had in mind with Bolder Media, and his passion really resonated with me. He said, ‘I’m going to start a revolution, and I’d like you to be with me.’ How can you say no to that?” Growing Bolder, co-hosted by Middleton and Shafer, first aired on WMFE-Channel 24, the Orlando PBS outlet, before going national. The radio show, the website, the magazine and the custom health content were later added. In recent years, Middleton has made some bold moves in athletics as well as business. In 2010, after a 37-year layoff, he resumed competitive swimming and is today a six-time world-record holder in masters competition. He also trained as a hurdler and won a bronze medal at the USA Masters Track and Field Championships in 2012. In February, he’s traveling to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro along with Chioji, who recently announced that she’s battling cancer for the second time, and Dr. Robert Masson, founder of Orlando’s NeuroSpine Institute. It’s the culmination of the Livestrong Foundation’s 2014 Survivor Summit, during which cancer survivors and their supporters make a statement about hope by scaling the world’s largest freestanding mountain. Middleton will film the adventure for a television special to air later in the year. A self-taught artist, Middleton does have some less strenuous hobbies, including quilting and painting. His finished works are like their creator: colorful and exuberant. “The key to living a happy and engaged life is simply to pursue your passions,” says Middleton, who certainly knows whereof he speaks. “That’s what keeps people alive, and that’s a powerful message for people of any age. When you talk about the possibility of life, and that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, even 20 year olds listen.” This story was compiled using submissions written by students in the inaugural “Writing Personality Profiles” class at the Rollins College Center for Lifelong Learning. Contributors included Beth Berenis, Linda Begley, Grace Colombo, Joe Carroll, Sue Dyer Nan Todd Kutcher and Mary Ann McGowan. The class interviewed Middleton, press-conference style, and each student then wrote a profile based upon that interview. Instructor Randy Noles assembled this story for publication using excerpts from several individual submissions. The class will be held again beginning in February and running each Friday during the month from 9 a.m. to noon. To enroll, email lifelonglearning@rollins.edu or call 407-6461577. Class size is strictly limited to 12.


business

avenue insider PEOPLE AND PLACES ALONG WINTER PARK’S SIGNATURE STREET. By clyde moore

F

ind a street that’s been around as long as Park Avenue and you’ll find that tremendous changes have taken place over the years. Some are obvious; others take place behind the scenes. One of the Avenue’s most intriguing changes involves gender. Of course, female shoppers have flocked here for generations. And female business owners, such as the late and legendary Eve Proctor Morrill of the Proctor Shops, have long found a welcoming environment among the lovely shops and boutiques. Now, however, it seems that women really rule the roost along the Avenue, which has evolved into an incubator for women entrepreneurs. Some, in fact, are serial entrepreneurs. Joann McMahon, for example, opened the Partridge Tree Gift Shop 17 years ago. In 1999, just two doors down, she opened 310 Park South, a restaurant that features New American cuisine. The popular eatery was later expanded to encompass the space in between. Last January, Joanne opened another restaurant, Blu On The Avenue, which specializes in steak and seafood. The location came available after Spice Steakhouse closed, reflecting the competitive nature of the Avenue’s dining scene. “It was an opportunity,” she says. “We were talking about doing another concept, so why not do it on Park Avenue, next door?” Joanne has got to be one of the hardest-working people in Winter Park. I stopped by to visit at 310 and she was busy meeting with her wait staff. I came back a few days later and she wasn’t there, so the staff suggested that I check Blu. She wasn’t at Blu, either, so the staff suggested that I check Partridge Tree. So I did, and lo and behold, there she was. She was busy, of course, but also eager to tell me about the major makeover at Blu, where we adjourned for a chat and some rare down time. “We gutted the whole thing,” she says. “We had to do something totally different from 310.” I told Joann that 310 was where I dined during my first weekend in Winter Park, and that the experience helped to convince me that I belonged here. She was excited to hear it, exclaiming “Wow! Wow! Wow!” It’s fun to watch Joann’s usual professional re-

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serve fall away. I appreciate the enthusiasm she obviously feels for her various businesses — and her commitment to providing customers with top-notch service. While 310 features New American cuisine, Blu is making its mark with fresh seafood. “We get it in every day,” Joann says. “And we have some really good steaks on the menu. It really does appeal to a lot of people.” Are there still other projects in her future? “I don’t know,” says Joann, refusing to rule anything out despite her already frenetic schedule. “There’s always a possibility. I like a challenge.”

Erika Boesch, co-owner of The Bistro on Park Avenue, and Diane Meltz, clothing designer.

 At The Bistro on Park Avenue, owned by Erika Boesch and her husband, Hugo, I got another look at a major multi-tasker whose enterprises have spanned two countries. After they sold a restaurant in Oviedo, the Boesches bought The Bistro. Erika’s first Park Avenue business, Absolute Décor, was located where L’Occitane is now. Previously the couple had owned a Thai restaurant in Switzerland and even a silk flower shop. Talk about variety! Having renovated much of The Bistro, Erika rekindled her baking skills and began preparing the restaurant’s delicious desserts. “I started baking when I was 6 years old,” she says. “When my older sisters moved out, somebody had to bake for the weekend, because in Germany it’s very common that you have

a piece of cake with coffee in the afternoon. So I started early learning to bake and cook.” Erika’s strawberry rhubarb pie has been a top seller at The Bistro. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can also get authentic German food made from family recipes. The happy hour reminds me of the old TV show Cheers, attracting many local regulars, none of whom seem to be named Norm or Cliff. The Boesches moved to Winter Park in 2008. “We were traveling back and forth for more than 20 years before we moved over and fell in love with this area,” Erika says. Like many Park Avenue entrepreneurs, Erika has more than one iron in the proverbial fire. Upstairs from the restaurant is a gift shop where she sells flowers, candles and locally-made jewelry.  In Winter Park, when you think flowers, you likely think Ginny Enstad and Ginny’s Orchids on Morse Boulevard. I wrote about Ginny and her shop when it opened back in early 2011. I asked her then what it was like to finally have a permanent space after operating since 1987 from the Farmer’s Market and even from her car, often delivering gorgeous orchids in a baby stroller with a youngster — son George or daughter Phoebe — in tow. She told me then: “When I walk in the door, I think, ‘Oh my God, this is mine!’ And now she’s busier than ever. I’ve been in the store a lot lately, and I’m consistently blown away by the amazing quantity, beauty and variety of the arrangements. “I’m exhausted, but, it’s a fun exhaustion,” Ginny says. “I had this woman who came in yesterday and said to me, ‘I love this store.’ She told her husband, ‘If you want to buy me anything, just go into that store, close your eyes and pick.’” Husband Bob and daughter Phoebe — yes, the same Phoebe who occupied that baby stoller a few years ago — handle most deliveries. “There are good days and harder days,” she says of working with family.“Everyone’s working toward the same goal; we just all don’t have the same style.” Knowing the characters involved, I laughed. But Phoebe is quick to point out that her mom is happier, more confident and that everything’s coming up roses — or orchids.


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business  Just down Morse Boulevard, another womenowned business, Interiors, is the brainchild of Margie Varney and Sandra Moore. The store, which opened in 1997, started with home furnishings and furniture, primarily. Then it began offering handbags, jewelry and women’s clothing as well. The range of shoppers is even more varied than the products. “I have a couple of 90-year-old fashion aficionados who shop here regularly,” says Margie. “And I have young people in their 20s, too.” Many customers, she says, want to “refresh” their homes without undertaking a major remodeling project. “They want to reuse and repurpose what they have,” she adds. “They want help with paint colors and fabrics.” Although Interiors has had a few male employees, it’s all women now. Katie Henderson and Becky Kovaleski have been with the company for seven years while Kristin Cooper subleases the space in back for a charming children’s resale shop called Max & Marley.  On North Park Avenue, young women — shall we call them millennials? — are starting businesses right and left. Logan Van Ost owns Blue Door Denim Shoppe, which she opened after graduating from college three-and-a-half years ago. “I came here to visit my best friend from high school at Rollins,” she told me. “Then we started walking the Avenue, and one thing led to another.” About 20 percent of the products offered at Logan’s shop are made by locals, including jewelry by Cherrah Beaux and Laura Kelley, a hairdresser at nearby Bangz, and Sophisticated Peacock blouses by local designer Diane Meltz. Two neighboring women-owned businesses have similar backstories. M.Marie, a boutique owned by Meghan Mackie, opened in November. Her first store, the original M.Marie in Winter Haven, opened while the ink was still wet on her college diploma. Meghan describes herself as a “tomboy-ish,” saying “I like my baggy jeans and flannels.” Is that her customer, as well? “I buy stuff I would wear,” she says, “And then some of it is what I could see it on this specific person. I pick out what I like.” Sarah Katsandris opened her new Forema Boutique on Park Avenue just a month before M.Marie. She opened the first Forema in Fort Meyers — again, right out of college — and discovered Park Avenue while visiting her sister, who attends UCF. These days, Sarah splits her time between the two locations. The Forema style is “really very innovative, Bohemian with a twist,” she says. “You want something that’s going to catch the eye. We have great staple pieces you can wear with everything. But we also have faux fur vests, big pieces that stand out.” Forema now employs quite a few knowledgeable fashionistas who share Sarah’s aesthetic, in-

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cluding Ally Dickinson, Adele Cornwall, Kallee Taulbee, Ava Mackenzie and Katerina Saba.  Some of the women of North Park Avenue who own businesses started out working with their husbands. Liz Marvaldi, for example, now works alongside Judith Marvaldi, her sister-inlaw, at Marvalidi: A Hair & Makeup Studio. Liz, who has helped Douglas Marvaldi in his iconic salon for years, now also operates Nature in Beauty with Judith. “We added this brand new line of products, Intelligent Nutrients, to the salon two years ago,” she says.”We had such a great response from clients that we needed to expand the line.” The new products were created by a longtime friend of Douglas’s, Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda Cosmetics. “They went back to the drawing board,” says Judith. “Horst has become a major environmentalist. His whole mission is about sustainability. The products are all plant based, because plants are easily regenerated.” Tree resin is used in hairsprays; micah is used instead of fish scales in nail polishes. Nature in Beauty certainly ranks among the most patriotic shops on the Avenue; every product is made in the U.S.A.

Liz Sheppard, owner of Bebe’s/Liz’s, and Meghan Mackie, owner of M.Marie.

 Bebe’s/Liz’s owner Liz Sheppard has established herself as a national pageant expert during her 34 years in business. “I’ve done Miss America and I’ve done Miss America Outstanding Teen,” she says. “Now I have people from across the United States who are approaching me. I’m at a point now that I can pick and choose.” She recently helped launch a new pageant in Daytona Beach called “Coast to Coast.” “That’s a big thing for me,” says Liz, whose boutique includes separate children’s and women’s sections. “Unlike other pageant stores, I carry it all.” Liz has recently competed in several pageants to enhance her behind-the-scenes knowledge of the process. One of the competitions was “Dixieland Dolls & Darlings,” once won by a 10-year-old Justin Timberlake.

“I got up on stage, you know, everybody goes, ‘Hi, I’m Mary Jane and I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, and I’m 21.’ And when I got up, I said, ‘Hi, I’m Liz Sheppard from Winter Park, Florida, and I’m 66 years young!’ I got a standing ovation.”  My last visit of the day, which had a distinctly female theme, was with two women who have recently set up offices in Knowles Cottage — also known as the Bigelow House — on Knowles Avenue, just behind Park Avenue. Susan Skolfield, executive director of the Winter Park Historical Association, and Linda Kulmann, the association’s president, are now surrounded by history in a home built in 1886 by pioneering resident Frances B. Knowles. The association’s biggest event of the year, the Peacock Ball, was held Nov.1 at the new Alfond Inn. Now that it’s over, the association is getting ready for Whistle in the Dark: The Trains of Winter Park, a new exhibit at the Winter Park History Museum, located on New England Avenue in the old railroad depot. We talked about orange groves and peacocks, including Penelope Peacock, who isn’t actually a bird, of course, but a costumed human being who delights the museum’s young visitors with stories of old Winter Park. Speaking of old Winter Park, as we drank coffee Linda pointed out a vintage sugar container from the Seminole Hotel, which burned to the ground in 1902. A man from Canada found the container, she says, researched its origin and contacted her. “I asked him if this was something he does often and he said, ‘Yes, because these things deserve to be in a museum.’” I asked if Susan and Linda had any favorite stories of Old Winter Park to share. Naturally, they did, and I liked this one, which both women heard from a longtime resident: It seems that a veteran pilot from World War II returned to Winter Park and became embroiled in a heated argument with city officials over some now-forgotten issue. He rented a plane and flew over city hall, dropping 10 pound bags of flour on the building. The headline the next morning was: “Winter Park Bombed.” Until next time — holy bricks and Spanish moss, I LUV Winter Park! Clyde Moore, whose alter ego is Parker the Owl, owns I LUV Winter Park Inc., a company that promotes the city and its businesses. He has a degree in journalism and advertising from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Follow him on social media at #ILUVWinterPark #ILUVParkAvenue


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

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

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

iLashWorks (407) 622-0226 ilashworks.com

Charyli (407) 455-1983 charylistores.com

Kendall & Kendall (407) 629-2299 kendallandkendall.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 Synergy (407) 647-7241 synergysportswear.com Tugboat & the Bird (407) 647-5437 tugboatandthebird.com Tuni (407) 628-1609

ATTRACTIONS

Scenic Boat Tours (407) 644-4056 scenicboattours.com

BANKS

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

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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 Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop (407) 645-3499 rocketfizz.com Sassafras Sweet Shoppe (407) 388-0101 sassafrassweetshoppe.com

HOME DECOR

California Closets (407) 633-0213 californiaclosets.com Hadco (407) 787-1234 hadco.net

HOTELS

The Keewin Real Property Company (407) 645-4400

JEWELERS

The Winter Park Land Company (407) 644-2900 winterparkland.com

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

W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2014

Christian Science Reading Room (407) 647-1559

Ginny’s Orchids (407) 927-2128 ginnysorchids.com HADCO (866) 787-1234 hadco.net Partridge Tree Gift Shop (407) 645-4788 Rosey Wray’s Roost (407) 678-0077 roseywraysroost.com

Cocina 214 (407) 790-7997 cocina214.com

The Doggie Door (407) 644-2969 theddoggiedoor.com

Reynolds & Co. Jewelers (407) 645-2278 reynoldsjeweler.com

Luma on Park (407) 599-4111 lumaonpark.com

The Paper Shop (407) 644-8700 papershop.com

Simmons Jewelers (407) 644-3829 simmonsjewelers.com

Matilda’s (407) 951-5790

Timothy’s Gallery (407) 629-0707 timothysgallery.com

Filthy Rich Celebrity Jewelry Replicas (407) 256-2565 worldfamousjewelry.com

MUSEUMS

Smart Coffee HD (321) 422-0805 smartcoffeehd.net

The Spice & Tea Exchange (407) 64-SPICE spiceandtea.com

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

Specialty Shops

Ten Thousand Villages (407) 644-8464 winterpark.tenthousandvillages.com

Morse Museum of American Art (407) 645-5311 morsemuseum.org

The Ancient Olive (321) 972-1899 theancientolive.com

RESTAURANTS

Shoooz On Park Avenue (407) 647-0110

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine (407) 644-8609 bosphorousrestaurant.com

Casa Feliz (407) 628-8200 casafeliz.us

GOURMET FOODS

Shoes

Fannie Hillman & Associates (407) 644-1234 fanniehillman.com

The Alfond Inn (407) 998-8090 thealfondinn.com

Palmano’s Café 407 647-7520 palmanos.com

Claret Cosmetics (407) 678-4400 claretcosmetics.com

REAL ESTATE

Rose Properties (407) 629-7673 myroseproperties.com

Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen (407) 629-0042 barniescoffeekitchen.com

COSMETICS

Tolla’s Italian Deli & Cafe (407) 628-0068 tollasitalianrestaurant.com

Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn (407) 647-1166 bestwestern.com/mtvernoninn

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (407) 647-6294 polasek.org

COFFEE SHOPS

Winter Park Photography (407) 539-1538 winterparkphotography.com

OPTICAL

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

PHOTOGRAPHY

Greenleaf Photo Studio (407) 456-2225 greenleafphotostudio.com

Orchid Thai (407) 331-1400 orchidthaiwinterpark.com Panera Bread (407) 645-3939 paneraorlando.com Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant (407) 629-7270 pannullos.com Park Plaza Gardens (407) 645-2475 parkplazagardens.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

Prato (407) 262-0050 prato-wp.com

Luxury Trips (407) 622-8747 luxurytrips.com

Sweet Traditions Bakery/Cafe (407) 622-2232

Wine Bar

The Bistro on Park Avenue (407) 539-6520 bistroonparkavenue.com The Tiffany Deli (407) 673-3354 tiffanydeli.com

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


Laurence Ruggiero is flanked by mounted daffodil capitals that were salvaged decades ago from Laurelton Hall, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s ruined estate. Many aspects of Tiffany’s home, including the lovely daffodil terrace, have been reassembled at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

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MAINTAINING THE MORSE MUSEUM’S MYSTIQUE When Laurence Ruggiero left a stormy but successful stint at the Ringling Museum, he’d barely heard of Louis Comfort Tiffany. But Hugh McKean felt he’d found the right man to protect and enhance this cultural treasure. By JAY BOYAR

W INTE R 2 0 1 4 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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f you were to spot Laurence Ruggiero drifting through the galleries of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, you’d probably never peg him as the guy who runs the place. Based on his unpretentious air and semicasual attire, you might conclude that he was, say, a retired professor from the Northeast — an art-loving tourist who enjoyed peering at the pretty Tiffany lamps and windows through his oversized horn-rimmed glasses. But there’s more to this unassuming man than meets the eye. “He’s an unknown gem in Winter Park,” offers Blair Culpepper, a former president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce who has known Ruggiero for nearly three decades. “He certainly doesn’t go out of his way to take credit or to make headlines or to be in the public eye,” agrees Harold Ward III, president and chairman of the museum’s supporting founda-

tions. “But he certainly is, in his own way, very much in charge of what he’s doing.” One recent morning, I stop by the Morse, which bills itself as housing the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Ruggiero greets me wearing gray slacks and a Kelly green polo shirt, over which he’s slung a toast-brown jacket. Lighthued shoes complete the outfit which, while indicating a lively color sense, is far from executivestandard. As he extends his hand, he suggests we head to his second-floor office — a room whose clutter does nothing to dispel the impression that he cannot possibly be in charge of this world-class cultural treasure. The place is crammed with books, papers, photos and paintings, as well as harder-to-identify flotsam and jetsam. Such apparent chaos would be jarring in the office of any prominent executive. But it comes

as a particular shock when contrasted with the fastidiously displayed art objects on view to the public, just one level below. “I see his office more like a studio,” explains George Sexton, head of a Washington, D.C., design firm who has worked with Ruggiero for more than 25 years. “If you look at a lot of artists’ studios, their objects of inspiration are all around them. It’s very ordered for him, but for you or me or a casual observer, there’s a certain disarray.” As we settle in for a chat in a conference nook, a few feet from his desk, Ruggiero rearranges some bric-a-brac to accommodate our arrival. At first a bit reticent, he soon warms to the subject at hand: His life. It’s “a good time” for this talk, the 65-yearold director decides. “I’m old enough that there’s some enjoyment in thinking back.” Ruggiero may not be a professor — at least, not any more — and he is certainly not a retiree.

Two magnificent stained-glass works, Tree of Life and Butterfly Window, highlight a gallery feathering an assortment of Laurelton Hall objects.

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In addition to its Tiffany collection, the Morse boasts galleries featuring paintings and statuary by late 19th-century American artists.

But he is from the Northeast — Patterson, N. J., to be more precise — and was raised in nearby Wayne. He was about 12 when his parents sent him to a boarding school run by Benedictine monks in Morristown, an affluent town about a half-hour south. “There was a wonderful, wonderful English department,” he recalls in a deep, relaxed voice that still carries a hint of New Jersey nasality. “That was my main interest.” But during his high-school years, his family visited Italy for a few months for what Ruggiero calls “a ‘roots’ experience” that turned out to be much more. “I remember distinctly being at the Uffizi [Gallery] in Florence and being forced, on a hot summer day, to go through everything and see Madonna after Madonna after Madonna,” he says in a way that makes me think he’s contemplating some private joke. His thick white hair, parted in the middle — not to mention his prominent eyebrows and those oversized horn-rims — makes him look a bit like an amused owl.

“I will never forget that my mother was there with the guidebook trying to explain the differences among these Madonnas, and I just couldn’t see it. I wanted to know! So that was kind of a significant experience.” After that experience, Ruggiero began frequenting art museums in New York City and collecting post cards featuring great paintings. Although he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania as an English major, he remained passionate about visual art. He even took a class in Italian baroque, a decision that proved pivotal in more ways than one. He ended up attending Penn’s graduate school and earning a master’s degree in art history with a focus on Italian baroque. (His favorite artist, Italy’s Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is credited with creating the baroque style of sculpture.) In that same class, he also met his future wife, the former Virginia Fornaci. “I called him and asked if I could borrow his book,” she says when I call her later, quaintly

concerned that this admission might make her younger self sound overly forward. “We never did go out until after graduation.” They married in 1970 and have a 23-year-old son, John, an artist and musician whom they adopted from Peru. Still at Penn, Ruggiero then earned an art history Ph.D with an emphasis on modern art and architecture. He taught those subjects at the University of Illinois, but when he finally realized how little money there was in teaching art, he enrolled at Boston University and earned an MBA. Now grounded in both art and business, he landed a job in the finance department of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, eventually becoming the assistant to the museum’s president. After four years there he moved to California to head the Oakland Museum Association, an assignment he describes as basically a fundraising gig. In 1985, Ruggiero moved to Florida as the director of Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art, which was owned by the State of Florida. He hadn’t thought of this state as a major cultural

“I remember distinctly being at the Uffizi [Gallery] in Florence and being forced, on a hot summer day, to go through everything and see Madonna after Madonna after Madonna,” he says in a way that makes me think he’s contemplating some private joke. His thick white hair, parted in the middle — not to mention his prominent eyebrows and those oversized horn-rims — makes him look a bit like an amused owl.

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Ruggiero, reflected here in Tree of Life, says he was overwhelmed when he first realized the scope of the Morse’s collection.

center but his interest had been piqued; he remembered that his professor in that pivotal Italian baroque class would sometimes decamp to the Ringling for research. Ruggiero stayed with that museum until 1992, overseeing its renovation and restoration, which the New York Times hailed as a “triumph,” praising “the order, the lucidity, the imagination and the technological skill” of the project. Prior to Ruggiero’s arrival, according to the Times, the Ringling “was thought to be a subtropical sleeping beauty in a state of terminal coma.” But if Ruggiero made many friends in Sarasota, some there were unhappy “because he was a businessman and he was doing the right thing,”

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says Culpepper, who was treasurer at the Ringling during Ruggiero’s tenure. “You couldn’t walk on campus [the Ringling grounds] without being offered drugs,” Ruggiero reflects. “There was a loan-sharking operation. The Medieval Fair was corrupt. It was unbelievable what was going on.” Indeed, his tenure at the Ringling was stormy. He managed to anger a faction of trustees, volunteers and, more ominously, several influential legislators. Even some Sarasota locals who gave Ruggiero due credit for his accomplishments in revitalizing the galleries groused that he he ignored the “circus” aspect of the museum’s heritage. When the death threats began, Ruggiero was

rattled. “This was to the point where, literally, people called up and said I should get out of town while I could still walk,” says Ruggiero, shaking his head. “I mean, it was very bad.” Even as he was about to return to academia —where they don’t break legs, just the occasional heart — the Morse Museum came into his life. When Ruggiero began speaking with Hugh McKean, the museum’s original director, about coming to work there, he was hardly an expert on Louis Comfort Tiffany. “I didn’t know who the hell Tiffany was,” Ruggiero flatly admits. “Nobody knew about Tiffany. He wasn’t taken seriously.” So when he finally saw the Morse’s Tiffany collection, he was overwhelmed.


“I didn’t know who the hell Tiffany was,” Ruggiero flatly admits. “Nobody knew about Tiffany. He wasn’t taken seriously.” So when he finally saw the Morse’s Tiffany collection, he was overwhelmed. “Oh my God!” he remembers thinking. “I can’t believe it! This stuff is gorgeous! I had no idea!”

“Oh my God!” he remembers thinkas late 19th- and early 20th-centruy ing. “I can’t believe it! This stuff is gorAmerican pottery, painting, graphics geous! I had no idea!” and decorative art. Ruggiero signed on with the Morse Such a stance is the enviable result in 1992 and has taken Tiffany very seof the museum’s endowment, which riously ever since. He was instrumenmakes fundraising basically unnecestal in the museum’s 1995 move to its sary. “This museum knows what it current location at Park and Canton is, and attracts people who appreciate avenues in Winter Park, and he has what it is,” Ruggiero insists, characteroverseen such major projects as the adistically positioning himself as McKdition of the Tiffany Chapel in 1999 ean’s steward. “We don’t proselytize.” and completion in 2011 of a new wing Clearly, proselytizing is not rerecreating portions of Laurelton Hall, quired. The Morse, which receives Tiffany’s Long Island mansion. no public funds, draws 55,000 to Ruggiero now feels that the Morse 101,000 visitors per year. (The figures is essentially complete. However, he spiked when the Laurelton Hall wing doesn’t rule out the possibility of creopened.) People come from all over ating a separate facility to focus on the country and the world to marvel Florida art. at what is, without question, a one-ofIf Tiffany’s works have been Ruga-kind cultural treasure. giero’s inspiration at the Morse, Mc“No one would be prouder or hapKean’s words have been his guide. pier than the McKeans would be,” “We’d have these long lunches over says Lewis Sharp, who has known at the Langford Hotel,” the director Ruggiero for decades and sits on the muses, painting a picture of those Morse foundation board. The mumeetings with both voice and hand seum has “even gone beyond what he gestures. He adds that they tended [Hugh McKean] imagined.” to dine outdoors, near the now-deAlthough Ruggiero’s passion for art molished hotel’s pool, where McKean is beyond question, he admits he has “could shout and I could shout benever been much of an artist himself. cause he wasn’t hearing too well.” However, he adds that “in old age” Asked for an example of the princihe’s begun to “fool around with waples that McKean, who died in 1995, tercolors,” which he prefers to call imparted at those Langford lunches, “doodles,” not “art.” Ruggiero pauses for only a moment. What the ever-modest director “Having art in your life is a really im- The Morse moved into spacious new quarters in 1995, but it still houses only a doesn’t say is that he personally takes portant aspect of the human experi- fraction of the overall collection. charge of the design and display of ence,” he offers. “Art has a civilizing Morse shows — a hands-on approach influence.” munity,” says Ruggiero. that is rare in a museum director. McKean and his wife, Jeannette Genius McKMcKean, according to Ruggiero, insisted that “This is an unheralded side of him,” designer ean, whose grandfather was Charles Hosmer Morse avoid attendance-boosting gimmicks and Sexton points out. “He’s a very accomplished exMorse, the industrialist and philanthropist who crowd-pleasing traveling exhibitions unrelated to hibit designer.” helped shape early Winter Park, felt that they the museum’s mission. That mission was, and reYou might say, in fact, that the Morse itself is had “an important responsibility to their commains, showcasing Tiffany’s body of work as well Laurence Ruggiero’s masterpiece.

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Table lamp, 1896 Lo誰e Fuller Figure Bronze

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Delightfully Decorative

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Taking its inspiration from natural forms, Art Nouveau is all about beauty.

f you think you’ve seen your quota of Tiffany pieces this year, you’ve got a “new” reason to visit the Morse. A new exhibition, Lifelines—Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau, has just opened and it’s being augmented by a series of gallery talks. Lifelines explores the interrelated elements that define this “new art,” known for its lively lines and organic forms. More than 100 objects from the turn of the 20th century are organized into five groups that illustrate such dominant Art Nouveau themes as nature, female form and metamorphosis. The exhibition includes furniture, lamps, jewelry, ceramics, architectural ornaments and art glass by more than 50 artists from the U.S. and around the world. To augment the exhibition, volunteer docents will conduct 20-minute Art Nouveau talks at 11 a.m. Wednesdays. Curator Donna Climenhage will conduct similar talks at 2:30 p.m., also on Wednesdays. The talks will explore the Art Nouveau movement in general and describe some of the specific pieces on display. Space is limited, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early and sign up at the front desk. The Morse is located at 445 N. Park Ave. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Through April, Friday hours are extended to 8 p.m. with free admission after 4 p.m. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. For more information, call 407-645-5311 or visit morsemuseum.org. On the following pages are some of the pieces you’ll see in Lifelines—Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau.

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Nesting Tables, 1910 Oak and Fruit Woods

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Jardinière, 1900 Glazed Earthenware

Vase, 1905 Elephant Heads Design Glazed Earthenware

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Vase, 1910 Mold No. 434 Glazed Earthenware

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Shelf Clock, 1900 Glazed Earthenware

Table Lamp, 1901-1902 Silver Over Bronze, Blown Glass, Moonstones

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Vase, 1900 Onion Blown Glass

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The writer and folklorist, who lived for a time in Eatonville, was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

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The college was known as an oasis of progressive thought in the Deep South. But when the folklorist sought to stage a musical production on campus about African American life, no one knew what to expect.

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n the spring of 1932, Zora Neale Hurston visited a Winter Park bookstore to ask for advice about publishing a manuscript. She had recently returned to nearby Eatonville — which she would later refer to as her “native village”— from New York City to shape her extensive notes on Southern folklore into what would become Mules and Men. H.S. Thompson, owner of The Bookery, suggested she contact Edwin Osgood Grover, who had spent 30 years in the publishing industry in Boston, New York and Chicago. Grover now held the curious title “Professor of Books” at Rollins College. Hurston’s letter to Grover would not only begin a long friendship with him and the college, but it also would help resurrect her flagging literary career. The folklorist’s return to Eatonville had been a strategic retreat in the face of personal, economic and professional crises. A number of her friendships, most notably with poet Langston Hughes, had proved unable to bear the weight of her strong personality.

By maurice j. o’sullivan jr. and jack c. lane

With the community of writers, artists and intellectuals who formed the Harlem Renaissance dispersed by the Great Depression, Hurston had found a wealthy patron to support her field research in the South and the Bahamas. That relationship was now coming to an end, and, according to a brief, unpublished memoir by Grover, the resulting manuscript “was in the hands of a typist in Philadelphia, but [Hurston] didn’t have money to pay for getting it out of hock.” In an early letter to Grover, Hurston wrote, “I feel that the real Negro theater is yet to be born and I don’t see why it should not first see the light of day in Eatonville. I have lots of material prepared to this end and would love to work it out with the help of someone who knows a lot that I don’t.” Hurston’s interests in folklore and theater had come together in 1926 when she discussed with Hughes the possibility of an opera about black folk life. Although their collaboration, Mule Bone, was never produced or published in its entirety, Hurston was undaunted. Her belief that the stage was the perfect medium to express

black culture led to frustrating experiences working on revues like Fast and Furious and the unfortunately titled Jungle Scandals. Transcending these exploitative efforts was The Great Day, a folk opera based on her research. Premiering in New York at the John Golden Theater on Jan. 10, 1932, the play met significant critical but little economic success, and Hurston returned to Florida. Grover, accepting the role of academic patron — Hurston’s life at times seems to involve a succession of patrons — introduced her to Robert Wunsch, a young theater director at Rollins who had been developing parallel ideas. Wunsch had come to the college from the University of North Carolina, where he had roomed briefly with novelist Thomas Wolfe. He was one of many young artists attracted to the Winter Park campus because of its reputation for innovative programs. Sinclair Lewis, in fact, had praised Rollins in his 1930 Nobel Prize acceptance speech for the college’s “interest in contemporary creative writing.” Because Wunsch had been searching for ways

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Professor of Books Edwin Osgood Grover, left, was a mentor to Hurston. But President Hamilton Holt, right, found his progressive ideals tested by Hurston and his teaching theories attacked by several professors.

to develop among his students “a genuine interest in American folk material,” the possibility of working with Hurston offered both a source of material and a contact with the community. His excitement is apparent in a letter he wrote in October 1932 to Rollins president Hamilton Holt: I have set as my objective for the year the breaking of the ground, as it were: to make the students sensitive to the lyric beauty of swamp and citrus grove, sense the pageantry of the Ponce de Leon explorations, find the drama in the life of fisherfolk and sponge divers and cowboys, sense the tragedy and comedy of the boom days, revivify the old days of the missions and fortresses—in a word, to get the students to “dip their nets where they are.” I can think of no better way to introduce the students to the honest-to-thesoil material at their own doorsteps than to present to them in a program of folk songs and dancers a group of Eatonville Negroes, headed by Zora Hur-

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ston. Zora, a national authority on Negro ways, has won the enviable place for herself in American dramatics. Wunsh’s proposal came at a difficult time for both Rollins and its president. For the past decade, it had been undergoing a transformation that would turn a small, failing college into a nationally recognized and modern institution. The impetus for this change was the ascendancy of Holt to its presidency in 1925. Formerly editor of The Independent, a prominent and influential magazine, Holt was active in progressive politics and brought with him to Rollins not only a national reputation but also a liberal outlook. A college ripe for change had found itself a reformist president. Following the progressive education movement, Holt rejected lecture and recitation. Instead, he proposed an approach to learning based

upon his experience in the Independent’s editorial offices. Classrooms, he believed, ought to resemble workrooms where apprentices worked closely and interacted with master teachers. With the help of his faculty, Holt immediately instituted what he called the Conference Plan. Under the plan, classes would be arranged in two-hour blocks, and professors designed new courses to allow students to work and study under their supervision, with all materials available in the classroom and all instruction provided through interpersonal interaction. Within a few years, the Conference Plan well established, Holt turned his attention to curriculum reforms to match his structural transformations. He called upon the progressive education movement’s foremost theoretician, John Dewey, to head a conference at Rollins. Held in January 1931, the conference brought together the movement’s leading practitioners and success-


“I have set as my objective for the year... to make the students sensitive to the lyric beauty of swamp and citrus grove, sense the pageantry of the Ponce de Leon explorations, find the drama in the life of fisherfolk and sponge divers and cowboys, sense the tragedy and comedy of the boom days ... in a word, to get the students to ‘dip their nets where they are.’” fully established a coherent set of principles for college curricula. By the following year, however, Rollins was facing a crisis that was far more practical. As the Depression cut deeply into the college’s resources, Holt asked his faculty to take a 30 percent cut in salary. A faculty committee questioned the need for the cut and, by implication, Holt’s stewardship. At the same time, financial concerns were exacerbated by an ideological conflict between Holt and a group of faculty led by classics professor John Andrew Rice. Among its many differences of opinion with the president, this faction had begun challenging the effectiveness of the Conference Plan.

Since his arrival in this Southern town with its New England roots, Holt had seen himself as a lone progressive voice among Winter Park’s cautious and conservative populace, and he waged constant fights on behalf of controversial faculty members. When economics professor Royal France became president of Florida’s Socialist Party, or when France invited Hurston to stay as a guest at his home, or when the Rollins faculty lobbied the state legislature to prevent the passage of a bill prohibiting the teaching of evolution, it fell to Holt to mollify the college’s neighbors. Rice, however, proved too much for him. A popular teacher and leader of the college’s dissidents, Rice embraced a confrontational style that Holt abhorred. The variety of charges Holt lev-

eled against Rice — ranging from insubordination to wearing only a jockstrap in the presence of visitors at the college beach house — indicate the depth of his anger, and he fired him at the end of the 1932-33 academic year. When a committee from the American Association of University Professors investigated the firing, it concluded, in the slightly stilted language of official reports, that Holt’s charges “would in most American institutions of higher education not be regarded as grounds” for dismissal. Despite this vindication, Rice and a group of supporters left Winter Park to start an experimental college. Not only did Wunsch suggest Black Mountain, N.C., as a potential location but he resigned in protest to join the academic

Hurston wanted to present her musical, From Sun to Sun, in the campus’s new Annie Russell Theater. However, an uncharacteristically cautious Holt made certain that the 1933 production was relegated to a less high-profile venue.

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expatriates. Black Mountain College would open the following year with Rice as rector. After he stepped down in 1939, Wunsch replaced him but was forced to resign six years later under a cloud of scandal. But in the fall of 1932, Holt’s purge was several months in the future, and he was still hoping to find some ground for compromise with Rice and his supporters. Wunsch, anxious to promote folk theater, had sought Holt’s permission to produce Hurston’s play at Rollins. The president replied with a prudently worded letter reflecting not only his personal style and his awareness of the economic and personnel crises he was facing, but also his sensitivity to the people of Winter Park. His solution was to suggest — Holt rarely commanded — a set of guidelines that recognized the community’s sensibilities: I see no reason why you should not put on in recreation hall the Negro folk evening under the inspiration of Zora Hurston, but I assume you will go over the thing enough to know that there will be nothing vulgar in it. Of course we cannot have Negroes in the audience unless there is a separate place segregated for them, and I think that would be unwise. I do not think I would advertise it very much outside our own faculty and students, but I may be wrong about this. With this cautious support, Wunsch could begin his collaboration with Hurston. In the middle of November, she spoke to one of his English classes about her life and research. After discussing her background, she explained to the students her dissatisfaction with John Golden’s production of The Great Day. According to an account in the college newspaper, the Sandspur, she told the students that she wanted to work “with a cast of the true Negro type rather than the New Yorkized Negro [to develop] a production of enduring value.” Hurston ended the class with stories, songs and a sermon from her research. Clearly overwhelmed by both the material and the lecturer —“pure poetry, full of poetic figures, utterly lovely”— the students won from her a promise to take them soon to a black church service in Orlando. Their rapturous response may account for the identification of Hurston’s hometown as “Edenville.” For the rest of the year, Hurston and Wunsch worked on her “Negro folk evening.” The production, called From Sun to Sun, was essentially the

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From Sun to Sun debuted at The Museum, an experimental theater in Fern Park, before opening at Rollins. Critics were kind, if sometimes condescending.

same as The Great Day. It consisted largely of folkdances and previously unpublished blues songs Hurston had heard in juke joints (“Shack Rouser,” “East Coast Blues”) and from men working on railroads, in sawmills and in phosphate mines (“Cold Rainy Day,” “Let the Deal Go Down”). In deference to Holt’s concerns — and to spare his all-black cast from having to play to a segregated audience — Wunsch chose to stage the show off-campus at The Museum, a new experimental theater in the neighboring community of Fern Park. The production, held Jan. 20, 1933, was so successful that it was repeated the following

week, and on Feb. 11 came to Rollins for a command performance. As Holt had suggested, From Sun to Sun would be presented in the Recreation Hall rather than the college’s new Annie Russell Theatre. Blacks, other than those onstage, were not permitted to attend. “Tickets to the general public — except Negroes,” wrote a frustrated Hurston to a friend in New York. “I tried to have the space set aside, but find that there I come up against solid rock.” Although contemporary reviews reflect the values of their day and — like most appreciation of black art in the 1930s — emphasized the primitivism and rhythm of Hurston’s songs and


stories, they recognized the undeniable power of the work. A brief note in the Orlando Morning Sentinel concluded with a comment about the audience’s appreciation: “An audience of invited guests showed its unmistakable approval by calling the performers back repeatedly for encores.” The Winter Park Herald’s cultural column, “The Listening Post,” praised not only the achievement of the premiere, but the idea behind it:

during later years is the “Blue Yodel” by Jimmie Rodgers. This song might not interest some but it draws a wonderful picture for me of a lazy, indolent Negro telling his troubles to the world. But Traer’s disapproval, grounded in selfconfessed ignorance — indeed, he apparently did not realize that Rodgers was, in fact, white — was a clear exception to the praise that From Sun to Sun gathered. The college community was so pleased with her work that in March, when the noted dancer Ruth St. Denis visited campus, Hurston “and her company of Negroes” were invited to offer a special half-hour performance. Apparently the administration was still sensitive to local sensibilities, because, as The Sandspur reported, “The audience included only the directors of The Museum and several invited students and townspeople.” Hurston’s involvement with the college also had a significant effect on her professional life outside Central Florida. Soon after working with her on From Sun to Sun, Wunsch read one of her short stories to a creative writing class and then sent it to Story magazine, which published it in August 1933. After reading the piece, titled “The Gilded Six-Bits,” Bertram Lippincott wrote on behalf of his publishing house to ask if she was working on a novel. Never one to lose an opportunity, Hurston told Lippincott that she was, and immediately began writing Jonah’s Gourd Vine. Her appreciation to Wunsch is apparent in the book’s distinctively worded and spelled dedication, a dedication that seems to recognize his courage in a number of difficult environments:

This Negro folk-lore as presented in The Museum was perhaps the most dramatic entertainment that has been given in Winter Park. It gripped the audience with a sense of native rhythm and harmony which is hard to fully comprehend unless seen and felt. What the Negro has brought to America is too vital to be allowed to vanish from the earth. America needs this because its civilization, like Minerva, sprung full grown from the head of Europe, and so there is not the wealth of native folk-lore as in Europe, Asia, Africa, and other continents. The Sandspur offered a similar rave, calling From Sun to Sun “one of the most effective productions given at the college this year.” After praising the work’s “unselfconscious spontaneity,” the review attempted to capture the spirit of the evening in describing the show’s climax: The dancers, at first wary, as if feeling their ground, gradually became more and more heated, until one expected and hoped for an orgy. The rhythm pressing harder and harder into one’s very being, the seductive movements of the gaily clad bodies, the shining eyes in their dark faces, brought thunderous applause and continuous demands for more.

To Bob Wunsch Who is one of those long-wingded angels Right round the throne Go gator and muddy the water.

The only discordant note came from Winter Park Herald columnist Will M. Traer. In his column, “Some Observations,” he responded to the Herald’s review with the kind of comments Holt and his faculty regarded as too typical of their neighbors: I note mention in “The Listening Post” of Zora Hurston’s effort to advance Negro music and dramatic art. Something very wonderful along the line can no doubt be accomplished by those who know what they are doing. Without knowing anything about Zora Hurston’s work along this line, I want to express an opinion that to me the grand kind of Negro music is coming from a simple soul, both words and music. The most true-to-life Negro song that I have heard

Two Rollins professors caused their share of grief for Holt. Robert Wunsch, top, a theater director, and John Rice, a classics professor, both ended up leaving Rollins to start a new college in North Carolina.

By the time the book was published, Wunsch had spread his wings and soared to Black Mountain. Hurston remained fond of Rollins even after Holt’s purge of the Rice faction, and of Grover in particular. In November 1933, Grover wrote to her to pass on a request: “President Holt has asked me what has become of you, and whether you had more things to put on at Rollins this winter.” Never short of inspiration or material, Hurston presented All De Live Long Day in Recreation Hall only two months later. Like From Sun

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SCULPT A MORE BEAUTIFUL YOU

Hurston herself offered a fitting epilogue for her relationship with Rollins shortly after Dust Tracks on a Road was published in 1942. In the book, she mentioned the college and the faculty she remembered from the time they had helped resurrect her career.

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to Sun, the play followed a group of black workers through their day. It was not, however, quite as well received in the college paper. Even the praise seems qualified by a reviewer who clearly had enjoyed her earlier effort:

she remembered from the time they had helped resurrect her career. But she recognized that her book had not quite done justice to the time she spent there. She wrote to Holt to acknowledge her debt to the college more fully:

It is felt that no criticism should be attempted. Presented humbly, as it was, with all the spontaneous enthusiasm and brilliance of natural artists, this play can arouse only appreciation and a curious exuberance in those who see it. To those who are familiar with the work of Zora Hurston, there was something disappointing in that all of the features so popular in last year’s production From Sun to Sun could not be included in this program. However, more indigenous material and new talent made All De Live Long Day the best thing of its kind — a most enlightening and worthwhile entertainment.

You know, I had a lot more about Rollins College and Winter Park in the original script, but my publishers did not like it. I wanted to show more awareness of what had happened to me at Winter Park, and my gratitude toward several people there, as well as some in New York. But it was cut out. Now, I look like a hog under an acorn tree guggling without ever looking up to see where the acorns came from.

Hurston’s success at Rollins and the college’s imprimatur led to more productions of her work around the state, an invitation to teach at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, and eventually an offer to produce a revision of All De Live Long Day, which she titled Singing Steel, in Chicago. She returned to the campus a final time, in April 1934, to bring a group of local singers to perform for the Women’s Club before taking them to the Fifth National Folk Festival in St. Louis. But she never forgot the college and its faculty’s role in her career. When she published Moses, Man of Mountain in 1939, she dedicated it to Grover for his enduring support. He followed her successes, despaired at her setbacks in later years and, after learning that she had died, attempted to discover her burial place. As a memorial, he encouraged the University of Florida Library to develop a Hurston collection by donating to it his correspondence with her. Hurston herself offered a fitting epilogue for her relationship with Rollins shortly after Dust Tracks on a Road was published in 1942. In the book, she mentioned the college and the faculty

407.770.2002 | www.OrlandoAI.com

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The story did not end there, however. Sixty years later, in 1993, Hurston`s work finally played to a full, racially mixed house at the Annie Russell Theater as part of the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of Arts and Humanities, originated in Eatonville to commemorate the folklorist who immortalized the town in her work. It was staged again the following year. “We`re creating a moment in history, performing before a multicultural audience,” production assistant Harry Burney told the audience in 1993. “This play is to, for and about Zora`s people, and finally they are seeing it on the campus where it was first performed.” Although blacks weren’t permitted to attend the 1933 performance, simply having the performance on campus was considered quite avante garde for the time, added Rita Bornstein, then the college’s president, during an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “The college was considered progressive. The professors were worldly; they cared about literature and good writing. Having it here at all made us different from other southern institutions.” A version of this story originally appeared in a 1991 book, Zora in Florida, edited by Steve Glassman and Kathryn Lee Seidel. The original book was published by the University Press of Florida.


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neighbors

Originally from: New York City

 Family: Thad and his wife, Polly, who recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary, have five children and 11 grandchildren. Both his father and father-in-law were national celebrities: Whitney North Seymour served in the Hoover Administration and later was president of the American Bar Association; John Gnagy taught millions to draw in the 1950s and ’60s with his long-running television program, You Are an Artist, and his Learn to Draw instructional book, which is still in print.  Former career: Best known as the former president of Rollins College (from 1978 to 1990), Thad actually had a longer career at Rollins as an English professor — teaching there from 1992 until 2008, the year he turned 80. “I concluded that the gap between 18 and 80 was more than I could handle.” His pre-Rollins resumé included stints as English professor, rowing coach and later dean of students at Dartmouth College; president of Wabash College in Indi-

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 Current activities: Once an elite college rower — he competed in the U.S. rowing trials for the 1948 Olympics — Thad stays in shape with regular mile-long walks and gym workouts on cardiovascular and weight machines. His even busier volunteer life includes serving as chairman of Habitat for Humanity’s Winter Park-Maitland chapter, membership on the advisory committee of the Independent Transportation Network-Orlando — “The biggest single challenge for older adults is transportation” — and helping Polly with her main passion, the Winter Park Library’s New Leaf Bookstore. Cofounded by Polly in 1995, it has raised more than $1 million for the library. Its webpage is maintained by Thad, a computer (and Facebook) enthusiast. Most recently, Thad and former state attorney Lawson Lamar co-chaired a successful effort to raise funds to relocate the historic Capen House to the grounds of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.  Words of wisdom: “I wouldn’t presume to pontificate. I’m just trying to get from here to there.”

photo: Allanjay images

Thad Seymour

ana; and membership in the International Brotherhood of Magicians.


Dining Restaurants of Winter Park

The Windus Way Executive Chef J. Christopher Windus of Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn can be found most every Saturday at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market stocking up on fresh fruit and veggies to prepare for hotel guests and locals. Windus, who spent 10 years as executive chef of Todd English’s blue-zoo at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, opened the Alfond’s Old Florida-themed eatery to rave reviews late last year. “I try to create comfort food that’s a little more refined,” says Windus, shown here with a Farmers’ Market vendor. “And I pay a lot of attention to our sourcing and the quality of our ingredients.” For more information about Hamilton’s Kitchen, see the listing on page 52.

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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. $$-$$$ Carmel Café & Wine Bar, 140 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-513-4912/carmelcafe.com. The menu updates the traditional flavors and foods of Mediterranean rim countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco. Choose from small- or large-plate options and pair foods with an international selection of wines available in three-, six- or nine-ounce pours.Tableside iPads enable guests to control preparation and pacing of the meal, from drinks to dessert, by scrolling, tapping and sending selections. 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. Now open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday. The midday menu offers more salads and sandwiches along with more substantial entrees such as rabbit meatloaf and trout. Menus change often to reflect local harvests and fresh catches. $$$ Dexter’s 558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407629-1150 / 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

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rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. For dinner, country-fried lamb— yes, lamb—is an unexpected but tasty choice. $$-$$$ Hamilton’s Kitchen. 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park/thealfondinn.com. Named for the innovative former Rollins College president, Hamilton Holt, the warm and welcoming restaurant at the newly opened Alfond Inn boasts an early 1900s ambience, with a hearth-inspired kitchen window, exposed beams, farmer’s table and Dutch oak floors. The cuisine features traditional Southern offerings using locally sourced ingredients. Hamilton’s is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Chef Christopher Windus, former executive chef of Todd English’s bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, is in charge of the kitchen. $$$ Hillstone 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-7404005 / hillstone.com/hillstone. Formerly known as Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a highend chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Killarney. Many have popped the proverbial question during romantic dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$ 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. $$ Marlow’s Tavern, 1008 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407960-3670/marlowstavern.com. Classic American tavern fare, including an array of big and juicy burgers, served in an upscale pub environment, with exposed-brick walls, dark wood accents and leather-upholstered booths. The appetizers are wonderful, especially J.T.’s Kettle Chips which include gorgonzola cheese and bacon, are to die for. Outdoor seating is under a sizeable covered patio, where there’s sometimes live entertainment. $$ Matilda’s On Park 358 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407951-5790 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. $$$-$$$$ 310 Park South 310 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-6477277 / 310parksouth.net. New American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, beef, pasta dishes, signature salads and sandwiches. Dine outside along the Avenue and enjoy daily lunch and dinner specials, a children’s menu or Sunday brunch. Steak, chicken and pasta entrées dominate the menu, but there’s also a very nice, slowly roasted half duck finished with a plum demi-glace. If you prefer to dine at home, call ahead and pick up your favorite dish. $$-$$$ Toasted 1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park 407-960-3922/ igettoasted.com Yes, there really is a restaurant that specializes in that most beloved childhood comfort food, the grilled-cheese sandwich. But this isn’t Velveeta on Wonder bread; the menu includes combinations of exotic cheeses, artisan breads and other unexpected additions. For example, we doubt Mom ever served a “Fig and Goat” sandwich with goat cheese, fig preserves, basil and honey. This cheesy joint also offers an assortment of burgers and salads as well as vegetarian and vegan selections. $ Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-672-5753 / tibbysneworleans-kitchen.com. If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate dining experience, this is not the place for you. Tibby’s is loud, raucous and fun, with Crescent City favorites like shrimp Creole, crawfish pie and, for dessert, powdered beignets. Tibby’s was named for the late Walter “Tibby” Tabony, a Big Easy native and great-uncle of restaurateur Brian Wheeler, who also founded Tijuana Flats. The old man, whose colorful biography is on the menu, would certainly have approved of the shrimp and andouille cheddar grits and the handbattered fried pickle slices, which are expertly fried and served with a rich rémoulade sauce. $$ 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. $$ Seoul Garden 511 E. Horatio Ave., Maitland, 407-5995199/orlandokoreanrestaurant.com. Seoul Garden is so Asian-focused that the “About Us” section of its website is written in Korean. That authenticity extends to the food. Barbecue meats are grilled to order in the dining room. Be sure to try the marinated beef short ribs and the soft tofu stew. $ 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 insti-


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tution, 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 bacon-wrapped 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 scrumptious. $ 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, 407-622-2010/ 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, steroid-free 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, 321-2957837/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 lime-ginger 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, 407-6282333 / theravenouspig.com. After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s

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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 donut-esque dessert called Pig Tails. $$$ DINER

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. $

FRENCH

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. $$-$$$

Café de France 526 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-6471869 / 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 house-made 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. $$-$$$

Sweet Traditions 212 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407622-2232. 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. $

Café 906 906 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-9750600 / 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. $

ITALIAN

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. $

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 below-ground 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. 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. $-$$ Dylan’s Deli 1198 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-6227578 / dylansdeli.net. In a disjointed little space featuring warm fresco colors and distinctive touches such as arched doorways, Dylan’s Deli offers not only the pastrami sandwiches you’d expect but also a wondrous assortment of French fare. Crêpes and paninis filled with an array of Gallic and international flavors make for satisfying lunches, while montaditos (platters of meats, cheeses, nuts and more) and charcuterie plates pair well with French wines and beers after dark. $$-$$$

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, 407-6227663 / 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. $$$ O’Stromboli 1803 E. Winter Park Road, Winter Park, 407647-3872/ostromboli.com. This innocuous neighborhoood eatery isn’t fancy, but the food is filliong and fresh. That’s why it has become a favorite of residents of Rose Isle, merritt Park and Baldwin Park. The carbonara is particu-


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larly hearty and the fettuccine Alfredo is rich, buttery and more than you should eat in one sitting. The homemade soups are always a dependable starter. $$ak Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant 216 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-7270 / pannullos.com. Housed in one of Park Avenue’s oldest buildings, Pannullo’s is approaching its 20th anniversary and has become something of a fixture itself. The menu features everything from pizza to classic pasta dishes, but you can’t go wrong with the lobster ravioli or the chicken gorgonzola. And check out the veggie-heavy salad bar. $$ 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. $$$ Tolla’s Italian Deli & Café 240 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-0068 / tollasitalianrestaurant. com. Chef-owner Gary Tolla cooks up authentic homestyle Italian fare in this small café in a quieter part of Winter Park. The offerings range from hot subs and pizzas to antipasto and veal saltimbocca. Be sure to try the bruschetta. $$ LATIN Mi Tomatina 433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321972-4317 / 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, 407-644-8609 / 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 Cocina 214 151 E. Wellbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407790-7997. The area code of Dallas is 214, so this stylish eatery’s name makes sense when you consider that its menu offers creative, gourmet interpretations of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. The huevos ran-

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cheros, flanked by Mexican rice and black beans, makes an ideal brunch, with fried eggs served atop corn tortillas and topped with melted queso blanco and red rancheros sauce. Also notable: the truffle mushroom quesadilla and braised pork tacos with mango as well as pescado rico, a large serving of mahi-mahi, wilted spinach and grilled veggies in a roasted poblano cream sauce. The main dining room encompasses freestanding tables and banquettes and there’s a spacious patio where pooches are welcome. $$

Winter Park Fish Co. 761 Orange Ave. Winter Park, 407622-6112 / 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, mahimahi sandwiches and more ambitious dishes such as grouper cheeks in parchment and stuffed grouper are among a typical day’s offerings. $$

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 Tex-Mex 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. $-$$

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. $$$$

POLISH Anna’s Polish Restaurant, 3586 Aloma Ave, No. 7, Winter Park/ 32792. Enjoy Polish classics such as cabbage noodles, Cracovia chicken cutlet, beef goulash, pork schnitzel, potato pancakes and hunter’s stew with cabbage, mushrooms, beef, pork and sausage served with mashed potatoes. There’s also a delightful array of desserts and a kids’ menu. $-$$ PUBS & GRILLS Fiddler’s Green 544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-2050 / fiddlersgreenorlando.com. This is as authentically Irish as you’ll find in Orlando, with a menu featuring bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, hen in a pot, Irish stew and, of course, fish and chips as well as a wide selection of Irish beers. The ambience is enhanced by dark wood, cozy clutter and rowdy groups of “footballers” cheering televised matches. $-$$ 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 gluten-free 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. $$-$$$

STEAK

Fleming’s 933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-6999463 / 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. $$$$ Nelore Churrascaria 115 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-1112 / neloresteakhouse.com. This is one of two Nelore Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses—the other one is in Houston—where the servers, or “gauchos,” come to your table as often as you’d like bearing skewers of premier beef, chicken or pork. There’s a worldclass salad bar and Brazilian cheese bread to keep you happy between meat courses. $$$$ Ruth’s Chris 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407622-2444 / ruthschris.com. With three old-school steakhouses and its corporate headquarters near Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando special-occasion mainstay. Its serviceoriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. Most side dishes are more than ample for two. $$$$ VEGETARIAN Café 118 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-389-2233 / cafe118.com. Raw foods—none cooked past 118 degrees—are the focus of this health-conscious niche café, which attracts raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$ 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. $$


events

PIERRE AND TANA MATISSE FOUNDATION (1454-104051) © 2013 SUCCESSION H. MATISSE/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK. COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION OF ARTS

art, history, entertainment and more

Marvelous Matisse Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. His stylistic innovations — along with those of Pablo Picasso — altered the course of modern art and impacted several generations of younger painters. Although known primarily as a painter, Matisse was also an accomplished printmaker. It’s that aspect of his work that will be on display at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum from Jan. 4-March 16. The exhibit, Matisse as Printmaker: Works from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation,was organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. It loosely follows the chronology of Matisse’s career, from his earliest print in 1900 to his last in 1951. Examples of every printmaking technique used by Matisse — etchings, monotypes, lithographs, linocuts, aquatints, drypoints, woodcuts, and color prints — are included. Shown is Maria-Jose in a Yellow Dress (III) from 1950. The museum is located on the campus of Rollins College, and admission is free throughout 2014, courtesy of Bessemer Trust. 1000 Holt Ave., 407-647-2526. cfam.rollins.edu. W INTE R 2 0 1 4 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E

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VISUAL ARTS The Albin Polasek Museum & 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. Continuing through April 13 is The Holy Art of Imperial Russia: Icons from the 17th-Early 20th Century. On March 2, 1-4 p.m., the museum will welcome spring with a Maslenitsa Week (an eastern Slavic religious or folk holiday) celebration of Russian culture, games and art. The event will feature a special presentation by Dr. Alexander Boguslawski, a professor of Russian at Rollins College. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Ave. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center at 231 W. Packwood Ave., one of a trio of museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, 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. Upcoming exhibits include Portraits: The Birds of Paradise (Jan. 10-Feb. 28), featuring hand-tinted etchings of birds by Tampa printer John Costin; Constructed Landscapes (Jan. 10-Feb. 28), featuring Jake Fernandez’s realistic and abstract works an array of media; Film Stories (March 14-May 25), featuring works by Nancy Cervenka, who manipulates strands of celluloid into one-of-a-kind sculptures; and Moving Pictures (March 14-April 20), inspired by artist Joyce Ely-Walker’s train travels across the country. 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 complex include the Maitland Historical Museum & Telephone Museum, 221 W. Packwood Ave., which has a new permanent exhibit, Maitland Legacies: Creativity and Innovation. In conjunction with the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, the museum is also presenting Environmental Pioneers (Jan. 9-May 4), which celebrates the Florida Audubon Society’s role in saving many native birds from extinction. The third component of the complex is the Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museum, 820 Lake Lily Drive, which was built by a pioneering Maitland resident and offers a snapshot in time of the way middle-class, Victorian-era Florida families lived. See “Holidays” elsewhere in this calendar for details about Easter activities at the Waterhouse. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic art collections in Florida, and will debut five new exhibits beginning Jan. 4. Matisse as Printmaker, organized by the American Federation of the Arts and the Matisse Foundation, includes more than 60 works illustrating the range of Henri Matisse’s printmaking techniques and provides a rich examination of an understudied aspect of his oeuvre. The exhibit, which gained critical acclaim on its national tour, runs through March 16. The McKean Legacy at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum celebrates the cultural vision of Jeannette and Hugh McKean, legendary local philanthropists and patrons of the arts. Presented in conjunction with the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which was founded by the McKeans, the exhibit runs through April 13. Glimpses of the Golden Age, which runs through May 11, highlights several works by Old Masters from the museum’s own collection. John Hitchcock: Ghosts of Brutality, which runs through April 13, features images of weapons such as tanks and helicopters against unfamiliar mythological and hybrid creatures to explore notions of assimilation and control. Finally, opening Jan.

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4 and running contractually is Conversations: Selections from the Permanent Collection, which aims to inspire dialogue about art created during disparate time periods and among various cultures. Works are grouped under four broad thematic categories: Religion Redefined, Gesture and Pose, A Sense of Place and History and Myth. Courtesy of Bessemer Trust, admission to the museum is free throughout 2014. 407-647-2526. cfam.rollins.edu. Crealde School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-forprofit arts organization offers year-round visual arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. The following events are at the Main Campus: Continuing through Jan. 18 is The Art of Fellowship in Painting and Drawing, which features works by artists who’ve been mentored through the school’s Fellowship Program. On Jan. 11 is The Night of Fire, the facility’s winter open house, as well as a reception debuting Director’s Choice IV, an exhibit that showcases work from nine artists who teach at Crealdé’s satellite location in Winter Garden. The Mind’s Eye, which celebrates the work of renowned local painter and sculptor Grady Kimsey, runs Jan. 17-March 29. The exhibit’s opening night is highlighted by a meet-the-artist reception at 7 p.m. Admission to the galleries is free although there is a fee for classes. 407-671-1886. 600 St. Andrews Blvd. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents. A new exhibit, Purvis Young: Urban Expressionist, runs Jan. 24-March 29. Young, a Miami resident, uses plywood, cabinet doors and other debris discarded by his neighbors to create art reflecting the African-American experience. An opening-night reception and panel discussion, Exploring African American Communities through the Art of Purvis Young, will be held at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church at 6 p.m. Admission to the center is free. 642 W. New England Ave. 407-5392680. hannibalsquareheriotagecenter.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. Currently on display is The Wreck, an 1880 oil painting by American artist and decorator Lockwood de Forest, which depicts five Bedouins riding their camels across the desert with the skeletal remains of a camel in the foreground. The 36-by-48-inch Orientalist work is on view for the first time following extensive conservation. The exhibit includes other de Forest oil studies from the museum’s collection and will be supplemented by material, such as photos and essays, aimed at helping viewers develop a full appreciation of the painting’s creation, context and symbolism. Continuing through Jan. 26 is Vignette: The Art of Fountain Pens, which features more than 100 pens dating from 1875 to 1975. Lullaby and Goodnight, running through January 2015, focuses on three authors noted for illustrating early children’s literature: Kate Greenaway, Mary Dow Brine and Eulalie Osgood Grover. The exhibit includes almost 20 books by these authors as well as a collection of vintage dolls, Rookwood ceramic nursery tiles and even a rocking chair from the childhood bedroom of the museum’s founder, Jeannette Genius McKean. 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. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The city’s biggest, most high-profile event commandeers Park Avenue for

the 54th time from March 21-23. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, started in 1960 by a handful of enthusiasts as a community project to boost the local arts scene, has grown in the ensuing years into one of the country’s most prestigious juried outdoor art shows. As always, artists will showcase painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, glass and even apparel. There’ll be continuous entertainment on the Florida Family Insurance Stage and an assortment of food vendors offering everything from carnival fare to gourmet delights. Admission is free. Central Park, Park Avenue. 407-644-7202. wpsaf.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk Art and Craft Festival. The fifth annual event will be held March 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and will feature Florida artists offering work for sale as well as live music, soul food and a hands-on workshop for kids. Admission is free. 642 W. New England Ave. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org. PERFORMING ARTS Annie Russell Theater. The 2013-14 season at the beautiful and historic theater features the usual eclectic selection, from comedy to drama to music and dance: A Clean House (Feb. 14-22), a serio-comic romance about a Brazilian maid who teaches her physician employers that laughter is really the best medicine; Song & Dance (March 14-15), a cabaret-style songfest with concert dance performances; and The Lost Comedies of William Shakespeare (April 18-26), an improvisational romp celebrating the Bard’s birthday. Meanwhile, the Fred Stone Theater presents its student-produced Second Stage Series with All New People (Feb. 19-23); and Gruesome Playground Injuries (April 9-13). Non-student admission to Annie Russell productions is usually $25 on opening night (which includes a reception) and $20 for subsequent nights. Admission to Fred Stone productions is free. Rollins College campus. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu. 79th Annual Bach Festival. Dr. John Sinclair, artistic director, has plenty of momentous music slated as the Bach Festival Society continues its programs into 2014. On Jan. 26 Morton Lauridsen, composer of such choral classics as Nocturnes, Les Chanson des Roses, and O Magnum Mysterium, will present a concert followed by a discussion. Organist Ken Cowan, a renowned performer and faculty member at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, will perform on Feb. 14, followed on Feb. 21-22 by Concertos by Candlelight, featuring violinist Lara St. John, who will appear with the Bach Festival Orchestra and perform works by Bach and Vivaldi. Haydn’s Creation, which portrays the creation of the earth and is considered one of the composer’s greatest works, is slated for March 1, followed on March 2 by St. John Passion, which showcases Bach’s power as both a composer and a dramatist. Tickets may be purchased for individual or multiple performances. Concerts are held in the Knowles Memorial Chapel on the campus of Rollins College. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Winter Park Playhouse. A series of musical comedies continues at Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater with Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Jan. 24-Feb. 15); Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters (March 7-29); and Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits (April 25-May 17). 711 Orange Ave. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org. FILM Enzian Film Series. This iconic alternative cinema offers several film series: Wednesday Night Pitcher Show (first and third Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., free admission plus happy hour refreshments); Cult Classics (second and last Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., $5 admission); and Saturday Matinee Classics (second Saturdays at noon, free admission). Upcoming features include National Lampoon’s Family


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Vacation, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Citizen Kane; a full calendar is available online. 1300 S. Orlando Ave. 407-629-0054. enzian.org. Popcorn Flicks in Central Park. You can’t beat this bargain: a free movie—and free popcorn!—under the stars. Features, shown the second Thursday of each month, include classic films appropriate for the whole family. The final film in the series is the Don Knotts animated classic, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, slated for Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets if you’d like. Cosponsored by the City of Winter Park and Enzian Theater. Central Park, Park Avenue. 407-629-0054. enzian.org. HISTORY Winter Park History Museum. If the Winter Park High School alma mater still evokes even a twinge of nostal-

gia, 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 Growing up Wildcat: Winter Park High School Through the Years. The ongoing exhibit 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 a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Admission is free. 200 W. New England Ave. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org. The Holocaust Memorial Resource & 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 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. holocaustedu.org. BUSINESS 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 Jan. 16 and Feb. 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for chamber members, $15 for non-members. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. 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 are Jan. 10, Feb. 14 and March 14. 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. 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 are Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and March 21. Networking begins at 8 p.m.; the program follows at 8:15. Admission is free for chamber members, $10 for non-members. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. State of the City Luncheon. The City of Winter Park and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce host Mayor Kenneth W. Bradley’s annual address on Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m. Held at The Alfond Inn, the event includes networking, lunch, employee of the year awards and Bradley’s keynote address. Admission is $35 for chamber members; $40 for non-members. Corporate tables are also available. 300 E. New England 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 are Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and March 3. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.; lunch and the program follow at noon. Admission is $20 for chamber members, $25 for non-members. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. MARKETS 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-5 p.m. Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S. Lakemont Ave. 407-296-5882. cityofwinterpark.com. Maitland Farmers Market. This year-round, open-air 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 Drive. itsmymaitland.com. Winter Park Farmers Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers market is held every Saturday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at the old railroad depot. There you’ll find fine baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale.

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After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 W. New England Ave. cityofwinterpark.org. HAPPENINGS

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The Best of Storytelling. This monthly event showcases family friendly performances by the region’s most accomplished professional storytellers. Prepare to laugh, think and be entertained while listening to expertly shared folk and fairy tales, as well as literary and personal stories. Upcoming presentations are by Mitchell O’Rear, Jan. 21, and Autumn Garick, Feb. 18, both at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but registration is required. 460 E. New England Ave. 407-623-3279. wppl.org. Hannibal Square Wine Tasting. To celebrate the opening of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Hannibal Square Merchants Association are co-sponsoring an event that features food, wine and live entertainment. Enjoy an array of wine and beer samples and hors d’oeuvres from more than a dozen local restaurants. Many Hannibal Square-area businesses will also be open late. March 20 at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $20 in advance for chamber members; $20 for non-members; $25 at the door. Hannibal Square. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Sip & Stroll. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce invites you to experience Park Avenue via a leisurely stroll through the charming downtown district on Feb. 13 beginning at 5 p.m. Participating merchants and restaurants will offer food and beverage pairings and extended hours. Admission is $25; reservations are encouraged. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. CAUSES Chili for Charity. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Winter Park, this event, held at the Winter Park Farmers Market, hosts local restaurants and caterers preparing chili dishes and competing for awards. Also enjoy entertainment, drinks, dessert and a live auction complete the evening’s activities. Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 200 W. New England Ave. chiliforcharity.org.

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HOLIDAYS Valentine’s Day Concert. Enjoy an afternoon of romantic music with Michael Andrew and Swingerhead in beautiful Central Park. Hosted by the Park Avenue Merchants Association and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this event is an ideal place to bring a picnic basket, spread out a blanket and spend the afternoon with your sweetheart. Feb. 10, 4-6 p.m. Admission is free. Central Park, Park Avenue. experienceparkavenue.com.

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Springtime at the Waterhouse. The Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museum, part of the Art & History Museums—Maitland complex, is transformed for Easter. Flowers, cards, clothing and other historical items will be on display. Thursdays through Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Admission is free for members; non-member admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children age 4-18 and free for children up to age 3. Admission for seniors (age 55-up) is $2. 820 Lake Lily Drive. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. WELLNESS

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just bob

strike a pose REAL MEN DO YOGA, BUT THEY DON’T DO IT VERY WELL. By bob morris

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don’t have any solid facts to back up what I am about to say — I seldom do — but the largest growth industry in Winter Park these days is quite obviously this: yoga studios. Yoga studios in strip malls, yoga studios in cozy lofts, yoga studios in converted office space once occupied by out-of-luck realtor/developers. Stroll past the pavilion in Central Park most any day and you’ll spot people committing acts of public yoga, which for many is perhaps just a little too much sharing. Full disclosure: In an effort to prolong my life, advance good health and deceive my body into thinking it remains invulnerable to the ravages of age, I have for some years now been a devotee of yoga. So I am delighted that at last count there were no fewer than four yoga studios within walking distance of my house, which I consider maximum saturation since there are only about five times that many bars. Yoga, for the uninitiated, is an ancient exercise regimen that originated in India as a way to achieve balance, flexibility and a sense of wellbeing long before big pharmaceutical companies figured out how to do the same thing even faster. Yoga takes its name from the Sanskrit words “yo,” meaning “to bounce or stretch,” and “ga,” meaning “muscle,” and is generally translated as: “Wow, I had no idea I could strain myself in such a way that my entire body hurts when I simply blink my eyes.” The popularity of yoga in the United States in recent years is generally attributed to the fact that it helps participants unwind from stress and remove themselves from the crunch of time, with most classes lasting from 60 minutes to an hour, whichever comes first. There are many types of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Eeyore, Bilbo and Kardashian (also known as “hot yoga”), but they all share common philosophical ground, which is usually about $15 an hour, or $12 per on a monthly plan. Yoga classes consist of a sequence of maneu-

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vers known as “poses” that, practiced with regularity and dedication, help make practitioners more flexible. Some of the more basic poses and their specific benefits are:  Warrior One, in which the student strikes a fierce pose with legs spread slightly more than shoulder width apart and gaze focused on both hands clasped overhead (increased circulation, gran mal seizures).  Warrior Two, in which the student strikes an even fiercer pose by squatting lower and bringing both arms perpendicular to the body (complete disorientation, shoulder separation.)  Warrior Three, in which the student strikes a totally ridiculous pose by tilting as far forward as possible with all weight on the front leg (face-plant on floor, broken nose.)  Downward Facing Dog, an elegant and highly beneficial posture in which the student hikes one leg and sniffs other students indiscriminately. Despite the fact that yoga was originally developed by men who wore baggy underwear in public and called themselves yogis, most contemporary yoga classes in the U.S. are led and attended by women in skintight underwear, many of whom look quite fetching and are the primary reason why old guys like me sign up for yoga classes under the guise of getting healthy. This motivation is not lost on my wife. “So,” she asked the other evening after I arrived home panting and sweating, “how was yoga class?” “It was great!” I said, speaking as I usually do after yoga class in sentences that end with exclamation points. “I’ve never had such energy!” “You were leering at the women, weren’t you?” “Why, no, not at all. Yoga is not about paying attention to other people. It is about focusing on one’s self and one’s mat and perfecting the poses.” My wife gave me that look. It is a look in the face of which a condemned man bares his craven soul. “Okay, Your Honor,” I said. “But let the record show that I was not, in the very strictest sense of the word, leering.”

“What were you doing then?” “I was practicing my Ogling Pose.” Here is the underlying basic truth about yoga: It dashes the notion that there is such a thing as equality between the sexes. For starters, in any yoga class I’ve ever attended there are at least 10 women for every man, and it is not unusual for me to be the only guy in the class. Which makes it altogether oppressive for we members of the male species because women are much more flexible than men could ever hope to be. I don’t care what kind of great shape a guy might think he’s in, you can put him in a yoga class alongside the heftiest, Spandex-stretching woman imaginable and, seated in lotus position, she can touch her nose to the floor and he can’t. “Accept your limitations,” one yoga teacher told me. “Women just have much more open pelvises than men.” This is why women get to have babies and live longer, while the full expression of man’s flexibility is his superiority in striking the Couch Pose, with his feet resting for hours on a coffee table and his fingers nimbly operating the remote. Another thing: Men make lots more noise in yoga class than women. I’m not talking about grunts and groans. I’m not talking about joints popping and bones creaking. I’m talking about those objectionable noises of a gaseous nature that, when one is warm and relaxed from doing yoga, just kinda slip out. That’s why most men in yoga classes usually position themselves at the back of the room in a corner. Plus, it’s the best place for perfecting the Ogling Pose. Bob Morris, a forthgeneration 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 - Winter 2014  

Winter 2014

Winter Park Magazine - Winter 2014  

Winter 2014

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