A Floridian February Escape

After sharing our wonderful Florida beach day in this post and this beautiful Gal meets glam dress in front of the perfect Southern scenery in this post, I wanted to do a full recap of our Floridian February escape with all of our tips. It was actually a very spontaneous trip since my boyfriend Julian got the call to travel to Orlando for work about three weeks before the trip. As you know I’m the biggest USA fan and in my opinion it absolutely wasn’t okay that he would travel there without me ;). I also had some days of vacation left from last year and found perfect flights two weeks ahead of the trip. It was clear I had to go and even though I didn’t plan ahead a lot and Julian had to work most of the time, I was so excited for my first time in the States. Little did I know that I would be having such a great time and fall even more in love with a place I only dreamed of before.

I arrived to Orlando late Friday night and luckily Julian was free on Saturday and Sunday for exploring. Since we thought this would be the only two daytrips we could make we decided to drive to the west coast and Tampa on Saturday and do a whole beach day on the east coast (near to Orlando) on Sunday. In Tampa we did some exploring around the Bayshore Boulevard which already had the most beautiful houses and oak trees. I was wearing a lovely light outfit that day and my new Nicholas Kirkwood Pearl mules. We had a quick easy lunch at Taste of Boston (delicious!) and headed to Clearwater beach in the afternoon. This was truly the typical American beach with volleyball, music, restaurants and lots of life. Not our favorite but we took in the atmosphere and enjoyed being outside in such gorgeous weather. But the most fabolous beach day was on Sunday at Canaveral National Seashore, where these pictures were taken. It was so wonderful and exceptional that the day deserved its own post here.

My exploring of Orlando itself only really began after the weekend. I heard wonderful things about a neighbourhood called Winter Park, which ended up being my absolutely favorite place – more beautiful than I could’ve imagined. The first time we drove through the pretty streets with the American architecture and oak trees I have always dreamed of, I was crying and totally overwhelmed. When you dream of something for so long and see it in real life it just gets to you. Everyone has his own little dream and this was always mine. Winter Park has numerous of these wonderful streets that you can endlessly drive and walk through. One of my favorite places was the center of Winter Park with a street called Park Avenue full of lovely cafés, restaurants and boutiques. It’s like a small town center that has nothing to do with the big buildings in Downtown Orlando.

Find my Winter Park favorites here:

Eat:

– Prato (Dinner – Italian)
– Barnies Coffee and Tea (Breakfast/ Lunch)
– The Briar Patch (Breakfast/Brunch)
– New General (Coffee/Breakfast)
– Hillstone (Dinner)
– East End Market (Cookies at Gideons)
– The Glass Knife, Donut King (Donuts)

Do:

– Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour (Must Do!)
– Walk around North of Park Avenue for gorgeous houses
– Harry P Leu Gardens
– Kraft Azalea Gardens
– Shoot around Old England Avenue

Shop:

– The Grove (No. 1 Fave!)
– J.McLaughlin
– Lilly Pulitzer
– Rifle Paper Co.
– Pottery Barn

With our Charleston trip planned in May I didn’t think I would find such gorgeous architecture already in Orlando, Florida. During the next days it was my favorite thing to stroll through the neighborhoods of Winter Park and Baldwin Park with my camera in hand photographing all of the beautiful houses. Nested in between many lakes and oak trees the atmosphere is so friendly, peaceful and Southern. I couldn’t stop dreaming about living in such a house and neighborhood myself one day. It’s my personal fairytale wonderland come true in real life. The people were incredibly nice everywhere and the aesthetics are made for me and my style.

On one day I decided to part with my beloved Winter Park and make a day trip to another coastal town, since I wanted to explore as much as I can. After googling for a while I decided on St. Augustine, a two hour drive from Orlando. It is Nation’s oldest city and the place where the first Spain explorers settled. I was very proud of myself to navigate alone with my renting car for nearly the whole trip, since I don’t need or use a car in Berlin. When arriving in St. Augustine I quickly realized that the city center wasn’t for me. It was way too touristy and the atmosphere just wasn’t great. But it wasn’t me if I wouldn’t be able to find some cute old neighborhoods with more pretty houses. There where a lot of pastel houses with wonderful porch fans and wilder vegetation. I’m actually always way more curious about where the people live than any touristic attractions. But all in all I wouldn’t 100% recommend doing the trip, if you just have a short amount of time in the area. I’m curious what other places are great to explore for my next time in and around Orlando. Palm Beach and Miami were just too far away by car for just a day trip, but are of course on top of our list.

Our last day in Orlando was one of my favorites. In the morning I had the most wonderful brunch with my Instagram friend Andy at the Briar Patch at Park Avenue. The French toast is so yummy and you feel transported in a Southern dream or an episode of Hart of Dixie sitting outside brunching with Lemon Breeland. Afterwards we headed to the best store in town called The Grove with the loveliest selection of fashion, accessories and home decor. You can read more about what I picked to bring home in this post – one of my absolute highlights of the trip. And the best thing was that Julian was already off of work in the afternoon and we could do the scenic boat tourthrough Winter Park that I’ve saved for last together. It was truly the best ending to a wonderful trip. Under the sun, on the water, exploring all the lakes and the houses from their lake side. This is a must do, if you’re in Winter Park.

We were able to squeeze in a quick shoot of my pretty Gal meets glam dress I got at the Grove in front of my favorite house at the corner of Old England Avenue/East Webster Avenue and said a last Goodbye to my beloved oak trees. I was so sad to leave this for me magical place behind and head home. This spontaneous trip was the best decision and I’m so happy I got to experience it. And I’m sure we’ll be back soon, maybe even not only for a short visit. I’m even more excited for our trip the NYC, Charleston and Savannah in May and my second time in the South now. One thing is clear for sure – this place is made for me!

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