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Christmas Break

It's been far too long since I took a road trip. After the constant business which is Christmas, I finally got the heck out of here for a few hours. You've been there with me before, but humor me please as we head to Sanford once again.

There's something so soothing about a downtown in a little city. Our downtown is primarily bars and banks with a smattering of retail in between. Smattering might be going too far. There's just nothing charming about Orange Avenue. Are their advantages to living in the city? You bet! But, if you're looking for small businesses, brick facades and streets, you must head outside of Orlando.

I'd been hearing that their were art galleries like crazy in Sanford and my sources were correct. Good stuff. Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery, includes, if I recall correctly, eight studios for working artists.
The spaces were all very attractive with the brick walls. At the time of my visit no one was working. Perhaps this artist had just stepped out to lunch:
After my stop there it was time for some lunch. Let me just say that there were a myriad of choices beckoning. The sidewalk tables were brimming with customers at multiple restaurants. The weather has been so beautiful, it's no wonder everyone was eating outside!

Choosing a tiny little space just off 1st Street, I walked right in and felt comfortable immediately.
The woman at the counter, about my age, was very cordial which anymore is not always the case. The special of the day was a Reuben, so that's what I went with, but not before she assured me it would be grilled. When I order a Reuben sandwich I'm thinking corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing served on grilled rye bread.  Apparently not everyone thinks like I do because I've ordered some where the cook used some creative license.
Aha! I told you it was tiny! As I was deciding what to order, an older, white haired gentleman, getting up slowly from his stool, wished the ladies a Merry Christmas after expressing his concern about where he was going to eat lunch for the next few days. (see photo above). Now, that's a small town for you.

While eating my delicious sandwich, which was not a behemoth, much to my delight, I amused myself by reading a 1996 edition of National Geographic. Expressing my surprise to find it set out as if it were new, the owner told me the used book store folks across the plaza gave them to her. After reading the article about Gibraltar, it piqued my curiosity as to what's going on there now, some 15 years later.
I roamed around the few blocks, seeing what I could see. I don't know why but I'm always surprised to find a place like this:
I'm never surprised to find street art wherever I go:
I'm still puzzling over that WWDY?  Speaking of street art, I was delighted to find this photo of Stik in action over on Google+. You may recall he is one of my favorite artists working in London, a far cry from Sanford!

I don't know if there is a largish German population in the area but enough so that the Magnolia Square Market has a big presence. Not only do they have a deli with meats, but a bakery as well. I wished I'd had the appetite to try one of these little coconut beauties!
Two different sides make up this market, one for the food and one for the beer, including all the supplies one would need to become a home brewer.
Seems pretty reasonable to me if one liked beer.  As well, the Willow Tree Cafe was hopping, even at 2 :00 on a Wednesday afternoon. A recognizance mission was part of the impetus for my trip--one of these weekends it seems like a nice place for Bruce and I to spend some time.

After roaming through several antique shops and another gallery my watch told me it was time to head home. I'm glad I paid attention to said watch because my traffic was smooth sailing, all 25 miles home. Any later and it could have gotten ugly.

Before I left Sanford altogether, I made one last stop on the lakefront. What lake you ask? Lake Monroe, which according to this article is the seventh largest lake in Central Florida. I was thinking about all our lakes, so, so many of them. When walking Baxter each day, I see three lakes, two of which are pretty good sized. Living in Central Florida, you tend to forget that there are many, many places which have very little or no fresh water bodies. I'd sure miss them if I were to move. I remember all those years ago when we moved to Melbourne, let's see, I was about 15; although the ocean was there, lakes were not to be found. Something about the light sparkling on water makes me happy.
So, where there is water, there are birds, in this case ducks. All manner of birds. If you are a bit squeamish you may want to skip the next photo of an osprey eating something, of which I can't be sure. I used my longest zoom but still it was pretty far into the water resulting in a less than stellar shot. That said, it gives you a notion about how large these raptors can be.
According to this article, the wing span can reach 71 inches!!! Furthermore, the article says they eat fish so that must be what this is. It's a BIG fish, that's for sure.

Any minute I should be hearing from Bruce and it won't be one minute too soon! Shoot, I just went ahead and called his number, hoping his plane was on time. I heard, "the mailbox belonging to Bruce is full." I know what he'll be doing later on.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little visit to Sanford. Perhaps you feel inspired to go see it for yourself.

He's HOME!!
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