Saturday, June 7, 2008

Citrus and Sunshine

We have our own version of Route 66 here in Central Florida. Before there was Disney, before there was 1-4, there was Route 27. Connecting North and South Florida, this road travels right through the middle of the State. It was the highway leading to Florida's first attractions including Bok Tower and Cypress Gardens. Surrounded by orange groves and paving the way for future theme parks and movie makers, Cypress Gardens started it all in 1936 showcasing Florida sunshine, water sports and becoming the backdrop for several Esther William's films. Both Bok Tower and Cypress Gardens are a great day trip from Mount Dora with the drive time being about an hour and twenty minutes.

I had the opportunity to drive down Route 27 to Lake Wales this week to work on an orange juice commercial and felt a little nostalgia driving past all these little shops and the rows of orange trees while remembering road trips here with my parents when I was growing up here in Lake County. If you're looking for that "authentic" Florida souvenir, you want to take Highway 27 on your road trip. This long stretch of highway is still lined with little mom and pop shops selling everything "citrus." Orange marmalade, orange popsicles, orange taffy, orange jellied candies, baby orange trees, orange rock candy, orange soaps, orange lollipops, orange juice served in an orange-shaped container, and of course the orange fruit. The list could go on-and-on the way Bubba recited the many uses of shrimp in the movie Forest Gump. You also have your historic "Trading Posts" selling orange flavored bits and also offering a little more of a wild Florida twist with their Indian moccasins and an alligator's tooth.

For directions to this historic part of Florida from Mount Dora, click here: Florida's First Theme Parks

Happy Day Tripping!


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