Small Town Adventures – DeLand

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House-hunting has brought M. and me out of our noisy Orlando neighborhood and into some small towns just a short drive away. Our first visit was to historic downtown DeLand.

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DeLand is the first city in which M. lived when his family moved to Florida back in the day. In fact, his 91-year-old grandmother still lives there. As a bit of an insider, he recommended having lunch at a place called El Taco Amigo. It doesn’t look like much at all but MAN is it tasty! It shares a space with T’s Auto Repair and has just a few tables. We shared some super-fresh guacamole and the Bistec Ranchero. Delicious!

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It was a cool day so we decided to grab coffee while we walked around the downtown area. We found a little gem called Trilogy Coffee and nearly missed its tiny space inside the DaVinci Design Art Studio (of course!). The entire coffee set-up was about as big as a bathroom and included the actual coffee roaster. The cold brew was bold and had a fantastic flavor.

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Walking around DeLand felt like a stroll down Main Street, USA. There were tons of antique and specialty shops housed in historic buildings with their original, exposed bones. The roar and sputter of motorcyclists were a bit jarring, but a change from the sirens, helicopters and the constant din of Orange Ave. traffic.

Last stop was Persimmon Hollow in Artisan Alley. We shared a flight of beer and enjoyed the open-air feel of the bar with the brewing system as a backdrop. They placed classic rock and attracted some biker-types and more than one person wearing socks and sandals. As a couple of thirty-somethings, we felt like spring chicks.

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DeLand has many treasures and is a charming small town, not to mention home of Stetson University (their claim to fame, let’s face it). It’s less than a 40-minute drive from Orlando and totally worth the trip.

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