I grew up near Sanford, FL and attended middle school and high school there. I remember trying to skateboard near the historic student museum on 7th Avenue and watching the 4th of July fireworks along Lake Monroe. In my band days I marched down First Street playing Jingle Bells.
Sanford has been near and dear to my heart but I was able to look at it through fresh eyes a couple of weeks back in this edition of Small Town Adventures.
One thing Sanford really has going for it is its proximity to Lake Monroe, a gorgeous lake that flows into the St. John’s River. The town started a huge project years back called Sanford River Walk to make the lake enjoyable to everyone with a wide walking/biking trail, which just recently expanded.
On our chilly outing, we started with breakfast a Caffe Di Riverwalk right by the lake. The place was pretty busy so we sat outside, which would have been better if it were a touch warmer. It was a breakfast burrito kind of day. It’s so peaceful there. I can just imagine blogging there for hours!
Just two blocks up are First Street and the quaint downtown area. The movie My Girl was filmed here (note the clocktower). The brick streets and historically preserved buildings feel so distant not only in place but in time.
We decided to hold off on coffee until we got to Rabbitfoot Records & Coffee Lounge which I cannot say enough good things about. This is their second location (on 2nd Street) and I did not want to leave. Their original location on First Street felt very dark and uninviting. This location feels like a warehouse, with tons of room, comfy couches and a collection of records concentrated on one side of the lounge. I looked through the “rare” records which were going for about $100, featuring a Meet the Beatles album I’m pretty my mom has in a closet.
They have open-mic-type events and movie screenings. I enjoyed a mocha, while M got festive with a King Cake Latte complete with green sprinkles on top. There we met with Sanford native and one of my oldest friends, Joe, and reminisced about sun poisoning and Weezer concerts. Ok, I change my vote, I want to hang out here for hours!
Looking west on First Street
After walking around the downtown and the Farmer’s Market we headed to Celery City Craft, a taproom on S. Palmetto. My favorite thing about this place, besides the huge selection of local craft beer, is the celery stalk taps. They have a nice patio out back as well as a lengthy bar inside.
It’s fun watching Sanford grow! Here are some honorable mentions worth checking out:
– Hollerach’s Willow Tree Cafe: legit German fare, honestly everything is excellent. With live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays you get the true Oompa experience.
– Magnolia Square Market: This market is part of the square (remember the clock tower), and is owned by Hollerbach’s. It’s German-influenced so there are plenty of rare delicacies as far as beer, candy, and meats.
– Imperial/Washburn Imports: Furniture store by day, craft beer and wine bar by night. This is the second location ( the first one is on Ivanhoe row in Orlando).
– Smiling Bison: Another “second location” of a beloved Orlando institution dishing out all your comfort food needs.
Small Town Adventures to come: Mount Dora and Lake Nona.