LEGOLAND Adventure- Lake Wales

Most of my Simply St. Augustine blogs are about local food & fun.  This is part 2 of a 3 day Road Trip to LEGOLAND Florida and Lake Wales.  Start with the drive down here.

Day 2 – Lake Wales

I’ve visited Lake Wales since my cousins moved there back in the 80’s.  All we needed then was a playground and a tape player- my oldest cousin listened to Petra… 24/7 while my cool younger cousin soaked up NKOTB’s lyrics.  Weekends together are still filled with laughter and fun, so Lake Wales will always be a place to celebrate family to me.

When you head down to LEGOLAND (click here to save over $15!) , you could stay in Orlando (many recommend the Omni Champions Gate)… you’d zip in and zip out of LEGOLAND and never see beyond Hwy 27.  But there is so much history and natural beauty in this part of Central Florida that would be a crime!

Saturday, we started our morning at Beans-n-Brushes in downtown Lake Wales.  With a super friendly staff, Beans-n-Brushes coffee bar offers hot breakfasts, smooth lattes and a well-rounded lunch menu.

The back half of the shop is a paint-your-own-pottery studio and their gift shop overflows with perfectly giftable blankets, totes and toys for babies and children.  We picked up a sturdy cupcake apron for Lauren (11)- it’s adorable, she loves it!

Next, we strolled across the street to The Lake Wales Downtown Farmer’s Market.  Every 2nd & 4th Saturday morning (as of 2/2012), locals shop for produce, freshly baked bread and so much more!

I was only going to taste a sample of the hand crafted Peruvian chocolates Oni’s Chocolates offered.   But after one bite of the coconut truffle, I was convinced.  I easily handed over $1 for this delicious treat and wished they’d move closer to St. Augustine!

Lake Wales, like St. Augustine, is hometown proud.  Each Saturday a business sponsors the farmer’s market by offering the first 50 children $1 each to spend however they choose at the market.  I love this idea!!  Andrew (5)spent his $1 on a Brownie Pop.

After the farmer’s market, take some time to browse the shops downtown.  Village Kitchen Shop is always fun to browse- think Williams Sonoma but in a historic building with sunlight streaming in through high windows spotlighting their great selection.  Oh- you have to go to Mayer’s Jewelers.  It’s a “gem” of a jewelry store downtown {haha}.  I love his elegant coin pearl pieces- these hand-crafted earrings can be as low as $20… great souvenir!

Other To-Do’s

Bok Tower Gardens is breathtaking.  Situated on the (disputed) highest point in Florida, the view from the Bell Tower is absolutely beautiful.  Educational moments are seamlessly integrated into the beautifully manicured park.  My favorite was the display of “What’s in Bloom” so you can identify the beautiful blooms you spot as you walk through the park.  We enjoyed lunch at their cafe after a stroll through the gardens up to the bell tower.  So much more could be said- but you’ll just have to go discover this beautiful bit of Old Florida for yourself.

Spook Hill is worth stopping by- anything for laughs!  Your car will “roll uphill.”  I swear it worked when I was a kid…

Let’s see, what else… Oh!  The Depot Museum was interesting- we went with my grandma who remembered having many of the items on display.  The kids enjoyed climbing in the old trains behind the museum afterwards.

We stayed at Camp Mack with my hubby’s family once.  The guys rented pontoon boats & bass fished ’til they were sunburned.  I stayed at the little cabin… yep, that’s it.  Upside: They caught a lot of fish and I enjoyed hanging out with my MIL!  It’s pretty out there and I enjoyed a glimpse of undeveloped Florida.  I hear they now offer airboat and nature tours- that would be fun!

And, finally, if you aren’t staying at Chalet Suzanne, you must visit.  You can skydive here or take a sightseeing plane ride (how cool is that!?) If you want to keep your feet on the ground, reserve a table and arrive early to enjoy the whimsy of this charming Inn as decades of prominent visitors have.  Don’t forget your camera, there are many spots to snap a picture perfect memory. {update: Chalet Suzanne has closed its doors for good.}

And of course there is LEGOLAND!  Don’t worry, I’m getting to it!  The posts about LEGOLAND are here!

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