Lake Lotus Nature Park (Photo Courtesy of Morgan W & Dreamfinder Photography)

More Than Just The Mouse: Lake Lotus Nature Park

More Than Just The Mouse: Lake Lotus Nature Park

When you think of Orlando, most people think of Disney World or any of the other countless tourist draws to the city. As a new resident to Orlando, I want to explore the city away from The Mouse.

Just north of Orlando in Altamonte Springs, there is a beautiful park called Lake Lotus Nature Park that is something worth seeing. I took the drive up I-4 and got off at Maintland Blvd. where I was surrounded by office buildings, restaurants, and hotels. It was a great suburban neighborhood with all the conveniences you would want. I actually drove by one of our properties Camden Renaissance which borders Lake Lotus Park; it must be great to have this natural beauty as your neighbor! I parked and walked over and as soon as I stepped foot inside Lake Lotus Park I felt like a stepped into a completely different world. I was surrounded by the beautiful bright greens of the different tree leaves with rays of sun streaming through the tops which made me feel like I was in a jungle and no longer in Orlando. It was great!

Lake Lotus Park (Photo Courtesy of Morgan W and Dreamfinder Photography)

Lake Lotus Park (Photo Courtesy of Morgan W and Dreamfinder Photography)

 

I wandered around the trail and it was fun to get a little lost and try to find my way as I looked at everything that surrounded me. There was just so much to look at. I had my camera with me and this is definitely a place where the camera speaks 1,000 words! The trees, flowers, birds, and even insects seemed to be everywhere I looked! But in Florida there’s something else to add to that list…… gators! Yes ladies and gentlemen, there are gators there and I stumbled on a baby gator in the water as I reached a part of the trail that became a wooded boardwalk around the lake. I wasn’t used to having to worry about gators around me since I’m not from Florida so that was a new experience for me.

Hi Baby Gator! (Photo Courtesy of Morgan W & Dreamfinder Photography)

Hi Baby Gator! (Photo Courtesy of Morgan W & Dreamfinder Photography)

I walked the whole trail of Lake Lotus Nature Park which is about 1.7 miles long and includes the wooded boardwalk around the lake and a great little pavilion called the Windows to the Lake which displays the different flora and fauna that you might see while explore the park. It was great to check out the pavilion and figure out the names of the plants and animals that I was seeing because everything was foreign to me since I didn’t grow up with gators in my local nature parks or even egrets (which I saw too!). It was perfect way to escape for a couple of hours and wander around with nature. If you haven’t been yet then you are missing out! Go check out their website at Altamonte Springs online to get more information and even reserve a picnic pavilion to have a great outing with friends or family! If all the parks in Orlando are as beautiful as this one and as fun, I can’t wait to check out more!

(Photo Courtesy of Morgan W and Dreamfinder Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Morgan W and Dreamfinder Photography)

Stay tuned for more “More Than Just The Mouse” and check out my last article about the Dr. Phillips Center!

Orange County’s Best Beaches

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, Orange County has some of the best beaches, known as the “Orange Coast’. The beach actually stretches 42 miles ranging from broad sand beaches to cove beaches to tide pool areas.  Each beach has something different to offer, whether you want to swim, surf, skim board, or just relax in the beautiful California weather.

Photo by JT Steves

Photo by JT Steves

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is one of the most popular beaches and the most vibrant; it is known as “Surf City”.  The beach is over 8 miles long, popular for swimming & surfing and has a bike path for bikers, skaters, & walkers. Huntington is also known for the Pier, Main Street, which has great restaurants & shops, the U.S. Open of Surfing and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament.

Newport Beach

Newport Beach was recently named Orange County’s Best Beach by the O.C. Weekly. The wide beach is great for the serious surfer or just the beach goer and has a bike path also. The two piers, Newport and Balboa, are both landmarks for Newport and have restaurants, shops, and a “Fun Zone” with games and rides. Newport Beach has activities for everyone; enjoying the beautiful beach, renting an electric boat, shopping, dining, harbor cruises, and much more!

Photo by 101thingstodosw.com

Photo by 101thingstodosw.com

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is considered the most picturesque beach city; it has been compared with the French Riviera. There is a large beach right downtown with volleyball nets and many restaurants surrounding the beach. Along with the beautiful beach, Laguna is known for the Arts, and host the Sawdust Festival & Pageant of the Masters every year.

Photo by Anne Ackemann

Photo by Anne Ackemann

Continue reading

Old Motorcycles on Display this weekend in Santiago Canyon

riding on a motorcycle

riding on a motorcycle

There is nothing like riding old motorcycles threw Santiago Canyon on a hot summer day! If you are like me and love to ride then you will not want to miss The Born Free Show that is happening this weekend June 28th & 29th 2014.  People will attend this show from all over the United States. People will be showing all types of motorcycles such as Triumphs, Harley, and even motorcycles that they built in there garage. I have been attending the Born Free Show for about 4 years and its been truly amazing to see how its grown.

born free

born free

If you log onto http://bornfreeshow.blogspot.com/ you can read all about this amazing Born Free show. “How is about the love of old motorcycles and like-minded individuals having a good time together and enjoying these bikes of the past. It is also a family event, young and old a-like are welcome to come out and enjoy the show. This show is meant to unite people from all walks of life by bringing the passion that we all have of these old machines together for two special days. If you come out to the event please be prepared to have a great time, see neat old bikes…lots of neat old motorcycles, in a peaceful, friendly, family environment.” Continue reading

OC Restaurant Week 2014

It’s that time of year again when you get to try out new restaurants for a discounted rate. You can go for either lunch or dinner and they usually offer 2 or 3 course meals. This event only happens once a year and it has over 100 different restaurants for you to choose from. The event is for Orange County CA from February 23rd – March 1st 2014.
This is the best deal on food and a great reason to spend time out with your favorite people! Make sure you call all your friends or family and make your reservations now!
This are preset lunches and dinners and they include both appetizers and desserts
Lunch – $10, $15, or $20
Dinner – $20, $30, or $40
http://ocrestaurantweek.com/

Continue reading

Fun things to do in Irvine

The Irvine Spectrum (photo credit: www.welcometosocal.com)

The Irvine Spectrum
(photo credit: http://www.welcometosocal.com)

If you are thinking about moving to Irvine there are so many places that you need to check out. If you are looking to visit Southern California and you want to know what the hot spots are in Irvine then this is the blog for you.
The Spectrum- This is what I like to refer to as a one stop shop. You can do anything from grabbing groceries at Target to catching the latest and greatest movies on the IMAX Theater. You can also eat at one of the many amazing restaurants or simply catch up on some retail therapy. This is a great family spot as well because they have Ice skating in the winter and in the summer you can let your little ones play in the turtle fountain. The Spectrum is a lot of fun for adults as well. They have The Improve if you want a light-hearted funny night. If you had a long day and want to meet someone for happy hour then you will have a wide variety of locations to choose from like The Cheesecake Factory, Wood Ranch, Javier’s, Yard House and Red Robin. There’s even a Ferris wheel and carousal if you’re looking to re-live your childhood memories.
The District –The district is also a very hot spot for restaurants, shopping and fun. The TJ Maxx/Home Goods Store, this is the best TJ Maxx I have ever been in. If you are trying to redecorate your house on a budget this is the place to go. There is a Michael’s that is right next door so if you are feeling crafty or extra creative then you should stop in there as well. There are two major deterrents the first is the parking. They usually have a traffic person helping to ease the pain of this location. The other big downfall is the fact the stores are far apart. If you are going with small children it makes it really hard as you get back in the car and move every time you want to hit a different store. They have a Costco here with a gas station attached so you usually get the best price on gas in town. Continue reading

OC Restaurant Week

courtesy of StockXchg.com by agamamedia

It’s the perfect event for foodies all over Orange County. Only once a year!

Restaurant Week is BACK! THIS week!

Last week, my staff and I here at Camden Sea Palms were handing out Breakfast on the Go bags to our residents at the exit gate.! Someone reminded me (because they know how much I love food) that OC restaurant week is coming up! So I had to remind all of you!!

February 26th – March 3rd, 100 of Orange County’s top restaurants will be participating in this year’s OC restaurant week. This is a great chance to try out some hot new restaurants or new chefs for a “set” price. Participating restaurants will offer meals starting at $10, $15, and $20 per person for lunch and $20, $30, $40 per person for dinner. Most of these offers are not simply for a single entrée but a full 3-4 course meal!

How does it work? Well, thanks for asking!

Check out the list of participating restaurants here.

These restaurants will have a special menu set aside just for restaurant week. You just show up, ask them for the restaurant week menu and enjoy! Not everyone will be participating for both lunch and dinner, and they get to choose the price (from $10-$40) so make sure you go to the website to do some reasearch before you head out!

Have fun!