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Stetson Mansion: Florida's First Luxury Estate

The Stetson Mansion, a stunning 10,000-square-foot Victorian mansion listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, was Florida's first luxury home.

When John B. Stetson (he of hatmaking fame) wanted a large winter home for his family, first he chose the central Florida town of DeLand as its location and then he chose architect George T. Pearson to design it.

River of Glass: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Take a 30-second flight over Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, starting close enough that you'll imagine the gurgle of crystal-clear spring water under your paddle and soaring hundreds of feet over a winding aquamarine pathway through a verdant green wilderness. 

A Glimpse of the Wild at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Take a stroll through Gumbo Limbo Nature Center's butterfly garden, where many species of wild butterflies can be seen year-round. The center, which takes its name from the surrounding gumbo limbo trees, displays a variety of native fish and other marine animals in marine aquariums.

Visit the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility to learn about the center's sea turtle patients. Indoor displays feature wildlife indigenous to South Florida and a series of stained glass windows depicting the coastal island as it may have appeared in the 1500s.

And it's not just for show. Florida Atlantic University has an onsite marine biology laboratory with a gallery for viewing research projects conducted by university scientists, too.

Miami: The Sailing Capital of Florida

Along with everything else Miami offers, it's a floating playground for young seafarers and old salts alike. Biscayne Bay hosts the annual Columbus Day Regatta. Coconut Grove is home to the largest marina in Miami, with more than 1,000 boats. Find your inner captain! 

Stroll Along the Hillsborough River on the Tampa Riverwalk

The nearly two-mile Tampa Riverwalk connects Tampa's dynamic cultural and sports venues, family-oriented parks and museums and the city center's vibrant business community, creating a unique and fun new way to spend your free time downtown.

Casual Sophistication in Delray Beach

Delray Beach is a first-class resort destination and a diverse, vibrant community situated on the Atlantic Ocean. A small and intimate town with big-city sophistication, Delray Beach was voted Most Fun Small Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today. Delray's Atlantic Avenue, which runs through the center of town from I-95 to the ocean, is the longest main street in Florida. A popular destination for locals and visitors alike, Delray Beach is filled with art galleries, upscale shops, fine restaurants and nightly entertainment. The town is also known for its family-friendly festivals, inlcuding the Delray Affair, the Garlic Fest and the Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Festival.

Florida Craft Beer: Winter Garden's Crooked Can Brewing Company

Just 20 miles away from fantasy of Walt Disney World and metropolis of Orlando, Winter Garden is a world apart. It’s a sleepy Central Florida town where cyclists quietly glide by on the West Orange Trail bisecting the downtown area and day shoppers walk along Plant Street looking for deals. It’s a place that owes its existence to citrus, but what’s left of that industry is entombed at the Winter Garden Heritage Museum.

Three locals with pride for their small town’s heritage and charm have cultivated a new product made with water, barley and hops to lure visitors to the area.

“When people think of the Orlando area, they tend to overlook Winter Garden,” said Ryan Gossett, assistant general manager at Crooked Can Brewing Company.

Sitting on the patio outside Crooked Can Brewing Company in Winter Garden

Credit: Stephen Kubiak for VISIT FLORIDA

Opened in 2015, Crooked Can has helped revitalize Winter Garden, making it a destination for those looking to slow down, take it easy and have a great beer. The love of beer not only inspired the brewery founders, but the brewery’s quirky name - which they came up with over a couple of cold ones.

“When working on all of these plans and ideas for a brewery, you tend have a few beers,” said Gossett with a smile. “When that happens, things tend to get a little crooked.”

The “can” in Crooked Can comes from fact that the brewery uses only cans and kegs, with the rare exception of limited bottled releases, in its beer production. Canning, Gossett notes, is the best way to protect beer from light and oxygen.

Crooked Can Brewing Company, with its mascot “McSwagger,” were born with a little help from the city.

“Winter Garden was very supportive,” said Gossett. “The city helped turn what was basically an old abandoned apartment complex into something inviting, something that would create and generate more buzz for the city.”

That buzz has helped bring beer aficionados to the city, but has also exposed locals to craft beer.

“You get a lot of locals in here because the brewery has become the new ‘local bar,’” said Gossett. “They come in and they don’t understand that the beer is brewed here, that it’s locally made, it’s craft. One thing I love about my job is how much education is put into what we’re doing.”

And you’ll need a little education, or a beer flight that comes in its own airplane-shaped tray, when perusing the brews, as there are plenty of styles to get you crooked.

Crooked Can Brewing Company offers many choices of craft beer for customers

Credit: Scott Keeler for VISIT FLORIDA

High Stepper, a hoppy American IPA, and McSwagger’s Own, an American Amber, are two of the brewery’s most popular brews that are canned for distribution. For a truly local taste, the Citrus Kicker IPA highlights Winter Garden’s citrus roots by adding local orange and grapefruit zest in order to bring out the citrus notes of the hops. The brewery also puts out limited edition bottle releases, like their potent Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout.

Being a young brewery hasn’t stopped Crooked Can from popping up in some high-profile places. Restaurants at Disney Springs, like Morimoto Asia and Ragland Road, seasonally carry specialty brews made by Crooked Can.

“We only had one brewery in Orlando in the longest time,” said Gossett. “Now, you have over six in the area and more on the way. The beer scene in Central Florida is still fresh, still trying to figure things out, but we’re all about trying new things.”

Beyond being the only brewery in Winter Garden, what makes Crooked Can truly unique is its building.

Shoppers come and go at the Plant Street Market in Winter Garden

Credit: Scott Keeler for VISIT FLORIDA

The Plant Street Market, a long brick building guarded by towering, mossy oak trees sitting along the eastern edge of downtown Winter Garden, celebrates all things local and artisanal. The indoor marketplace is home to over 20 purveyors selling everything from whole bean coffee to fresh juices, loose leaf teas and handcrafted chocolate. There's a butcher, a baker and, yes, a candlestick maker. Inside, the vendor stalls beg to be explored. The smells of baking breads, grilled meats and oven-fired pizzas permeate the long corridor, prompting hungry shoppers to stop and see what’s cooking. Once you get past the homemade jewelry and jars of local honey, you’ll find Crooked Can at the tail end of the market.

“It was the vision of the owners to create this open-air, farmers market concept that represented the community,” said Gossett. “It showcases Winter Garden as the hidden gem it is and what the city is all about.”

If You Go

What: Crooked Can Brewing Company

Where: 426 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Phone: 407-395-9520


What: Plant Street Market

Where: 426 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Phone: 786-671-1748



Florida's First Luxury Estate: Stetson Mansion

The Stetson Mansion, a stunning 10,000-square-foot Victorian mansion listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, was Florida's first luxury home.

When John B. Stetson (he of hatmaking fame) wanted a large winter home for his family, first he chose the central Florida town of DeLand as its location and then he chose architect George T. Pearson to design it.

Relax and Rejuvenate During Miami Spa Month

The Miami area is renowned for luxury spas that rank among the best spas in America, and are beloved by spa connoisseurs around the world. Miami Spa Month, which takes place between July and August, is a great time to visit these world-class spas at discounted prices.

Kelly Blanco and Peter Miller, host of the Bass 2 Billfish fishing show on NBC Sports, enjoy a day a the spa at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove. Kelly also makes stops at Lapis spa at the historic Fontainebleau Hotel and GuyandGirl spa at Mondrian South Beach.

Learn more at the Miami Spa Month official website.

Sweets and Steampunk: Universal's Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Great eats and extraordinary desserts await you at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, a new full-service restaurant, bar and confectionery at Universal CityWalk.

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