Two weeks ago, my mom and I were able to go down to Florida and visit my sister for a few days. My sister is living in Lakeland, Florida now. If you didn’t know, Lakeland is the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers so we knew a baseball game would be a must!
Another must for our trip was the annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL. While they’ve got craft booths and vendors, all sorts of carnival food and rides, and even pig races, the main draw is the strawberry shortcake. Okay, it’s the main draw for me at least. They also bring in some pretty big name musicians for their concert series. For example, the day we went Willie Nelson and family were playing a sold out show.
As much as I love dessert, the main reason we got to the festival is because our ferry to Egmont Key had been canceled due to some high winds and choppy waters. I think it would have been a pretty neat place to visit, but I’m also not bummed about eating a bunch of strawberry shortcake instead!
The one disadvantage I have when visiting my sister is her lovable furball of a cat, Gibbs, and my horrible allergies to him. I can never just crash at her place, so I look for area hotels. This time, having my mom with me, I branched out and searched for some less traditional lodging options. Enter Airbnb. When searching lodging around Lakeland, I found the best thing ever: a tiny house! This gem was super affordable and not too far from my sister’s place. I don’t watch a lot of TV so I don’t see the reality shows about them, but I do know that tiny houses are all the rage right now. The idea of an entire house the size of a camper is definitely intriguing.
This one was built as a rental and was situated in an RV park. There’s even a little municipal airport across the street that offers passenger rides in an old Cub. The house was pretty nice: a real bathroom with walk-in shower and separate toilet(I had heard horror stories of some that were in the shower), a refrigerator, oven, microwave, and surprisingly enough, a decent amount of storage. My carry on suitcase fit nicely under the stairs. There wasn’t a ton of extra space though, obviously, so if you’re traveling with other people and they also have bags and suitcases, it can get crowded quick.
Ultimately, I had fun trying out the tiny house lifestyle for a weekend. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again for short term vacations, but you definitely want to plan ahead and account for the lack of space if you’re traveling with other people. I plan on doing a more focused post on the tiny house aspect of the trip, so be on the lookout for that!
When we weren’t at the tiny house or eating strawberries, we ended up in Orlando for a touristy day, complete with a trip on the Orlando Eye. Every bit the tourist trap, and surrounded by a lot of parking lots and not very scenic views, we had fun. It’s basically an excuse to take a lot of selfies in a giant Ferris wheel. Which we did.
We took in a Tigers spring training game and watched the New York Yankees absolutely crush our team, but the weather was absolutely gorgeous! The stadium they call home in Florida, Joker Marchant, just underwent lots of renovations and I have to say, it looked great. It was a beautiful place to enjoy a warm spring day, and the perfect way to kick off baseball season.
The majority of my pictures from the trip ended up being of stained glass, which was not a part of our original plan. While in Orlando and searching for the next thing to do, I found the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which houses one of the largest collections of Tiffany glass. Now, if you’ve never heard of Louis Comfort Tiffany or Tiffany lamps, this might not sound very exciting. Growing up, I became very aware of Tiffany glass because my dad does some stained glass work as a hobby, himself. In fact, every year for Christmas we get our dad a calendar. Though we always peruse other options, and sometimes stray, more often than not our dad has twelve months of Tiffany glass.
The craftsmanship that goes into these pieces is incredible. The time it must take, and the chapel he built for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair will leave you speechless. Besides all of this, Winter Park, Florida, where the museum is, has to be one of the cutest little Florida towns that I’ve seen. You can tell there’s some old money there with some of the elaborate old homes, and it’s got the small town feel, as noted by the fact that in going to the museum, we had to run through their St Patrick’s Day parade that shut down the town.
Speaking of cute little Florida towns, Lakeland is definitely one of them. From their First Friday every month, to the cute library, and all of the Tigers fans and gear around that make us Michiganders feel right at home, I can see why my sister and brother-in-law are loving their new Florida life!