Weekly Explorations in Orlando Enjoying Nature, Downtown, Winter Park, Walt Disney World and More

It's a busy time of year with school coming to an end with the kiddos. When I start to feel overwhelmed I always enjoy getting out and enjoying nature. The weather was beautiful all week and It was nice to enjoy the sights and sounds of the lake.
Lakes, orlando, nature, boats

Enjoying a Spring Day Exploring the Magic Kingdom Park

I stopped by the Magic Kingdom Park yesterday with CK and her friend. We got to the park at opening which I love since it's the calm before the storm.

We made our way back to the new Fantasyland section of the park to see if the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was running. The ride had been running the day before for Rock Your Disney Side. While the ride was not currently running the CM's did say it would be later. 

The girls and I did a little exploring before the crowds. I love how peaceful it is in the Enchanted Forest. I could hear the "birds" and other critters making sounds as I wandered about.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park

Brewers' Tasting Room

I always enjoy visiting the St. Pete/Clearwater area. I like that it's a two-hour escape from Orlando.Once I cross the bridge over the Old Tampa Bay I feel like I'm a world away. There's nothing like the beaches on the Gulf Coast with their picture perfect sunsets. I'm also drawn to this area because of the great selection of local craft beer.

This whole Tampa Bay region is a hot spot for Florida beer. I try to visit a brewery each time I'm in town. This trip was to check out a couple of newer breweries to the scene.  I was scoping out the Beer in Florid Beer Map and saw that the Brewers' Tasting Room, Pair O' Dice Brewing Company and Rapp Brewing Company were all relatively close to each other.

Our first brewery for the day was the Brewers' Tasting Room. Bryan and I planned on arriving around lunchtime, so that we could grab a bite to eat while enjoying some beers.
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Brewers Tasting Room
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Brewers Tasting Room
Brewers' Tasting Room is located in a strip mall on N. 4th Street in St. Petersburg. They have a nice size patio that I'm sure gets a lot of use when the weather is nice. The pub is open and bright. There is plenty of seating.
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Bar Area
You'll find a couple dozen beers on tap along with 50+ bottles and a small wine menu. The draft menu is displayed on a screen above the taps. There was a nice variety, but when I'm hitting local breweries I like to try the beer made in house.

What makes Brewer's Tasting Room unique is they team up with local brewers for their in house beer. On our visit there were two BTR beers on tap. Bustle in Your Hedgegrow was a Pale Ale from Late Start Brewery. This beer was made with Citra Hops and it had a great citrus hoppy flavor about it. I gave it a 4.5 on Untapped.

The other local tap was Smoked Maple Porter from JDub's Brewing Company. I'm usually not a fan of smokey beers, but the flavors here were quite nice. The smokey flavor was balance with a slight sweet taste which made for a smooth beer. I gave this 4 stars on Untapped.
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Taps
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Pour Your Own Taps
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Bustle in Your Hedgegrow & JDub's Smoked Maple Porter and Grown-Up Lunchables
The beer is what brought us in to the Brewers' Tasting room and the pub fare was an added bonus. I wish more local breweries served food. The menu at the BTR is simple with many tasty options. We ordered the Grown-Up Lunchables and the Slider Trio. Both plates were delicious and priced quite nice.

I always enjoy a meat and cheese plate and this was a winner. The meats on the Slider Trio were cooked to perfection.

This was plenty of food for two of us to enjoy.
Menu
Brewers Tasting Room St. Petersburg Florida
Slider Trio
We really enjoyed ourselves at the Brewers' Tasting Room. The beer and food were delicious and the service was friendly and helpful. I would definitely come back to the Brewers's Tasting Room, preferably on a sunny day so I can enjoy some Florida craft beer on their patio.

Cheers!



Exploring Tampa ~ A Great Day Trip From Orlando with Local Eats, Culture & Shopping

I always enjoy my visits to Tampa. It's a about an hour and a half drive from Orlando which makes for a nice getaway. Half of my visits I stay over and the other half I do day trips. There's a lot you can get in a day while visiting Tampa.

While I always have fun discovering new places in Tampa, there are a few favorite spots that I like to stop by when I'm in town.

Datz restaurant is a great local restaurant to grab a bite to eat for brunch, lunch and dinner. During one of our visits we stopped by in the mid afternoon on a Sunday. Getting a table at Datz was about and hour wait. I was too hungry to wait so we headed next door to Dough. Dough is the bistro sister to Datz; a smaller "whimsical" bakery offering up tasty treats. 
Datz Dough in Tampa

Exploring Orlando with visits to CityWalk, Thornton Park and the Audubon Park Garden District

I didn't do as much exploring this week due to family events. I had two spring concerts, a nephew graduating and a softball banquet. I always enjoy the energy this time of year as school starts to wind down and everyone is ready for summer.

The nights I wasn't busy with family outings I did have fun out and about in Orlando. Monday Bryan and I headed to CityWalk to dine at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. I always have a fun time eating there. We got to sample their specialty burgers they have during #NationalBurgerMonth
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in CityWalk at Universal Orlando

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Orlando

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville over in CityWalk at Universal Orlando is a family favorite of ours. We've celebrated a couple of our kid's birthdays at this "island-inspired" eatery. It's a unique place to eat and have a fun time with friends.

I've enjoyed many meals at this location. I was recently asked to come in and try some of their specialty burgers they have throughout May for National Burger Month.
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Orlando at Universal CityWalk

Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios

We recently spent a family day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We were looking for a quick service spot for dinner and I had never tried the Backlot Express, so why not? This is my kid's go to spot when they are at the Studios. I hate to say it, but they like their soda when they are out and this is the only place in Disney Hollywood Studios where you can get free refills.  
Dining at Walt Disney World ~ Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios

A Day at Walt Disney World Enjoying the Boardwalk and Disney's Hollywood Studios

I enjoyed Mother's Day with the family at Walt Disney World. Disney World is one place our family with teens enjoy hanging out as a together. We have many happy memories at Walt Disney World since we spent yearly vacations there since the kids were babies. Now that we live here we still enjoy visiting and creating more memories.

We started our afternoon off at Disney's Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is one of my favorite places at Walt Disney World. It's not only a visual delight, but the sounds can take you back to a bygone era.
The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World

Exploring Orlando with Visits to Audubon Park, Craft Beer, Parks, SunRail, Walt Disney World & More

I spent a lot of last week close to home. I enjoyed the beautiful weather with lots of walks and biking in the neighborhood. The weather was quite nice this week so we ended up going on a long walk. Bryan and I ended up walking through Blue Jacket Park. It's one of my favorite parks in Orlando.
Blue Jacket Park in Orlando

Riding Along the Sunrail in Orlando Enjoying Local Treats, Craft Beer and Local Eats

It's nice having SunRail in Orlando. Having lived in other cities that offer trains as a form of local transportation it is great to see Orlando finally doing the same. SunRail is offering free service until May 16th. This would be a great opportunity to see what I could explore along the SunRail Stops.

I thought it would be fun to take the train up to Sanford and do some exploring. They have such a charming downtown filled with restaurants, shops, bars, parks and more. Unfortunately looking at the schedule and the distance to town from the station, this was not going to work.

I looked at the other stations along the route and realized I could go south and do a pub crawl along the way. We would start and end in Winter Park.
Sunrail Station in Winter Park

Winter Park Beer Company

I love how the Audubon Park neighborhood in Orlando has a great craft beer scene. For a small district they have a handful of choices all serving up some good beer. The newest brewery on the craft beer scene in the neighborhood and Orlando for that fact is the Winter Park Beer Company.
Winter Park Beer Company in Audubon Park Orlando

Exploring Orlando with Local Eats, Cocktails, Craft Beer and Nature

We had a bit of a wet week here in Orlando. That didn't stop me from getting out and enjoying some events around town.

I made it over to The Coop for their ribbon cutting.  It's great to hear about the passion put into a new business. I've enjoyed some food from The Coop, but this was my first time visiting. I can't wait to come back. Blog post to come!
The Coop A Southern Affair Restaurant in Winter Park