Ro­man­tic Day Trips

A lit­tle off the beaten path, th­ese charm­ing neigh­bor­hoods and small towns, from Lake Eola to Lake Wales, are worth the drive.

Where Orlando - - Editor's Itenerary - BY JEN­NIE HESS

Dis­cover charm­ing pock­ets around town for ro­mance.

Down­town Or­lando

is the home­town heart of Cen­tral Florida arts, cul­ture, nightlife and en­ter­tain­ment. From world- class per­for­mances at the Dr. Phillips Cen­ter to cel­e­brated fine- din­ing op­tions, Down­town Or­lando is dy­namic year-round. Be sure to take a stroll around Lake Eola to see out­door sculp­tures, beau­ti­ful swans, or per­haps take your own ride in a swan boat. Nearby Thorn­ton Park of­fers a great French bak­ery and charm­ing side­walk cafes. 400 S. Orange Ave.; 407.246.2555; www. down­townor­lando.com

Win­ter Park

Just north of down­town is the area’s first re­sort com­mu­nity, where wealthy North­ern­ers came down in the late 1800s to es­cape cold win­ters. To­day, the area is pop­u­lar for its scenic lakes, thriv­ing arts com­mu­nity and shop­ping and din­ing scene. Park Av­enue is the main thor­ough­fare and is chock-full of lo­cal bou­tiques, re­tail stores, side­walk cafes and art gal­leries and even a scenic boat tour op­er­a­tion on the lakes. The Morse Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art holds the most-com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of Louis Com­fort Tif­fany stained glass. 151 W. Ly­man Ave.; 407.644.8281; www.win­ter­park.org

Win­ter Gar­den

Quaint, friendly and free of pre­ten­tion, the wel­com­ing en­clave with brick-paved streets and faux gas lamps is time­less yet trend-for­ward. Adults sup and sip wine and mar­ti­nis in wel­com­ing din­ing rooms, cafes and wa­ter­ing holes— chic, bo­hemian or cozy. A brew­ery and in­door lo­ca­vore mar­ket, plus a weekly farm­ers mar­ket, of­fer up ar­ti­san wares and gro­ceries. 300 W. Plant St.; 407.656.4111; www.cwgdn.com

Lake Wales

About an hour from Or­lando and seem­ingly in the mid­dle of nowhere, Bok Tower Gar­dens is a gor­geous 250-acre Na­tional His­toric Land­mark that sits on penin­su­lar Florida’s high­est point. The prop­erty fea­tures Olm­sted- de­signed land­scaped gar­dens crowned with a ma­jes­tic bell tower that plays mu­sic by the hour. 1151 Tower Blvd.; 863.676.1408; www. bok­tow­er­gar­dens.org

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