The Langford Resort Hotel’s swimming pool was a place to swim, of course, but also to see and be seen. The hotel was the city’s swankiest, where visitors — and many locals — attended meetings, dined in the Bamboo Room or enjoyed Vegas-style revues in the Empire Room.

Checking in to a Bygone Era

More than century ago, during the winter months, wealthy Northerners ensconced themselves at luxury resort hotels in fledgling Winter Park. Many visitors ended up investing in the community and ultimately moving here.

By the 1930s and 1940s, middle-class families were flocking to more modest accommodations — including tourist cottages — along U.S. Highway 17-92 (Orlando Avenue). And by the 1950s, Winter Park boasted a now-legendary resort hotel where the Empire Room supper club epitomized Rat Pack culture.

The Winter Park History Museum, consequently, is saluting the golden age of local hotels and motels in a new exhibition, Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park. A grand opening event was held June 7 for the exhibition, which runs through March of 2020 at the cozy facility, located in the Farmer’s Market building at 200 West New England Avenue. The 94-year-old red-brick structure once served as the Atlantic Coast Line’s freight depot. 

Wish You Were Here celebrates the role of hotels in accommodating visitors, and hosting casual gatherings and civic events for locals. Inside the small space, the luxurious circa-1930s hotel lobby has been re-created. Also on display is the swank and swinging Langford Resort Hotel’s original piano, around which generations of Winter Parkers sipped highballs and tipsily requested “Moon River.”

There are also photographs and descriptions of small but architecturally intriguing working-class motels and tourist cottages, along with a re-imagined Victorian-era children’s playroom of the sort that guests of the posh Seminole Hotel or Alabama Hotel might have stashed their youngsters.

“Our town is built on the foundation of luxury hotels,” says Susan Skolfield, executive director of the Winter Park Historical Association, which operates the museum.

“In the 1880s, Winter Park founders assigned lush lakefront sites for beautiful hotels. These accommodations were the draw for well-heeled tourists to become investors in a planned community and, ideally, Winter Park citizens. This is how our town was settled.”

The Winter Park History Museum ought to be known as “the little museum that could.” Skolfield and a cadre of volunteers never fail to shoehorn more creativity per square foot than seems humanly possible, with past exhibitions focusing on turpentine, railroading, peacocks, schools, businesses and the home front during World War II. 

Wish You Were Here, like all History Museum exhibitions, is free and open to the public — although donations are gladly accepted. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit for more information. 

— Randy Noles

Voctave (above left), a wildly popular 11-member a cappella group with four albums and millions of YouTube followers to its credit, will mark its orchestral debut during 2019’s annual Bach Festival. John V. Sinclair (above right) has served as artistic director for 29 of the festival’s 84 years.

Bach: A Season to Sing About

The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park hosts guest artists from all over the world. But Artistic Director John V. Sinclair had only to walk upstairs from his office in Keene Hall on the Rollins College campus to book a headliner for 2019.

Jamey Ray, assistant professor of music, theory and technology, may be best known beyond the campus as founder of Voctave, a wildly popular 11-member a cappella group with four albums and millions of YouTube followers to its credit. 

Voctave will perform in February, marking its orchestral debut during the annual Bach Festival.

But there’s a lot more going on during the society’s 2018-19 season, which includes a year-round schedule of events featuring choral and orchestral performances — several of them highlighted by world-renowned guest artists. 

Here’s a look at this season’s programs, most on the Rollins campus. You can also visit for more information.


  • Mendelssohn and Mahler, November 17-18: Featuring the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra.
  • A Classic Christmas, December 15-16: Featuring the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra.
  • Power of Romanticism and Resurrection, April 27-28, 2019: Featuring the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra.


  • Spiritual Spaces: Musical Meditations, February 10, 2019: Gentle music to soothe the soul, featuring members of the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra and guest musicians.
  • Paul Jacobs, February 15, 2019: Jacobs, the first organist to receive a Grammy Award, is chair of the Juilliard School’s organ department.
  • Voctave: Orchestral Debut, February 16-17, 2019: The internationally popular a cappella group performs in multiple styles, from gospel to barbershop to pop.
  • Concertos by Candlelight: Four Seasons Around the World, February 22-23, 2019: Features members of the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra, with performances followed by workshops and discussions.
  • Itamar Zorman, February 24, 2019: The Israeli violinist who won the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition and the 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant.
  • Mozart: Great Mass and Symphony No. 40, March 2, 2019. Features the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra.
  • J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, March 3, 2019. Features the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra.


  • Flute, Harp and Strings, September 20. Features members of the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra.
  • Joe and Mike: The Haydn Brothers, November 8: Music written by Franz Joseph and Johann Michael Haydn.
  • Judith Triumphant, January 24, 2019: Vivaldi’s oratorio based on the biblical story of a Jewish widow who saves her people from an invading army.


In addition to Zorman and Voctave, whose appearances are part of the annual Bach Festival, the society will present these guest performers.

  • Eroica Trio, October 28: The award-winning combo of pianist Erika Nickrenz, violinist Sara Parkins and cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio.
  • Berlin Philharmonic Principal Players: Scharoun Ensemble, March 16, 2019: The German chamber-music ensemble has a repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary compositions.
  • Richard Goode, April 14, 2019: The New York native is the first American pianist to record all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.


  • Olde Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, July 4: Enjoy patriotic music, children’s activities and food on Independence Day in Central Park.
  • Carmina Burana, October 12-14: The extravaganza, which combines choral and orchestral music with dance, is performed with the Orlando Ballet at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando.
  • Christmas in the Park, December 6: Traditional Christmas music and stunning lighted Tiffany panels combine for a magical evening in Central Park.


Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Running through August 19 is a major exhibition, Arabesque: Contemporary Conversations, in partnership with Islamic Artists of Orlando. Traditional Islamic artwork often incorporates arabesque elements, which are decorative intertwined lines, foliage or tendrils. From August 28 through December 2 is Soul of Graffiti: Jan Kaláb, featuring the abstract studio art of one of the earliest graffiti “writers” to emerge from the former Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Iron Curtain in the early 1990s. The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays through Saturdays. It also offers tours of the restored Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. That historic home, built in 1885, was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294.

Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Continuing through August 26 is the exhibition Enchanted Florida: Picturing Contemporary Landscape, a series of paintings, photographs and videos by Florida artists whose search for pristine settings often leads to landscapes blighted by development. Featured artists include Lilian Garcia-Roig, Bruce Marsh, Alexander Diaz and Corey George. Also underway through March 2019, in a field between the center and Lake Sybelia, is Indigo Waves, an interactive, public-art project that incorporates the growth of plants on the site. Artists Tory Tepp, Jill Altamore and Kim Reighter started by planting various seeds and building sustainable irrigation and electrical systems; as the plants mature, they’re harvested and processed to make dyes, inks, pigments and fibers that are combined with recycled denim to create tapestries and lattices. As the natural-fiber creations break down from exposure to the elements, they’re composted back into the soil and replaced with new patches of “fresh art.” Admission to the center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17), and free for children age 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. 407-539-2181.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. On display through July 8 is the largest known painting by American landscape artist Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), The Domes of the Yosemite. The 1867 oil painting, which measures almost 10 by 15 feet, was recently refurbished by conservation experts in Miami and, courtesy of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont, is making its first appearance since 1873 outside what was, not coincidentally, Charles Hosmer Morse’s hometown. Ongoing is 19th-Century American Landscapes, which illustrates the affinity between artists from the French Barbizon School and American painters of the late 1800s, including Otto Heinigke, William Louis Sonntag and George Inness — work from whom is in the museum’s permanent collection. And as a continuation of the museum’s 2017 diamond anniversary celebration, the museum continues to showcase the breadth of its eclectic collection with Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum, which includes portraits, landscape paintings, pottery and works on paper assembled by founders Hugh and Jeannette McKean. That exhibition continues through September 23. Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children younger than age 12. In June and July, the museum is offering two free family programs designed for children in kindergarten through fifth grade: Tuesday Family Tours, which last 40 minutes and include a take-home activity; and Friday Family Films, which last 90 minutes and include the film, gallery tour and art activity. Registrations require $5 refundable deposits. The museum is also free to the public all day on the Fourth of July. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the on-campus facility, and at 1 p.m. on Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Continuing through August 26 are a trio of exhibitions that opened in May: Margaret Bourke-White’s Different World, which examines the trailblazing photographer’s overseas work, including selected images from the museum’s collection of photographs she took in Russia; My Myopia, a series of decorated windows by Trong Gia Nguyen, who earned art degrees at the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida after his  family fled South Vietnam during the fall of Saigon; and The Myers Legacy: Dutch and Flemish Paintings from the Collection, which features a small selection of the Old Masters paintings donated to the museum by the family of John C. Myers (1878-1952), an Ohio industrialist. Another May opening that continues through December 12 is Forging Modern American Identities: Recent Acquisitions, a first look at recent gifts of early 20th century photographs and abstract art from Rollins alumni Barbara and Theodore Alfond. Debuting September 8 are two exhibitions: Jamilah Sabur: Ibine Ela Acu/Water Sun Moon, which focuses on the tropics as places of conflict, from colonialism to environmental threats; and Dangerous Women, a series of more than 20 works from Sarasota’s John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art that collectively explore artistic responses to women of the Bible. Both exhibitions run through December 12. A new, long-term exhibition from which works periodically rotate — Ruptures and Remnants: Selections from the Permanent Collection — offers material manifestations, from antiquity to the present day, of ruptures ranging from personal crises to nation-state upheavals. It replaced the museum’s long-running Conversations exhibit, and continues through December 31, 2020. Admission to the museum is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526.

Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this nonprofit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages, taught by more than 40 working artists. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, though there are fees for art classes. Continuing through July 28 is the exhibit Symbiotic Dance: Marianna Hamilton Ross, a Florida artist who specializes in silk painting and the fusion of humans and nature. Her work is in many corporate and public collections nationally, including the AAA National Headquarters in Lake Mary, the City of Orlando, and Walt Disney World. The 37th Annual Juried Student Exhibition, which continues through September 1, features some of the previous school year’s best work by Crealdé students in various media, including paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry and fiber pieces. And opening on September 14 is Vibrant Vision: African Diaspora and African American Artists, which features works from the Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman stretching from the late 1930s to present day, from throughout the Caribbean and the United States. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African-American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are together known as the Heritage Collection. Admission is free. Continuing through December 31 is the exhibition HIS – Henderson, Israel & Simpson Project, a look at three key African-American leaders in Winter Park during the late 19th century: Gus C. Henderson, who started one of the first black-owned newspapers in Florida; and Frank R. Israel and Walter B. Simpson, who were the first — and thus far the only — black elected officials in the city. Also ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. The center also offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square called Now and Then with Fairolyn Livingston, the center’s chief historian. The tour, offered the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10 a person, or $5 for those with a student ID. Historic sites include Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Welbourne Day Care and Nursery (founded in 1927) and the Masonic Lodge (constructed in 1927). 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680.


Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” in continuous operation since 1932, returns from summer break to kick off its 2018-19 season on September 28 with Twelve Angry Jurors — originally called Twelve Angry Men — about deliberations that follow the trial of a young man accused of fatally stabbing his father. It seems like an open-and-shut case — until one juror refuses to agree to a “guilty” verdict. The show, which runs for eight performances through October 6, may be seen at 8 p.m. or at 2 p.m. with 4 p.m. matinees. Season tickets start at $60. The Second Stage Series, which features student-produced and student-directed plays, presents its 2018-19 season in Pioneer Hall, 203 East Lyman Avenue next to the SunTrust parking garage. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145.

Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater opens its 2018-19 mainstage season with Gigolo: A Cole Porter Revue, which runs July 27 through August 19. An audience favorite from last year’s 1st Annual Florida Festival of New Musicals, Gigolo uses more than two-dozen Cole Porter songs to tell the tale of a handsome playboy and his relationships with four beautiful women. Up next, from September 21 through October 14, is I Love a Piano, a revue that celebrates the music of Irving Berlin. Featuring five dozen of the iconic tunesmith’s most beloved songs, the show follows the journey of a piano from its first days in Tin Pan Alley at the dawn of the 20th century through the 1950s. Both musicals run Thursdays through Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $15 for students to $42 for evening performances. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145.


Florida Festival of New Musicals. For the second year, Winter Park Playhouse hosts a festival dedicated to new musicals, with the goal of fostering the development of up-and-coming writers and composers. The four-day event, from August 23 through 26, showcases six never-before-produced musicals; the first act of each is fully read and sung, concert-style, without staging, by professional actors and musicians. General admission is charged for each performance. 711 North Orange Avenue, Suite C, Winter Park. 407-645-0145.

South Asian Film Festival. The 24th annual edition of this “Beyond Bollywood” festival takes place at Enzian in Maitland from September 29 through October 1. It showcases a diverse lineup of acclaimed independent films about the Indian subcontinent, its culture and heritage. The three-day festival is co-presented with the Asian Cultural Association. Individual tickets cost $11; a series pass (with priority seating for all five programs) is $50. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices).

Change Makers

Winter Park Institute’s Speakers are Making a Difference. And They Want You to Know That You Can, Too.

Since the 1920s, Rollins College has brought preeminent scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, writers and activists to campus — not only for lectures and performances, but to engage in direct and meaningful ways with students, faculty and the community.

For the past decade, the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College has continued that role as a nucleus of creativity, critical thinking and intellectual engagement through its popular Speaker Series.

WPI’s 11th anniversary roster has just been announced, and as usual it’s an eclectic bunch.

There’s a young activist who built a shelter and a school for women and children in Nepal, a renowned philosopher of moral and political theory who discusses fear as a threat to democracy, and an award-winning director whose gritty but inspiring film about childhood in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom has earned critical kudos.

There’s also a media-friendly scientist known for his work on conservation and animal preservation. And, as usual, there’ll be an intimate reading by Billy Collins, a former two-term U.S. poet laureate who holds the post as WPI’s senior distinguished fellow. 

“I always look forward to these Winter Park presentations,” says Collins. “It’s wonderful to appear before a hometown audience, and to see so many friends and neighbors.”

Collins — arguably the most popular living poet in the U.S. and a Winter Park resident — is likely the most widely known personality among this year’s speakers. Gail Sinclair, WPI’s executive director, says the focus of the series is shifting, relying less on marquee names and more on thought leaders who are making a difference outside the limelight.

“Each of the speakers in this year’s lineup commands the realm to which his or her passion is focused, and they’re all fascinating in unique and highly engaging ways,” she says.

Plus, Sinclair says, the speakers have been selected because they align with the college’s mission of educating students for global citizenship and responsible leadership. “We eagerly anticipate what they will be sharing with us,” she adds.

Following are the scheduled speakers. Venues are on the Rollins campus, and ticket prices vary by speaker. Go to for more information, or call the box office at 407-646-2145.

 — Randy Noles

Wednesday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.
Tiedtke Concert Hall
The BlinkNow Foundation

Doyne, a 31-year-old American activist, founded the BlinkNow Foundation in 2007 to promote a quality education and a safe environment for children and women in Nepal. 

Overwhelmed by the poverty she encountered while backpacking through the Kopila Valley during her gap year between high school and college, Doyne used her life savings — $5,000 earned from babysitting — and raised additional money to buy land and build a home that cares for more than 50 orphans as well as a women’s center, a girls’ safe house and a school that educates more than 350 children. 

Doyne, who was named CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2015, says that “in the blink of eye, we can all make a difference.”

Monday, October 22, 6 p.m.
Bush Auditorium
Fear, Anger and Hope: Democracy in Peril

Nussbaum, a philosopher, author and professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, is recognized around the world for her work on moral and political theory, emotions, human rights, social equality, education, feminism, and Greek and Roman philosophy. 

She delivered the 2017 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. government for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities, and is the recipient of the 2016 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, widely considered the most prestigious award in fields not represented in the Nobel Prizes. 

Her most recent book is The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis (Simon & Schuster).

Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Venue TBD
Sean Baker: A Conversation with an American Filmmaker

Baker is director of The Florida Project, a critically acclaimed independent film whose title comes from the name given to the clandestine effort that Walt Disney undertook in the late 1960s to assemble the multiple contiguous tracts of land on which Walt Disney World and Epcot Center would be built. 

The film, which enjoyed an extended run at Enzian in Maitland earlier this year, follows a precocious 6-year-old as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in a seedy motel in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom. 

The film — which starred Willem Dafoe and a cast of unknowns and first-timers — premiered at the 2017 Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards (Best Feature and Best Director) and a Gotham Award (Best Feature). Baker won Best Director of the Year from the New York Film Critics Circle. 

Rollins offered a full scholarship to 10-year-old Christopher Rivera, one of the novice actors who was living with his mother in the Paradise Motel along U.S. 192 when he was cast.

Sunday, February 17, 2019, 2 p.m.
Tiedtke Concert Hall
What Poets Talk About When They Talk About Love

Collins, a former two-term U.S. poet laureate, is a rare poet whose work is esteemed in academic circles and adored by most everyone else — even people who don’t otherwise like poetry. That’s why his books are perennial New York Times bestsellers. 

His work is often praised for its combination of poignance, depth and wry humor that rarely fails to surprise and delight. He relocated to Winter Park in 2008, when he accepted the post of senior distinguished fellow at WPI.In addition to his appointments as poet laureate in 2001 and 2003, he has received the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry — he was the inaugural recipient — as well as fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. 

In 1992, Collins was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion.” And on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he was asked to write a poem commemorating the victims, and to read it before a joint session of Congress held in New York City. “The Names” remains as powerful and haunting today as when it was composed.

Last year, Collins was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists, composers and writers.

His work continues to engage sellout audiences, and each new collection of poetry inevitably wins new fans. His most recent collection, The Rain in Portugal (Random House), was described by Booklist as “disarmingly playful and wistfully candid.”

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Bush Auditorium
Stories from the Natural World

Sanjayan, CEO at Conservation International, a not-for-profit environmental advocacy group, is an ecologist, speaker, author and Emmy-nominated television commentator who has hosted conservation-related documentaries for PBS, BBC, Showtime and the Discovery Channel. 

He’s also a frequent contributor to CBS News, and most recently hosted the University of California and Vox Media’s Climate Lab series.​ He helped launch “Nature is Speaking,” an award-winning public-awareness campaign that featured Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Penélope Cruz, among others.

The Sri Lankan-born scientist holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his peer-reviewed scientific work has been published in journals including Science, Nature and Conservation Biology. He’s a visiting researcher at UCLA and distinguished professor of practice at Arizona State University.

He’s a Disneynature Ambassador, a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of National Geographic Society’s Explorers Council. He posts frequently from his expeditions at @msan​​jayan.


Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $11 for regular admission; $9 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $8.50 for Enzian Film Society members —though children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Saturday Matinee Classics are shown the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. Cult Classics are shown the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. Upcoming films include The Rocketeer (July 8), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (July 31), Good Burger (August 14), Across the Universe (August 28), The People vs. Larry Flynt (September 11) and Man on the Moon (September 25). FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the first or second Sunday at 1 p.m. The next scheduled dates are July 8, August 12 and September 9. Music Mondays present new and classic concert-music documentaries and music-focused films, usually on the third Monday of the month at 9:30 p.m. Midnight Movies are an occasional series of envelope-pushing classic and cutting-edge films that start at 11:59 p.m. Other upcoming special showings include: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Ballet on the Big Screen, July 21, 11 a.m.), Macbeth (Opera on the Big Screen, August 18, 11 a.m.) and Swan Lake (Ballet on the Big Screen, September 15, 11 a.m.). 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices).

Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family-friendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are usually on the second Thursday of each month, and start whenever it gets dark — figure 8 p.m. this time of year. Upcoming films include Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (July 12), Finding Nemo (August 9) and Iron Man (September 13). Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 407-629-1088.

Hot Weather, Cool Deals

Sure, summers in Florida can be oppressively hot. But in Winter Park, perhaps some cool deals offered by Park Avenues bistros and boutiques will make venturing outdoors worth that extra swipe of antiperspirant. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, which is spearheading a new “35 Degrees” campaign, is banking on it.

“Escape the Heat. It’s Cool Inside” reads the tag line for the 35 Degrees promotion, which started June 1 and runs through September 7. During that time, more than 25 participating merchants and restauranteurs will offer a variety of $35 specials and 35 percent discounts

For example, there’ll be $35 prix fixe menus at Hamilton’s Kitchen, Cocina 214, Laurel Latin Cuisine, Mon Petit Cheri and others. You can use the $35 to upgrade to a King Balcony Suite overlooking Park Avenue at Park Plaza Hotel — an $85 value — or get 35 percent off selected items of clothing at Arabella, Charyli or Tugboat and the Bird.

Others participating include 310 on Park, Ancient Olive, Blu on the Avenue, Eyes & Optics, Frank, Luluemon, Monarch Appliance Company, New General, Pannullo’s, Partridge Tree, Peterbrooke Chocolatier, See Eyewear, The Grove, Through the Looking Glass, Tuni, Umi, the Winter Park Golf Course, Writer’s Block Bookstore, the Lash Lounge and the Winter Park Wedding Chapel.

“It’s a fun play on temperature conversion,” says Betsy Gardner Eckbert, chamber president and CEO. “Ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit translates to 35 degrees C. And doesn’t 35 degrees sound so much better?”

Chamber officials hope the promotion heats up business during the languid summer months, which also happens to coincide with the time that the city gets the most international visitors — especially from the U.K.

35 Degrees is co-sponsored by the chamber and the Park Avenue Merchants Association. Visit degrees for more information.


Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see “Music”). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200.

Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. Continuing through August 31 is Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, which follows the international eugenics movement of the early 20th century to the Nazi regime’s “science of race” and its campaign to “cleanse” German society of people viewed as biological threats to the nation’s health. The exhibition also challenges viewers to reflect on the present-day interest in genetic manipulation, which promotes the possibility of human perfection. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other artwork. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555.

Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibition is Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. (See page 96 for more details.)

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city; it also sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African-American artists and is an integral part of the annual, weeklong Zora! Festival each January. Continuing through September is The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community: The Early Years, 1987-1997. The multimedia exhibition is based upon material from the organization’s archives. Admission to the museum is free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188.,


Participants in the first “Relaunch: Career Reentry for Professional Women” celebrate completion of the program. Shown are (left to right): Pam Massengale; Holly Allport; Betsy Gardner Eckbert, chamber president and CEO; Jana Ricci, chair, chamber executive committee; Susan Johnson, winner of the Woman of Influence Award; Dawn Jennemann; Marion Neijenhuis; Angela Katsur; and Kristina Mackinder.

Getting Back in the Game

An improving economy has spurred millions of women to reenter the labor force following prolonged absences. It isn’t as though they hadn’t been working. But it’s primarily women who put their ambitions on hold to raise young children, care for ailing parents or deal with other issues that prevent them from being as career-focused as their male counterparts.

That’s changing, of course. But employers sometimes view resumé gaps as drawbacks. That’s why women who’ve gone some time without being formally employed can benefit from enhanced training on how to overcome obstacles to resuming their old careers — or starting new ones.

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, as usual, is out front on this issue with a new program called “Relaunch: Career Reentry for Professional Women.” The program just completed its inaugural year and is prepping for a second session this summer.

The application deadline is August 17; the fee is $375, with tuition assistance available.

“Last summer, we hatched the idea of a pilot program to give women the tools they need to successfully return to work,” said Chamber President and CEO Betsy Gardner Eckbert, who spoke at the organization’s first Women of Influence luncheon. “Today, I can tell you — they are ready. And we hope you’ll help connect them to as many opportunities as possible.”

The Relaunch curriculum helps women build their resumés and network among potential employers. It also covers such topics as how to maximize a LinkedIn profile and how to build a personal brand. 

Gardner Eckbert, who shared her personal story of relaunching her career after taking time off, added that the program was not intended to be a job-placement service. 

Instead, she said, it was designed to help participants “assess, understand and dispel the psychological and mechanical roadblocks that exist for them when pursuing a return to work.”

The Women of Influence Luncheon honored the inspirational Susan Johnson, making her the chamber’s first Woman of Influence award winner. She’s the founder and president of Support our Scholars, an organization that provides mentoring to underprivileged but academically gifted young women who are attending college.

Johnson told the attendees — which included the eight women who completed the first Relaunch class — to set goals and stick with them. That’s certainly something Johnson has done, and her commitment has lifted up countless children and their families.

Her passion for advocacy, she said, began in 1976, when she gave birth to a sight- and hearing-impaired son, Jake, and began desperately seeking how to teach the youngster to communicate with others — and how his family could communicate with him.

She turned to Lighthouse of Central Florida — then known as CITE — an organization whose multitude of services include one-on-one instruction in sign language.

Although Jake eventually lost his sight entirely and died in 2011, Johnson has continued to support Lighthouse, chairing its board of directors and raising funds for the organization through a group she spearheads called Women with Vision.

By the time you read this edition of Winter Park Magazine, a June 12 informational session for the second Relaunch program will likely already have taken place. But even if you missed it you can apply, with a deadline of August 28. Sessions begin in September and are held monthly on Tuesday evenings at the Chamber of Commerce. There’ll be a graduation luncheon in April of next year. For more information, email or call 407-644-8281.

Session 1

September 18, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Introduction: The Psychology of Career Reentry
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 2

October 30, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Developing your Personal Brand and Making it Pop on LinkedIn
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 3

November 27, 5:30- 7:45 p.m.
Leveraging Your Brand on LinkedIn, Part 1
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 4

December 11, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Leveraging Your Brand on LinkedIn, Part 2
Speakers: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 5

January 29, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Your Elevator Pitch
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 6

February 26, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Professional Attire and Style
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 7

March 26, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Practicing for the Interview
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Session 8

February 26, 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Final Edits: Resumé and Bio, Headshots
Speaker: Betsy Gardner Eckbert

Graduation Luncheon

April 30, 11:30 a.m.


Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Head for downtown Winter Park on Independence Day to enjoy a bicycle parade, patriotic music by the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble, free hot dogs and watermelon, horse-drawn wagon rides, games and much more from 9 a.m. to noon. In a tradition dating from the mid-1990s, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art also provides free admission to its galleries from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Independence Day. In addition to the Bach Festival musicians, the main stage in Central Park will feature other entertainment throughout the day. If you want to start celebrating even earlier, enter the annual Watermelon 5K run, which begins at 7:30 a.m. on Park Avenue. The race is followed by a Watermelon Eating Contest at 8:30 a.m. and a Kids’ Run at 8:45 a.m. Military personnel and their family members receive a $10 discount on the 5K registration fee, plus a special race bib. 407-599-3463. For information about the race, visit For information about other activities, visit


Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Each year the institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. The season kicks off on September 26 with Maggie Doyne, the 31-year-old founder of the BlinkNow Foundation, which cares for orphaned children and provides educational opportunities for young girls in Nepal. Doyne speaks at 7:30, although neither the venue nor the ticket price had been set at press time. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. (See page 98 for more details.)


Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland.

Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park.


Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s signature festival of concerts occurs every February and March, but it offers musical programs throughout the year, including a patriotic presentation at the City of Winter Park’s annual Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration in Central Park. On September 20, the society begins its Insights & Sounds Series, an intimate musical experience that’s part discussion, part concert. Each program takes a close look at specific composers or themes, with commentary provided by Artistic Director and Conductor John Sinclair. The September program focuses on the flute, harp and strings, and features members of the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra. All performances take place on select Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall on the campus of Rollins College, 1000 Holt Avenue. Parking is available a block away in the SunTrust Plaza garage. 407-646-2182.

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are also on the schedule. Admission ranges from free to $25 a person. Upcoming musical dates include Cafêzz a Puerto Rico-based Latin jazz fusion band (July 1, 8 p.m., $20), Blue Bamboo’s 2nd Anniversary party featuring the Orlando Jazz Orchestra (July 18, 8 p.m., $25), guitarist Peppino D’Agostino (August 8, 8 p.m., $20), and the Kelly/Scott Sextet featuring trombonist Dave Steinmeyer (September 22, 8 p.m., $20). 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951.

Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based nonprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts on the last Sunday of each month. The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. The next two library concerts are: Wild Cotton and Remedy Tree (July 29); and Amanda Percy, plus Smithson & French (September 30). Shows start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426.

Dexter’s of Winter Park. This well-known restaurant in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square neighborhood occasionally has live musical acts, with no cover charge. Upcoming events include Soul Funktion (July 5, 8 to 11 p.m.). 558 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-629-1150.

Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents free acoustic-instrument performances on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Upcoming performances include: flamenco guitarist Jorge Mendoza (July 1), Beautiful Music with Shannon Caine (July 8), Anthology Quartet (July 15), classical guitarist Brian Hayes (July 22), flamenco and classical guitarist Luis Garcia (July 29), harpist Catherine Way (August 12) and guitarist George Grosman (August 19). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200.

Opera on Park. The first official performances of Opera Orlando’s 2018-19 season are its three-part Opera on Park series, which begins July 29 with tenor Alex Mansoori, accompanied by Lynn Peghiny on piano. Soprano Laura León, with Robin Stamper on piano, follows on August 5. The series wraps up August 12 with soprano Suzanne Kantorski, also accompanied by Stamper. The 2 p.m. performances take place at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue. Tickets are $30 each or $75 for all three recitals. 407-512-1900.


Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author Rik Feeney. Upcoming discussions include Heart to Heart: Verse Novels with Melody Dean Dimick (July 11), Illustrating & Marketing Children’s Books with Mark Wayne Adams (August 1), and a September 5 topic to be announced. University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for speakers and discussions organized by author Nylda Dieppa-Aldarondo. Upcoming dates are July 12, August 9 and September 13. 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland.

Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights takes place every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. The free readings are hosted by Curtis Meyer. 407-975-3364.

Work in Progress: A Group for Writers. This monthly discussion group is for writers in any genre, who offer and receive feedback from their writing peers. Guest speakers are often invited. Upcoming dates include September 8 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Those planning to read their work should register with organizer and host Gerald Schiffhorst, a University of Central Florida professor emeritus of English, by emailing Conference Room, Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park.

Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free, open-mic programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour ... or Thereabouts, a literary open-mic night, usually meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m. It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming meet-ups include July 11 and 25, August 8 and 22, and September 12 and 26. A new series sponsored by the group, Tim Rumsey’s Touch the Heart, aims for works that reach readers emotionally. Upcoming meet-ups include July 18, August 15 and September 19. Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park.,

Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference. This annual, one-day gathering of bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, marketers and others — known informally as FLBlogCon — offers panels and workshops designed to help online entrepreneurs improve their blogs and make money through advertising and sponsorships. This year’s eighth annual conference, scheduled for September 29 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Full Sail University, offers two keynote presentations and nearly two-dozen breakout sessions. Tickets are $47 to $77. 3300 University Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-679-6333.

University Club of Winter Park.  Members are dedicated to enjoying intellectual activities and socializing with fellow knowledge-seekers. The club’s activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to donate a $5 activity fee each time they attend. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149.


Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month, upcoming speakers include Mayor Steve Leary (July 13); Deborah Crown, dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College (August 10); and an as-yet unannounced speaker on September 14. Networking begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.

The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this quarterly business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. The next gathering features Malia Dreyer, owner of Lettermade LLC of Winter Springs, on August 29 from noon to 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.

Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. The July and September speakers had not been scheduled at press time. Diane Diaz, “The Brand Teacher,” is slated for August 6. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for members, $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281.


Authors Matthew Fox (above left) and IIia Delio (above right) will be the keynote presenters for the eighth annual GladdeningLight Symposiumn of the Spiritual Arts. This year’s theme: The Science of Love: Divine Imagination, Evolving Universe.

Exploring Science, Spirituality, Love

GladdeningLight, a local nonprofit that holds an annual three-day symposium concerning the intersection of spirituality and the arts, has announced the keynote presenters for its 2019 event, slated February 1-3 at Rollins College. 

And it’s not too early to register, since some symposium activities usually sell out in advance.

Featured will be Matthew Fox, an activist and theologian who ignited the revolutionary Creation Spirituality movement, and Ilia Delio, a Villanova University professor whose scholarship concerns the integration of science and religion.

The theme of the eighth annual GladdeningLight Symposium of the Spiritual Arts is The Science of Love: Divine Imagination, Evolving Universe. 

“Leading-edge science supports a new understanding of love as the fundamental energy of evolution,” says Randall B. Robertson, the organization’s founding director. “We’re fortunate to host two beacons of the modern Creation Spirituality movement, in dialogue together for the first time.”

Creation Spirituality integrates the wisdom of indigenous, Eastern and Western mysticism with the revelations of modern science to promote social, racial, gender and environmental justice.

Past GladdeningLight symposia have welcomed visitors from 33 states and around the world. The 2018 symposium was the first hosted by Rollins.

The arts play a prominent role in every GladdeningLight symposium, and next year is no different, showcasing the talents of Nóirín Ní Riain and Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin.

The Ó Súilleabháins, troubadours in the ancient Irish a cappella tradition, delighted local audiences two years ago. In 2019, they’ll bring their unique brand of musical magic to Knowles Memorial Chapel, where they’ll commemorate the feast day of Irish patron St. Brigid.

The February 1 performance will also include a candlelit processional. To help set the mood, GladdeningLight has engaged a guild of local iconographers to paint Celtic icons around the chapel. 

In addition to performing, the three singers will also offer lectures throughout the weekend.

Delio, a Franciscan nun as well as a professor, has recently written a national bestseller, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being. Fox, a symposium keynoter in 2013, has written such perennial bestsellers as Original Blessing. He heads the Fox Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Cost to attend the entire weekend is $220, which allows access to all symposium events. There’ll be $25 single tickets available to hear Fox and Delio in dialogue on February 2.  Rollins students, staffers and faculty members are granted free, all-access admission with pre-registration and valid ID.  

Call 407-647-3963 or visit for more information.  


Lake Osceola Watershed Cleanup. Volunteers who help the City of Winter Park collect litter around Lake Osceola on July 7 receive breakfast, a T-shirt, a snack and water. Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags are also provided. Kayakers and paddle boarders are welcome to participate; everyone is asked to bring a reusable water bottle. The 8 a.m. assembly point is downtown by the stage at the north end of Central Park on Park Avenue; the cleanup ends at 11 a.m. 407-599-3364.

Woman’s Club of Winter Park Annual Rummage Sale. This sale, once an annual Labor Day tradition, was revived by the club in 2014 as a fundraiser for area charities. It offers shoppers a wide variety of items donated by local residents, including jewelry, antiques, artwork, books, clothes, furnishings and household items. This year’s September 1 sale is at the club’s headquarters, 419 South Interlachen Avenue. It starts with a bake sale at 9 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m., with a lunch menu available from George’s Gourmet Cookies and Catering. 407-644-2237.


CoffeeTalk. These free gatherings, sponsored by the City of Winter Park, are usually held on the second Thursday of each month and offer residents an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with local officials. Coffee is supplied by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. Upcoming topics and guests include Mayor Steve Leary (July 13), Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel (August 23) and Commissioner Greg Seidel (September 13). The hour-long sessions start at 8 a.m. The mayor will appear at the Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning Winter Park program that day; the commissioners will appear at the Winter Park Country Club, 761 Old England Avenue. 407-644-8281.

Political Mingle. This August 1 event, hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, gives residents, business owners and community leaders an opportunity to meet and greet candidates running for local, state or federal office in the August 28 primary election or the November 6 general election. The event, from 5 to 8 p.m., will take place at Fields BMW of Winter Park, 963 Wymore Road. Check the chamber website for ticket prices. 407-644-8281.