I realized early on that Winter Park is the kind of community in which people often spend their entire lives, or only leave to return later.
I’m going to admit something from the start… I’m excited about doing this. I’ve done a weekly column at other points in my life, but I have especially big hopes for this one. While we’re getting things started talking much too much about me, that’s to let you know some about who I am. This is meant to be about you, about our neighbors, about the wonderful community we are fortunate to call home.
When I introduced ILUVWinterPark.com last year I also wrote a blog for a while. Alas, when you’re a CEO — Chief Everything Officer — priorities are made and that was one thing that was a bit too much too soon, and it got sidelined. I regretted that because it was at a time when I’d just concluded two wonderful interviews, which now seem the ideal bookmarks for what I hope this new effort will be about.
The first was a personal tour of Winter Park treasure Casa Feliz with Assistant Director Angela Roark. I remember the first time I saw that home the first weekend we visited the city. I thought it must be an exclusive club, some place you must pay a steep membership to enjoy. I LUV that that is not the case, that it’s most often open to anyone and everyone. I LUV old homes for their character, the stories they tell. Not all older homes can or should be saved, but when one such as Casa Feliz is saved, when it’s the community coming together that makes the difference, to me that says a lot about that community. It says a lot that’s good.
That house makes my soul do a little dance. That it was created with stories in place — such as the “remnant columns” in back — proves the genius behind its design had a similar perspective. That it was nearly lost before a community came together on its behalf, endured all required to move it across the street — that is now its best story.
I realized early on that Winter Park is the kind of community in which people often spend their entire lives, or only leave to return later. You read a lot of stories about communities that must work to retain residents, incent them to stay. Here, the community itself is incentive enough. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to grow up here, and feel a bit jealous of those who did.
The other bookmark helping to set the stage for what I hope this space can be about each week is just such a resident. I’m not even certain how I came to know about Matt Anderson and his Enlightened Grain spirit company. I think it may have been via Facebook. Then, one night while having dinner at Hannibal’s, I noticed an “EG” logo on the back of a shirt. The result was ordering what was the absolute best mojito I’ve ever had. This from a rosemary and lavender spirit. No, I didn’t figure that one.
I thought the story of a guy who started a spirits company out of a tub in his garage sounded like fun. What I found instead was one of the most serious and intelligent ‘kids’ — terminology used about 20-somethings once you get over 40 — I’d ever met. He explained to me how he’d designed the EG logo with inspiration from the Nike swoosh, and I sat at that bar and easily picked out each and every EG bottle among hundreds and hundreds.
Casa Feliz and Matt Anderson may have never appeared together in the same sentence. But for me, they are roughly two ends of a spectrum of individuals, groups and other entities I’ve begun referring to as “Parkpreneurs”, all contributing to making Winter Park the wonderfully unique and charming community it is, and that we all enjoy.
I’m looking forward to meeting new neighbors, hearing your stories and feedback. I think this is going to be fun. Pretty sure I’m gonna LUV it.
Clyde Moore operates local sites ILUVWinterPark.com, ILUVParkAve.com and LUVMyRate.com, and aims to help local businesses promote themselves for free and help save them money, having some fun along the way. Email him at email@example.com or write to ILuv Winter Park on Facebook or Twitter.