A Guide To Thornton Park

One of my favorite bloggers, Christine, did a Destination: PDX post and it inspired me to write a little bit about the small area we live in. We moved from Winter Park to Thornton Park, both near and in Orlando, FL. We loved Winter Park because of it's small downtown area with brick roads, tree lined streets that are decorated for the holidays, and sidewalk restaurants and endless window shopping. We moved to Thornton Park which has the same brick charm and sidewalk restaurants, except it is way less uppity and more casual. Thornton Park has more of a sense of community with it's dog friendly bars and walk-ability.

Some of my favorite local spots:

Benjamin Bakery // We go here for crusty baguettes that taste just like the baguette tradi in Paris. They have delicious sandwiches, macarons, and even sell some foreign candy like our new favorite Daim chocolate bars. When we walk Mordechai early in the morning, we pass by people enjoying their coffees at this sidewalk cafe.

The Falcon Bar // Beer and wine only, but who can say no to $1 sake? Also, the DJs here play some great 80's alternative and new wave, and once in a while it's Bring Your Own Vinyl and the DJs will play it. It's super low-key with local art on the walls and the greatest mid-century vintage couches to lounge on if you don't want to sit at the bar.

Eola Wine Co. // This is an old favorite. They have wine flights, cheese and nut plates, and wonderful flatbreads. We always sit outside under the string lights and it's always relaxing.

Dexters // One word: brunch. Also, the most delicious red velvet cake ever; it's a bonus that the red velvet is gluten free.

The fountain // We pass this on a daily basis when walking Mordechai and it's really calming. And I may or may not know the person who used to put soap in the fountain every year.

Events, Parades, and Fireworks  // Our little area is lucky enough to have the annual Gay Pride Parade which runs one block away. We missed it this year but Mordechai was still able to go. There's also the weekly farmer's market a few blocks away, as well as the lake. People go running and walk their dogs around the entire lake after work, on weekends, and there's fireworks for New Year's, Fourth of July, and other events on that lake which we'll be able to see from our front lawn.

Utility Box Art // Nearly all of the utility boxes in the downtown Orlando area have been painted by various local artists. My favorites include a mid-century one by a park, a shopping and restaurant Thornton Park themed one which I saw Plinio Pinto painting, as well as one near all the antique shops in Ivanhoe Village that depicts two women sitting on a shore in tribute to an old theme park in that area called Joyland.

Walkability // We walk to the grocery store, the 24/7 convenience store (wine whenever I want? really?), the popsicle shop, the lake, and numerous parks. Within the last year S sold his car and we only have mine. With living in Thornton Park, we don't need a second car. I drive 10 minutes to work and S bikes to his office in 5 minutes. If one of us ever has the car, there's always something to do with in walking distance of home for the other.

We still have many different places to try like Maxine's on Shine, Shari Sushi, and Mingo's. We had a fun Halloween going downtown, hanging out at a balcony bar with friends, overlooking the crowded streets below. I worked our annual fundraising gala at the museum, and then we had 8 events in 6 days. This past weekend my cousins and aunt and uncle visited and we enjoyed Harry Potter at Universal (again!) courtesy of my dear friend, Steven. This time, my camera was away, and I enjoyed the experience for what it was - immersion in a fictional place. My little cousin knew what everything was and the references to the books; she remembered more than I did!

This time of year, my favorite time of year, normally inspires me to cook and try different wines, entertain friends and family, and attend events across the city. Life has been busy and overwhelming lately, making it hard to indulge in my favorite traditions. I am so looking forward to picking up some winter veg at the market to cook a hearty meal with, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and popping open this years Beaujolais Nouveau. No matter how busy it gets this holiday season, I will indulge in my favorite festivities, I will make time for the meals I want to cook, the friends I want to see, and I will make holidays themselves a priority, because these are the best times of the year. 


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  1. Oh, I love how you're exploring (and helping us explore) your new home! Dog friendly is key!

    1. I do love to explore! I've felt that this little town has so much to offer and I can't believe I didn't find it sooner!

  2. Gosh I love that area! It looks so charming indeed! I once had a date under those low hanging branches when I used to live in Orlando :)

    1. that is such a sweet date idea! i brought our pup there once just because there is soo much shade, it's incredible!

  3. It looks adorable! Like something straight out of a movie set, especially that fountain surrounded by brick pavers. So happy you're settling in to your new town and still finding things to explore. The "bring your own vinyl" bar is so sweetly hipster-y! I love it. Most importantly, you guys seem like YOU really love it, and that's what counts the most.
    (PS. Loved the bit about not taking your camera with you to Harry Potter world and living in the moment. I've been doing so much of that recently and it's really good for the soul. xo)

    1. now that you say that - i can totally see it being a movie set! and yes - i looove my camera so very much but these days when i'm out at a restaurant or relaxing with friends, all i want to do is enjoy the moment for every second that i have, and pulling out a phone or camera is just too disrupting at times :)

  4. ironically if someone mentions me in their blog that's always the one post i miss!

    the only thing i don't love about where i live is walkability. there are few things to walk to, and place to walk - but i miss being in a neighborhood where you can walk to shops or to get a coffee. on the other hand we are across the street for a huge golf course, so i get lots of nature in the city!

    ps when i come visit we are definitely going to have to go to dexters!

    1. haha the same exact thing happens to me! i'm not mentioned often, but when i am, i see it months later :)

      i miss being surrounded by nature! there are tons of trees here, but in between it all is the outskirts of downtown traffic. not bad, not the worst, but sometimes i would love to look out to a quiet field of just green and quiet.

      and yes - when you visit we must hunt down that gluten free red velvet cake! paired with mimosas, of course.

  5. Yelle it looks and sounds positively charming. One thing missing from where we currently live is that convenience of being able to walk everywhere/anywhere. Enjoy!

    1. thanks santa! i did't realize how much i loved walk-ability until i had it - now i'm spoiled!

  6. Yelle it sounds and looks positively charming. One thing missing from where we currently live is the ability to walk anywhere. Enjoy!


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