Living in the Central Florida area, it’s really easy to fall into life revolving around the theme park bubble. At least, for me it has been. I moved here from Tennessee in 2012 to pursue a dream of working for the theme parks, and I did. I spent 5 years at Disney and a year and half at Universal, and in that whole time, I didn’t really venture or explore too much outside of the immersive, fantasy worlds that felt like my backyard.
By doing so, I was really selling myself short on all that Orlando and the surrounding area has to offer. Since I’ve started branching out, one of the places that has really captured my heart is The Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida.
Winter Park is a cute little suburban city, about 30 minutes northeast of Orlando. Located in the heart of Winter Park is Park Avenue, a street lined with boutiques and dining offerings, with a park on the opposite side, that you can often find festivals, live music, or a Farmer’s Market every Saturday.
On all of my frequent visits to Park Avenue, I always walked or drove past The Alfond Inn, and I thought it would be the perfect place for a weekend getaway still close to Orlando, but with the feel of being a world away from the bustling theme park hub. A vacation from your vacation, if you will.
One of the things that really drew me to The Alfond is the generous collection of contemporary, modern art that lines the walls of the lobby, as well as the four floors above of this 112-room boutique hotel. It gives off just as much of an art museum vibe as it does that of a luxury resort. The collection of art is a constant work in progress, with pieces rotating in and out, but always with a binding narrative of critical thinking, literacy, enlarging one’s perspective, understanding other cultures and traditions, and language.
After we checked in and got settled into our room, Chelsea and I took the one block walk over to Park Avenue for dinner at one of my favorite go-to restaurants on the street, Prato.
Dessert is an integral part of every meal for me, and even more so on vacation (hashtag treat yo’ self), therefore a stop by Kilwin’s on the walk back to The Alfond was a must. Chels and I were originally going to share one cone, but it just so happened to be Waffle Cone Wednesday when we went, which meant that ice cream in a waffle cone was buy one, get one free, so hey, when in Rome.
Back at The Alfond, we hit the bar for a nightcap before settling into bed. I forwent my usual order of an Old Fashioned in favor of one of the signature cocktails, The Distinguished Gentleman (I can’t help myself, I’m still a dark liquor girl), and Chelsea ordered the Park Ave Pearl.
There’s something about waking up in a hotel bed that makes starting the day feel like you’re going on an adventure. An incredibly relaxing adventure that starts with a cup of tea on the balcony, but an adventure nonetheless.
On this morning’s agenda: brunch. The Alfond Inn is home to Hamilton’s Kitchen, a restaurant specializing in traditional southern fare with a modern twist. It’s an inviting space, with an open kitchen, indoor and outdoor seating, and mismatched chairs that create a rustic but polished feel.
Hamilton’s Kitchen Brunch is served every day from 7am-2pm. I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of any and all Eggs Benedict, so as soon as I saw Cured Salmon Eggs Benedict on the menu, I read no further, closed my menu and was ready to order.
This dish did not disappoint, in any way. I’ve had a lot of Eggs Benedict in my life, but these, topped with the cured salmon cake, rank pretty high up the list. 10/10, would order again. Chelsea went with Avocado Toast. She ate all four pieces, so its safe to assume she enjoyed it (she didn’t share, I wouldn’t know).
The Alfond Inn is one of my new favorite places in Central Florida, and I already can’t wait to go back (especially since while I was writing this article, I discovered the dessert menu for Hamilton’s Kitchen had a Macallan 12yr Butterscotch Pudding on it, gonna need that ASAP).
Catch me in that conservatory writing my next blog post.
Til next time,
some photography provided by Faison Anne Photography.