tomatoes, plums, produce at farmers market stand, b&b hotel near OrlandoSPRING COOKING CLASS GETAWAY: URBAN FARM TO TABLE  APRIL 12-14, APRIL 15-17, or APRIL 19-21

Spring into Florida! Explore the surprising variety of produce farmed right here in Central Florida backyards. Come for the fun of making great food with others! While at Thurston House, we’ll cook together and have scrumptious conversations around food. You’ll also visit a local urban farmer, select fresh ingredients together, and just maybe learn a little something new in the process!

Upcoming Spring 2024 Dates:

  • Friday, April 12-14
  • Monday, April 15-17
  • Friday, April 19-21

Spring Package Cost: Just $100 (per room) plus the cost of lodging (a 2-night stay in your choice of available rooms at our Best Available Rate for those dates).

Here’s what’s included:

  • Early (3:00pm) check in on your date of arrival.
  • Two nights’ accommodations in our best available room.
  • Evening welcome reception w/house-made hor’dourves (BYO wine).
  • $25 gift card (per room) to Antonio’s gourmet food market (around the corner in Maitland).
  • Visit to local farmer’s market for locally-grown fresh produce for a “create-on-the-fly” dish during cooking class.
  • Personally meet Mason, our favorite local urban farmer, and hear about his regenerative farming methods and CSA project.
  • On the second night of your stay, we’ll cook together in the Thurston House kitchen.
  • Then enjoy communal dinner together in the dining room.
  • Recipes for everything we have made during your stay.
  • As always, a full gourmet breakfast each morning.


PAINT OUT EVENT APRIL 21-27 IN WINTER PARK! paint brushes paint easel outdoors, b&b hotel near Orlando

PAINT OUT, an outdoor painting experience, is one of the premier annual art events within minutes of Thurston House, our Central Florida bed and breakfast. Gather at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens for this fascinating event! “Paint Out”, in its 16th year, happens April 21-27, 2024 when twenty-four plein air artists will gather at the Polasek Museum to paint outside, in the open air. Popular in the 19th century, the act of painting outdoors was a central feature of French impressionism.

During this seven-day event, art lovers can watch the artists paint out in the Polasek Sculpture Garden (lakeside) and can attend free painting demonstrations. Admission to the galleries and gardens is free all week, and new works created by the artists are available for purchase as soon as they are complete. In addition to the demonstrations spread throughout the week, there is a lakeside “Sunset Paint-In” event on Wednesday evening and a fabulous “Garden Party” on the last day. Explore the official site for calendar and details.

Book accommodations at Thurston House for at least two nights during “Paint Out” (your room choice at our Best Available Rate) and receive the following bonuses with our compliments:

  • Complimentary early (3PM) check in.
  • A welcome reception with Bev one evening…including light bites, drinks, and stimulating art discussion on the wrap-around porch overlooking Lake Eulalia (BYO wine).
  • A light picnic lunch for two, packed to enjoy in the gardens on one day of your plein air experience.
  • As always, a full gourmet breakfast each morning of your stay.

Consider exploring the Morse Museum of American Art while you’re in Winter Park and we’ll cover the admission! There’s also a free instrumental quartet concert on Friday night, April 26th!




Do you have a green thumb? Love to piddle away in the garden? Jump for joy at an unexpected bloom? What if you could do your favorite thing…gardening…while being pampered at the same time? Here’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss! Come for a 2-night midweek stay at Thurston House, spend time helping in our gardens one morning, and be energized by the collaboration with fellow gardeners over al fresco meals and great conversation. You’ll return home with some new plants for your own garden…and maybe a few new ideas!

UPCOMING DATES:   April 29-May 1 (2-night stay)~~OR~~May 1-3 (2-night stay)

EVENT COST:  Just book the room of your choice at our Best Available Rate (2-night stay required) and receive the “perks” below with our compliments! Thanks for helping in our gardens and giving them a little jump start into spring!

Call now to get first choice!  407-539-1911



  • Early check-in (3:00 PM) on day of arrival;
  • Complimentary welcome reception that evening on the screened-in wrap-around front porch overlooking Lake Eulalia and the gardens (heavy hors d’oeuvres and BYO wine)
  • Evening garden tour and planning for next day
  • Full gourmet breakfasts each morning of your stay
  • Garden spruce up projects after breakfast first morning
  • Complimentary drinks and lunch in the garden
  • After lunch, a brief talk on a gardening topic (such as propagation or composting)
  • Afternoon leisure time and dinner on you own


  • Visit either Henry Leu Gardens or the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens during your stay, and Thurston House will cover the price of admission!
  • Choose several plant varieties from our extensive “nursery” to take back to your own beautiful gardens.

MOTHER’S DAY GETAWAY May 12th in Central Florida


purple tulips mothers day central florida hotelWhat a beautiful way to honor Mom on Mother’s Day! Say “thanks” with a weekend away at Thurston House, a historic bed & breakfast in Central Florida near Orlando. After a day of all her favorite things—nearby shopping, culture, and great dining in Winter Park—escape to this tranquil oasis set on eight park-like acres. Mom will forget she has a care in the world!

Celebrate Mom with any 2-night stay at Thurston House during May 1-15, and we’ll treat Mom a little extra special too! A complimentary bedside floral bouquet and chocolate-covered strawberries will be awaiting her arrival!

Already have other plans for the weekend? Why not thrill her with a Thurston House gift certificate for a future stay?



graduates throwing caps into air b&b hotel near OrlandoROLLINS COLLEGE GRADUATION COMMENCEMENT WEEKEND, MAY 11-12, 2024 

Congratulations to graduating students and their parents! A degree is quite an achievement! Parents and grandparents, stay at Thurston House for Commencement Weekend, May 11-12, and escape from a little of the hustle and bustle of downtown Winter Park! At the end of the day, wind down in the quietness of this peaceful 3-room oasis set on eight park-like acres just minutes from Winter Park and the Rollins’ campus.

We’ll happily accommodate that 10AM Sunday ceremony time and adjust breakfast as needed to get you there on time!

Mention that you’re coming for graduation and get our “Friends of Rollins” discount.

Here’s more information for your graduation planning.  https://www.rollins.edu/parents-families/commencement/




crusty paint tubes art center school workshop, b&b hotel near OrlandoCalling all artists! One-day art workshops for all interests! The Maitland Art Center, a National Historic Landmark, offers short, easily accessible workshops in drawing, bookbinding, printing, silk painting, marbling, paint making, stenciling and more! Draw on the extensive knowledge of a curated group of local artists to build your own skills and enjoy your favorite pastime! Less than 15 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Browse upcoming workshops and register directly with the Art School at www.artandhistory.org/education.

When you come for your art experience, book a stay at Thurston House, another historic gem. We’ll treat you to a peaceful oasis only 5 minutes from the Art Center…and a few perks!


  • Stay the night before OR after your workshop (1-night) at Best Available Rate, and we will give you a credit for the amount of the “materials fee” required for your chosen workshop. (one credit per room)
  • If you book two nights (before AND after your workshop), in addition to covering your materials fee, you will receive, with our compliments:
    • a ticket for admission to tour the Maitland Art & History Museums
    • a snack pack to tide you over on your workshop day
    • a copy of “Maitland Art Center: Andre’ Smith and the Research Studio”, a new publication by Danielle Thomas, A&H Maitland, Executive Director
    • admission to a second art experience—either the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens or the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park
  • As always, you’ll enjoy a full gourmet hot breakfast each morning of your stay

Spring Art Workshop Dates:white stucco museum buildings with pond in forefront

  • Tuesday, April 9: Bookbinding
  • Sunday, April 14: Bookbinding
  • Saturday, April 27: Lego Block Relief Printing
  • Wednesday, May 8: Intro to Silk Painting
  • Wednesday, May 8: Marbling on Paper & Silk Scarves
  • Sunday, May 12: Automatic Drawing
  • Saturday & Sunday (2 days), May 11 & 12: Traditional Materials/Contemporary Practice (making your own custom paints)
  • Saturday, May 18: Kitchen Lithography Printing
  • Saturday, May 25: Paper Stencil Printing
  • Saturday, June 8: Accordion Bookmaking

Step 1-Register for your art workshop directly with the Maitland Art Center.

Step 2-Book your lodging retreat at Thurston House and let us know you’re coming!



Explore the Morse Museum: A Winter Park Gem

Tucked away in the charming city of Winter Park, Florida, just a few miles from our historic Thurston House bed and breakfast, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is a hidden gem that beckons art enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious minds alike. This remarkable museum is renowned for its extensive collection of American decorative and fine arts, particularly its unparalleled holdings of works by renowned artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Let’s uncover the Morse Museum’s offerings, its rich history, and exciting events to look forward to during the 2023 holiday season.

Louis Comfort Tiffany Collection

The Morse Museum boasts a diverse and awe-inspiring array of American artistry spanning several centuries. Its centerpiece is the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), the celebrated artist known for his exquisite stained glass creations. Visitors are transported into a world of shimmering beauty as they explore Tiffany’s intricate glass lamps, windows, jewelry, and other decorative arts. The Morse Museum also houses an exquisite chapel interior designed by Tiffany for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, known as the “Tiffany Chapel,” which is a breathtaking sight to behold.

Architectural objects and art from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall, are also on display.In addition to Tiffany’s creations, the museum features a wide range of American art, including pottery, paintings, and decorative objects from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection includes pieces by prominent artists and designers such as John La Farge, Alice Gouvy, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

A Glimpse into the Morse Museum’s History

The Morse Museum has a history as rich and captivating as the art it houses. It was founded in 1942 by Jeannette Genius McKean, who named the museum after her grandfather, Winter Park philanthropist Charles Hosmer Morse. Together, she and her husband, Hugh McKean, who directed the Museum for many years, dedicated their lives to preserving Tiffany’s legacy and promoting American art. The McKeans built the collection over half a century, and today, their vision has resulted in a museum that stands as a testament to their passion and commitment.

Originally housed on the campus of Rollins College, it opened on North Park Avenue in 1995, today occupying over 42,000 square feet of gallery space. The Morse is owned and operated privately by foundation and receives no public funds.

Christmas Holidays at the Morse Museum 2023

One of the most exciting events to look forward to during the holiday season in Central Florida is “Christmas in the Park” in Winter Park. Each year, the Morse Museum helps launch this festive season when they light up Tiffany windows in Central Park and present the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble in concert. This year, the 45th annual celebration of Christmas in the Park, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 30 starting at 6:15pm. The Museum’s website tells the touching history of the event and the significance or the windows.

Another beloved holiday tradition at the Morse Museum is the “Friday Nights at the Morse” series, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience the museum after hours in a special and engaging way. Each Friday night during the series, the museum comes alive with a variety of activities, including live music, art demonstrations, and special tours. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of American art while enjoying a vibrant and social atmosphere.

The 2023-2024 season series coincides with the holiday festivities in Winter Park and kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 24, 2023, with a lively jazz quartet.  Holiday Friday Nights will continue every Friday night through the end of 2023. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or just looking for a fun and cultural night out, “Friday Nights at the Morse” is an event not to be missed.

Visiting the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

The Museum is located at 445 N Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. Free parking is available behind the Museum and on several levels of the Park Place garage across from the Museum. The Museum and Museum Shop are open every day except on Mondays, and visitors can make appointments on the Museum’s website: https://morsemuseum.org/plan-your-visit/. Several  orientation videos are offered online as well, and the Museum provides complimentary audio tours of the galleries via cell phone.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida, is a cultural treasure that invites visitors to explore the beauty and history of American art. It’s remarkable collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works and its dedication to preserving American artistry make it a must-visit destination.

Plan a weekend getaway to Winter Park during this Christmas season and include “Friday Nights at the Morse” in your plan. The Museum, and Central Park are just a quick ten minutes from our historic bed and breakfast, Thurston House. Who knows, but very likely the Morses and the Thurstons attended the same social events while wintering in Central Florida in the late 1800s. And surely, both families offered comfortable and gracious accommodations to their friends and family visiting during the holidays.

Certainly today, the Morse Museum promises an enchanting and immersive experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the museum’s offerings. Mark your calendars, book your stay at Thurston House, and prepare to be captivated by the area’s artistry and history this Christmas season!



Lake Lily fountain in Maitland. ARt under the Stars theme. Duke sponsorship.Are you a discerning traveler seeking an enriching weekend getaway? Nestled within the charming town of Maitland, Florida, Thurston House Bed and Breakfast invites you to embark on a captivating journey into the world of art, culture, and community spirit. The Maitland Florida Rotary Art Festival 2023, has been captivating Central Florida residents and visitors since 1976. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Maitland, Florida, this event has evolved into a grand celebration of the arts, showcasing exceptional talents and giving back to the community.

“Art Under the Stars”

The 47th Annual Maitland Rotary Art Festival, aptly named “Art Under the Stars,” will take place from November 10-12, 2023, at the scenic Lake Lily Park in Maitland, one of Orlando’s most affluent suburbs. With a full weekend format, this juried art show promises an unforgettable experience for art enthusiasts and those looking to make a difference in the community.

Fountain in Lake Lily with lily pads and birds on a fence.Set against the backdrop of Lake Lily Park, this festival offers a unique and inviting atmosphere, especially with the cooler November days. As you explore the festival, you’ll enjoy live entertainment, displays, and demonstrations from cultural partners, as well as captivating student art exhibits from local schools. The event kicks off Friday evening at 5 PM, and then runs Saturday 10AM-9PM and Sunday 10AM-4PM.

Limited Spots, Maximum Quality

Only 145 artists have been selected for this juried show, ensuring that you experience the best of the best in the world of art. It’s an opportunity to connect with artists, immerse yourself in their creative processes, and perhaps find that perfect piece to adorn your home.

Diverse Artistic Categories

Prepare to be mesmerized by the sheer variety of art styles and mediums at this event. The Southeast’s finest artists will converge in Maitland to showcase their talents in ten distinct categories, including Fiber/Leather, Fine Crafts, Glassworks, Graphics & Drawing, Jewelry & Metalwork, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Pottery/Ceramics, and Sculpture & Woodworks. Each artist undergoes a rigorous jury process to ensure the highest quality of artwork.

Festival tents at night.Community Giving and Patron Program

The Maitland Rotary Art Festival is not just about art; it’s about community. This event thrives on public and private partnerships, allowing Maitland Rotarians to give back to their community. With artist awards totaling $14,000, your support directly contributes to local causes and artists. Play a vital role in promoting the arts and community development.

Mark Your Calendar

The Maitland Florida Rotary Art Festival 2023 is a must-attend event for art and culture enthusiasts who appreciate the finer things in life and believe in the power of giving back. Plan your weekend getaway now and book your stay at Thurston House. Our historic bed & breakfast offers a peaceful retreat just minutes away from the festival’s vibrant hub. After a day filled with art and culture, you can relax in our comfortable accommodations and relish a gourmet breakfast to start your day. Hope to see you there!



Winter Park Playhouse logoCentral Florida’s only professional musical theater is nestled right here in our neighboring City of Winter Park, Florida. The Winter Park Playhouse is a hidden gem that’s been delighting audiences for over 20 years. If you’re searching for a place where the magic of live theater meets the joy of music, look no further. This cozy playhouse has a rich history of bringing toe-tapping tunes and heartwarming stories to life, and the 2023-24 Mainstage Musical series promises to be a musical extravaganza like no other. It’s one of the top things our guests like to do when staying at Thurston House, our Orlando area bed and breakfast.

A Glimpse into History

Founded in 2002 by Roy Alan and Heather Alexander, the Winter Park Playhouse has become a beloved institution in Central Florida. This intimate, 123-seat theater, with its comfortable seating and friendly atmosphere, offers an up-close and personal experience that’s perfect for musical enthusiasts of all ages.

Over the years, the Playhouse has progressively broadened its reach, and today, the Playhouse presents six main stage musical productions, monthly cabarets, quarterly special events, the Florida Festival of New Musicals, and numerous community outreach programs each season.

Affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage managers, Winter Park Playhouse maintains high artistic standards and proudly employs professional actors, musicians and technicians. Offering a diverse range of shows, from classic Broadway hits to lesser-known gems, all while showcasing the immense talent of local and visiting performers, the Playhouse is not just a theater; it’s a place where memories are made and musical dreams come true.

2023-24 Mainstage Series Schedule

If you like musical theater, discover the Winter Park Playhouse and prepare to be entertained, moved, and thoroughly enchanted by their exciting lineup of shows. Whether you’re a seasoned theatergoer or a newbie looking for a great night out, there’s something for everyone. While there are a variety of other great series, here are highlights from the 2023-24 Mainstage Series:

“Ruthless” September 22-October 15, 2023~Judy, a naive 1950s housewife, and her adorable 8-year-old daughter, Tina, will do ANYTHING to get the lead role in her school play “including murdering the leading lady!” This fun spoof has its twists, turns and killer laughs!

Christmas show with Tony Bennett picture“A Swingin’ Christmas: The Holiday Music of Tony Bennett” November 10-December 16, 2023~Ring in the holidays with this unforgettable evening of quintessential Tony Bennett songs! Featuring eighteen classic holiday tunes plus the standards that made Bennett famous, like his signature “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Grab your friends and family and celebrate the season Tony Bennett style! (WPP)

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do” January 19 – February 17, 2024~ This nostalgic musical comedy celebrates the timeless songwriting of the legendary Neil Sedaka! Set at a Catskills resort in 1960, this humorous and heartwarming musical follows two friends from Brooklyn in search of good times and romance over one wild Labor Day weekend. Featuring twenty of Sedaka’s most popular songs.

“Five Guys Named Moe” March 15 – April 20, 2024~A high-energy Broadway musical set to Louis Jordan’s iconic rhythm and blues/jazz score! After Nomax’s world is turned upside down, he finds comfort and joy through five guys named Moe, stepping out through his radio! With dozens of whimsical hit songs, this musical fantasy delivers exuberant entertainment!

“George M. Cohan Tonight!” May 10 – June 9, 2024~ Meet “The Yankee Doodle Boy” himself in this high-energy, one-man journey through the life, music, and artistry of this legendary entertainer. This off-Broadway musical features a plethora of tap dancing and hit songs including “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Over There,” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag.”

Make it a Weekend Theater Getaway!

Winter Park Playhouse Musical Theater from entranceDon’t miss out on these fantastic shows during the Winter Park Playhouse’s 2023-24 season. With only 123 seats, shows sell out fast! Here’s an idea…make it a weekend getaway! Thurston House is just a quick 10-minute drive to the Playhouse.

Check out our specials on our website. We offer a theater package from time to time with special ticket prices! That makes things simple! After checking in to our historic Central Florida B&B, you can head out to the theater (with many dining options nearby). It’s a lineup filled with diverse musical experiences (and cozy accommodations) that promise to entertain and enchant! We can’t wait to see you!