Art & History Museum Maitland white stucco buildings with pond in forefront

Where can retirees find museums with great art and rich history when traveling to Central Florida? Here’s one to consider! Nestled along the picturesque shores of Lake Sybelia in Maitland, just north of Orlando, the Art & History Museums Maitland (A&H) is a cultural treasure waiting to be explored. Steeped in history and brimming with artistic wonders, this institution is a must-visit destination for retirees and art enthusiasts alike when vacationing in Central Florida. And, lucky for you, it’s just a quick five-minute jaunt from Thurston House, our historic B&B.


The Art & History Museums Maitland boasts a rich history dating back to the 1930s when J. Andre’ Smith established the “Research Studio” as a haven for artists and historians. He envisioned a place where art and history converged, and his dream came to fruition when the Maitland Art Center was opened.

Did you know? The Maitland Art Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeastern United States. Its unique architecture alone is worth the visit.

Today, the A&H is a dynamic cultural institution comprising five museums and historic properties. These include the Maitland Art Center, Maitland Historical Museum, Waterhouse Residence Museum, Telephone Museum, and Carpentry Shop Museum. Each site offers a distinct glimpse into the region’s art and history, creating a comprehensive experience for visitors.


Retirees looking for art and history, in particular, will find the A&H to be an enriching and leisurely destination. Here are some reasons why:

  • Artistic Inspiration: The A&H hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase the works of local and international artists. Immerse yourself in the beauty of contemporary and historical art.
  • Historical Insights: The historical museums provide a fascinating journey through time, offering a chance to delve into the history of Maitland and the broader region of Orange County. In a short afternoon, you can gain a deeper understanding of the community near Orlando that has been home to so many through the years.
  • Cultural Engagement: The A&H Maitland Art Center regularly hosts events, workshops, and lectures, making it a vibrant hub for cultural engagement. One can easily participate in art classes, attend lectures, or simply relax in the serene gardens.
  • Peaceful Surroundings: The A&H’s tranquil setting is perfect for anyone seeking a peaceful escape. Strolling through lush gardens or enjoying the serene lakeside views can provide a sense of relaxation and restoration.

Art & History Museum Maitland orange logoDon’t miss out on the Art & History Museum Maitland for a unique opportunity to blend appreciation for art and history while enjoying the beauty of Florida’s landscapes. With its rich history, diverse exhibits, and serene ambiance, it’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered and cherished by those seeking cultural enrichment and relaxation. Reserve a few days at Thurston House, our 1885 built bed & breakfast, and let us be your restful haven during your Central Florida adventures. We’ll take good care of you!

Farmers’ Markets Near Orlando: Three You Must Visit

FARMERS’ MARKETS NEAR ORLANDO: 3 YOU MUST VISITbrown bag with purchase at market

With a growing number of Floridians interested in locally-sourced ingredients and organically grown produce, Central Florida’s farm market scene is especially vibrant. With Florida’s temperate climate, guests of Thurston House, our Orlando area bed and breakfast, can visit several local farmers’ markets year round. On any given weekend, you could find 20 markets within a half-hour drive of the inn.  Here’s three you must explore that are just a few quick minutes away.

Florida farmers’ markets are a great showcase of local products because many markets stipulate that vendors grow, make, or process the ingredients in the products they sell. This means the honey, fruit, bread, herbs, or jam you buy is likely from Florida. And most are as fresh as a few days old. Also, farm stands are usually represented by the farmer or the farm workers, meaning you can ask questions firsthand about how the food was grown or made.

chicken pot pies being sold at market


In particular, the Winter Park Saturday Farmers’ Market is the number one produce and plant market in Central Florida. Every Saturday morning from, over 50 vendors gather to sell their fresh produce, plants, baked goods and more. Mason, of Winter Park Urban Farms, is one of our favorite farmers, cultivating gardens in back yards around town and offering seasonal produce harvested just the day before market. Set up in the Central Park West Meadow, across from the old train depot, the Winter Park Saturday Farmers’ Market is a popular gathering place for locals, and their dogs, on the weekends.


On Sunday mornings, the Maitland Farmers’ Market is a fun place to spend a few hours. Located in downtown Maitland on Independence Lane, nearly 25 vendors are excited to greet you. Shop fresh produce and fruit, plants and flowers, crafts, food, and more. Get a croissant or made-to-order crepe from Chez Vincent Bakery before stepping across to Blessed Bean Coffee for a fresh cup of java. There’s live music provided courtesy of Performing Arts Matters and kids always enjoy inflatable slides and games in the park.


The proximity of our Central Florida B&B to Orlando makes it an easy 10-minute drive south to another local market on Sundays. The Orlando Farmers’ Market, in its 35th year, is held at Lake Eola Park near Downtown Orlando, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. More than a traditional farmers’ market, you will also find crafts, gifts, wine and jewelry in addition to fresh produce and baked goods. Always family friendly, take the kids and dogs for a great afternoon on the banks of Lake Eola.

Here’s a list of other Central Florida markets to explore if time permits: “Top 10 Farmer’s Markets in Central Florida”   You’re sure to find a tasty snack or the perfect souvenir at one of these Orlando-area Farmers’ Markets when you stay at Thurston House Bed & Breakfast near Orlando.

Getdown Downtown – New Event!

With the completion in October of the City of Maitland Downtown area, a new monthly event will be starting – Getdown Downtown! On the first Friday of each month, this pedestrian friendly area will be filled with live music, vendors, food and drink. We have waited a long time for this wonderful new addition to our city. The downtown area is just over 1 mile from us here at Thurston House. Take a stroll through our beautiful neighborhoods and arrive at the event ready to enjoy a fun evening.

So book your room now and plan for a great start to a fabulous weekend in beautiful Central Florida!

New City of Maitland event – Getdown Downtown 2018


Happy 130th Birthday Maitland!

Happy 130th Birthday Maitland Celebration

Happy 130th Birthday Maitland Celebration

Coming up very soon is our city’s fabulous birthday celebration – Happy 130th Birthday Maitland! The City of Maitland was incorporated the same year Thurston House was built – 1885.

This celebration is much fun and only a short stroll away from Thurston House. There will be food, music and fabulous fireworks, all held at beautiful Lake Lily Park. Come and have fun. You don’t even have to bring a present, just say Happy 130th Birthday Maitland! Pack your picnic blanket and basket of goodies and set up early on the shores of Lake Lily, close to all the fun. You will have a front row seat for the fabulous fireworks that start at 8:45pm!

Lake Lily Park location for Happy 130th Birthday Maitland

Lake Lily Park

Room availability is limited so book now!


Dali Central Florida – A Maitland Marvel!

Just a week after the Maitland Art Center proudly accepted its’ National Historic Landmark designation, it opens a long awaited and much anticipated Salvador Dali exhibit! The Spanish surrealist painter has been called one of the biggest artistic names in history, and certainly the most famous to be displayed at the center. The Research Studio founder (now called the Maitland Arts Center) Andre Smith and Salvador Dali were contemporaries, but moved in very different artistic circles.

The Dali Central Florida exhibit – Art and the Subconscious – will showcase works of both Dali and Smith side by side. This will highlight the contrast between the two men’s work and their own unique styles.

The Maitland Art Center is just a short stroll or dirve from our North Orlando Central Florida Bed & Breakfast Thurston House. This area has a feeling of quiet and culture, yet is just minutes from downtown Orlando and Winter Park. Expect to be impressed during your stay here in Central Florida.

Newest National Historic Landmark Florida

The newest National Historic Landmark Florida, and the only one in Orange County, is being dedicated tomorrow! It is such an honor for all of us who live in Maitland. The Maitland Art Center was built by Andre Smith in 1937 to be used as an artists’ colony. The complex of buildings and courtyards, considered “Fantasy Architecture”, are quite unique and feature many Aztec & Mayan design elements. There is a Chapel & Mayan Courtyard, Main Garden, and many small studio buildings. The studios are hosts to a variety of artists who are involved in the Artists-In-Action program.

Gallery exibits are changed often and feature a wide variety of collections. Art instruction classes are offered both for children and adults. The museum gift store has many unique one of a kind gifts, ranging from jewelry to pottery, and more. Newest National Historic Landmark Florida is truly a treasure for us all to enjoy.

Lake on the way to visit Newest National Historic Landmark Florida

Lake on the way to visit Newest National Historic Landmark Florida

Guests at Thurston House, our north Orlando Maitland Winter Park area bed & breakfast can easily stroll over to the center, through wonderful neighborhoods and along several lakes. Wander the beautiful grounds, explore the chapel area, peak in the studio windows and check out the latest gallery exhibit. You will even be able to see the newest National Historic Landmark Florida plaque after the dedication that takes place tomorrow.

National Historic Landmark Orange County, Florida

Maitland Art CenterI am proud to announce that the Maitland Art Center has become the first National Historic Landmark in Orange County and the 44th National Historic Landmark in the state of Florida. Just awarded yesterday, this designation applies to places that “exceptionally illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States.” The center is one of the few remaining examples of “fantasy architecture” in the Southeast. It’s Mayan details make it pleasure to stroll around the grounds and is a real treat for photographers!

Founded in 1937 by visionary artist and architect Jules André Smith the A&H’s Maitland Art Center is built in the very rare Mayan Revival style. It was built as an art colony, providing a place for artists to live and to further experiment in their medium.

Today the center has beautiful gardens, ongoing exhibits and continuing education in the arts available in many different mediums. The outdoor chapel has been the location for many weddings, and the courtyards often host special events. The lobby store has many unique gift items featuring local artists, some who have taken advantage of working in one of the buildings at the center.


Thurston House bed & breakfast has hosted wedding couples for their special night after their ceremony at the center. Wouldn’t this be special for someone you know? Book now!

Summer Concert Series North Orlando!

Summer Concert Series North Orlando – The next summer concert at the Art & History’s Maitland Art Center main garden is coming up soon – Friday, June 14  at 7 PM featuring The Dan Jordan Trio.

The A&H Associates, volunteer corps of the Art & History Museums – Maitland  (A&H), in partnership with Performing Arts of Maitland, proudly present a Summer Concert Series in the A&H’s beautiful Main Garden, located at  231 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland.  The series, titled Art. Music. Food. Architecture., takes place the second Friday of every month from May –September.   

This perfect way to enjoy a summer evening under the stars, the Summer Concert Series is sure to delight.

The Dan Jordan Trio takes the stage on June 14 with a program of original Jazz music with South American and Middle Eastern influences.  The group has played together for over 20 years, and has performed with some of the best musicians in the business.  The instrumentation is Flautist and Saxophonist Dan Jordan, percussion/spoken word artist Michael Welch, and Songwriter/Bassist Dan Walters.

Our North Orlando Bed & Breakfast, Maitland lodging Thurston House is the perfect place to stay. Actually, one of the musicians is already booked for that night. Still rooms are open!

2012 Florida Film Festival is almost upon us!

This year’s Florida Film Festival features a record breaking 168 films respresenting 31 countries. Running from April 13-22, films will be shown at the following venues – Enzian Theater, Regal Winter Park Village 20, Winter Garden Theater, and Central Park on Park Avenue.

   Every year the Florida Film Festival premieres the best in current independent and foreign cinema. And this year they are saluting their 21st anniversary by bringing you more of the best. With cutting-edge films, 100 visiting filmmakers, plenty of special guests, and non-stop events, this festival will do everything to ensure 10-days of Film, Food, and Fun.


Thurston House, North Orlando’s only bed & breakfast accommodation, is just a short stroll away from the Enzian Theater, the major hub of all the activity. Book now!