26th Annual Festival of Trees Coming Soon….

The Orlando Museum of Art presents the 26th annual Festival of Trees, “Once Upon A Time … A Fairy Tale Festival”, November 9th -18th , 2012. The art museum will be  transformed into yet another Holiday Wonderland, with this years theme incorporating the whimsy and tradition of everyone’s favorite fairy tales, along with the latest design trends, with trees trimed into amazing holiday creations.

This is a must not miss event, and a great opportunity to start holiday shopping. Gifts can be purchased both at the event and in the art museum’s gift store. Find one of a kind items, just perfect for those special someones.

Thurston House, Central Floridas premier bed & breakfast accommodation is less than 15 minutes away. Why don’t you plan a nice getaway too? Book now… 

See Maitland & Winter Park by Bicycle!

When planning your escape to beautiful Central Florida, plan something different by renting a classic bicycle from Breakaway Bicycle and roam around all our beautiful side streets. Visit all the little hidden parks, travel from museum to museum, go to the Audubon Birds of Prey Center, grab some food and stop for a picnic lunch at Lake Lily…so much to enjoy! 

The icing on the cake, is the fact that you can spend the night at North Orlando’s premier bed & breakfast, Thurston House!

Culture & Cocktails in Maitland, Central Florida!

Art & History - Maitland, Culture & Cocktails

Culture & Cocktails Join us for the not-to-be-missed social event for art lovers! Our first event of the 2011-2012 arts season takes place on Friday, November 11, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, both inside and outside of the Maitland Art Center’s Germaine Marvel Building. Guests are sure to enjoy this evening of art, music, poetry, food and fun! The Germaine Marvel Building will be filled with the artwork of esteemed artist Yatin Patel, from his series entitled SUTRA. The artist writes, “SUTRA – an ancient sanskrit (historical Indo-Aryan language 1500 AD) translated as ‘a thread or line that holds elements together.’” In this collection, Yatin reveals the beautiful textural fibers that are woven into the environments of present-day urban India, evocative of its ancient society and civilization at large. The evening also features music by Gruda & Yoho , a 2-man band born in early 2011. Gruda plays guitar and sings. Yoho beatboxes and plays bass guitar. Additional objects and electronics also utilized to create their unique sound. Their mostly original material fuses funk, rhythm & blues, jazz, psychedelic rock, and hip-hop (beats), into one sonic blend. Music is generously sponsored by Performing Arts of Maitland. Renowned poets Terry Thaxton and Elaine Person from Maitland Poets and Writers are also featured in the evening’s festivities, and will be performing poetry readings at select times during the evening. Additionally, artists from the Art & History Museums – Maitland’s Sketch Club will show off their talents as they sketch outside in the courtyard throughout the evening. Patrons will not leave hungry, either, as Big Wheel Provisions will be on hand with their popular Food Truck. Big Wheel Provisions is a catering and charcuterie company located in Orlando, and owned by Chef Tony Adams and a group of people dedicated to creating amazing food. Admission to this artistically fun event is $5, and includes one drink ticket. Guests who sign up for a membership to the Art & History Museums – Maitland, which will be offered at half price that evening, receive free admission and a complimentary drink ticket.

Celebrating 50 Years at Leu Gardens!

One of our favorite local places, Leu Gardens is 50 this year! Located only 15 minutes from Thurston House B&B in North Orlando, it is a guest favorite too!

Harry P. Leu Gardens features paved scenic walkways for a self guided, self paced visit that takes you through fifty acres of southern styled gardens including:

  • America’s third largest Camellia collection

  • Three acres of idea gardens for weekend projects

  • The largest formal rose garden in Florida. 

  • A National Historic House dating from the 1880’s. 

  • Two acre Tropical Stream Garden

  • Vegetable and Herb Garden

  • Butterfly Garden

  • Palm, bamboo and cycad gardens

The Mission of Harry P. Leu Gardens is to inspire people to appreciate and understand plants, the environment of Central Florida and the Gardens’ historic significance.

The Leu House Museum is open 10:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m. with tours every thirty minutes on the half hour.  The last tour begins at 3:30 p.m.  The Leu House Museum is closed in July

Classes and symposia on landscaping, horticulture, fine arts, crafts and children’s classes are available with pre-registration.  Click on “Education” in the column on the left for more information.

Hours:  Gardens open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas day. Last Garden admission at 4:00 pm.

This is a must see for those venturing into Central Florida!

A Wise Old Owl at Thurston House

Wise Owl

It seems fitting to have this Buzza Company print hanging in my B&B office. Of late we have been entertained a lot by the local birds, specifically the owls. One in particular seems to love to swoop and hoot. We have named him Cyrus, in honor of the original owner of this magnificiant 1885 Queen Anne Victorian Central Florida home, Cyrus Brooks Thurston.

Just two streets away from us is the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. A short stroll will get you to their gate. Step inside and experience the wonder of these creatures. The center is not only home to many owls, but also to eagles, hawks, vultures, osprey, and more! You can even adopt a bird in honor of a loved one, a unique and thoughtful gift!

Cyrus, the Thurston House owl

Of course you can just sit on our porch rocking away and let them come to you. We call it our guest entertainment. Come see, at Thurston House, our Central Florida bed & breakfast!

Plan ahead for Central Florida Fall Jazz!

One of our favorite things to do is to attend a Leu Garden’s Jazz Stroll. These wonderful night time events take place from 6-10pm. We never miss the Spring & Autumn strolls. Guests have already contacted me about when the next one will be as they want to fly down here from PA just so they can stay here at our North Orlando B&B again, and also attend this October event. They were here at Thurston House during the Spring event but were obligated to attend a wedding.

Path through Leu Garden’s Sculpture Garden

Our North Orlando lodging is the perfect place to stay when visiting Leu Gardens as we are only a short drive away. Get creative and pack a scrumptous picnic dinner to bring. Be sure to include your favorite beverages!  Throw in a couple of chairs or even a blanket and you’ll be all ready to set up near one of the three jazz bands. Get yourselves settled, grab a glass and fill er up, then stroll the many lighted paths that meander through this gorgeous 50 acre botanical garden. This year the Fall Stroll is October 15th. Tickets go on sale a couple weeks in advance and they do usually sell out!

Birds of Prey in Central Florida

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Central Florida is just minutes away from our North Orlando bed & breakfast. Founded in 1979 in Maitland, FL, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey has treated over 12,000 injured or orphaned birds of prey (raptors), releasing more than 40% of these former patients back into the wild. The Center handles the largest volume of eagles, owls, falcons, hawks, and kites east of the Mississippi River–averaging more than 650 admissions, or injured or orphaned birds of prey, each year—and is a leader among all North American rehabilitation centers for specialized eagle care.

The Center also provides environmental education programming to over 20,000 local students, teachers, and visitors annually, while promoting a culture of conservation towards birds of prey and their habitats. A nationally renowned research institute, the Center is an influential voice in the ongoing fight to save endangered and threatened birds of prey.

Thurston House Central Florida B&B owl

Of course, sitting on our Maitland Winter Park b&b porch or strolling our grounds can feel like a birds of prey center too. We often see osprey fishing in the lake, or hear the hoots of owls. Sometimes the owls even allow their photo to be taken, as was the case this past weekend.

Lake Eola Park, Orlando

Lake Eola Park is popular destination in downtown Orlando, with many people taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings to stroll around or sit on one of the many benches. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting swan-shaped paddle boats, electric gondola boats, feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at Relax Grill on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. Don’t miss the Battle of the Bulge monument too! Sunday mornings bring a wonderful farmer’s market to the park, with a variety of produce, great eats, and gift items.

Lake Eola Park Fountain

In the middle of the park is the well photographed curved shaped fountain. It is undergoing a major renovation right now, but the city hopes to have it done by the yearly 4th of July festivities. This amazing event brings people from all over to see spectacular fireworks. Arrive early, set up a blanket or chairs and enjoy all of the day’s events. Once it gets dark, the fireworks will begin, set off over the water. Book your room now at Thurston House our Central Florida B&B and come see what this Orlando event is all about! We are only 6 miles from the park.  

Taylor Swift Coming to Orlando!

Coming June 4th to the Amway Center in downtown Orlando is Taylor Swift and her Speak Now Tour 2011. This is one of the most highly anticipated musical experiences of the year. Renowned for incredibly high-energy theatrical presentations, this show will featue amazing graphics, sets and visuals. Taylor herself will play a variety of instruments and will have a multitude of wardrobe changes. Special guests to the show will be NEEDTOBREATHE.

Hurry and buy your tickets before they are sold out. Then book your room at our north Orlando B&B Thurston House, located in Maitland and just 5 miles from the Amway Center!