You never know what a day will bring. Given a Hobby Lobby gift card in February we finally made the time to venture and explore the thousands upon thousands related products to the arts, crafts, home decor and hobbies. With no store locations in St. Petersbug or Tampa we had three options; to head at least 40 miles northwest, into central Florida or go south. We ended at one of the two store locations in Lakeland, arriving when the doors opened. If you have never been to a Hobby Lobby… o my goodness is there a ton of stuff to look at. We walked around for two hours not even realizing that much time elapsed.
The reason for this post is not to share of our adventures at Hobby Lobby, although we would recommend checking it out if you have never been to one, especially if you enjoy creating. Instead we share what we stumbled upon while OUT and ABOUT in Lakeland, Florida because it did prove to be worthwhile.
Other then heading possibly attending Sun-n-Fun Fly-in or the Polk Museum of Art we never thought to hang in Lakeland, until today. History comes alive with Lakeland’s downtown historic and antiques district mixed among specialty shops, pubs, restaurants and galleries. When you have a day to venture, we suggest Lakeland, Florida. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Check These Places Out Along the Way
DIVICIOUS DELI and COFFEE SHOP
Looking to explore we head downtown, park and walk to see where our feet will lead. First stop, Divicious Deli and Coffee Shop - making a very good impression. The corner location is small and with a homey feel it appeared they run a tight ship. Staff was friendly, they smiled and expressed their thanks for our business. We split a Cuban sandwich because our tastebuds would be wanting to experience other flavors as we stroll through the streets of downtown Lakeland. The food was extremely flavorful, affordable and absolutely divicious!
Across the street, in the heart of Lakeland is Munn Park. Taking a full city block this park is named after Abraham Munn, the city’s founder. The park has a venue all its own; bordered with camphor and oak trees, a rose garden at its center the surrounds a monument placed in 1910, dedicated to soldiers who fought for the Confederate States of America, honoring those who died in the Civil War. Paved walkways, ample space to sprawl in the lawn for a picnic, to rest on one of the many benches or enjoy your morning cup of tea or lunch at one of the bright red bistro sets that sit at parks edge. A mighty fine park to sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding views and life that passes by. There is no lack of restaurants, cafe’s, local retails shops to amuse and there among the relaxed and easygoing day in downtown Lakeland were vendors selling their wares or fruits and vegetables; we stumbled upon their Saturday Morning Street Market.
LAKE MIRROR and FRANCES LANGFORD PROMENADE
Our stroll leads to Lake Mirror complete with a water fountain, random patches of lily pads sporting fat yellow buds about to burst and an abundance of water fowl to entertain. Surrounding the lake is the multi-faceted Frances Langford Promenade, amphitheater and loggia dedicated to the singer and actress. Her signature song, I’m in the Mood for Love was quite familiar to GI’s during WWII when she toured with Bob Hope entertaining our troops. A distance just under one mile makes for an easy stroll with benches or grassy areas to stop and enjoy the view, the moment in time. Other then the occasional train passing through town or the chatter and laughter from random visitors perched on their blanket atop the well kept grounds of grassy green it was the song of birds that entertained.
An earful of classical music drifting through the air is what lured us to this exceptionally manicured garden with its neoclassical architecture. An eyeful of botanical beauty! Located along the southern bank of Lake Mirror the garden delightfully charms with the flowers and foliage, beautiful fountains, butterfly trail, rose garden and koi fish pond. Captivating.
Other then a sample of Ghost Pepper salt from one of the street vendors and a cookie with juice offered while admiring the merchandise at Brooke Pottery, handmade artisan gifts, it was definitely time for another sampling of Lakeland cuisine. Next to Hollis Garden, the promenade continued to lead us and we stopped at Garden Cafe nicely tucked away. Surely a place to stop after enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Quaint, friendly service with homemade food that was delicious. Inside seating (that could use some work to make it more inviting) is available and an outdoor covered dining area - cozy and comfortable with a good view of the Lake Mirror, the Promenade and Hollis Garden. Staff was friendly, service was quick, good was delicious. We split some homemade split pea soup and a sampling of their homemade sides. Our choice of four included: tabbouleh, hummus, three bean salad and coleslaw. O, and a slice of key-lime cake to go.
We wanted to continue our adventure though when there is a dog who awaits your arrival and the duty of daily chores call - all good things must come to an end. Taking a different foot path back we eventually returned to Munn Park where we ate our key lime cake, people watched, enjoying the glorious sun filled day giving thanks to the Lord our God for another blessing.
We wonder what other treasures Lakeland has to offer and look forward to a return. In the meantime, have you ever been to Lakeland?
What in Lakeland would you recommend us venture to?