Saturday, July 31, 2010

3rd Annual Craft Beer Expo - St. Petersburg, FL

Here's a quick picture I took with my Smart Phone at the brew festival in St. Petersburg today. The 3rd Annual Craft Beer Expo was held at The Coliseum and was scheduled from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. There were a lot of interesting beers and a few different styles and types of cheese for tasting.  Things were really hopping at 4 p.m. when I snapped this picture from the balcony while waiting for the Cigar City Brewing seminar.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Florida Tiny Houses

As I get closer to middle age, I find myself taking informal personal inventories occasionally.  When I was a child I always visioned myself living in a certain type of house, in a certain town, and in a particular lifestyle. I've done my best to achieve those goals.  I live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, and have a good job.  But, each year I focus on those material ideals a little less.

Lately, I've been planning and thinking about ways to pursue an affordable retirement lifestyle.  Will I have enough money saved up?  Will I have health insurance coverage? Will my house be paid off, or will I still have a balance on my mortgage?

I'm beginning to realize that planning for an affordable retirement either means finding a way to increase my household income or decrease my household expenses. Preferably I'll find a way to do both at the same time.  I've started a few micro-businesses here and there that manage to bring in micro amounts of money, but those endeavors remain hit or miss and inconsistent at best.

In terms of downsizing household expenses, I'm paying down debt including auto loans and credit cards, pre-paying insurance policies annually, not buying the lates and greatest new automobile, bolstering my savings accounts, and pre-paying the home mortgage, etc.

Like most people in my early 40's, my biggest household debt is the home mortgage.  Luckily though, I made a large down payment on the home when I purchased it.  I don't have the paper equity that I once did, but I still owe less on my mortgage than my house is worth. I am very fortunate, but there is still a lot of work to do.  If worse comes to worse, I feel confident that I can sell my house for what I owe.

I recently ran across, a blog about living in small houses. was recently mentioned on Relax Shax, which is another small house themed website. Here's an interesting You Tube video that appeared on Tiny House Talk.

The houses they photographed in the video are from Matlatcha, FL.  You can still find these types of houses and houseboats for sale in Florida. Granted you might not find waterfront homes like this in Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville, but if you look a little harder you can fnd them.  Although painted in some pretty extreme colors, they are practical and people live in many of them.  Some of them are retail locations now, but used to be and could easily be re-converted back to house dwellings.

I'm still getting used the idea, but it's definitely an option. It's time to think inside the box for a change.  Get it?

More tiny house pictures from the Naples area.

Want to read more about living in small houses?  You might like Twelve by Twelve by William Powers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Defense

From 15 yards

This morning I drove to Gun Craft in Ruskin for some target practice with my handgun.  I like to go when I have vacation days during the week, because it's likely I'll be the only one there.  This morning there were several local guys there who are part of a local sportsmen club.  At least two were retired New York City police officers and another was a first time shooter taking a firearms familarization course. 

Here's a list of shooting ranges throughout the state: Florida Gun Club List

Please don't mistake this posting for a pro-gun article meant to influence you one way or the other.  You can choose to own a gun, or choose not to.  I grew up in a rural community where my friends did a lot of hunting for squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, deer, and turkeys.  We had guns in our house too.  My dad had a .22 rifle, a .410 shotgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a .357 revolver.  I will say that if you choose to own guns, learn how to handle them safely and teach all who reside in your home how to handle them safely

Here are a couple of pictures of my Ruger SP-101. It's a 5-shot revolver that will fire in either single-action (by cocking the hammer prior to pulling the trigger) or double action (by pulling the trigger alone). It fires .38 Special caliber and .357 caliber ammunition.  The difference is the power behind the round, the length of the cartridge and of course the blow-back and noise when it's fired.  The SP-101 has a 3-inch barrel, rubber hand grips, and is physically small enough that my wife can also hold it and fire .38 Special rounds comfortably.

Whether or not you choose to carry a handgun outside your home for self-defense purposes, I do recommend that you take a Concealed Weapons Training Course.  This course enables you to apply for a concealed carry permit from the State of Florida, but also teaches you a lot of things you need to know to be a responsible gun owner. Permits are issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture and there are specific rules and regulations you must follow to qualify for and retain the permit.

A note from the current Commissioner, Charles Bronson:
Applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm for self-defense is a right of law-abiding Floridians. However, you must remember that a license to carry a weapon or firearm concealed on your person does not authorize you to use that weapon. Use of a concealed weapon or firearm is regulated by other provisions of Florida law. It is my hope that you will exercise your lawful right to carry a concealed weapon or firearm responsibly, properly, and safely.
Here's a source of further research regarding Florida Firearms Law, Use and Ownership.  The book was written by Jon H. Gutmacher, Esquire.  He also publishes a blog about firearms issues and discussions

Florida Firearms Law, Use & Ownership (2009)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guy Books, Gal Books, or Plain Old Books

The Joy Luck Club
I have made a concerted effort during the past couple of years to begin reading more novel length works.  I've always been an avid reader of magazines, newspaper articles, and more recently, internet blogs, but I've been trying to rekindle my interest in novels and it's working.

If I read a book that I enjoy, I'm not shy about sharing it with my friends.  I talk about it, reference it, and draw conclusions from it for weeks (or months according to my wife).  I'm nothing if not enthusiastic.  If I like it, you should like it too right?

Not that long ago, a social networking friend of mine commented that I should read a few more "guy" books.  Well, I have been reading guy books and also reading books written by women.  It seems that my friend assumed that I mostly read books written by women because I've mentioned The Joy Luck Club and The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan a few times on Facebook.  I also referenced Mudbound by Hilary Jordan recently.

I've also pretty recently read Carl Hiassen's Nature Girl and Randy Wayne White's Sanibel Flats, novels with a Florida theme, and Doug Worgul's Thin Blue Smoke about Kansas City Barbeque and much, much more. The first two I read for entertainment and the third because I like bbq. 

I don't consider any of these books to be "guy" books or "gal" books necessarily, but rather just books that happened to be written by a man or woman.  They are books about real life experiences and some of the details are fictionalized to convey a particular feeling about a time in history.  In short, they're just books that I happened to read.  And for a bonus, Carl Hiaasen makes me laugh.

Guys may be shy to admit it, but some of the books written by gals are actually pretty good. And gals, throw in a book written by a guy every once in a while in between the latest Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Tess Gerritsen, and whomever else.  The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks might be a good place to start. 

And to any of my friends who may be keeping track - I recently purchased it and will begin reading it soon.  It happens to be written by a man, but the title and main subject are about a woman. Funny yes?
The Widow of the South

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Florida Photography

If you do a Google search for Florida photography, you'll come up with a fairly predictable list of nature photography websites, wedding photography sites, and sites that chronicle family vacations, hiking trips, camping trips, kayaking trips, visits to Disneyland, etc. But, sometimes the golden nuggets are hiding just below the surface a bit and you need to do a little digging to find the types of results you are really hoping for. That's how I found Th!nk Photography from Miami by Paula P.

Th!nk features photos of ordinary subjects framed, massaged, and photographed in just a certain way that makes them all the more interesting. A drop of water, a cell phone keyboard, an earring, or even a simple pair of eye glasses. Pretty cool stuff.

Mango Mania

I just returned from the Colorfield Farms Mango Festival on S. R. 674 in Wimauma, Florida.  (The farm is 5 miles east of Hwy 301.)  The Mango Festival is one of four similar "agri-tourism events" held at the farm annually. 

My favorite Mango on the tasting table, called Glenn, is in the 9 o'clock position in the picture.  The Limen, in the 6 o'clock position was pretty good too. Who knew there were so many different varieties of mangoes? I always thought a mango was a mango, but I counted at least 6 or 7 different varieties of mangoes for sale at the garden stand. 

We picked up 8 or 9 mangoes, in various stages of ripeness - green, red, pink, and yellow.  If my strategy works correctly, we'll have mangoes for an after supper desert tonight, mangoes for a treat on Wednesday after work, and mangoes for a mid-afternoon snack next Sunday. Hint:  Mangoes will ripen on the counter top, but please don't refrigerate them. It probably won't turn out too well.

We also sat through a short presentation given by a Master Gardener that answered questions about mangoes - everything you wanted to know about mangoes and a little more you didn't know you wanted to know but found interesting anyway!

Did you kow that mangoes are native to India?

Did you know you can grow mangoes successfully in Central Florida?

Did you know growing mangoes helps improve air quality?

Did you know ordinary Christmas lights will help keep your mango trees from freezing in the winter?


The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years. Over the years mango groves have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, where the climate allows the mango to grow best. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Motion Picture Quality Film from your Droid or iPhone Smartphone?

HTC DROID Eris Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)
I recently caught the Smartphone bug and purchased an HTC Droid Eris. I like that I can check my Facebook account during my lunch hour, make Twitter posts while running personal errands, check my e-mail, take snapshots and send them to Twitter or Facebook, or save them to the phone itself.

Photos can be edited via one of the several popular free apps available for the Android platform phones. PicSay is one of the most popular free apps and Vignette is a popular, but low priced "pay" app.

According to this article on PicSay lets users correct colors, crop images, add text, add titles, and apply special effects. Vignette adds "46 effects, 15 frames, a self-timer and zoom and crop features".

The phone is also capable of video recording. Some people don't believe the video quality from a SmartPhone measures up to a "real" camcorder.  I thought the same thing, until recenlty.

Here's a pretty good video taken with the HTC Eris Smartphone.  These guys were out driving their Dune Buggies in rural Florida and took some video to remember the trip.  For a handheld video, this seems pretty darn good to me.  It's not a Droid video clip, but to witness the possibilities from the iPhone 4 check out this clip from Now that's awful close to professional quality if you ask me. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who Am I?

Linda snapped this picture at Myakka River State Park yesterday.  Upon further review, we've discovered that neither of us know its' name. These flowering plants are about 4 feet tall and are plentiful in the wetland areas around the lake toward the north side of the park.  There are hundreds visible from the main road throughout the park.  Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fox's Low Road Trail

We live about 50 miles from Myakka River State Park near Sarasota.  After seeing some wonderful pictures of Florida native orchids last weekend, I decided to make a trip to the park and check it out for myself.

We left the house about 7:30 a.m. in Riverview and arrived about 8:30.  After a short conversation with the Park Ranger at the gate we were hiking on the Fox's Low Road Trail east of the Upper Myakka Lake by 9:00. 

It was about this time that Linda discovered she forgot the bug repellant. Yikes! I'm o.k. to go-with-the-flow for most things, but bugs and Linda don't get along well.  Undeterred we trudged onwards willing to risk it. No pain, no gain, right?

Less than a 1/4 mile into the trail we saw two small does foraging just off the trail.  We rounded a turn that opened out into a massive prairie of palmetto and various scrub brush and other grasses. Their heads were barely visible above the brush line. I snapped this picture as the second one meandered across the road seemingly unconcerned about us.

I'm not knowledgeable about orchids and wouldn't know a "Florida native orchid" if it walked up to me and offered to shake my hand, but we continued our search for another 3/4 mile down the trail. Linda successfully located some nicely apportioned fire ant hills.  It was a very lovely introduction (ouch).

This trail was loaded with dragon flys of a variety of colors.  This blue one photographed pretty well and cooperated better than most by "sitting still".

We also saw a couple of red shouldered hawks hunting for breakfast and later crossed paths with a very well fed osprey.  Our search for orchids ended and we headed back to the parking area and toward the birdwalk. 

Myakka River State Park Birdwalk

The birdwalk is a short 1/2 mile drive from Fox's Low Road trailhead.  We arrived a little late to see any bird activity, but it was nice 1/4 mile walk to the viewing area.

Here are two of the only flying animals we did get close enough to for picture taking. 

I'm not up for much bicycle riding these days, but we ran across several riders on the way back to the vehicle.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Homesteading in Florida

New residents of Florida who use a mortgage company to finance their home quickly discover that the ways things are done here are a little different than the way they're done in most other places. 

When we moved to Florida the first time and purchased our house in Casselberry, the real estate agent took extra time to explain the in's and out's of the Florida Homestead Exemption, which at that time was $25,000.  A couple of years ago the exemption was raised to $50,000 under certain conditions. 

For the unfamilar, the exemption allows Florida residents to save a little money on their property taxes each year.  Example:  With a $50,000 exemption, a $200,000 home is taxed based on a $150,000 ad valorem tax rate if all the qualifications are met. Read more at

Another little known wrinkle that probably trips up a few new residents each year regards spouses and their "right to know" about financial affairs that affect them presently or in the future. This article on explains it well.
The Florida Constitution requires that every deed, mortgage, or other transfer of an interest in homestead property be signed by both the husband and the wife, even if only one of them is in title.  
So prospective home buyers in Florida moving here from out of state -- be sure you plan to bring your spouse with you to the mortgage closing. Failing to do so could create a few different scenarios of unpleasant events. Be nice to your spouses folks.  You don't want to get them on your bad side when it comes to mortgages and property ownership in Florida. More from the article:
An equally frustrating situation is that of a buyer in the middle of an acrimonious divorce, whose spouse refuses to sign anything while they are still married. You can imagine the potential for some unscrupulous twisting of facts in order to make the transaction close.
If you're a true information junkie, like me, and enjoy learning more than you really need to know about mundane topics, you might like to explore this topic further by reading this article from Florida Homestead Services. also provides a Q&A and multiple articles on the Florida Homestead Exemption, Agricultural Classification, How to Appeal Denials, etc.

If you would prefer to read the actual Florida Law click here.  The Florida Department of Revenue also provides several useful links for a varierty of situations.

Fort Remington Wood Products

Linda and I took a trip to Keel & Curley during a recent open house they hosted at their blueberry winery in Plant City.  We didn't stand in line for wine tasting, but did head out the side door and toward the u-pick area of the blueberry patch.  Along the way we stopped by the booth of DJ Remington from Fort Remington wood products.

Fort Remington is the business name for DJ Remington's wood products business. Somehow using "business" to describe what is really "wood art" doesn't sound quite right.  She makes spoons from walnut, pecan, cherry, maple, and oak for stirring pots, spreading frosting on cakes, turning stir fry, making sweet tea, and flipping eggs and many other uses. It's easy to see the hard work and love that goes into them. We purchased a right handed stir fry spoon made from cherry wood.

From her website:
DJ Remington is a 5th generation wood worker, and the first female in the lineage. She has always had a passion for creating functional, hand carved wooden spoons and is now ready to share them with the world.  Read more about DJ.
DJ mentioned that she liked doing art and craft shows, but she also wanted to sell via retail outlets.  Linda recommended she inquire at South Shore Gallery in Apollo Beach.

A few weeks later while shopping for gifts at South Shore Gallery, Linda noticed they now have the Fort Remington spoons available. If spoons aren't on your shopping list, they have many other items from various North American artists.  A description from their website:
Here's a few samples of the art and other items they have available.  Click here for directions.
We specialize in art and gifts with a focus on local artists. We have items from all areas of the United States and Canada and are not just a Gallery. Most people tend to think of an art Gallery as a stuffy place with pictures hanging on the walls. We showcase various alternative mediums such as; glass, fiber, jewelry, pottery, wall art, metal and wood.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sea Turtle Rescue Efforts

With sea turtle nesting season in full swing, the effort to save the future hatchlings from oil pollution is ratcheting up.  According to this article in a Daytona News Journal rescuers are relocating nests in an attempt to protect them from potential oil pollution .
The massive operation is expected to move some 700 nests this summer, with anywhere from 70 to 135 eggs per nest. The nests are expected to be predominantly loggerheads, with a few Kemp's ridleys and green turtles. Read more...
For more on the background of the rescue efforts and progress to date, here are a few more articles:

From Florida Today
From Summit County Voice
From Universe Today

But not everyone agrees with the strategy of relocating sea turtles. The following is an excerpt from
The relocation of nests either up the beach or into centralized hatcheries is a conservation technique used for reducing threats to eggs and hatchlings of marine turtles. Mortimer (1999) stated that hatcheries should be used as a last option. This is due to the potential negative effects of hatcheries such as sex ratio alteration (Godfrey & Mrosovsky, 1999) or reduction of hatching success relative to natural nests (Limpus et al. 1979; Mortimer 1999). More recently, Mrosovsky (2006) suggested that nest relocation over the long term may distort gene pools.
I'm not a marine biologist and I don't have any scientific training, so I'm not sure I am qualified to make a judgement one way or the other.  The alternative is to do nothing and let nature take its' course.  I'm not sure I agree with that approach.  Even if mortality for the relocated eggs is 80% for the hatchlings, then at least 20% of the hatchlings are given a chance for survival.  The best alternative would have been to NOT have an oil spoil in the first place, but since that ship has sailed I personally think relocating the turtle eggs is worth a try.

To continue reading about the ongoing sea turtle conservation effort, has a lot more information available.

It's not a sea turtle, but I do have this nice picture of a Gopher Tortoise to share.

Monday, July 12, 2010

When I think of Florida...

When I think of Florida, I think of sunshine, beaches, and rainy afternoons. I think of marlins, tarpons, and redfish. I think of loggerheads, osprey, Space Shuttles, evening sunsets, and rising property taxes -oops - I guess that last one is a little out of place.

I've always dreamed of a beach front home on the Gulf of Mexico bordered by lots of pine trees, wild flowers, and sawgrass.  I'd be awakened every morning by the sounds of osprey and egrets greeting each other near a quiet wetland pond visible from my bedroom window.  I often see myself pouring a glass of orange juice, grabbing the newspaper (or laptop), and heading onto my screened in porch to watch the charter boats heading out for a day of fun and sun.

Sigh....I like a nice day dream, don't you?

Except for the beach part, I ran across a blog with pictures, stories, and descriptions that meet a lot of my "living the Florida dream" requirements on the Pure Florida blog. Pure Florida is written by a native Floridian, former National Park Service Ranger, and descendant of Minorcan ancestors. 

I've absoutely enjoyed reading about mud turtles, alligators, recirculating shrimp farming systems, and scrub jays. So pour yourself an orange juice (or cup of coffee if you prefer), fire up your lap top, and head out onto your screened in porch and watch the shorebirds frolic in the surf....oops...there I go again getting a little carried away....but seriously, check out Pure Florida. It's a hoot!

A Florida Journal follows a similar pattern with lots of pictures -- alligators, crocodiles, cypress swamps, hiking trails, red shoulder hawks -- you get the idea.  This blog also offers a unique perspective of Florida that you don't run across everyday -- one-of-a-kind aerial photos. There's even some pictures from a visit to Spook Hill near Lake Wales.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


When we moved to Florida (the second time) we purchased some orchids at a plant sale twice. They looked so beautiful and the salespeople always make it sound simple. Provide plenty of sun, water, and plant food - easy as pie. The first one last about 3 months and the second attempt at keeping orchids lasted about 4 months. Oops! Maybe I'll stick to photographing them and give up on growing them.

I made a trip to Miami for Memorial Day weekend and took lots of floral photos.  Here are some of my favorite orchid shots:

I've been hanging out over at Florida's Native Orchids blog for inspiration.  Prem Subrahmanyam has got some nice pictures of Florida Butterfly Orchids at Myakka River State Park and the famously reclusive Florida Ghost orchids in Corkscrew Swamp Preserve near Naples and Big Cypress Swamp. In one of my favorite posts, Prem provides details about Florida's dancing lady orchid

Note to the orchid literate who may read this post in the future - please don't think badly of me because I haven't included the scientific names. I appreciate the orchids, but find the names a bit cumbersome. 

Florida Beer Blogs

I picked up some Yuengling Lager today at Publix. I don't buy beer on a regular basis, but when I do lately it's been Yuengling.  It's not the kind of beer you see advertised during NFL games or NASCAR races, but it's pretty good stuff. It also holds the distinction of being brewed in a family owned brewery that is considered the oldest brewery in America founded in 1829.

It's not available at Publix yet, but the guys over at Cigar City Brewing are carrying the torch for Hand Crafted IPA ales. This brewing operation takes it's name from a section of the Tampa area known for cigar making (catchy) and the blog provides a lot of insight into the regulations and rules that stack the deck against those who aspire to building a small brewery operation into a larger one - not unlike Yuengling.  I won't even attempt to explain the politics of the beer business, but they guys at Cigar City Brewing are happy to lay out all the details for you on their blog.

I love the title at the top of their blog page:
How to open and run a Craft Brewery in 7000 Easy Missteps.
But, if you're in South Florida (or traveling there) and want to learn more about the beer scene, South Florida Beer Blog, can lend you a hand.  The site has lots and lots of information about beer events at many of the most popular beer hang outs in the Greater Miami area and beyond. There's even a Beer Events Calendar so you don't miss out on anything. Pretty cool!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Apalachicola Florida

I spent Independence Day on St. George Island and unfortunately, it did rain on the parade.  It rained cats and dogs, cow on a flat rock, etc. etc.  However, the weather did clear off in the early afternoon and we were able to do some shopping and exploring in nearby Apalachicola.   Later on we even spent a couple of hours on the beach near the home we stayed at in the Plantation Community on the island.

And, here's my favorite place we visited...

This place is literally a tin shed, but behind that crude exterior there are some pretty cool nautical items for sale.  If I had a beach cottage to decorate, this is the place I'd go.

Checking on some of the local blogging sites I discovered Capt Ron's Tarpon Tails blog.  This site has quite a few pictures of the area including several shots of tarpon, flora, and wildlife taken in the area.  There's also a nice You Tube slide show of nearly 5 minutes of additional pictures taken in the Apalachicola area. 

Florida Nature Photography is another blog worth a look. The site has a wonderful series of photos from the Forgotten Coast area of the State - most Floridians know it by simply "The Panhandle".

Our drive from Tallahassee to St. George Island exposed me to an area of Florida so undeveloped and natural that it was like we were transported into a sort of Twilight Zone. It was nice to drive on two lane roads with plenty of beautiful scenery and small amounts of traffic. Fifty-five mph never had it so good. I was tempted to drive even slower just to take it all in! I look forward to making a return trip.

Florida Bat House

I noticed several peculiarly shaped boxes mounted on poles on St. George Island.  I drove by them several times without recognizing their significance.  But, upon a closer review I noticed the boxes had bat symbols painted on them. Ah hah - a bat house!

I read more about bats at the Florida Bat Conservancy and it all makes sense - more bats = less insects:
Bats are the most important controller of night-flying insects, including many agricultural pests. One small bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night! Unfortunately, many bat species are disappearing at alarming rates. Disturbance or destruction of roost sites due to development and vandalism constitute the greatest threat to the world’s bats. Most bats living in Florida prefer to roost in mature trees, dead trees (snags), or in caves. However, many bats take up residence in buildings, or other manmade structures, due to loss of habitat. Bat houses provide alternative roost sites for Florida's colonial bat species. A bat house in your backyard will offer local bats a much needed place to live. They will also do you a return favor by helping to control the insects in the area.
Who knew? Bats can help with insect control. In Florida (and certainly in my backyard) we have plenty of insects. Some of them are vicious little blood sucking beasts (that may be an exaggeration, but my wife tells me I have a flair for the dramatic sometimes). Maybe I should build a bat house. Lucky for me, the bat conservancy has plans available.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wine Anyone?

I'm not really a wine drinker.  I'm more of an occasional beer drinker (I'll save that for a future post), but a few wine oriented websites recently caught my attention.  The Wine Bloggers  and South Florida Food and Wine provide wine reviews and opinions for wines at various price ranges.  There's also a wine Meet Up group.)  Backroads Wine recently wrote an article about Florida wine attractions that sounds promising. 

Speaking of wine tours, I recommend Lakeridge Winery in Clermont, FL. It's been operating since 1989 and is one of the most successful wineries in the State.  I've been there a few times and always learn something new during the informal tour and video presentation.  Best of all it's free and, if you're like me and don't have a special taste for wine, you can always buy some as a gift for your friends and relatives that do. 

Florida Wine Fact:  Did you know that wineries in Florida use specially developed varieties of grapes that tolerate the summer temperatures better than the traditional varieties you find in California or New York?

From the Lakeridge Winery website:

Lakeridge Winery is situated among the rolling hills of Clermont. You will find it a delightful place to enjoy while you are visiting central Florida. Complimentary Tours and Wine Tasting are offered seven days a week. Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5p.m. and Sunday - 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tours usually run every 15-20 minutes and begin in the upstairs theater to view a 12 minute video presentation which shows the growing of the Florida grapes to the wine making process and the finishing with the bottling and labeling.
If you don't live near Central Florida, you can also find wine from Lakeridge at various retailers by using their locator tool. I tried it and discovered that their Southern Red and Southern White varieties are available at many Publix supermarkets in the Tampa area.

For those who made it this far....I do realize that the wine in the picture was imported from South Africa.  My wife received it as a gift and it's all I had available to accompany this article. I'll do better next time - promise!