Aug 31, 2013

Challenge of Travel Blog Hop: My Stay-Vacation in Orlando, Florida!

When Erin announced her second annual Challenge of Travel Blog Hop would celebrate our homes, I was delighted! I love my home. Moving to Orlando, Florida many years ago was the best thing my family ever did. Our lives have changed so much for the better, and living in a beautiful city and natural paradise is a dream come true. 

Much like the suburbs of New York, Orlando is made up of many suburban cities and towns, lovingly all called "Central Florida." The huge city is full of diversity, a melting pot of international people, my beautiful neighbors.

Living in Orlando -- called The City Beautiful by the world -- indeed is beautiful! Orlando is full of water fountains, natural lakes, parks, birds, flowers, treasures, art museums, events, international visitors, beauty, and fun! There are breath-taking scenes everywhere I go ....

Downtown Orlando Lake Eola

I live in a wonderful area of Central Florida that includes Longwood, Casselberry, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, and Eatonville. 

Altamonte Springs

Some say we're in Maitland, Florida

Maitland is one of the oldest incorporated suburban municipalities in Central Florida, previously inhabited by Native Americans, the Seminole Indians.Recently, Maitland became a suburb of Orlando and according to Wikipedia, "the area has always been a vacation spot because of its climate, location to theme parks and people. Maitland has recently become a location where affluent individuals have come to reside, with picturesque parks along lakes, which attract many boaters."

 Maitland has places with magical names like Lotus Lake and Druid Hills. I live in a little neighborhood off of Forest City Road. Everywhere there is a mix of rich natural beauty and the finest comforts for world travelers stopping by. 

The greatest gift of living here is the gift of happiness. Here, there are many jobs and interesting and various things to do, and the sunshine pours out daily, lifting everyone's spirits. People here are so happy, and life is daily joy.

Lily Park

Some say we're in Altamonte Springs

Even going to the grocery store in Altamonte Springs is fun, and a sight for the eyes, a delight for the senses with elegant water fountains, fragrant tropical flowers, trees that bloom all year long, bird song, and of course, palm trees! My grocery is in Altamonte Springs, a 5 minute walk from home.

 150,000 Central Floridians at Altamonte’s Cranes Roost Park to celebrate the 4th July!

Altamonte Springs!

But best of all, we live a short 5 minute drive from Eatonville

Eatonville was the first ever African American town in the US formed after the Emancipation Proclamation, and is known as "The Town That Freedom Built."

Eatonville was home to anthropologist and author Zora Neale Hurston. Some assert her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is based on Eatonville. 

Knowing I live where Zora lived is an honor. 

The annual Zora Neale Hurston Arts Festival of the Arts and Humanities is held there every year, and Hurston's former home is now her art museum.

I wanted to create jewelry to celebrate the diversity of Orlando! 

Even on my very block, neighbors are a melting pot of differences! Like the rainbow lights changing in front of my home, our neighborhood is a rainbow where there are Hispanic families, Jamaican landlords, African-American & white "inter-racial couples, gays, Cuban immigrants, Asian americans, the Disabled, the Elderly... 

I finally found a bead representing a woman of color! 

Soul Silver has diverse beads. It arrived today & I LOVe it! 

Wanting to be sure to include my Blog Hop post, I will have to create later, but what wonderful jewelry she will become! 

In addition to our prosperous, beautiful, and diverse neighborhood, I must also share the wonder of living on a peninsula! The air is fresh and the skies are blue. The ocean is a 45 minute drive away.
I step outside, I smell the ocean air.

CoCoa Beach, Florida

Larimar Wire wrapped Focal with Mystic Topaz Gems & Pearls

My daughter wears the larimar necklace :) 

More swimming as our pool is just a doorway away! My backyard is a super fun place and a tranquil retreat. The sun shines. My palm tree grows. Our fountain relaxes us. Hibiscus bloom.

And I couldn't celebrate my Stay-vacation without celebrating the history of Florida's journey to the moon & drusy moon jewelry!

The moon in my neighborhood

Enjoy the other Blog Hop artists "stay-vacations" 
inlinkz at Treasures Found.
Happy Travels! 

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Francisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning more jewelry techniques. Join her on FB for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, blog hops, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!


  1. Wow, Rita, what amazing photos of your beautiful home! All your pieces are gorgeous... as a child of the 60s I am compelled by your sweet representation of the crescent moon, a source of wonder to me as I watched that first moon landing so many years ago. But of course seems like yesterday :)

  2. As Mr Rodger's would say, "It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood" and am so happy to share ours with you and everyone else. Fantastic pictures. (Hugs)

  3. Such beauty in a city - lovely. Beautiful jewelry too. Andrea

  4. Fluff up the guest pillows, Miss Rita! I want to come and visit! Of course, I do have a deep and abiding love for all things Mickey (I am glad you didn't focus on that!), but I find that it is much more interesting to know more of where you live, rather than this more famous landmark! The melting pot is a great analogy. Not only the people who live there but those that come to visit and play. I love that pretty little angel bead, and I will watch for what you do with her! And your daughter is drop dead gorgeous, rivaled only by your gorgeous larimar necklace. I apologize for taking so long to come and visit. I have been spending a little time each day in someone's hometown. Thank you for joining me on the journey! Enjoy the day! Erin

  5. beautiful post Rita we are heading to Orlando very soon and after reading your post i am getting very much excited for my trip to this beautiful place.Thanks a lot for the beautiful post.quality inn hotel orlando airport


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