About This Episode
A Ride On The SunRail: Part Two covers things to do and see near the Lake Mary and Longwood stations.
SunRail is a commuter rail system in the Greater Orlando, Florida, area. Service began on May 1, 2014. The system comprises 16 stations along a former CSX Transportation line connecting Volusia County and Osceola County through Downtown Orlando. The SunRail system is financed by the state and federal governments and the counties it serves. SunRail is Florida’s second commuter rail system after South Florida’s Tri-Rail. SunRail runs on weekdays (excluding holidays) between the hours of approximately 5:00 am and 11:00 pm, providing 20 trips in each direction.
Riders on the SunRail system use a stored-value card, in the form of a disposable ticket or a reloadable SunCard, to pay fares. The cost of SunRail tickets is based on the number of counties (zones) through which the rider will be travelling. The system passes through four counties: Volusia; Seminole; Orange; and Osceola. SunRail uses a “tap on/tap off” system for ticketing. Riders must “tap on” at a validator unit at the station prior to boarding the train by tapping their ticket on the screen and waiting for the beep. Riders must again “tap off” at a validator unit with their ticket after disembarking at their destination before exiting the station. Reduced fares are available for seniors, students, and disabled riders.
On the previous episode of this series, I discovered some wonderful places to see and things to do in DeBary and Sanford. On this episode I am taking a ride on the SunRail down to the Lake Mary and Longwood stations to see what unique things I can uncover there. Coming up next!
From Sanford, I am heading down to the SunRail station in Lake Mary. There I found a fantastic expanding art exhibit hidden on the Seminole Wekiva trail and one of the best wine shops in Central Florida. A few miles west of the Lake Mary SunRail station you will come near the head of the Seminole-Wekiva Trail – a 14 mile popular biking, skating and running path – that is also the home to an ever expanding pop art exhibit called, “Paint the Trail.” Local artist, Jeff Sonksen started putting pop art murals on the fences of homeowners lining the trail back in 2012. Since then, over 1,000 works of art have been produced and displayed on the trail. The murals celebrate everything from nature to pop culture – from the famous to the infamous. Paint the Trail is an evolving art display you will want to see, just minutes from the Lake Mary SunRail station.
Within walking distance of the Lake Mary SunRail station, you will find yourself in the quaint Lake Mary downtown – home to of one of the top wine merchants in Central Florida – Pierre’s Wine Cellar. Pierre’s Wine Cellar is Central Florida’s home for fine wines from around the globe. If you need food and wine pairing advice, an event planning consultation or gift selection, the team at Pierre’s make wine buying as much fun as wine drinking! Established in Lake Mary in 1999, named after the son of shop owners Olivier and Marie, Pierre’s Wine Cellar was voted twice “Best Wine Store in Orlando” by the readers of Orlando Magazine. The shop includes a small selection of unique gifts, gift baskets and special pricing on Pierre’s Pick of the Month. Pierre’s Wine Cellar is a perfect reason to take a ride the SunRail to the Lake Mary Station.
While it has been fun to see the art and enjoy the wine in Lake Mary, it is time to move down the line to the Longwood Station. The station is located in the historic Longwood downtown where many homes from the 1800s were converted into shops that line the business district.
Just across the street from the Longwood SunRail station, you will find an intimate and cozy coffee shop known as Two Bell’s Café Company. You can taste the world at Two Bells with roasted coffee from Brazil, Columbia, Kenya, The Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Two Bell’s is also a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly café and is pet friendly. Inside the shop you will find comfortable seating and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for casual conversation or quiet reflection. Located in the historic Zanzibar House in Longwood, Two Bell’s Café Company is also part art gallery displaying selected works from local artists you can purchase. A visit Two Bell’s Café Company should be your first stop when arriving at the Longwood SunRail Station.
Just opposite the train station on Church Street in downtown Longwood, you’ll discover one of the best gift boutiques in Central Florida. The Cottage Gift Shop. Located in a home built in Boston in 1870 and moved to Longwood in 1873, called the Inside Outside House, The Cottage Gift Shop resides in one of the oldest prefabricated houses in the United States. The shop comprises two floors of exceptional gifts – with a year-round Christmas shop located at the top of a narrow winding staircase to the second floor. If you are trying to find unusual holiday décor for your home, you will find it here. There is a shop dedicated for infants and children also on the second floor, with charming and snuggable gifts and clothing for your young ones. Back downstairs on the first floor you will find brands like Vera Bradley, Corkcicle; BrüMate, Michel Design Works and Chamilia along with personal care products, candles, jewelry, bridal gifts and even a kitchen shop loaded with private label jams and jellies, spices and utensils. The Cottage Gift Shop in Longwood is a must-visit where you are certain to discover the most distinctive gifts along the SunRail line.
Our last stop in historic downtown Longwood near the SunRail station is a place for the young and young at heart you must see to believe. It is one of the last remaining dedicated doll shops in North America: Judy’s Dolls. Judy’s Dolls is known world-wide with clientele that bring their young ones from Asia, Europe and South America to Judy’s in Longwood, to adopt one of her extraordinary dolls. That is right I said adopt. The internationally famous service at Judy’s dolls lets you view the newborn nursery where your child can pick out their doll to adopt, complete with naming, weighing and birth certificate. Your child will also receive a diaper, baby bottle, a proud parent pin and an ID bracelet – all free with the purchase of any doll. Judy’s has dolls from Adora including their highly collectible “Presidential Wives” Series. You will also find an exceptional assortment of truly authentic and highly collectible Ashton Drake ReBorn Babies in stock and Judy will special order your doll – like this Olivia Silicone doll – if one is not available. Judy’s also carries Madame Alexander dolls and is a Certified Steiff Retailer carrying a line of their legendary Teddy Bears. For those in the family not adopting, Judy’s Dolls carries a line of collectible toys including trains, planes and the Modarri ultimate toy car. Judy’s Dolls is truly a hidden treasure, in Longwood on West Warren Avenue, just minutes from the SunRail station.
Well, that’s it for this episode. Next up I will travel down to the Altamonte Springs and Maitland stations to find other places for you to experience as you Ride the SunRail with me.