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Biking through downtown Winter Garden is one of the highlights of the West Orange Trail at any time of day. Hats off to @pedrocollusso for capturing this gorgeous sunset scene. @pedrocollusso
LET'S TAKE A RIDE
The West Orange Trail offers just over 20 miles of paved trail for beautiful biking (and all kinds of other uses) through Oakland, Winter Garden and Apopka. The trail was built as part of Florida’s Rails-to-Trails Conservancy along the former Orange Belt Railway, and it’s one of Florida’s most popular rail-trails.
The trail begins at Killarney Station, near where West Colonial Drive meets the Florida Turnpike. There are three other stations along the trail, Winter Garden, Chapin and Apopka, as well as multiple outposts in between those stops, providing plenty of options for parking, restrooms, picnicking, and filling up your water bottle along your journey.
If you’re trying to log serious competitive milage, this may not be the ride for you, since the trail intersects with lots of roads along the way and runs through towns, but it is a fun trip for cyclists of varied abilities, with lots of amenities and plenty to do besides biking.
Don’t have your own wheels? You can rent bikes at the Killarney trailhead or Winter Garden Station.
The best part about the West Orange Trail are all the sights to see along the way. Here are just a few for your to-do list:
Oakland Nature Preserve: This 128-acre preserve is only about a mile and a half from Killarney Station, and it’s a great spot for birders and nature buffs. There’s a shady boardwalk trail out to a pavilion overlooking Lake Apopka, and plenty of opportunities to spot native wildlife. If you plan in advance, you may be able to catch one of the preserve’s monthly paddle tours or family-friendly insect safari hikes. (More here)
Downtown Winter Garden: The trail passes right through downtown Winter Garden, so plan to stop and sample some of the local gems like Crooked Can Brewing, Axum Coffee, Market to Table Restaurant or Moon Cricket Grille. If you’re riding with little ones, cool off at the city’s Interactive Fountain and Splashpad or duck into the Winter Garden Heritage Museum for a quick trip back in time.
Apopka: While it may not have quite as much to offer as Winter Garden, we’re big fans of legit eats, and Apopka’s got ‘em. Check out Tacos Don Pepe’s for traditional tacos on housemade tortillas and Porkie’s Original BBQ for a terrific pulled pork sandwich. Stop in at the Museum of the Apopkans to learn about the town’s history and see how the area has changed over the decades.
Kelly Park and Rock Springs: It’s technically a few miles past the end of the trail at Welch Road, but Kelly Park and Rock Springs are worth the diversion, especially in the summer. For only a few bucks a person, you can cool off by tubing through the gorgeous and 70-degree Rock Springs Run. There’s also camping here, in case you want to make a full weekend out of the West Orange Trail. (More here)
Rarin’ to go? Hit reply and let us know about your favorite local biking adventures, and if you’re out taking on the trails, be sure to tag us!
WHAT'S GOING DOWN IN PULPTOWN
Priced to move. Orlando is popular. Very popular. We’re among the top four places in the country where people move, and that’s driving up housing costs. Our median home price is now $237,000, which is 3 percent higher than last month, and it’s been on the climb for nearly seven straight years. (Orlando Sentinel)
On the other hand … there’s also booming interest and activity in launching more affordable housing options in Orlando. The region’s collaborative nature across sectors may give it a head start in solving a problem that’s common throughout the state, says at least one CEO. Take a deep dive into the economics of Orlando’s affordable housing crunch, and learn what policies could help us solve these issues. (WMFE)
All hail the rail. The future of transportation in Florida is riding on Brightline, the privately funded high-speed train that will eventually link Orlando to Miami, and all the cities in between. The train has been running between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale since January, and will begin serving Miami this weekend. (Orlando’s opening date isn’t yet known.) Fast Company breaks down the train’s backstory, and explains why so many are keeping an eye on Brightline to see if traffic-clogged regions might help private rail service become viable again, after a century-long hiatus. (FastCompany)
It’s tearin’ up my heart … Remember that adorable Orlando grandma who scored tickets from the Easter bunny to see her *NSYNC fave, JT? Well, guess who got to meet the man himself at his show? So cute! (WFTS)
Game on. We can’t wait to pre-game at the Lion’s Den, a pop-up bar that’s coming to Church Street for Orlando City fans. Scope these newly approved plans for the development. (Bungalower)
Cash or crypto? If you’ve ever wanted to pay for your driver’s license or taxes in bitcoin, Seminole County’s got you covered. The move will make the “customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient,” said tax collector Joel Greenberg. But, will it let us skip the lines? (BusinessInsider)
THINGS TO DO
IN AND AROUND PULPTOWN
✌Show off your hot wheels at Adult Night Skate (Azalea Park)
📱Step up your ‘gram game with a smartphone photo workshop at ConnectOrlando (Mills 50)
🍔Celebrate Central Florida’s best bites at The Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards. (Downtown)
🎨Enjoy Orlando Museum of Art for half price on Art Museum Day (Loch Haven)
🎯Cheer along at the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games (Disney)
👻Get spooked at the Hauntingly Historic Ghost Tour (Saint Cloud)
💃Experience the future of dance at the Orlando Ballet’s Fast Forward (Downtown)
🌺Gardening for Beginners: 101 (Audubon Park)
🍩Doughnut and Ice Cream — two of our favorite things. (Mills 50)
🦁Unleash your inner party animal at Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge’s Animalversary (Lake Hart)
🇭🇹Celebrate culture at the Haitian Flag Day Parade (Southwest Orlando)
👗Scope out fashion fest at the Orlando Science Center. (Loch Haven)
📕Orlando Story Club meets Orlando Fringe! (Loch Haven)
Going to any of these events? If so, take us with you! Send us a pic to [email protected] or tag #pulptown or #livelikeyoulivehere on Insta. You might just see one of your photos appear in our newsletter.
WHO’S FRINGIN’ IT UP TONIGHT?
If you are, we’d love it if you sent us a pic or tagged us on Instagram. 🎶