DeLand is simply delightful…with PRIDE!

Recap – A couple of days at the epicenter of Florida is just what we needed for some bonding, good grub, r&r…plus, there was fun around every corner!

It’s Pride Month as well. And, my daughter is part of the LGBTQ community. We were so elated that DeLand provided a safe space and community to celebrate PRIDE! #DeLandPride

Some history…Nicknamed The Athens of Florida, the city of DeLand was founded in 1876. Located in Central Florida between Orlando and Daytona Beach, DeLand is home to Stetson University, Florida’s oldest college. Stetson’s stately red-brick buildings, Greco-Roman columns and magnificent oaks exude the aura of a quaint New England college town. Stetson Mansion, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a blend of cottage, Gothic, Tudor, Moorish and Polynesian details. In addition, DeLand offers visitors the chance to explore the Museum of Art – DeLand and De Leon Springs State Park. At the park, you can take a dip 25 feet down to the mouth of the springs that release about 16 million gallons a day. Feeling even more adventurous? Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the Spring Garden Run beside the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge for an eyeful of birds and other wildlife.

Below are some highlights and snaps…

Stetson Mansion is a gorgeous National Register of Historic Places-listed estate in DeLand, originally constructed circa 1886 by John and Elizabeth Stetson. As Florida’s first luxury estate, the home once entertained the likes of King Edward VII, Thomas Edison, President Grover Cleveland, and members of the prestigious Vanderbilt and Carnegie families. Today, the three-story Victorian-style home is owned and operated as a living history museum and can be toured as part of 60- or 90-minute guided tours. All rooms within the home are showcased on tours, featuring exquisite design elements such as Tiffany stained-glass windows, 3D-patterned parquet floors, a Dali lithograph, and an original Edison light fixture. During the winter holidays, the home is lavishly decorated as part of an annual public Christmas celebration.

1031 Camphor Ln, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-873-0167

Museum of Art – Deland is a nonprofit community visual arts museum in DeLand, originally established in 1951 by the American Association of University Women. The museum, which is a partner organization with the American Alliance of Museums, strives to preserve and promote the fine arts throughout Central Florida, holding a permanent collection of more than 750 pieces and showcasing rotating special exhibitions by artists such as Stephen Althouse, Sandro Chia, and Fernando Botero. Its Evans C. and Betty Drees Johnson Children’s Art Center, opened in 2010, offers educational programming and workshops for young visitors. Public special events offered throughout the year include gallery talks, receptions, and master artist workshops.

600 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-734-4371

The African-American Museum of Arts was established in 1994 as Central Florida’s primary museum dedicated to the culture and art of African-American populations of the American South. The museum, which was founded by Irene and Maxwell Johnson, serves as a community resource for young African-Americans in the DeLand region, striving to shape their artistic output and creative thinking in positive, self-affirming ways. Guests can visit the museum for free each Wednesday through Saturday afternoon, with group tours available with advance reservation. A rotating exhibit gallery showcases the works of both emerging and established artists, while a permanent collection features 150 artifacts, including anthropological artifacts from the African continent. Theatrical productions are presented regularly by the museum’s Little Theater of DeLand, which was founded in 1999.

325 S Clara Ave, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-4004

Sponsored by West Volusia Tourism www.visitwestvolusia.com

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