We had a great time #Sanfording this weekend for my wife Celeste’s Birthday. I’ve decided to start doing a little more picture taking while we’re down there since we always have an absolute blast no matter where we go.
For those of you reading this who may not be local to Central Florida, #Sanfording is a relatively new term describing the adventurers of hanging out in the very hip town of Sanford. Particularly, the downtown “Historical District”.
I started seeing the hashtag (#Sanfording) pop up on social media a year or so ago. Now its everywhere on T-shirts, beer coozies and even has its own website sanfording.com.
Downtown Sanford has gone through a renaissance of sorts in the past few years. There are new restaurants, shops, antique stores, art galleries, bars, craft beer breweries, wine bars and all kinds of fun stuff opening all the time.
No Chains! Not a chain anywhere in downtown Sanford of any kind! All locally/family owned businesses and most are dog-friendly.
Downtown Sanford is right on Lake Monroe. The lake has a beautiful paved walkway, more restaurants, bars and even some inexpensive dinner cruises.
Sanford has become a very trendy place to hang out recently, although I’m proud to say we got into it pretty early on since we live in Sanford about 5 minutes drive from downtown.
If you’re thinking of coming to Florida for vacation including Disney, Universal etc., I highly recommend making the extra trek 30 minutes up I-4 to this hidden gem.
Sanford is even a great middle stop point between Disney and some of the nice beaches to the northeast including New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Ormond and even St. Augustine.
Well worth the trip too, even if you just want some great food and a couple of drinks before you get back on the road. Lots of shopping, convenient parking and you can walk everywhere once your down there.
I spent some time with my nephew Joey this past weekend. He’s 18 and really into photography, so I got a little inspired to start taking pictures more. I’m using an iPhone 7 right now but I think some of these came out pretty good.
One of the things I plan to do to improve my blog is work more on the photography side of things. It’s fun and certainly something I can improve upon as I tend to be a bit text heavy in my articles.
I had a gig Saturday night at Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark in Daytona, Beach. Joey has a nice Canon DSLR he brought with him and took some really amazing photos (which I’ll try to get from him and post here later).
I setup a Flickr account and will make an effort to start documenting more good times in our little town of Sanford, Florida. We may or may not have been a little inebriated so the quality may vary. My Flickr Link:
Joey was taking these really professional looking photos, you know where the main object in the picture is focused and the background is slightly blurred.. so cool. I really want to learn how to do that.
I’ve got an older Canon digital camera which is really outdated, so for now the iPhone will have to do. Definitely need to upgrade soon.
We had lunch and a few beers with Celeste’s parents up in Leesburg at Hurricanes Bar and Grill. The food there is average at best, but its a nice halfway drive point for her Dad who lives way up in The Villages.
On the way home we were already scheming on where we could eat later in Sanford! After we fed the dogs, we headed downtown to see what kind of trouble we could get into.
As usual, we never really have a particular destination in mind as there are just so many great options these days. We parked off 2nd Street near one of our favorite hangouts Celery City Craft.
Celeste wanted a lighter beer (not the crafty heavier stuff), so we decided to stop into West End Trading Co. West End always has 2-4-1 on everything until I believe 7 P.M. Definitely the cheapest place to drink downtown.
After a couple of Corona Premiers (only 90 calories!) I was ready for something a little tastier so we headed down Sanford Avenue on foot.
There is a new place that just opened up about a month ago called Luisa’s Cellar. We decided to pop in and check it out. I thought it was more of a wine bar but was pleasantly surprised at the incredible beer selection and cozy atmosphere.
We hung out on the porch for a while. It was very relaxing and has a great vibe that just makes you want to stay and chill.
If you’ve read some of my other articles you may know I LOVE vinyl records and am excited to attend the “Bring Your Own Vinyl” events they do on Tuesday nights. That sounds so fun! Good wine and a good record. Count me in!
Related: Morning Vinyl
Related: Vinyl Reviews – Jason Becker – Perpetual Burn
Luisa’s Cellar also sells coffee and all types of wine by the bottle or glass. The place smells like heaven inside. Definitely going to come back to this place! A great addition to Historic Downtown Sanford.
We’ve been wanting to try Shantell’s Cafe on Sanford Ave. for a while. It’s sort of a soul food/comfort food type place where everything is homemade. We’ve heard nothing but good things about it so we decided to get it to-go before heading home.
I got the 3 piece fried chicken with collard greens, green beans and cornbread. WOW. It was fantastic. No pics this time, but I’ll definitely get some when we’re there again.
While we waited Shantell sang some karaoke for us. She is so nice and a wonderful cook!
Sunday we had planned to get together with a bunch of friends for Celeste’s Birthday. As usual she picked our favorite downtown Sanford restaurant and hang-out, El Zocalo Mexican Restaurant.
This place does Mexican Food right! Everything on the menu is fantastic and it’s very reasonably priced. I’d almost say cheap in some cases.. Most meals in the $10-12 range.
Some friends of ours Charles and Gina ordered the Molcahete which was a real show stopper:
Molcahete is a traditional dish with grilled chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp, 3 kinds of beef and shrimp laid over a clay pot filled with more veggies and a Mexican soup. If thats not enough, its served with soft shells, rice and beans. Kinda like Fajitas on steroids. Delicious and only $20 (feeds 2-4).
At 3 P.M. on Sundays they have an excellent Mariachi band. These guys always blow my mind with their fantastic 5-part harmonies and musicianship. We had a blast!
After dinner we sauntered across the street to another favorite hang-out, ‘Little Fish, Big Pond’. It’s a quirky little bar with a lot of character and nice selection of craft beers as well as lighter, normal stand-bys for the wife.
We like this place because they have internet based everything, so we can typically ask the bartender to play whatever music we want for free. Pretty cool.
We had our last beers of the day and watched our friend Ally destroy Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo they have setup at the bar. (They also have an Xbox and PlayStation too).
I got my ass kicked at Galaga. Oh well.
Another great #Sanfording adventure!
If you’re in town or planning a vacation to Florida, please drop me a comment or hit me on Facebook. I’m downtown usually a few times a week and have a regular Sunday gig there as well.
Until next time…..
Craig and Celeste #Sanfording
Craig Smith is a professional Guitarist, Teacher, and Writer living in Sanford, Florida. Craig has taught guitar lessons, performed 200+ gigs per year for nearly 30 years, and published 4 guitar instructional books. When he’s not gigging or writing, you may find him by the pool with his wife Celeste, 4 Chihuahuas, and a drink. 🎸