Overnight in Lakeland
As the church bells were ringing and the sun was rising over Lake Mirror, our view from Suite 15 at the Terrace Hotel in Lakeland was almost spiritual … and made me thankful once again for all the beauty God has bestowed upon the state of Florida. The night before we had strolled through the decked out town square and enjoyed the holiday lights but the morning sun was just as illuminating. When we only have one night away, Lakeland is one of our favorite places to spend it and here are a couple of reasons why.
Opened in 1924, the Lakeland Terrace Hotel was hailed as one of Florida’s finest air conditioned inns, which allowed them to stay open year-round. Prior to then, hotels closed for the summer. Tourists arrived by the trainload then, and now with the AmTrak station within walking distance we have considered taking the short ride from Tampa to the Terrace (as we often did when traveling to Winter Park for the weekend). Fortunately for us Robert Scharar, a Lakeland native, restored the exterior of the Terrace and completely refurbished the hotel to modern-day standards.
Frank Lloyd Wright Site
Lakeland is also home the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in one location in the world. Walking through the campus of Florida Southern College over 20 years ago, we met the grounds keeper who took us on a walking tour and then suggested we pick some oranges from the small grove to take home with us. Today, the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center, featuring the Wright-designed Usonian house and GEICO Gift Shop, is a part of an ongoing effort to better educate visitors to the Wright architecture at Florida Southern College.
Here is how the center is described on the their website:
The Center provides a home for the permanent display of photographs, furniture, and drawings depicting Wright’s relationship with the College. The Center also acts as a home for visiting exhibits on loan from various other Wright sites.
In 2012, the Florida Southern College Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior for being the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.