Lake Lotus Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida has 120 acres of woods and wetlands. In the late 1800s, settlers arrived to buy land and to enjoy the desirable climate. The railway spurred development. In 1972, the City of Altamonte Springs purchased the property to preserve its unique ecosystem. The nature preserve has a one-mile-long raised boardwalk, picnic tables, walking trails, playground, restrooms, and a fishing pier on a lake.
The park has limited hours and parking is not always available on site, so check the times before you come. This nature preserve has no concessions so don’t expect a snack bar. You’re pretty much on your own. We were hoping for an office where we could get a map but that was nonexistent as well. We tromped around on our own, fortunately ending up on several loops that took us back where we started.
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This past weekend, we went for a stroll around the lake at Cranes Roost Park located in Altamonte Springs, FL. This one-mile paved walkway is shaded by large trees while the boardwalks are mostly in the sun. Numerous benches provide seating to people watch or gaze at the lake. This 45-acre park also has an amphitheater and a plaza with a water fountain.
We spotted turtles, ducks and birds as we meandered along. The azaleas were in bloom, adding bright splashes of color against the green landscape.
At Café Murano, we picked up a fresh baked pizza to go for lunch. It had a thin crispy crust just as we like it with garlic and mushrooms for our custom toppings. Inside, a live band played for Sunday brunch. This restaurant is definitely worth a repeat visit.
We’ve all had booksignings where no one shows up. So it was a fabulous surprise last weekend as I approached www.bandlbooks.com in Altamonte Springs, FL to see a row of readers lined up to enter the store! My jaw nearly dropped off my face. When had I ever last seen such enthusiasm, and for the dying breed of dead tree books, no less?
The staff welcomed all the eleven or so authors participating in the signing with our tables all set up, books laid out in front of our spots, and even a little gift package for each of us. They had fruit punch and water bottles and cake with our book covers. You have to understand…it’s rare to get a reception like this so I appreciated it all the more. Independent bookstores should be cherished while they still exist. Nowhere else can you find such a variety of choices to peruse in person.
Readers crowded the store but I relished the crush. They snatched up armfuls of books to take to the cash register. People came up to me who didn’t know my work and asked me about my books. Usually our brief dialogue convinced them to try either one of my romances or my mysteries. For two hours, we smiled, chatted, signed books, and had a great time. Many thanks to the store proprietors for sponsoring this popular event and for keeping readers enthralled with print books in this digital age. Of course my hardcovers didn’t sell as well as my paperbacks but that’s always the case. I hope that, down the road, I’ll be able to offer Shear Murder in other formats to my readers. Meanwhile, if you’re in the area, drop by this indie bookstore, browse the shelves of new and used books, and give them your wholehearted support.
Later that evening, I relaxed at the Elephant Bar with my family. I had a Mai Tai and shrimp with noodles. It was a relaxing end to an exciting day.