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People are drawn to central Florida for many different reasons – whether it’s for retirement here at Water’s Edge of Lake Wales, visiting a loved one, or going on vacation, there are many things to do and see within this region of the state.
To inform our residents about restaurants, shopping centers, parks and other attractions near our community, we interviewed Barbara Cagle. Cagle is a blogger and Social Media Coordinator at VisitCentralFlorida.org, a website dedicated to promoting tourism and economic growth within central Florida.
Read our interview below to learn more about her background, experiences living in Florida, and recommendations for things to do in Lake Wales:
- How long have you been living in Florida, and why did you choose to work for Visit Central Florida?
I’ve lived in Florida my whole life (30 years). I grew up in Ocala, Florida on a horse farm and absolutely love living in this state, because we have it all: beautiful farmland, hunting and fishing, and beaches! I chose to work for Visit Central Florida because a job where I get to explore Polk County and tell everyone about the must-sees and hidden treasures sounded like a sweet gig, and it is!
- What are your favorite things about writing for a Florida-based blog?
That you get to explore so much of the county – you have got to experience it if you are going to get great pictures and give your followers an honest, “insider scoop.”
- What advantages do you see writing for a blog vs. print publications such as a magazine or newspaper?
When people are looking at blogs, I feel like they want something that is shorter and to the point – that’s the way I communicate (or at least the way I would like to communicate). Readers are searching for things on the go from a mobile device (at least most of our blog readers are) and attention spans are shorter these days. I also think the style of writing that suits a blog suits me better, because it’s more casual and personable. There is also the fact that a blog is easy to share so it has the potential to have a greater reach, although most print publications also have an online presence these days as well.
- What are some of your favorite activities, restaurants, and events that are unique to central Florida?
Oh boy! So many! I think that if you come to central Florida, you should definitely experience some of the “Real Florida” wilderness. Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland Florida has been recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife and has some great shaded trails. We also have 554 lakes you can fish – and some real lunkers are pulled out of them each year… they don’t call Polk County the Largemouth Bass Capital of the World for nothing.
I also love Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. It’s absolutely breathtaking to look up at that 205-ft. Singing Tower and out over the Lake Wales Ridge. They’ve recently experienced a period of renovation and upgrades, which welcomed the addition of an outdoor kitchen, edible garden, increased numbers of paved paths and an incredible children’s garden.
- What are some of your favorite activities in Lake Wales and the surrounding area?
Most definitely Bok Tower Gardens! I also enjoy shopping and activities at the Florida’s Natural Grove House, the Saturday night rodeos at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, the Depot Museum, Lake Kissimmee State Park’s Cow Camp, and reliving that family vacation nostalgia I get when I visit Camp Mack’s River Resort. Online, you can find our list of Top 20 Things to Do in Lake Wales.
- Can you recommend any events and activities for seniors living in central Florida?
I sure can! The Downtown Farmers Curb Market is a really nice Lakeland farmers market featuring crafts, produce, plants and more. You don’t have to cover an incredible amount of territory to explore it and there are plenty of downtown restaurants and shops you can stop in for a rest, bite to eat, or a little A/C.
The Polk Theatre also has affordable movies, shows and performing arts in a beautiful atmospheric theatre. (Elvis Presley performed here once and even signed the dressing room wall.)
If you have grandkids, they will love the LEGOLAND Florida Resort! Don’t forget to visit the preserved Cypress Gardens section of the park.
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Looking for even more recommendations for things to do while you’re in Lake Wales, Florida? Visit our blog post, 16 Great Activities for Seniors in Central Florida, or simply reach out to our team!
We’d be happy to hear from you and answer any of your questions.