Daily Picture Show

An Illustrated Guide To Weirdly Wonderful Florida

Reporter's Notebook: NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger just got back from the Sunshine State. She and reporter Liz Halloran talked with Floridians about the issues of this election season — and, between conversations, soaked up the sun and scenes of that quirky state.

Clockwise from top left: Statue of Liberty in Kissimmee, Honeybell oranges, an American flag in DeLand, and a classic car show. Shot with Impossible Project film. i i

hide captionClockwise from top left: Statue of Liberty in Kissimmee, Honeybell oranges, an American flag in DeLand, and a classic car show. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Becky Lettenberger/NPR
Clockwise from top left: Statue of Liberty in Kissimmee, Honeybell oranges, an American flag in DeLand, and a classic car show. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Clockwise from top left: Statue of Liberty in Kissimmee, Honeybell oranges, an American flag in DeLand, and a classic car show. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Becky Lettenberger/NPR

I stuck out in Florida.

First of all, I'm not remotely tan. Second, I spent five days with NPR reporter Liz Halloran driving up and down Interstate 4 lugging around a Polaroid camera. And third, I pronounced everything wrong.

Some things I learned, and tips for travel if you're ever in central Florida:

Kissimee is pronounced "Kiss-simm-ee" not "Kiss-a-me." On Thursdays, there is a wonderful little farmers market in town. Be sure to stop by and meet Robert Couturier, who owns Souza's Grove. He took over the family business after his grandfather passed away — despite being so allergic to orange blossoms that he has to wear a respirator in the orchards! Buy a Honeybell, the most amazing of oranges. It was so juicy I basically had to drink it — and later arrived to the Orlando airport as sticky as a 2-year-old post-Popsicle.

  • Orange World in Orlando, Fla.
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    Orange World in Orlando, Fla.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • A Honeybell orange from Souza's Grove in Kissimmee.
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    A Honeybell orange from Souza's Grove in Kissimmee.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • Guests at The Point Orlando Resort.
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    Guests at The Point Orlando Resort.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • Mama's Southern Soul Food in West Tampa, Fla.
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    Mama's Southern Soul Food in West Tampa, Fla.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • A man reads the "Orange Peel Gazette" at Robinson's cafe and diner in Kissimmee.
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    A man reads the "Orange Peel Gazette" at Robinson's cafe and diner in Kissimmee.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • A classic car show in downtown DeLand.
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    A classic car show in downtown DeLand.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • A Newt Gingrich supporter waves to drivers in DeLand.
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    A Newt Gingrich supporter waves to drivers in DeLand.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • Mickeys, Minnies and Poohs for sale at Walgreens in Orlando.
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    Mickeys, Minnies and Poohs for sale at Walgreens in Orlando.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • A Pizza Hut stand at a food festival in DeLand.
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    A Pizza Hut stand at a food festival in DeLand.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • Dinosaur World in Plant City off Interstate 4.
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    Dinosaur World in Plant City off Interstate 4.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • The entrance to Gatorland in Orlando.
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    The entrance to Gatorland in Orlando.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.
  • Downtown Ybor City in Tampa.
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    Downtown Ybor City in Tampa.
    These photos were originally posted in Instagram.

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If you find yourself heading to Tampa, be sure to visit Dinosaur World. I sincerely delighted in the towering Tyrannosaurus rexes hunting ferociously within earshot of the interstate. Once you're in Tampa, stop by Mama's Southern Soul Food on MLK Boulevard; I regret not trying the cracklin' cornbread.

Get back on I-4 and head straight past Orlando to DeLand (pronounced Dee-land). The quaint town on the way to Daytona Beach hosts food festivals and classic car shows off the cobblestone main street.

Grab your Mickey and Minnie souvenirs in Orlando and ride the zip line at Gatorland. If you're afraid of getting old (which I definitely am, especially considering today is my birthday), visit the folks at Solivita, an active adult community where wild birds roam, golf carts rule and getting old doesn't seem so bad.

This was merely a snapshot of Florida, and I left knowing there are many more stories and quirky roadside attractions than we could ever cram into our quick trip. Besides the beautiful weather, we met some truly wonderful people. They have some gloomy outlooks for the future of our country, but they welcomed us warmly and I hope to return, especially for a Honeybell.

Clockwise from top left: birds snack on seeds in Solivita, the pool at The Point Orlano Resort, a flowering tree in DeLand, and the entrance to Dinosaur World. Shot with Impossible Project film. i i

hide captionClockwise from top left: birds snack on seeds in Solivita, the pool at The Point Orlano Resort, a flowering tree in DeLand, and the entrance to Dinosaur World. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Becky Lettenberger/NPR
Clockwise from top left: birds snack on seeds in Solivita, the pool at The Point Orlano Resort, a flowering tree in DeLand, and the entrance to Dinosaur World. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Clockwise from top left: birds snack on seeds in Solivita, the pool at The Point Orlano Resort, a flowering tree in DeLand, and the entrance to Dinosaur World. Shot with Impossible Project film.

Becky Lettenberger/NPR

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