Our destination in Florida was Lake Butler, which is near the small town of Winter Garden, an hour or so west of Orlando. Winter Garden is an old-fashioned town, where my friend Mary Zahl (below) grew up and now lives with her husband, my oldest friend, Paul Zahl. Mary’s family has a cabin on Lake Butler, and she and Paul offered the hospitality of it to us.


It’s an old-fashioned cabin, dating from the 50s I guess, on a lake that now attracts celebrities, like Shaquille O’Neil, who build mansions there. It still manages to have a sleepy air.  It has crystal clear waters and is a lovely place to recharge your batteries on a long road trip.


On one night of our three-day sojourn, we went to a fine little restaurant in Winter Garden called The Tasting Room.  It specializes in small dishes, like a tapas restaurant, but I had a stupendous main-course entree of shrimp and grits.  Everything was delicious.


On another night we went to a great barbecue joint in town, The Four Rivers Smokehouse — the highlight of which for me were some stuffed jalapeño chiles that really packed a punch.


Above, while stepping out for a smoke, I peeked in to see what I was missing in the way of conversation.

Click on the images to enlarge.