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College Park

There’s no actual college in College Park — the streets just happen to be named for famous universities — but it’s always been where Orlando’s smart set lives. Positioned to the northwest of downtown, its shady streets are lined by the city’s most gracious mansions, bungalows, century-old farmhouses, Florida ranches, and — increasingly — modernist masterpieces which maximize an active Florida lifestyle. Edgewater Drive bisects the neighborhood and offers some of the city’s best shops and restaurants, and the neighborhood’s central location means everything you could need — including two quite excellent golf courses — is blissfully nearby, though Orlando’s crowded tourist areas seem a whole world away. College Park is a place where you can have your morning coffee while watching otters and wood ducks frolic on the lake outside your back door, while just on the other shore the towering Orlando skyline beckons with (almost) big-city bustle.

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Living in Central Florida

Central Florida runs on tourism, but the draw of this place was felt long before a mouse ever got into the act. It’s a land of tremendous natural beauty, riddled with glassy lakes that teem with water birds, century-old oak trees that take up half a city block, and a climate that is ideal about 80 percent of the time — and it’s better than most other places when it’s not postcard-perfect. The region is a mix of former agricultural towns (quaintly preserved) and planned communities (luxuriously appointed), and in between are gardened lots along shady streets and long docks stretching into blue waters. Tourism fuels more than the economy here, which thrives with a vibrant food scene and a healthy arts community. Rich with parks, trails, and other recreational opportunities, Central Florida is a paradise al fresco for most of the year. The rest of the time? Well, that’s why everyone seems to have a pool.