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Get to know Thornton Park

Thornton Park is a hybrid neighborhood, with one foot in the high-rise residential towers of downtown Orlando and the other in the perfectly manicured floral gardens of the city’s most historic neighborhood. Its central avenues focus on the famous Lake Eola Park — home of swans and farmer’s markets and the fountain that graces Orlando’s flag and street signs — and the sidewalks teem with the diners and tipplers who pack some of the region’s most popular restaurants and cocktail bars. To the west, where it meets the city, Thornton Park supports both early morning joggers and a late-night club scene. But as you leave the sunset shadows of downtown, you encounter brick streets sheltered by massive live oaks, revealing a picture book scene of immaculate Craftsman bungalows — and the occasional Southern Gothic mansion — where the city’s well-heeled entertain under canopies of bougainvillea. Thornton Park puts the best of Orlando close by, whatever your version of “best” happens to be.

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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.