I call Deland, Florida my home; my community; my final destination. Deland is a small, friendly town of about 20,000 people and is located just thirty minutes from the famous Daytona Beach. It is also centrally placed between the two large cities of Jacksonville and Orlando. Deland has much to offer and a wide range of interests; here the community is varied by a more rural lifestyle to the thriving life of a historic downtown.
In a place where you are bound to run into someone you know, the first, most common stop is the grand Stetson University. Students at Stetson come from all over the United States to attend one of Florida’s most beautiful campuses. Its large brick buildings and a familiar small town feel are the major aesthetic qualities that attract young, ambitious students. The private University is treasured by all of Deland and is seen as the center of the community along with the popular downtown just one minute away.
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Downtown Deland is a gathering place for many where people can enjoy food from all over the world at local businesses as well as shop at the unique boutiques and antique shops in the area. Common restaurants include Cress, which offers a more formal dining experience and serves an assortment of international foods, Casey’s on the Corner, a quick bite but also the best hotdogs and french fries around, Cooks Café, a delicious and common reuniting place for families who enjoy eating out every so often, and The Sweet Spot, a homemade ice cream parlor which explores new flavors every week ranging from maple bacon and krispy cream to coconut and maui-wowie. The odds and ends shops also present the town with even further variety and sell items that range from vintage clothing and furniture to new stylish clothing boutiques and pet friendly treat stores for both you and your pet. In addition to the good eats and the irreplaceable local shops Downtown Deland also has an eventful nature filled with parades, art shows, music festivals, car shows and even summer time gatherings. These events take place at multiple times throughout the year but during the summer season you cannot miss the annual dog parade, fun family cookouts and the most memorable tropical nights, an evening event where the locals dress up in their most fashionable hula skirts and floral apparel and walk from shop to shop receiving lays and drinking fresh beverages while munching on complementary treats. This is a festival for the whole family. For almost all of the events down our main drag, Woodland Blvd., becomes the heart of Deland. These old community traditions as well as the ones slowly evolving in addition to magnificent murals about our history and an emphasis on the arts makes Deland one of the most lovable places and creates unforgettable memories.
Deland is a community for everyone no matter how young or how old. To find out about any of the numerous other attractions just visit the Deland city website at www.deland.org. Some of these include Lake Woodruff, a nature preserve that spreads for hundreds of miles and where it is common to see young boys with their grandfathers learning how to fish, and the St. Johns River, a river that flows north toward Jacksonville and is home to many of Florida’s well-known alligators and egrets. The St. Johns is a hot spot during the holidays and leads into one of nature’s most prized possessions, Blue Springs State Park. From there it is ideal to continue your tour of North Florida in Deland’s neighboring town of Orange City.
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