Sometimes you just need to get out of the city, even if just for a day. That’s why we decided to go ahead and make an impromptu drive to meet up with some dear friends at the famous Yalaha Bakery in Lake County.
The twins were content with the hourlong drive since they’d partied the previous day away rollerskating with all their besties. We talked, sang and watched the hills roll through Lake County. I was pretty amazed that in my 16 years in Central Florida I was traveling somewhere brand new.
After twisty turns through the countryside, we finally spied the bakery — a flapping German flag signaled our arrival. The bakery was literally in the middle of nowhere and much grander than I’d expected.
Inside we scurried the kids past the case full of pastries and into the deli. Unfortunately, the kids weren’t interested in eating lunch. I picked German salami on a crusty roll (I’ve never been able to say no to a crusty roll!). My husband had ham and cheese, also on a crusty roll.
I didn’t let a full belly stop me. I charged straight ahead with some delectable peach streudel, which I did share with everyone at table. The kids indulged in an ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie. On the way out, the kids spotted chocolate cake and I gave in. (After all, we did make a two-hour roundtrip to visit this place!)
We said our goodbyes to our Tampa-bound friends and contemplated a stop at Blue Bayou Farms next door. In hindsight, I wish we’d stopped: The family-owned farm sells organic produce and Amish products such as home-churned butter and peppered bacon, plus you can pick your own blueberries. And the Yelp reviews are outstanding.
But the kids were clamoring for a playground, so we stopped at one we’d passed on the way: Lake Idamere Park in Tavares. This fully shaded children’s utopia has an abundance of play structures (most of which are wheelchair accessible) that are situated on soft rubber ground covering. There’s also a sandy play area, roller slides (my kids favorite!), bouncy things, digging things, and lots of room for imaginary play.
Park perks parents will appreciate: a view of the lake, clean bathrooms, gorgeous landscaping, a fishing pier, and a two-mile hiking trail by the lake (I was not wearing the proper footwear for a walk in the woods.).
Oh, and on a hot day, everyone will appreciate this — a water mister!
We played till the bugs attacked, then headed back home.
If you go: Download a fun playlist and enjoy the ride — getting there is half the fun! Visit the playground well before dusk to avoid the insect onslaught. And don’t make the same mistake we did and be sure to stop at Blue Bayou Farms while you’re in the area. Yalaha Bakery address: 8210 County Road 48, Yahala. Phone: 352-324 3366. Lake Idamere address: 12335 County Road 448, Tavares.