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The Central Florida “Shop Local” Holiday Guide

08

Dec 2021

The Central Florida “Shop Local” Holiday Guide

Some people know exactly how to find the perfect gift without breaking a sweat. For the rest of us though, it can certainly be a challenge to figure out what to get everyone on your list before the big holiday party. Plus, it always feels good to support small businesses whenever possible. That’s why we’ve made it easy this year by compiling the list below of locally owned shops in the Central Florida area offering unique gifts your loved ones are sure to enjoy.

Locally Owned Businesses

  • Writer’s Block Bookstore – The book nerd in your life will appreciate a gift from this independent shop with locations in both Winter Park and Winter Garden.
  • Pedego Electric Bikes – Looking for a gift that will really stand out? This family owned shop in Baldwin Park offers the latest electric bikes for everyone from beginners to experts. They also provide service and rentals to keep your bike running smooth all year long.
  • Freehand Goods – this store in College Park sells hand crafted Florida made leather goods, grooming products, and gifts. Perfect for that special man in your life!
  • Rifle Paper Co. – What started as a small stationary shop in Winter Park has grown into a national lifestyle brand offering a full range of home décor and gifts.
  • Park Ave. CDs – If you’re shopping for the audiophile in your life, then be sure to visit Park Ave. CDs in Audubon Park. This vintage style shop offers the latest and greatest music and merch in a variety of formats.
  • Personal Mini Storage – Give the gift of more space to the ones you love. Rent a storage unit at one of the 46 locations in Florida and surprise them by decluttering your home or garage.
  • Retro City Cycles – Family owned and operated, this bike shop near Downtown Orlando offers bikes and accessories for both casual and professional riders.

Online Options:

  • Corksicle – You can find Corksicle products at stores across America, but did you know their headquarters is based in Orlando? Their signature tumblers make a great holiday gift for just about everyone.
  • Orlandogiftbaskets.com – Looking for a gift basket with more than just fruitcake? This local business, operated by a former Disney gift basket curator, creates unique and personalized gift baskets for any occasion.
  • Flower No. 5 – Everyone loves getting flowers! This locally owned shop offers a wide variety of hand crafted flower arrangements that can be delivered to the recipient of your choice.

Tickets & Passes:

  • Orlando Science Center – Purchase a gift membership to the Orlando Science Center and give a full year of unlimited general admission, exclusive member-only events, discounts, and even more perks.
  • Leu Gardens – Located just north of Downtown Orlando, this 50 acre botanical oasis is the perfect place to spend some family time. Gift memberships can be purchased online or in person.
  • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens – This Gainesville favorite features 24 major collections to view on a 1.5 mile walking path. Memberships make an affordable and unique gift for both young and old.
  • Brevard Zoo – Visit a giraffe or take a train ride from Cape to Cairo at the Brevard Zoo. Three levels of membership are offered featuring various benefits.

Dining Gift Cards:

  • Clermont Brewing Company – You can expect more than just craft beer at this popular spot in Clermont. Their expansive menu features tacos, hand rolled sushi, and artisanal pizzas cooked in an Italian brick oven.
  • Santiago’s Bodega – Spend an evening enjoying traditional Spanish tapas dishes at this Orlando eatery. Be sure to try one of their classic sangrias.
  • Bakechop – Fresh, local ingredients are the highlight of this DeLand restaurant. Their kitchen features American fare including burgers, salads, and a variety of sweet treats.
  • Dragonfly Sushi – If you’re in the Gainesville area and appreciate a good sushi roll, Dragonfly Sushi is a must-see. For a special event, try the Chef’s Select Menu.

Using this comprehensive list, you should be able to find a special gift for every family member to put under the tree. Plus don’t forget to create some extra space for your holiday party by reserving a storage unit at a Personal Mini Storage location near you.


Here Are 7 of Our Favorite Fall Events Happening in Florida!

12

Oct 2021

7 Fall Events in Florida You Don’t Want to Miss

With temperatures starting to drop, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside, discover a new neighborhood, and enjoy some of the many festivals Florida is famous for. Whether you’re in the mood to sample food from around the world, or looking to scratch your live music itch, there’s something for everyone. Below we’ve compiled seven of our favorite events to add to your bucket list this fall.

Fall at Southern Hill Farms

Clermont – September 25th-November 7th

Purchase of advanced tickets are required. This popular family-friendly event regularly sells out so be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. Seasonal offerings include apple cider donuts, craft beer, s’mores, and a wide variety of pumpkins available for sale. Be sure to check out the kid’s zone and all new corn maze added to this year’s event.

50th Annual Fall Fiesta in the Park

Orlando – November 6th-7th

This free event brings family and pet friendly arts to the downtown Orlando area. Located around beautiful Lake Eola, you can enjoy dozens of artists, crafters, and food vendors. Parking is a premium during this weekend so be prepared to find paid parking outside of the event and take a 10-15 minute walk.

Pro Tip: Use your favorite rideshare to get close to the event instead of attempting to find parking.

Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival

Dunnellon – October 14th-17th

This family friendly event in Dunnellon features rides, games, music, food and fun. Admission to the festival is free and wristbands for rides can be purchased online. Pets and personal coolers are not allowed at the event.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Kissimmee – July 15th-November 20th

This ultra popular annual event draws big crowds to Epcot to eat and drink their way around the world. With dozens of food stalls to sample, make sure you go hungry and wear comfortable shoes.

Pro Tip: Plan to walk around the world showcase multiple times in order to get an idea of the food you can choose from. The walk will help you make space for even more bites.

Orlando Beer Festival 2021

Orlando – November 13th

This annual event attracts breweries from across the country to the famous Milk District in Orlando to provide samples of over 200 craft and premium beers to thousands of visitors. You must be at least 21 years old to enter the festival and children are not permitted at the festival. Advanced tickets are required and are available for purchase online.

Clearwater Jazz Holiday

Clearwater – October 14th-17th

Now in it’s 42nd year, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a world class live music festival that draws thousands of music lovers to Coachman Park with the beautiful gulf waters as a backdrop. General admission and VIP tickets are available for purchase online and children 4 and under are free with a paid ticket.

Mt. Dora Craft Fair

Mt. Dora – October 23rd-24th

This award winning event draws a huge crowd every year to the tiny town of Mt. Dora. The streets of downtown are filled with vendors offering various arts and crafts as well as food, beer, wine and music. Parking in the area is extremely limited so be on the lookout for residents offering parking at their homes for a fee.


Planning a move to Central Florida this fall? Our team at Personal Mini Storage is here to help with no long term contracts, plus moving truck rentals and packing supplies available at any of our 46 locations.


Moving to Florida: 4 Things to Know About Davenport

15

Sep 2021

Moving to Florida: 4 Things to Know About Davenport

Florida continues to be one of the top destinations for families looking to relocate from another state. While larger metropolitan areas like Orlando and Tampa are usually top of mind when considering a move to the sunshine state, many are looking to neighboring communities that offer some of the same benefits with a more affordable cost of living. Here are a few things that make the Davenport area a popular choice for those moving to Central Florida.

1. A World of Entertainment

A photo of the castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
The mouse house and other popular theme parks are a short drive away from Davenport.

While the city of Davenport may not be a household name like many neighborhoods of Orlando, this growing community offers some of the same benefits that make Florida one of the most popular states to move to. Thanks to the close proximity to Central Florida’s tourist hubs, residents of Davenport have no shortage of entertainment options at their fingertips. Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and Sea World Orlando are all a short drive away allowing many to take advantage of annual passes to their favorite theme parks. Additionally, world class restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world are close by.

If outdoor activities are more your speed, Davenport has a number of parks and recreation areas including Lake Eva Community Park, Northeast Regional Park, and Lake Louisa State Park.

2. A Golfer’s Paradise

A golfer sets their golf ball on top of a tee, preparing to line up a shot.
Florida has become a mecca for golfers from around the world and Davenport is no exception.

According to the Florida Sports Foundation, there are more than 1,100 golf courses throughout the state making Florida a top destination for golfers. Davenport is no exception with a handful of prestige courses in the area. Sitting atop one of the highest areas in Florida, Highlands Reserve Golf Club, offers challenging fairways while still being accessible for novices. Another popular option is just down the street at Champions Gate Golf Club. This expansive resort features two full courses, a training and golf academy, and a family friendly champions 9 course.

3. Experience a Piece of History

Various sized shark teeth are layed out on a table.
Experience a unique adventure by joining a fossil and shark tooth hunting tour.

While some Central Florida communities like Winter Garden are relatively new in terms of a growing population, Davenport offers residents the opportunity to experience a bit of history in their own backyard. Step back in time and go on a prehistoric adventure by joining a fossil and shark tooth hunting tour with Fossil Funatics in Davenport.

Step back in time and go on a prehistoric adventure…

Or if flying is more your style, you can take to the skies and enjoy a breathtaking view from above with a hot air balloon ride courtesy of Bob’s Balloons. You’ll have the chance to see what “old” Florida looks like and experience a unique vantage point of the area.

4. A Taste of Davenport

A person's hand holding freshly picked blueberries near a plant.
There’s nothing quite like the taste of a fresh picked blueberry.

Even though the Davenport community continues to grow, there are still opportunities to experience the area’s roots in agriculture. The True Blue Winery located in the heart of historic Davenport, offers guests a variety of wines using blueberries grown on site. During the spring, families can stop by and pick their own berries during the U-Pick-Em events. Other seasonal events take place throughout the year making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

A stop at Webb’s Candy Shop should be at the top of your list…

If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, a stop at Webb’s Candy Shop should be at the top of your list. Specializing in citrus candies as well as gourmet chocolate since 1932, it has become a popular family destination with both locals and tourists alike.


Are you considering relocating to Davenport? Personal Mini Storage has everything you need to make moving easier with four convenient locations serving the Davenport area, moving truck rentals available on site and a full line of packing supplies.


4 important things to know about the city of Winter Garden

18

Aug 2021

Moving to Florida: 4 Things to Know About Winter Garden

Packing up a moving truck and heading to the sunshine state is a no brainer for many families looking to relocate and enjoy the warm weather. In fact, according to move.org, Florida was the #1 destination for people who relocated to a new state in 2020. One area that is consistently at the top of the list for many prospective buyers is the community of Winter Garden. Here are four things to know about this growing Orange County community.

1. Location, Location, Location

Photo credit: downtownwg.com

Located on the western border of Orange County, Winter Garden feels far away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando’s trendy neighborhoods while being a short drive away from everything that makes Central Florida special. Many professionals choose to live in Winter Garden and commute to Downtown Orlando thanks to the close proximity of toll roads that can make for an easy drive. Along with the proximity to Disney World, a quick trip to Cocoa Beach is just over an hour away making Winter Garden a versatile and convenient place to live.

2. Family First

Children running through water spouts at the Downtown Winter Garden Splash Pad.
Kids can enjoy the Splash Pad in Downtown Winter Garden all year long.

Known as a safe, family friendly place to call home, Winter Garden is considered one of the best places to raise a family in Central Florida. Many public schools are A-rated and you’ll find numerous parks and playgrounds throughout the area. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the arts too thanks to the historic Garden Theatre (originally built in 1935) in downtown Winter Garden. Plus with the Walt Disney World Resort a quick 20 minute drive away, many residents choose to become annual passholders, taking advantage of the theme parks all year long.

Outside view of Plant Street Market in Downtown Winter Garden.
Plant Street Market is a community hub of craft beer, food, and fun.

3. Small Town Charm, Big City Amenities

While the area has one of the fastest growing populations in the state, this community continues to keep it’s small town charm. Downtown Winter Garden is famous for it’s tree lined streets, independent, locally run businesses and a weekly farmer’s market. Plus the popular Plant Street Market includes fan favorites like The Crooked Can Brewing Company, and plenty of food options including sushi, brick fired pizza, and more.

Crowds strolling Downtown Winter Garden streets.
Downtown Winter Garden is filled with locally owned shops and restaurants.

4. Room to Grow

While today’s red hot real estate market is making it tough for buyers to find and secure their dream home, Winter Garden offers more options when it comes to new construction homes. Because it’s a relatively new community, there is more land available to expand in the area and home builders are choosing to set up shop in Winter Garden. The Winter Garden area offers a mix of single family homes, townhomes and apartments and has attracted a diverse mix of residents including young professionals, families and retirees.


Considering a move to Winter Garden? The team at Personal Mini Storage is ready to help. We’re conveniently located one mile from Downtown Winter Garden with various self storage options, packing supplies and rental trucks available to make moving day easy.


5 Orlando Neighborhoods worth checking out

11

May 2021

5 Orlando Neighborhoods Worth Checking Out

Whether you are new to the area, or have lived here for decades, there’s always something new to see and do in Orlando. Many don’t realize there’s much more to the city waiting to be discovered outside of the theme parks. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting and unique, local neighborhoods worth checking out below.

1. Mills 50 District

The Mills 50 neighborhood is a popular late night spot thanks to a growing list of bars

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, your search should start in the Mills 50 area. According to Mills50.org, this neighborhood is a culturally minded urban district focused on creating a walkable community with a creative spirit. Street art is a common sight as well as well as plenty of diversity. Be sure to check out eclectic businesses like Retromended Vintage, a funky preowned fashion store, and Dong A Imports, an asian supermarket. If locally sourced food and craft beer interest you, then be sure to check out local favorites like Tako Cheena, Santiago’s Bodega, and Ten 10 Brewing Company.

2. College Park

Combining an urban lifestyle with small town charm, College Park is definitely on our list of must-see Orlando neighborhoods. A vibrant community located just north of downtown Orlando, College Park is well known for bungalow style homes, unique shops, restaurants, and parks creating a comfortable place to call home. Take a walk down Edgewater Drive and be sure to check out some of the small businesses that contribute to the area’s unique vibe such as Trevi Pasta, Orange Cycle, and Good Crowd Gifts.

3. Audubon Park Garden District

Spend an afternoon visiting the many shops and stalls inside East End Market

An award-winning shopping and dining neighborhood in Orlando, the Audubon Park Garden District is described as hip, diverse and independent. This unique neighborhood just north of downtown Orlando is known for eclectic shops, cafes, craft beer, boutiques and more. Locals love to visit East End Market where vendors sell everything from gigantic homemade cookies, to fresh baked bread, to locally sourced produce. Do you know the difference between a lager and a lambic? Then make sure to visit Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour where they’ve been serving up unique and rare brews since 2005 (be sure to try one of their own microbrews while you’re there).

4. Lake Nona

Lake Nona is the newest neighborhood on our list. A mixed-use planned community located southwest of Orlando International Airport, this growing area is home to the USTA National Campus, Medical City, and the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club. Designed as a smart and connected community where residents benefit from a vibrant culture and innovative collaboration. Many young families call the area home and have lead to the growth of modern neighborhood amenities like the outdoor food hall concept, Boxi Park. If you’re feeling adventurous, head to Nona Adventure Park to experience water based family entertainment.

5. The Milk District

Street art can be found around every corner in the Milk District

The neighborhood with the most interesting name has got to be The Milk District. Named for the T.G. Lee Dairy processing plant in the area, there’s much more than milk to this funky, eclectic corner of Orlando. This neighborhood is home to numerous murals, giving a nod to the artistic spirit felt throughout the area. Thanks to a growing list of bars and eateries, the Milk District has become a late night hot spot. Local favorites include MX Taco, Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwichera, and Sideward Brewing Company.


Ready to explore more of Central Florida? Check out our other blog posts featuring 5 Things to Know When Moving to Clermont and 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Clearwater-St. Pete.

Planning a move to Orlando? We’re here to help. Personal Mini Storage operates 46 self storage locations across Central Florida and offers various unit sizes as well as on site U-Haul truck rentals, and moving and storage supplies including boxes for sale.


Moving To Clermont: 5 Things to Know

23

Feb 2021

Moving To Clermont: 5 Things to Know

If you are thinking about relocating to Clermont, Florida you’re not alone. According to The City of Clermont, it has become one of the fastest growing cities in the Central Florida region with a population of more than 44,000 residents and climbing. Here are 5 things you should know about living in Clermont, Florida.


1. From Orange Groves, to Booming City

Oranges growing on trees.
Citrus Played a Major Role in Clermont’s Early Economy

During the first half of the 20th century, citrus groves dominated the local economy, and the famous Citrus Tower is a tribute to the industry’s role in Clermont’s development. Visitors can choose to head up to the observation deck and enjoy the panoramic view of the area. Today, Clermont is listed as the largest city in Lake County and home to a growing, diverse population. Historic Downtown Clermont sits on the shores of Lake Minneola and offers plenty of shopping and dining options for residents.

2. The “Choice of Champions”

Athlete training while running on a track.
The City of Clermont is known as the “Choice of Champions”

With beautiful weather year-round, it is no wonder Clermont’s tag line is the “Choice of Champions”. Many Olympic athletes have chosen to live and train in Clermont including Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, and Noah Lyles. In addition, other track-and-field, water sports and triathlon athletes have called Clermont home due to the many lakes and hills that can be found in the surrounding areas.

3. Affordable Housing

A row of modern homes with well manicured front yards.
Residents of Clermont Enjoy a Lower Cost of Living

The quality of life in Clermont makes it an optimal destination for anyone looking to move to Central Florida. Clermont has housing options for various income levels including gated communities to single-family homes, condominiums, and apartment complexes. With close proximity to the city of Orlando as well as Central Florida’s famous theme parks, many residents choose Clermont thanks to the affordable cost of living and easy highway access.

4. Living the Outdoor Lifestyle

Hikers walk down a nature trail.
Clermont has Plenty of Outdoor Activities the Entire Family can Enjoy

Lakes, rolling hills, and recreational parks can be found throughout the City of Clermont making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Families can enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at the Champions Splash Park, while boaters can take advantage of one of the many boat ramps throughout the city. You can also enjoy numerous disc golf courses and outdoor hiking trails including the Legacy Loop Trail.

5. Made in Clermont

Two wine glasses cheers in a vineyard.
Wine Lovers will Find Plenty to Like About Clermont

Clermont is home to a growing number of unique small businesses, restaurants, wineries, and breweries. Families can enjoy a trip to Southern Hills Blueberry Farm with year-round events including fruit picking, festivals and more. Adults will enjoy stopping by Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards as well as Clermont Brewing Company to enjoy locally made wines and craft beers. You can check out more culinary options here.


If you need help during your relocation to Clermont, Personal Mini Storage is here to make thing easy with 4 locations in Clermont to help with your storage and moving needs including U-Haul truck rentals and returns on site.


Top 6 Orlando Area Neighborhoods For Young Adults

06

Sep 2018

Top 6 Orlando Area Neighborhoods For Young Adults

It’s estimated that over the next five years, 388,270 people will be moving to the Orlando area, bringing the population to 2.8 million. With strong job growth, local colleges and universities and a huge tourism industry, an influx of young adults will be moving or staying in or around Orlando. If you’re looking to move to Central Florida, or are a current resident looking to buy or rent a home, here’s the top 6 Orlando area neighborhoods for young adults.

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College Park

Centrally located to the west of Downtown Orlando, the College Park District is filling up with young adults. Off of the brick roads of College Park you can find renovated bungalow homes with a mix of new development housing. The neighborhood is known for having a small town, yet urban feel, and locals love hitting up the small businesses such as award winning restaurant and wine bar Rusteak, Falafel Shop Hubbly Bubbly, The Yoga Shala Yoga Studio, and dozens of other restaurants, bars, shops and wellness stores.

Median Home Value: $298,600
Current Homes For Sale: 73

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Winter Garden

Winter Garden, located 14 miles west of Downtown Orlando, has gained some serious traction over the past few years. The town has grown from 14,351 residents in 2000 to an astonishing 41,988 in 2016, with many new residents consisting of young adults and families. New construction is huge in Winter Garden, so if you’re looking for newer homes, this is a great area to look at. Winter Garden is always bustling with a weekly farmers market, dozens of new and old bars and restaurants, a local brewery and market, and a huge shopping plaza. If you’re thinking about making the move to this area, you can check out 6 reasons to love Winter Garden.

Median Home Value: $253,200
Current Homes For Sale: 291

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Doctor Phillips

Love restaurants, bars and theme parks? Doctor Phillips is your spot! Located a few miles from International Drive, Universal Studios and Mall of Millenia, Doctor Phillips is a tucked away suburb that’s close enough to just about anything you could need. Down the street is restaurant row, featuring dozens of upscale restaurants like Seasons 52, Melting Pot, Eddie V’s, and local favorite Rocco’s Tacos. Doctor Phillips has a very family friendly vibe, and is perfect for young adults looking to start their lives in the heart of Orlando.

Median Home Value: $307,100
Current Homes For Sale: 49

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Audubon Park

Calling itself “Orlando’s Most Unique Neighborhood,” Audubon Park has local vintage shops and boutiques, as well as some of the best restaurants, craft beer and craft cocktail bars the Orlando area has to offer. If you take a drive through Audubon Park, you’ll notice a slew of local residents walking and biking the area to their favorite spots. Locals love hanging at East End Market, a neighborhood marketplace with an array of artisanal vendors, or Redlight Redlight, an award winning craft beer bar and brewery. With close proximity to Winter Park, Downtown Orlando, Baldwin Park, and local roads and highways, Audubon Park has seen many of it’s new residents being young adults.

Median Home Value: $279,700
Current Homes For Sale: 4

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Downtown Sanford

With a completely revamped downtown area, Sanford is really starting to catch the eye of millennials. Over the past few years, downtown Sanford has seen the addition of new breweries, craft beer bottle shops, remarkable restaurants, and nifty shops. Downtown staples such as Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, a traditional German restaurant serving up authentic German food, German beers and live music, and West End Trading Post, a local favorite that offers drinks, a vibrant atmosphere and nightly live music, line the brick streets of downtown and compliment the new additions to town. Alive After 5 or the Sanford Art Walk are just 2 of the monthly events the city puts on where residents gather for a good time. There’s many older homes in the area, as well as lots of new development of homes and apartments, providing a mix of housing that can suit any need.

Median Home Value: $190,000
Current Homes For Sale: 205
*Median home value and homes available for 32771 zip code

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SODO

Also known as South Downtown, the SODO district has been becoming increasingly popular with young adults. While this area has always been filled with homes and apartments, shopping plazas and bars and restaurants, lots of new and unique spots have been opening up around SODO giving the area a new, cool feel. SODO and surrounding areas such as Delaney Park, Conway and Lake Holden have multiple neighborhoods of homes, as well as new apartment buildings and town homes that have been popping up over the years.

Median Home Value: $250,500
Current Homes For Sale: 102

If you’re planning on making a move to the Orlando area and need extra space, we have 43 self storage locations around the Central Florida area!


Win An Amazon Echo Spot This Summer With Personal Mini Storage!

17

Apr 2018

Win An Amazon Echo Spot This Summer With Personal Mini Storage!

Summer is approaching which means it’s time for college students to store your belongings over summer break! Starting April 1st until May 31st, rent a storage unit with us and ‘share’ our pinned contest post on our Facebook page to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Spot! 

View our Facebook contest post here

Rules: Contest open to legal residents who are age 18 or older. Must rent unit between the dates of 4/1/2018 and 5/31/2018. Unit must be rented at one of our eligible locations. Winner will be notified via e-mail address and/or phone number given at time of lease signing.

Eligible locations:
Personal Mini Storage Forsyth: 2875 Forsyth Rd, Winter Park, FL 32792
Personal Mini Storage Leesburg: 1520 US Hwy 441, Leesburg, FL 34748
Personal Mini Storage GNV441: 8825 NW 13th Street
I-75 Business Park & Self Storage: 4500 SW 41st Blvd.
Personal Mini Storage GNV34: 4432 SW 34th St
South West Self Storage: 3300 SW 42nd St.
Archer Road Self Storage: 6505 SW Archer Rd.
Archer Road Business Park: 6505 SW Archer Rd.
Extra Closet St. Petersburg: 2401 Anvil St N, St Petersburg, FL 33710
Personal Mini Storage Deland: 1540 State Rd 15 Alt, Deland, FL 32720
Personal Mini Storage Spring Garden: 800 N Spring Garden Ave, Deland, FL 32720


Top 12 Best College Towns in America

12

Apr 2018

Top 12 Best College Towns in America

While there are thousands of colleges and universities around the country, a big part that plays a factor into what makes a school really great is the town they are located in. Compiling statistics on student life, town activities, student opinions, and many other aspects, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 12 college towns in America. Here’s the top college towns- and why they’re some of the best.

Athens

12. Athens, Georgia
Athens is situated about an hour and a half east of Atlanta, and is the perfect mix of southern meets hipster. University of Georgia is located in Athens, as well as Athens Technical College, and students of both campuses can enjoy an eclectic mix of art and music venues, as well as a handful of bars, and restaurants specializing in southern cuisine. Athens is a charming town with a niche for everyone, plus you can’t complain about the average temperature being 62 degrees year-round.

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11. Orlando, Florida
Orlando isn’t all theme parks and tourism- the city of Orlando is one of the largest growing cities in the nation, due to the influx of new jobs, and growth of local colleges. University of Central Florida was the largest school in the nation in the 2016-2017 school year with 64,335 students, and other local colleges including Valencia College, Seminole State College and Florida State University College of Medicine enroll tens of thousands of students each year. The city of Orlando was ranked 5th for social environment and 132nd for academic and economic opportunities. Living in Orlando, students get to truly enjoy the sunshine state, while partaking in activities like pools parties, outdoor bars, parks, and farmers markets, just to name a few.

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10. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is a historic, laid back and bustling city that is known for being home to the University of North Carolina. Both the campus and city have gorgeous views and nature aspects, and it has great weather almost all year. University of North Carolina is known for having some of the best school spirit in the country, which creates an environment unlike any other around town. Chapel Hill has a great nightlife scene, with dozens of bars and cafes, musical venues and lots of new breweries and distilleries that have popped up over the past few years.

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9. Boulder, Colorado
People of all ages, especially young adults, have been flocking to Colorado over the past few years, and it’s no surprise why. Boulder, home of University of Colorado Boulder and Naropa University, is a nature lovers paradise. Recreational activities such as hiking, biking, snowboarding and skiing are abundant in this town, with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Students in Boulder like to relax at local breweries, bars, and small town shops and cafes.

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8. Berkeley, California
What student wouldn’t want to live in sunny California? Although it’s across the bay from San Francisco, Berkeley has a cute, small town feel that is a big attraction of the local colleges there- such as University of California Berkeley, Berkeley City College, and Zaytuna College. Students residing in Berkeley like to enjoy the fun and cultural sides of town, at local coffee shops and breweries, plus they get to eat some of the best food in California.

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7. Charlottesville, Virginia
Home of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is your typical quaint, southern town- but boasts some incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has other scenery highlights like vineyards, national parks and history museums. The historic architecture around town makes a nice touch, and the town offers some of the best parks, taverns, and art-centric spots in the state.

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6. Austin, Texas
Austin is an up and coming town being swarmed by millennials and young adults. At the center of Austin lies the University of Texas, a highly acclaimed university many students are keen on attending. Known for it’s southern BBQ and some of the best bars and restaurants, Austin is always bustling. Even with a great social environment, Austin still has a small town feel, and many students take advantage of the great Texas weather by spending time outdoors at local parks and trails.

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5. Boston, Massachusetts
If you’re a lover of big cities, Boston can be the perfect college town for you. It’s estimated over 250,000 college students reside in Boston, attending various schools like Boston University, University of Massachusetts, Northeastern University, and almost a dozen other universities and colleges. With so many college students in the city, there’s an endless amount of activities around Boston for students to partake in. With some of the best sports teams, historical attractions, art museums, famous bars and music venues, there’s no dull moment when you’re needing to take a break from studying and class.

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4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor has lots of great qualities- like outdoor activities, vibrant and popular bars and restaurants, and most of all- they’re a huge football town. So while Saturday’s during football season at the University of Michigan are a favorite day, there’s still so much to do here every season. Students at Michigan have fun playing outdoor intramural sports, hitting up their favorite pubs, nightclubs and shows, and window shopping at local stores and art galleries.

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3. Amherst, Massachusetts
The Five College Consortium, which is compromised of 4 local liberal arts colleges and the University of Massachusetts, is a selling point of Amherst, as students are allowed to (and encouraged to!) take classes at all of the local colleges, regardless of which school they are accepted to. Amherst has an amazing art and history scene, as the city offers dozens of history and art museums. Residents of Amherst get to take advantage of the outdoors, by spending time at the local national parks, farmers markets, walking and biking trails, mountains and recreation areas. Plus, many students stay in Amherst after graduation, so you know it’s a great place to live in.

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2. Gainesville, Florida
While the football stadium at the University of Florida may be called “The Swamp”, there’s a whole lot more to do in Gainesville than just enjoy the nature that surrounds this mid-Florida town. University of Florida students and locals are huge on their school sports, so the town is always energetic and lively on any sports game day. Students paint the town hitting up the strips of local bars and restaurants on weekends and evenings, and the nature lovers get to appreciate the nearby hiking trails and natural springs.

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1. Ithaca, New York
In upstate New York sits Ithaca, a picturesque town which has the highly acclaimed Cornell University and Ithaca College. Ithaca has been voted number 2 in college educated residents, and has been voted numerous times as the best place to live, as well as the best place for entrepreneurs. The town and surrounding areas have over 25 local wineries and breweries, a great art scene and an abundance of nature areas, like Taughannock Falls State Park, Cayuga Lake and Cornell Botanic Gardens.


6 Picture Perfect Spots To Visit in Deland

05

Feb 2018

6 Picture Perfect Spots To Visit in Deland

With it’s rich history, and large sense of community, Deland, Florida, is filled with beautiful scenery, among various places to see and activities to do. Nestled in between Orlando and Daytona, Deland has been pictured in films such as The Waterboy, Days of Thunder and Walt Before Mickey, since the town exhibits such charming backdrops. Here’s 6 picture perfect spots to see when visiting Deland!

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1. Stetson University

Stetson University was established in 1883 and is Florida’s oldest private college. Taking a walk through the the 175-acre campus, you’ll be engulfed by the beauty of its historic buildings and architecture, as well as the beautiful Florida landscaping. Elizabeth Hall, DeLand Hall and Lee Chapel are just a few of the buildings constructed in the late 1800’s that give the campus it’s historic charm.

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2. Persimmon Hollow Brewery

As Deland’s first and currently only brewery, Persimmon Hollow is located in the heart of the downtown district. Started by two home brewers, the brewery occupies a renovated warehouse and is a popular hangout spot among locals. With touches such as woodwork, mismatch tables and chairs, board and video games – the brewery is the perfect place to have a beer and kick back for a few hours. If you’re interested in the history, brewing process and production of the brewery, tours are offered at 5:07 every day.

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3. DeLand Wings

If you’ve scrolled through your friend’s and family’s posts in your newsfeed, you may have come across a picture of someone standing in front of a giant chalk painting of angel wings. Created by artist Erica Group, DeLand Wings have quickly become one of the most photographed spots in Deland. These wings are located in historic Downtown DeLand directly behind Dressed Boutique in Pill Alley, and close to local restaurants and shops.

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4. Hontoon Island State Park

For a quiet, outdoor escape from the hustle and bustle of the Orlando area, Hontoon Island State Park is the perfect place to visit for nature lovers. Located on the St. Johns River in Volusia County on the west side of Deland, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, like boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing,  hiking, camping, cycling and picnicking. The park is open from 8:00 am till one hour before sunset year-round and a must visit to see the nature Florida is known for.

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5. Athens Theatre

Like out of a classic movie, Athens Theatre sits as a centerpiece of Deland, providing residents with a classical American theatre experience in its original, historic building. The theatre had provided entertainment to locals for dozens of years, with a renovation occurring in the 1950’s, before it was shut down in 1990. In 1994 the building was re-purchased, and now the theatre puts on dozens of shows every year. Upcoming shows include Disney’s Aladdin, The McCartney Project, The Long Run and Surfin’ Safari. For stunning theatrical performances in a beautifully historic building, Athens Theatre is a must visit spot.

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6. The Stetson Mansion

Known as being Florida’s first luxury estate, Stetson Mansion is a breathtaking building to make a stop at. Built in 1886 for John B. Stetson, the elegant home was known for lavish parties and gatherings, with attendees including President Cleveland and the King and Queen of England. The building was resurrected and is currently a private residence, although private tours are available frequently. The extremely popular “Christmas Spectacular” takes place November to December, where the home becomes decked out in an extraordinarily amount of holiday decorations. Even weddings and private parties can be hosted on the exquisite property!

Whether you’re a local to the Orlando area, or just visiting, Deland is a must-see historic city; and these 6 places are just of the few of many reasons to make a visit and take a few captivating pictures along the way!



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