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A Stay in Historic Downtown Sanford

After being stuck at home the past six months due to Covid, we wanted to try and find safe and fun things to do in the area. We eventually decided to venture out and head to the beautiful Historic Downtown Sanford area for a day of exploring and enjoying delicious food. Not only were we able to support the local businesses, we ended up having the best staycation experience!

We started our day by checking into Park Place Inn & Cottages. This property, located in Downtown Sanford area, was built in the 1930’s and is filled to the brim with charm. We stayed in the Coastal Cottage and our room was beautiful, as it was adorned with colonial style details. It had a nice private deck area which was perfect for relaxing and enjoying your morning coffee.

Since we knew we had a whole day of eating ahead of us, and maybe a snack or two along the way, we wanted a light but delicious breakfast to start the day. Palate Coffee Brewery was the perfect place to begin our food adventure. On top of delicious coffee, pastries and their matcha affogato, what really made me love this place is that 100% of their proceeds go to Love Missions, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking. The owner, Tina Kadolph, and her staff were so friendly and accommodating which was the cherry on top of the laid back and friendly atmosphere. Plus, I love a business that gives back!

Before grabbing lunch, we headed out to explore Downtown Sanford. We took a stroll down 1st St. which is full of great boutiques, restaurants and breweries. You can find a little bit of everything here. We loved Magpies Modern General Store. Inside you will find an eclectic array of clothing, gifts, and jewelry including many items made by local artisans. Our favorite thing was the sustainable soap station, where you can buy a glass bottle and choose your own scent. You can even bring the bottle back and refill it when you run out! Magpies Modern General Store should definitely be on your itinerary for your next visit to Sanford!

Nothing like some retail therapy to get get your appetite ready for lunch! Chef Michael O'Brien from The Corner Cafe greeted us upon our arrival and took the time to explain his eclectic menu. He even pointed out some of his favorite items, the onion soup, Vietnamese salad, and Cuban sandwich. Everything we tried was delicious, fresh, and made to order. I can definitely say their onion soup is one of the best I’ve had. The Corner Café is pet friendly and also has an outdoor seating area.

After lunch we noticed the area was coming alive with people heading to the farmer’s market in Magnolia Square. Fresh produce, plants, jams, honey, among many other local artisan products were on display. We agreed that people watching and supporting local small businesses at the farmer’s market is the perfect late Saturday morning activity.

The Rosie Lee Co. is located just around the corner from the farmer’s market. This Victorian tea house offers an array of light bites, coffees and teas. You can purchase leaf tea by the ounce from a wide variety of flavors. We enjoyed the Sanford Sunshine, a green tea blend, along with some gorgeous crumpets topped with clotted cream and rose jam. Mikala was so friendly and didn’t hesitate to make us feel right at home with conversation and sample offerings.

You’d think we would be full and ready to call it a day at this point, but we heard many great things about The Tennessee Truffle and were so excited for an opportunity to finally try it out. This was one of those restaurants that, from the moment you walk in, you feel a certain warmth and friendliness that lets you know you’re in for a fantastic meal. Chef Nat and his staff were very attentive and allowed me to watch him in his element as he prepared some beautiful biscuits and the other items for our meal. We absolutely loved the full meal but the sweet breads with braised cabbage was definitely our favorite savory dish. The popcorn trifecta dessert had the perfect balance of sweet and salty which ended the meal on a very high note. 

We went back to our room at Park Place Inn to unwind and relax after such full day of delicious eating and exploring.

The next morning before checking out, we enjoyed some freshly brewed coffee and a great breakfast including quiche, fruit, and some very nice pastries. I’d like to mention that the proximity of Park Place Inn to the Sanford International Airport makes it a perfect choice for travelers. If you are flying out of this airport, they also offer long term parking for a quarter of what the airport charges. If you stay here the night before you travel, it will take a lot of stress off of an early morning commute. We headed home Sunday morning feeling refreshed and recharged.

Central Florida has so many great dining and entertainment options and Historic Downtown Sanford should not be overlooked. We cannot wait to return and visit again. Our staycation was a success! 


For the love of food, traveling, photography, and promotion of all things delicious. I’m Carlos Rodriguez, a food-obsessed human that enjoys introducing everyone to new bites they can fall in love with.

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