Lakeland, 28 exits off Interstate 4 headed east – or sooner if you take the toll road. In my initial view, something of a pothole, a nondescript town mentioned on weather forecasts and correlating live cams overlooking Lake Mirror. Admittedly, when I wander Lakeland I don’t step far into shops or restaurants, though I have a few favorites where I have gone and know a few names in addition. Lakeland’s intrigue lies in the mindsets I tend to arrive with, and leave with, whenever I traverse the 45 minutes to get there. I seem to come to some conclusion about my life, whether it’s a simple daily change or an idea that gives me lengthy pause.
For my sister’s miniature birthday outing we visited one of our mutual favorite coffee shops. Concord’s only flaw is its distance from my home. I’ve sipped all manner of caffeinated elixirs from Concord and I have yet to experience even marginal levels of disappointment. The Guatemala Kalita is perfect. Their flat whites are rich with velvety body. Not to mention, the nook embodies an idyllic aesthetic. Clean. Compact yet never cramped. Brightened by sunlight swiping through the huge windows along the walls. Adorned with marble and light wood and, right now, baby pumpkins on each table. Its greatest appeal, though, is in how peaceful I become when I leave. I’ve walked in, alone, my brain carrying on its own dissatisfying internal monologue that weighs my shoes & tightens my chest. Then I sit, usually at the window bar, and simply taste the coffee, hear the surrounding voices, view the walkway and the shifting shadowplay as minutes and sometimes hours curl around the clock. The word “sanctuary” comes to mind. A place where the grime slips into the drain. I leave lighter. I don’t feel as unsafe.
I do a lot of simple ambling when in Lakeland. My sister and I parked around Main Street and headed a short way on foot to Lake Mirror, a beautiful plate of liquid crystal centered with a sloshing fountain. Two laps round the circumference is great exercise, and I watched geese and white Aflac ducks, ibis and mallards, all pecking away at various particles or paddling in the smooth water or with their feet tucked in their feathers beneath the neighboring trees. Lakeland Brewing Company is housed on one side of the lake, and affords a beautiful view from the patio. Once you finish your walk, there’s Black & Brew for fuel – both sandwiches and coffee – or The Poor Porker, well-known in the town and surrounding cities for their varying beignets. I’ll link a few of these spots below, for your casual viewing.
A small East Ink update: I’m adding new listings to my Etsy quite consistently, and I’m extremely excited about how they’re turning out! Since my initial introduction post of the startup, the shop has been graced with a sassy birthday card, my first physical print, and a precious quick facts guide about the French press. Keep up with the latest biz news on East Ink’s Instagram, and don’t forget that I’m highly interested in custom work, from business cards to wedding invites to personalized prints for household adornment!
– Concord Coffee –
– Lake Mirror & surrounding –
Quick bits & spots of interest:
1. Concord Coffee, 1037 S. Florida Ave.
Try any of their beans in a Kalita-style pour over, or fancy up with a caramel latte. I’ve also enjoyed their flat whites in the past. The baristas’ latte art is always on point.
2. Black & Brew, 205 E. Main St.
3. The Poor Porker, 801 E. Main St.
4. Lakeland Brewing Company, 640 E. Main St.
5. Lake Mirror & surrounding
6. Main Street area
Full of eateries, little quirky shops, and a central park with sculptures.