Everglades Region Treks North to Central Florida for the 2019 Weekend of the Year
Each year, the Everglades Region PCA holds a “Weekend of the Year” aka WOTY as our annual last hurrah at the end of Southwest Florida’s peak season. This year on April 12, the club drove north to Central Florida for a weekend at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. This location gave us the opportunity to take advantage of the curve-carving capabilities of our Porsches in one of the few hilly regions of Florida. Along the way, we all got to enjoy the epic scenery of mossy oak trees, native wildlife like sandhill cranes and rolling pastures.
The weekend started Friday morning at the Daniels Parkway & I-75 rest stop, where we all met to check in and get our group drive assignments. A total of 64 people participated in the WOTY with 32 cars. For this leg of the journey most particpants split into 2 groups, each with a lead car and a sweep car driving in single-file with headlights on.
The first stop of the weekend was lunch at the Texas Cattle Company on Mirror Lake in Lakeland. This very special restaurant is known for serving only select USDA Prime & Choice three year old grain-fed beef. The non-beefeaters of the group enjoyed fabulous smoked salmon and chicken. The restaurant normally is open only for dinner but opened especially for our group.
From Lakeland, we drove on backroads to Howey-In-the-Hills through scenic farmland and the rolling hills that give the town its name. Our destination was the Mission Inn Resort & Golf Club, with its historic golf course dating back to 1917. The scenic Mission Inn was the perfect home base for a lively weekend of driving, sightseeing and camaraderie.
On Friday night we had a Western-themed dinner party with late-night dancing to live music by the talented Nathan Leslie band. The party was held at Marina Del Rey right near the hotel in a glass enclosed gazebo on Lake Harris surrounded by cypress and oak trees dripping with moss. The lake and mossy trees were the perfect back-drop for a rare large-group club photo.
- Best couple: Peter Thomasetti and Gloria Plyser
- Best male costume: Dr. Tom Oker
- Best female costume: Lynn Haars
Our Zone 12 Rep Lisa Lewis joined us for an early start on Saturday morning with an 89 mile Photo/Clue rally that took us through small towns and some of the most beautiful scenic roads in Florida. Number Two Road in Yahala (near the Yalaha Bakery) is definitely movie-scene worthy. We drove along many lakes in the area’s famous lake chain including Lake Apopka, Lake Jem and Lake Ola and through two forests, the Seminole State Forest and the Ocala National Forest. We also passed through several small towns and solved puzzles and searched for photo subjects along the way. Some unplanned sights along the way included a newborn calf, several pairs of sandhill cranes and a brief stop to see a protected gopher tortoise cross the road. Photo/Clue rallies can get very competitive but at the end of the day our WOTY rally winners were as follows:
- Gail & David Bernstein
- Gordon Browne & Barbara Carnes
- Scott Eckels & Karen Kitzpatrick
- Mark & Susan Lowers
- Tom & Mary Ann Oker
- Yancey Braeme & Amy Manley
- Cathy & Dan Alberson
- Pete & Kim Badami
- Ann Wardlow & Vicki Frey
- Dave & Gerry Mahaney
- Chuck and Maxine Shapiro
- Bill & Deb Wickum
The rally destination was a seafood buffet at Mount Dora’s historic Lakeside Inn. After lunch team Everglades Region enjoyed exploring Mount Dora’s antique shops and ice cream parlors or took a boat ride on the lake. We had some free time in the afternoon for golf, shopping or more driving. Some chose to re-visit spots along the rally where they wished to spend more time.
An outdoor cocktail hour at Legends, the Mission Inn’s Country Club, kicked off Saturday night. This was followed by dinner and hilarious entertainment by our old friend Jimmy (Liar) Keys. The multi-talented Jimmy Keys sings, plays the piano and does dead-on accurate impersonations of celebrities and musicians combined with stand-up comedy. Our crowd was rapt at his performance, during which he brought members including Ed Brust, Kim Badami and Jenny Branston up to the stage for some love. After the dinner party Jimmy Keys went along with some late-night rabble-rousers back to the hotel bar while others turned in, closing out the 2019 Weekend of the Year with hotel check-out on Sunday.
Thank you to our friends at Adam’s Polishes for helping us all “stay shiny” during the weekend with a full-sized bottle of detail spray and a microfiber towel. Visit https://adamspolishes.com/ for more detail spray when you need it!
Special thanks to Jenny Branston, the Everglades Region PCA Rally Chair and Chris Branston, Past President, for all of their time and effort putting this fantastic weekend together for us. Bravo! Don’t miss the 2020 Weekend of the Year. Planning is already underway and we’ll keep you posted…
Please submit any additional WOTY photos you have to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add them to our photo albums!