Orange Blossom Tour | Plenty of curves, treats and sunshine

Photography by Chris Tropea

Beautiful roads, beautiful weather, beautiful people.

By those measures, the sold-out 2022 Classic Motorsports Orange Blossom Tour was a complete success.

The historic Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills, north of Orlando in Florida’s hillier parts, served as home base for the week for participants–enough to fill 30 cars and an even mix of newcomers and returning guests.

The group met on Sunday, February 27, in idyllic early spring Florida weather. The entire event was warm and dry except for a light shower Monday afternoon.

The four days of driving started Monday morning. The first stop on this tour of old Florida was DeLeon Springs, where attendees could enjoy the beautiful waters rumored to be the Fountain of Youth. Later that day, guests were treated to a nature cruise out of Blue Springs, where they spied myriad birds and turtles, along with a few alligators.

Tuesday dawned clear and with just a bit of chill in the air. After a hearty breakfast, drivers headed to the west coast of the state to have lunch at Peck’s Old Port, an iconic seafood place situated among the mangroves so common on the Nature Coast. From there, we took in another old Florida attraction, the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs.

Wednesday morning featured the green Mountains of Florida that, while not really mountains, surprised entrants with how hilly the state can be. On the menu that day: twisty, curvy roads and beautiful scenery.

That afternoon, the group visited AJR Restorations, the current iteration of Alex Job Racing, one of the most successful American Porsche race teams. Job joined the group to share stores and guide a tour through the shop’s collection of historic Porsche race cars. For lunch, guests took over O’Keefe’s Irish Pub, a Tavares, Florida, landmark.

From there, the group had an afternoon off to enjoy shopping in nearby Mount Dora, a round of golf, the resort’s spa, or an afternoon of lounging by the pool.

On the final day of the tour, participants headed north to the historic home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of “Cross Creek” and “The Yearling,” and learned about life in the ’30s.

After a rally stage through the picturesque horse country of Ocala, the group visited the private collection of Jim Schmidt, founder of National Parts Depot. Rick Schmidt, Jim’s son and company co-owner, led the group through the 200-car collection.

The tour wrapped up with a cocktail party and dinner overlooking the lake and golf course at Mission Inn, with bittersweet goodbyes and pledges to return next year. Special thanks to Hagerty, Porsche Classic and RM Sotheby’s. More details on these tours can be found at classicmotorsportsroadtours.com.

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Comments
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cashsnively
cashsnively New Reader
3/12/22 7:47 a.m.

Great looking group of cars and folks.

Looking forward to joining the Tour in California....

 

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