When you visit the Orlando, Florida, area, and stay with Bluegreen Resorts at either The Fountains or Orlando’s Sunshine Resort, you’ll find a wealth of outdoor activities, opportunities for world-class shopping excursions, and a full range of theme parks ready to delight the entire family.
In addition, you’ll be able to discover off-the-tourist-track gems of history, heritage, and culture. Among these is the town of Eatonville, the first-ever all-African-American town to be incorporated in the United States. Located just outside the Orlando city limits and off Interstate 4 near the city of Maitland, Eatonville offers the Zora Neale Hurston National Fine Arts Museum, which was created in honor of its most famous daughter. And every January, the museum promotes the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, a feast of culture centered in the early 20th century writer’s works, which include novels and works on anthropology and folklore.
The museum, known as The Hurston, follows the author’s vision by showcasing artists of African descent. The Hurston features exhibits nearly year-round, and each one is typically installed for three to four months. There is no admission for individuals or families, although the museum appreciates donations. Free lectures and receptions accompany each exhibit. A museum store offers visitors the opportunity to own posters, collectible items, and more, all celebrating the African and African-American heritage.
The Zora Neale Hurston Festival is also free, although there is typically a charge to attend related concerts. Zora Neale Hurston’s writing focused to a large extent on Southern and African-American folklore, and the festival’s themes reflect this rich body of work. The daughter of former slaves, Hurston grew up in the small community and exemplifies Eatonville’s focus on family and history. Internationally renowned speakers and performers lend their talents to the four-day event, which takes place in venues across Eatonville and the surrounding communities.
Visitors to Eatonville can also take in the Wells’ Built Museum of African American History and stroll along Kennedy Boulevard, home to numerous small businesses that have played a role in building the community over the years.