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The Gang on a Taste of Florida drive to Palm Ridge Reserve in North Lake County Florida...
As the Most Active Corvette Club in Central Florida, we welcome you to the Corvette Club of Orlando's Website! At CCO, our motto is simple - "Friendship, Family, Fun." Founded in 1992, we have been providing Corvette owners in Florida a truly premier membership experience for twenty-three years. We're owners of Corvette classics from the '50's to the ultra modern 2015 C7 Corvette Stingray! We are a social organization that enjoys fellowship, Corvette road-trips, Corvette car shows, activities & events and we all have a common bond of support for the communities we live, work and raise our families in. This Website serves our members with a portal for club news and information. We also feature our valued sponsors prominently and provide the entire world an opportunity to learn more about the Premier Corvette Club in all of Florida. Please come on in and browse around. Thank you for visiting The Corvette Club of Orlando!
Palm Ridge Reserve - A 'Taste of Florida' Event
The Gang at Florida Farms Distillers - Palm Ridge Reserve...
Umatilla, Florida - Saturday, June 20, 2015 - As most of you know, Prez Mike & Deb moved to Lake County last year. Since then, Mike has been looking for more northern Lake County places for CCO to explore. Lake is a rural paradise dotted with, you guessed it - lakes - everywhere. And as we know, Ed builds road-trips along gentle and not-so-gentle bends
on Florida's back roads and CCO has fun on these 'Taste of Florida' events, touring rail-fenced farmland, motoring around lakes in rural communities, long straight lines in the mining country and tooling through small towns as we make our way to our destination. Well, Mike and Ed - the Master Road-Trip Route Planner outdid themselves again with this one.
On this sunny Saturday June morning, down a nondescript driveway marked by a placard with “PRR” handwritten just for us, over twenty Corvettes gently make there way toward a barn surrounded by green pastures, horses and livestock. We stage the cars in a huge pasture near the barn and are greeted by Marti and Dick Waters. We’ve arrived at Florida Farm Distillers - a micro-distillery creating Palm Ridge Reserve™ (PRR) located on a small cattle farm in north Lake County.
To quote from their website: “Owners Marti and Dick Waters believe that their personal and detailed attention makes Palm Ridge Reserve™ stand out from other mass produced liquors. The boutique operation produces a
Mike and John discussing various performance characteristics of their new Corvettes...
90 proof, young Florida Bourbon-style whiskey. This limited quantity, select whiskey (only 500 cases per year), is non-chill filtered, mellowed with toasted orange and oak woods, and left to finish in small charred oak barrels. Truly Distinctive!”
Owners Marti and Dick are the only employees at Florida Farms Distillers and have been in business on the farm for over five years. Dick commented that they host several informal tasting tours and events annually and that we were a very large group for a tour —
Owner Dick Waters explains his Grain Recipe...
recommending that we split into two groups to learn more about their operation and taste their whiskey. And, thinking of everything, our hosts had kindly set a table of sweets and bottled water to take care of our appetite and thirst needs.
We listened intensely as Dick & Marti allowed us to touch and taste sample grains used in their recipe and take in a powerful noseful of vapors arising from their unique fermenting mash. First demonstrating the proper way to sample whiskey themselves, Dick & Marti then offered our two groups generous samples of Palm Ridge Reserve™, Palm Ridge Virgin™ and Palm Ridge Rye™. They were sure to call attention to specific taste, feel and finish characteristics of these award winning whiskeys. We all agreed the ‘Grain Forward’ characteristic they seek in their recipe is certainly present, and a welcome difference compared to other mass produced whiskeys.
Nick gets a noseful of vapors coming from the fermenting mash!
After a short visit further along in the barn to see the bottling process and barrel storage, we made our way back out of the distillery. Many members made purchases of their favorite bottles personally autographed by Dick himself!
Having really enjoyed our insightful visit with a truly unique Florida Whiskey distiller, we gathered up and
Bonnie and Linda enjoying a Palm Ridge Virgin tasting!
wished our hosts many thanks and good luck for the future and rolled our Corvettes back to the south - destination: downtown Eustis - for a good lunch set just for CCO at the one-of-a-kind 1884 Restaurant and Bar.
Mike working his 'Virgin Nose' Sandi & Dick with her autographed bottle of Palm Ridge Rye
Dick and Marti's handsome display of Signature Whiskeys...
The 1884 is another story all it’s own but just take it from us, the restaurant is a wonderful place to stop for a drink and a meal and time it right and you have live entertainment to boot.
Our thanks go out to Marti and Dick Waters for their generous preparations for CCO’s visit, their Old-Florida country style hospitality and a very thorough tour & tasting of Palm Ridge Reserve! Finally we thank Mike, Ed and John for planning and promoting another wonderful drive, unique destination and a meal enjoyed with CCO Freinds!
Please take a few moments to visit the very interesting websites of our hosts for this event!
Visit Palm Ridge Reserve
Visit 1884 Restaurant and Bar
CCO Shows at Winter Park Village
CCO Corvettes line Main Street at the Village - Photos Courtesy of CCO Members at Event - Article by Nick Francoforte
Winter Park - It was the 13th of June and a beautiful Saturday morning with plenty of the sunshine so typical of Florida’s weather this time of the year. Approximately thirty members of the Corvette Club of Orlando gathered at Nick’s Family Diner for breakfast. Quite a few members meet every Saturday for breakfast, but this wasn’t the typical breakfast crew. Many had come out this fine morning to support the CCO Car Show at Winter Park Village.
CCO Lines both sides of the street!
After a fun-filled breakfast with great conversation and reminiscing of past events, a caravan of Corvettes headed out to the Winter Park Village Shopping Center just off North Orange Ave. Even more members drove their Corvettes directly to the Village.
Looks like Bob's 60th Anniversary ZR1 beside Harm's Z06 on the corner!
The folks at the Village were set up and ready for our arrival having blocked off a very large area for our cars. As the vibrant entourage of Corvettes pulled in, they were met by the advance party of Mike Nostro, Nick Francoforte, Steve Jones and BJ LaMontagne, all aiding and directing in getting everyone situated and parked.
The Craig's 2015 & 2013 proudly covering the corner spot..
As you can see in the accompanying photos, there were cars representing most Corvette generations. We had C1’s, C3’s, C4’s, C5’s, C6’s and some new C7’s. They came in various forms such as coupes, convertibles, Grand Sports, ZR1’s and ZO6’s and even John & Barbara’s special replica of a ’58 done on a C6 chassis. The montage of brilliant Corvette colors was offset by the wondrous backdrop of merchant shops that lined the quaint streets of Winter Park Village.
Nick's C7 Z06 and Mikes 'Blu-Ray' competing for attention on the corner!
The cars were parked, dusted off, polished and left to the enjoyment and viewing pleasure of the public as the morning progressed. Our members sat and socialized among themselves but had even more fun talking to show visitors and Village customers milling about, ooh’ing and ah’ing each beautiful Corvette masterpiece.
Although it was a very, very warm day, everyone enjoyed this laid-back car show. The merchants were very gracious — awarding prizes and cash to their favorite participants.
The Bradham's 58/C6 rear view...
Congrats go to members John and Barbara Bradham for taking two top Merchants Favorites awards, one for their new ’58/C6, a Classic Reflections Coachworks custom built machine, and another for their ’58 Resto-Mod roadster which has now amassed a very large number of awards.
A big and hearty THANK-YOU to the CCO members in participation and to Winter Park Village & their merchants for hosting this great event and another to Mike Nostro for his work with WPV to make it happen!
Picnic at DeLeon Springs...
The whole gang at CCO's DeLeon Springs Picnic...
DeLeon Springs, Florida - On May 16, 2015, CCO gathered at the popular DeLeon Springs State Park in Volusia County for a relaxing mid-day chance to get close to nature and spend time with friends. The springs area has long been occupied by man (with documented artifacts) for over 8000 years and CCO has been glad to carry on the tradition of enjoying it's beauty by visiting here several times over the years for pancake breakfasts at the Old Sugar Mill, also on the property.
Rich delivers burgers fresh off the grill! Dave and Sandra comparing notes on recent CCO happenings.
CCO volunteers Rich Craig, Wayne LeVesque and Herb Merksamer cooked up burgers and dogs for a main course, while others contributed various homemade recipes to the menu. When the grills finished up we filled our plates and sat under the huge oaks, continuing our
John in deep contemplation with Barbara and Bob.. Russ and Debi lean in to blow out their birthday candles!
socialization. For dessert, we celebrated Russ Mello and Debi Ianitelli's birthdays with a huge cake - donated by Russ!! While the all the contributors of time, equipment, ice, covered dishes, desserts, hauling vehicles, grocery store runs and all the gear are to many to name, we want to thank everyone who helped make the event a very big success!
Russ lights the candes on his and Debi's Birthday Cake! Wayne shows off some of his road sign collection!?!
CCO's 2015 Derby Weekend Honors "Best Hats!"
CCO's ladies sporting colorful and creative headwear...
The "Horses Ass" goes from Rick Woodley to Tom Kinst! The "Kellie" goes from Debbie Boone to Carol Johnson!
Naples, Florida - On May 1st thru 3rd CCO basked in the sun of Southwest Florida and witnessed yet another "Run For The Roses." Stationed this year at the Bayfront Inn at 5th and the bay, CCO returned to Naples for the first time since 2011. Our first organized event of the weekend was a Naples Princess dinner cruise on Friday evening, touring us along Collier County's prestigious waterside real estate, terminating at Gordon's Pass for a wonderful sunset. Saturday, many of the guys toured an amazing automobile collection at the Rev's Institute, while others sunned at the pool or shopped. Saturday evening's main event - The Kentucky Derby saw three year old colt - American Pharaoh, win hands down. Our "Kellie" Award went to Carol Johnson for Best Ladies Derby Hat and the renowned "Horse's Ass" Award now resides in Tom Kinst's trophy case. After a long weekend of sun and fun, card games, and Derby fun, CCO broke camp Sunday morning, enjoyed breakfast and headed home. Thanks go Darlene Heber for organizing the event to all our volunteers and board members for their hard work in making this event another success!
Congratulations to Tom and Maggie Kinst as their 2008 Pace Car / Callaway Roadster has been selected as CCO's Corvette of the Quarter! Click the image or the link below to see Tom's full BIO on this beautiful and rare Corvette at our Corvette of the Quarter Gallery!
CCO Members, do you want to know more about how you can submit your Corvette for consideration? See the Corvette of the Quarter Rules for Submission.
Spotlight on a Champion
Lake Mary, Florida - If one was to look up the definition of the term Champion in Webster’s Dictionary, they’d certainly find the above photo accompanying the entry. Yes, that’s CCO Member Ed Merchut standing proudly behind his treasured Torch Red 1999 Fixed Roof Coupe, sharing the pavement with sixty two trophies this car/owner team has been awarded over the past sixteen years!
Purchased in March of 1999, this award winning Corvette is indeed unique. Ed and his wife, Sandra, have driven only 54,000 miles in this car in all it’s years. But, these miles are a bit more than special as they include attending shows where those sixty-two awards were earned, and a lot of time on road courses and oval tracks all over the southeastern US. Ed says Sebring, Roebling Road, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway should just about cover the tracks the Corvette has lapped. Add to this countless day and weekend drives with CCO friends and several trips to the Tennessee, Carolina and North Georgia Mountains - with a detour up or down the Tail of the Dragon along the way when possible.
To top it all, in 2001 along with nineteen other C5 Registry members’ cars on a container ship, this ’99 sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Destination: the 2001 Running of LeMans. While in France and Belgium, this Corvette was driven more than 1300 miles through the countryside, experienced a 150MPH run on a new French toll road and then the ultimate; An unforgettable four laps of the LeMans track “at speed,” as Ed is fond of mentioning.
Ed & Sandra purchased the car new at an MSRP of $39,122, equipped with $345 in options: Power Drivers Seat, Parcel Net and Floor Mats. Soon after, Ed set out to customize the car to make it truly one of a kind - and a show winner.
Ed and Sandra are loyal CCO members and they prove this over and again by volunteering countless hours to organize and conduct back road drives and mystery trips. Over the years, these drives have always been scenic and educational for our members. Under Ed & Sandra’s guidance, we’ve visited many unique destinations not only with automotive interests in mind, but social, economic and historical significance also. And, these trips are not only in Florida, but to the entire Southeastern region of the country as well. We’re grateful for their friendship and the support they provide to CCO.
Although Ed & Sandra have owned other red Corvettes… (we hear they have plans to add yet another very soon,) we think this Corvette is both a Champion, and a keeper!
Community Corner Returns
In keeping with CCO's commitment to our communities, the feature "Community Corner" returns in 2015 with it's debut spotlight on a very worthy cause - the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. CCO members Wayne & Terry Levesque (Team Flava) are heavily involved with AFSP and are promoting the 2015 8th Annual "Out of the Darkness Community Walk" which is raising funds to support research, education and prevention initiatives to reduce the loss of life due to suicide. Please consider supporting AFSP and Team Flava! For more info click this link: Out of the Darkness. We appreciate your support!
CCO Honors our Corvette of the Year - 2014
- Nick & Pat's 60th Anniversary 427 Roadster -
CCO Corvette of the Year
Announced at CCO's Annual Christmas Holiday Extravaganza on January 3rd, The Corvette of the Year 2014
Award is deservedly presented to Nick and Pat Francoforte.
See CCO's Corvette of the Quarter Gallery for a Photo and BIO on all of our winners since 2012!
CCO Members: Click here
to find out how to have your car considered for Corvette of the Quarter.
CCO - Lifetime Business Member