Jennifer and Chuck

We had a lovely chat with these high school sweethearts at Caffe Di Riverwalk! They have raised their family in Sanford and are familiar with its past and very much enjoy its present.


What do you do?
Chuck LOVES to golf and I LOVE to hike! I spend a lot of time in Ocala on Sundays just getting out in the woods and he frequents the local golf courses, without any discrimination, on Fridays. I’ve just about hiked-out central Florida and I can’t even being to imagine how many courses he’s played. We also enjoy spending time with family and have been known to have a delightful crab boil on many a Saturday evening. We also enjoy camping, fishing, the beach, spending time with our four dogs and two daughters.

How did you find your way to Sanford?
Believe it or not, Chuck is a native. He was born and raised in Sanford; a true Sanfordite! I moved here in 1989, halfway through my junior year in high school, to live with my father. We both graduated from Seminole High School and as cheesy as it may sound to some, we’re “high school sweethearts.” This is where we met.

What is your favorite Sanford memory?
I have so many but since I just mentioned “high school sweethearts,” I fondly remember a time where Chuck packed a picnic and surprised me at Fort Mellon Park one evening. We were still in high school but it was so very, very sweet.

We used to frequent the lakefront in high school as we do now, mostly on the weekends, but my how it’s changed!

I also recall many a 4th of July holidays we’ve spent down there. Although it gets quite busy, the patriotism our residents and those from the surrounding communities show is very touching.

Oh! Our first daughter was born Central Florida Regional, which has to be one of our favorite Sanford memories as well. I was young and scared out of my mind but WOW!

Chuck has mentioned one of his favorite memories was riding the train from Sanford to Tampa to visit his grandmother. He was approximately 9 years old and rode by himself. His grandmother has since passed but what a wonderful lady. She also had some history here in Sanford too. Her husband was a preacher and at one time, many, many, many years ago, led the congregation at the First United Methodist Church.


What do you like best about living in Sanford?
EVERYTHING you need is here! We’ve lived here so long, I remember traveling to Altamonte to eat, shop, and just entertain ourselves. No longer! I don’t even really think about going out of town on the weekends (maybe Lake Mary) and can call out some of our favorites; Caffe Di Riverwalk, Maya Books and Music, Nifty Thrifty, The Purple Grape, The Alley, Shantell’s (chicken & waffles…WHAT WHAT!!) We love downtown!

What is your favorite Sanford neighborhood and why?
Even though we don’t live in Historic Downtown, we both love it! We originally wanted to purchase a house in that area but it was a lot for a young couple. However, the very first place we lived together was a small apartment building on Sanford Avenue and 20th. It’s yellow now but used to be pink and was super cute and convenient for a young couple. We both even recall what we paid for rent, $350 a month! Chuck also likes Lockhart (kind of near Mayfair) and also the area near Idyllwilde Elementary, in the neighborhood we currently reside.

Have you ever been to Flea World?
Heck Yes! For the longest time one of the booths that made calendars with photos and such had our first daughter’s photo displayed. When we found out it was going close, we made a commitment to get back there for a giant corn dogs and an ice cold tap beer. You can’t call yourself a true Sanford resident unless you’ve had this local flea market flair . . . did anybody ever win the money/prize in the giant box of change with the huge lock on it????

What is your favorite drink and who makes it?
I love the coffee at Caffe Di Riverwalk, enjoy wine at The Purple Grape and Chuck loves beer, any beer, he really doesn’t discriminate unless it’s dark and requires him to eat it with a fork.


What do you wish to see in Sanford?
Turn the New Tribes Mission back into a hotel. How fabulous would that be!!

Build/restore fishing piers and docks where the ships used to port. Not only would that add a bit of beauty to the lake, they would be used by many for fishing and hanging out.

We’ve had them briefly in the past, but it would also be nice to have an ice cream shop or parlor downtown with homemade ice cream.

Bring back the drive-in theater! Kids and young adults are into the retro scene, it would definitely get used.

What is your favorite Sanford event?
Sofa & Suds – we attended for the first time this year and it was a blast! Food trucks are good fun! Ya gotta eat and you get quite the variety. Alive After Five is pretty cool too.

What are your favorite restaurants in Sanford?
Cafe Perks for breakfast, Skibo’s for lunch, and Shantell’s for dinner.

What is your favorite book?
Well Chuck doesn’t read and I’m not sure I really have a favorite book but I absolutely love to read and snuggle up to my kindle almost every night. My most recent favorite would be Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I read that one twice and of course saw the movie.


Favorite movie?
I still love Steel Magnolias after all these years. I can’t help myself but watch it ever time it comes on TV. Chuck loves the Matrix, Django, and I’m sure there’s a few more.

When/where was your last theme park visit?
We’re Universal annual pass holders but we haven’t been in six months or so. Theme park visits are not my favorite activity but I can certainly appreciate what they do for our local economy.

Favorite Sanford resident?
Chuck says Bill Painter. He used to own the Colonial Room, not sure he still does, but he was Chuck’s first “boss.” Chuck was washing dishes and cooking there when we first started dating. Chuck still holds the utmost respect for Bill.

What is Sanford’s greatest asset?
The citizens’ ability to come together in times of true crisis.

What is Sanford’s greatest area of opportunity?
Growth while still maintaining the small town historic feel.

If you were marketing Sanford, what would its tagline be?
Sanford: Unity and Diversity