Like living in your own state park, Moss Park pairs natural peace and quiet with a close proximity to shopping and nightlife centers
Leaving behind the big city sprawl of Orlando, many residents have found home in the self-contained, self-sufficient neighborhood of Lake Nona. With all of its tech and medical partnerships, the community has grown from a neighborhood into a small city with more and more opportunities to develop personal relationships as well as economic ones.
Yet, some Central Florida residents still seek quieter environs and more chances to interact with the outdoors. Drive three miles east of Lake Nona to the nearby neighborhood of Moss Park and this is exactly what you’ll find. The traffic recedes, the yards grow larger, the forests bloom, and the area’s natural wildlife quietly coexists within the community.
Kim Hazlett has been a Moss Park resident for the last 13 years. She lives in the area’s North Shore development and says she wouldn’t trade places with anyone. It’s like living in your own state park, she describes.
Originally, she moved here because her husband of 22 years, a landscaper, wanted to be nearer to his clients, most of whom live in neighboring Lake Nona.
But Moss Park, with its excellent elementary school and endless wooded areas for her three children to play in, immediately started to grow on her.
Hazlett, who operates the custom-made Cookie Cutter Creations bakeshop, says the reasons for living in Moss Park are many.
“I love it because it’s quiet,” she says. “There’s a lot less traffic over here.”
And she loves the wildlife, too, adding that it’s not rare to encounter deer, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, raccoons and foxes. And because it’s surrounded by lakes—and because it’s Florida—it’s not rare to see alligators, either. “I’m looking at one out by the pond right now,” she said during our chat.
Residents of and visitors to Moss Park can camp overnight in the area’s many campgrounds, or spend afternoons boating or jetskiing atop its many lakes. The neighborhood is also home to the North Shore Golf Club. In other words, there’s something outdoorsy to do every day of the year, and when you’re all worn out but still fell like a night out, Lake Nona, with its shopping center, restaurants and bistros, is just a short drive down the road.
Even more, Hazlett says, Moss Park is just a 10 minute drive from the Orlando International Airport, which is the gateway to literally anywhere she and her family want to go in the world.
Lissette Francis echoes Hazlett’s reasoning for living in Moss Park.
Francis, her husband and two children moved from Kissimmee, Fla., to Moss Park four years ago. Their home is located in the neighborhood’s Moss Park Reserve area, and Francis—the assistant director of the case management department at Florida Hospital—is the secretary of the neighborhood’s homeowners association.
“I have two school-age children who were 11 and four at the time, and the ratings and what the schools offered in Lake Nona was the biggest reason to move here,” Francis says.
But it’s the feel of the neighborhood that keeps them there.
Francis says she and her husband chose Moss Park Reserve because the community is small and tight-knit—indeed, that part of the neighborhood is home to only 66 houses.
“We live close enough to everything [in Lake Nona] and far enough away to enjoy the trees and greenery,” she says.
For Hazlett and Francis, Moss Park is the best of both worlds. Their families can live and play in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by lakes, ponds, wooded forests and all the animals that call Central Florida home. They can sleep at night without interruption, save for the crickets and the occasionally slow-moving train that chugs along the tracks that run through the neighborhood. And when they want a little action, Lake Nona’s just a heartbeat away.
This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Central Florida Monthly Magazine. The free publication is distributed in Lake Nona, Lee Vista, Conway, Harmony, St. Cloud, and Kissimmee via direct mail (30 thousand copies), email (20 thousand subscribers), social media (thousands of followers) and the Social, CFM’s signature networking event. Download the digital issue here.