Deland, Florida is one interesting place. It is foremost a college town, home to Stetson University and its famed law-school. It is also home to a diverse mix of people, cultures and local Florida inhabitants. It is not unusual to see a mix of cowboy hats and purple-tinged hair walking down Woodland Boulevard, the main hub of the historic district. There are also big lakes and lots of undeveloped land, and the real rural towns on the outskirts, such as Samsula, on Route-44, keep Deland nestled away from the general public, and make Deland stand out as a diamond in the rough.
Once in town, on Woodland Boulevard, there are multitudes of hip shops, boutiques, galleries, antique stores, and eateries that make the tourists come for sightseeing, shopping and dining. Deland’s historic district is located south of the university, traveling down Woodland Boulevard. Here one finds the diverse shopping district, and many 19th century buildings converted into modern day establishments, where people work and live. There are banks, museums and a little theatre that keep this town traditional, yet the variety that is available in regard to Cuban, Asian, European and traditional Floridian cuisine bustling with a varied lot people, make this small southern town uniquely refreshing.
Stetson University is located more in the residential section of town, among massive oak trees that shade the walkways and cover the campus and neighboring blocks. The suns harsh rays are partially blocked in this section in front of the campus, and there are some lovely homes around this part of town that show of a southern gentile way of life. The college has a variety of programs, some themed to local artists and Floridian history with ongoing exhibits, so there is a mix of old culture, education and southern uniqueness.
This town also is in close proximity to the Volusia County Fairgrounds, where there are many events, from dog shows, antique markets, and more. When there are events at the fairgrounds, the town also becomes more active, for people trickle back and forth from place to place, especially in regard to antiques. There are also popular festivals that draw thousands to the small town, from the pet parade, to Hawaiian-themed parties. During the themed festivals, many people dress up, and it is especially fun to see pet owners dress their dogs up and wear costumes as well. Halloween is another big event, and Christmas too. Shop owners keep their stores open after hours during festivals, and the public comes in and eats the food that the shop keepers have prepared, for free! If one drives past the campus to U.S.-92, there are many popular eateries, drug stores and gas stations as well, for this is the main highway back to Daytona Beach. To get to Deland from Daytona Beach, take I-95 to U.S. 92, and from New Smyrna Beach, take U.S. 44. This route leads right into the heart of the old town.