If you’re looking for a unique, quirky getaway, about 70 miles northeast of Fort Myers, Fla., in Highlands County, there’s a little town where you can learn all about clowns.
After visiting the area for several years and making appearances at local hospitals as a Shrine clown, Keith Stokes, who went by the name Toby the Clown, decided to call Lake Placid home in the 1980s.
In 1993, Toby founded The American Clown School in his new hometown of Lake Placid. Toby taught the first clown class in a conference room at Florida Hospital.
Since its opening, more than 2,500 people have graduated from Toby’s Clown School.
In 2000, Toby created the Toby’s Clown Foundation and a year later he bought a building on Interlake Blvd. in Lake Placid, which has since been transformed into the American Clown Museum and School.
The museum is filled with memorabilia from the actor Charlie Chaplin, clown books, and artwork with the like of a vintage Tete the Clown Abstract painting by the French Expressionism painter Bernard Buffett.
When people are not touring the museum, classes are held for those who have a passion for putting a smile on people's faces with magic and a clown get-up.
There are classes for adults and children. For more information head to www.tobysclownfoundation.org or hop in your car and take the one-hour and 24-minute drive over to the town of Lake Placid.