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The Delights of Mount Dora
Our intention was to drive for no more than an hour from our base just south of Clermont and find a lakeside retreat where we could enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
After looking through our road maps we plumped for Mount Dora, which is situated in Lake County just north of Apopka.
Our route took us by Lake Harris then up through Eustis and Tavares to the waterfront village of Mount Dora that can be best described as reminiscent of a quaint New England style community, high on charm and low on stress.
Parking in Mount Dora was plentiful and free of charge. Our first port of call was to the Chamber of Commerce building, which also doubles as the tourist information center. Here, we were warmly greeted by a member of staff who spent more than fifteen minutes with us pointing out places of interest and recommending things to do.
Armed with a variety of leaflets and a fairly comprehensive street map, it was delightful just to gently stroll along the tree-lined thoroughfares and browse the many antique shops and specialty stores on offer. There are also several small piazzas decorated with flower baskets, and cascading fountains are in abundance. Pavement cafes are plentiful, friendly and well presented, and provide the ideal spot to relax and watch the world go by.
To add to the charm of this area the Mount Dora Trolley provides a unique transport link between the lake and downtown shopping or alternatively, a more sedate pace is guaranteed by taking a horse drawn carriage through the village.
Down by the lakeside the visitor can enjoy a one-mile boardwalk trail, which is home to a variety of wildlife including snakes, alligators and many species of birds including ibis, egrets and anhinga. Lake Dora is also home to a thirty-one feet tall fully operational lighthouse, which is the only inland light in the United States to come under the jurisdiction of the coastguard. The lake is also home to the local Yacht Club, which is accessible from Elizabeth Evans Park.
Mount Dora also provides the visitor with an abundance of attractions both lakeside and within the village area. These include boat cruises, hot air ballooning and train rides to name just a few.
This really is a most charming place to visit and it is easy to see why Mount Dora has been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Great Towns of America”.
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