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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Historic Mount Dora

Nestled alongside the shores of the Lake Dora is the little sleepy town of Mount Dora. I say sleepy with tongue in cheek as this quaint little community where no McDonalds has set foot is really a hive of activity. At various times throughout its busy calendar it plays host to ‘bike week’, the Mt Dora art festival in February and various chapters of the Red Hat Society-to mention just a few. Named after Dora Drawdy, who allegedly housed the first surveyors on her lawn, this little gem bustles with southern charm and hospitable friendly folk.

Amongst the many watering holes –our favourite is still The Garden Gate on E 4th Street, with it’s lacey doilies, flower patterned china and warm welcome. The food is pretty good too with rosemary baked chicken pie a firm favourite. But better get there early-as it soon disappears off the menu. It’s closed Sundays and is only open from 11-30 till 2-30pm. the rest of the time.

No visit is complete without a browse in the many antique and curio shops. Again our favourite is The Secret Garden where devotees of the Red hat society can buy hats, purple boas and many other accoutrements , as well as clothing, jewellery and beautifully embroidered bags from a time gone by.

Or just around the corner is Timeless Keepsakes a haven of gorgeous bears, dolls, jewellery, china, cards-it’s not just a shop –it’s a feast for the eyes and the purse. You will definitely be tempted.

After a browse around the shops, restaurants, jewellers, book stores you might find that you want to wander down to the lake. Just in front of the lake is the Mt Dora to Tavares steam train line, which hopefully will be running when you visit. If not you can always console yourself with a wander around the lake’s boardwalk. Last time I did that as well as seeing lots of beautiful birds as well as the fascinating anhingas (snake birds) we also saw an osprey.

Since we found this magical little place about 6 years ago we always have a visit on every trip-and we have just fallen in love with it. It’s like nowhere else you have ever been and so uncommercialised it’s a refreshing change.

So much so my daughter decided to get married up there. We had a wonderful wedding on a red hot October day under the oaks at Darst Victorian Manor-now called Heron cay. We chose this venue as my daughter wanted her reception at The Garden Gate –but also just in case we had a sudden shower there was a wonderful little Victorian parlour inside where my daughter could have got married instead.

We have so many wonderful memories there and hope you will too.

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Page added on: 17 March 2007
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