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Welcome to Lake County
Just to the west of Disney, roughly halfway between the Gulf and Atlantic coasts lies the attractive, unspoilt area of Lake County. Recently it has become a popular location for residents and vacationers to enjoy with its many lakes - hence the name - rolling hills and orange groves - you may even experience the wonderful smell of orange blossom during a visit.
As you may have guessed, Lake County inherited it’s name due to the many lakes scattered throughout. With its year round climate, Lake County is popular for many sports. Water sports on offer including water skiing, a wakeboard centre, sailing clubs, fresh water fishing, including bass fishing tournaments. For those of you who might prefer land based sports there is lawn bowling, cycling, golf, triathlon events and equestrian competitions.
Mount Dora is a well known, popular Lake County town 25 miles northwest of Orlando. It was given the name of ‘Mount’ as it sits on a plateau 266 feet above sea level and is often thought to be Florida’s friendliest small town with the best antique shopping area in the State. Mount Dora has Mount Dora is a well known, popular town 25 miles northwest of Orlando. It was given the name of ‘Mount’ as it sits on a plateau 266 feet above sea level and is often thought to be Florida’s friendliest small town with the best Mount Dora is a well known, popular town 25 miles northwest of Orlando. It was given the name of ‘Mount’ as it sits on a plateau 266 feet above sea level and is often thought to be Florida’s friendliest small town with the best antique shopping area in the State.
Mount Dora is proud to host eight major events each year starting with the Mount Dora Arts Festival. This is a popular event regularly attracting over 150,000 people and has been ranked among the top 200 arts shows in the United States. Other events include an antique boat show, antique car show – including some very ‘wacky’ ones, sailing regatta, golf tournament, bicycle festival, crafts fair of over 350 of the best crafters in the States, and Christmas lighting festival.
If you want an old fashioned July 4th Mount Dora has one with a parade, things for kids and fireworks. The build up begins with a parade down Donnelly Street, the Kids Fest is at Simpsons Cove with food and music at Gilbert Park. The evening finishes with a spectacular fireworks display at Grantham Point.
Christmas is a special time in Mount Dora. Late November brings the ‘Annual Light Up Mount Dora’ with a display of nearly 2 million lights, whilst in early December there is the Annual Christmas Walk, Annual Christmas Parade, the Annual Lighted Boat Parade. (this takes place on two lakes - Lake Beauclaire and finishes on Lake Dora at the Mount Dora Yacht Club) and the Annual Children’s Christmas in the Park - snow, sleds and fun for the young and the old.. Mounds of snow will be in Donnelly Park – visitors just need to bring your mittens, whilst the sleds are provided. Hot chocolate and various finger foods are available – not what every visitor to Florida expects to find!
Clermont is situated in the centre of Florida. Its first house was a one room log cabin - settlers made their living by farming, fishing and hunting and through the citrus and lumber industries.
Clermont has a high elevation and varies between 100 and 300 feet amongst the rolling hills. It is bordered by two lakes, Minnehaha to the south and Lake Minneola to the north, whilst it is on a chain of 16 lakes connected by the Palatlakaha River and its tributaries – the only river system in the United States that flows north. Clermont is often remembered as the ‘Gem of the Hills’.
As well as supporting tourism, it is home to a new training facility for the USA Triathlon, the national governing body of the Olympic Sport. This is part of the relcation of operations from Colorado Springs. This will support Clermont’s already known triathlons events.
Lakeridge Winery is also situated among the rolling hills of Clermont. You will find a visit enjoyable.
There are complimentary tours and wine tasting seven days a week. Monday - Saturday, 10 am until 5pm and Sunday - 11 am until 5 pm. They normally run every 20 minutes, for approximately 50 minutes, starting in the upstairs theater to watch a video presentation of the growing of the grapes through to the wine making process.
A guide will then take you to see the production area and then outside to view the vineyards. The Wine Tasting is held downstairs – five to six varieties of wines are their to taste, from dry to sweet. At the end of the tour you can visit the gift shop with Lakeridge Wines, gourmet foods such as fine olive oils, food items and sauces, as well as cork pullers, foil cutters, bottle coolers and Lakeridge merchandise (for example T-shirts and hats)
I couldn’t finish off this article introducing Lake County without mentioning Lake Louisa State Park. This is on H27, south of Clermont. Only 8 miles from my house my family and I frequently visit as the park is a complete alternative to the major attractions – an opportunity to enjoy the freedom and nature of Florida. (At the time of writing the entrance fee is $4 per car.)
As you would by now expect of Lake County, Lake Louisa State Park has lakes – six of them … in rolling hills! Lake Louisa is the largest. Here you can enjoy fishing (only boats powered by trolling motors or without motors are allowed to maintain the tranquil atmosphere), canoeing and kayaking. If you like hiking there are more than 15 miles of hiking trails – a great opportunity to see wildlife.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas, if you have got time on your next visit to Central Florida, to explore and see yet more of what Florida has to offer you.
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