Romantic Magic in Mount Dora

About 50 minutes from the theme park area of Orlando there lies the small and unassuming town of Mount Dora. This sleepy little hamlet is a vacationer’s dream. Full of small town magic Mount Dora will entice you with a village walk, small antique stores and even a dog boutique, Piglet’s Pantry. Why a dog boutique? This town is dog friendly, very dog friendly! While I stayed there I had seen several dogs in all different sizes. So if you like to travel with your furry friend this is the perfect town for it. Mount Dora seems made for lovers too.

The walk through the historic downtown area is a throwback to a much simpler time. You and your heart’s other half will find so many things to do together. Why not seek through one of the dozens of antique shops and find something unique for your humble abode? Maybe traipse through the Thomas Kinkade gallery and peruse the late artists great works. Maybe while you do all this you both find yourselves getting hungry. Maybe then it’s a quick walk to Pizzamore for a intimate and quirky lunch at this wonderful Pizza shack. This one restaurant may just be the highlight of the trip. Within the small building you will find handmade art from customers lining the walls mixing with interesting knicknacks. The food itself is simple Italian fare; simple but delicious.

After dinner a tiny five minute drive later and you will find yourselves at Mount Dora Harbor. This park has a small jetty into Lake Dora and is the perfect spot for a sunset. Gather your thoughts on the bench behind the lighthouse just before sunset and nature will give you a show better than a trip to the movies. After the sun has subsided the romance will continue. After a shorter drive than downtown you come to your lodgings at the historic Lakeside Inn. This 128 year old landmark in Mount Dora is the quintessential ‘Old Florida’ style Inn. There is always something new to see or do at the Inn, especially on the weekend! While there you might hear the dulcet tones of live music while sipping a drink on the boat dock over lake Dora. You might even take in a drink at the bar where the music is live and kicking. After drinks you and yours might just retire into any one of the small but historically quaint rooms.

The next morning you might just enjoy breakfast on the veranda of the Lakeside Inn. As you do you might catch another wonderful show by nature as the sun rises behind the inn striking the clouds over Lake Dora. After breakfast another stroll through downtown is in order. The inn also happens to be connected to downtown so there is no need to hop into your car. While strolling downtown you may perhaps stroll up to the second floor cafe of One Flight Up and enjoy a cup of coffee as the town begins to wake up.  This sleep hollow will afford many-a stolen kisses, hand holding and long glances. Even if you are single Mount Dora still has the small town charm many of us yearn for. Meanwhile not too far away, about 10 minute drive, you will find modern conveniences that we cannot seem to live without.

Without a doubt Mount Dora is one of my favorite towns (as a single traveler at that!) There are so many small shops, cafes and art spots to check out. The scenery is gorgeous and the town earns its name. Mount Dora is so called because in Florida terms this land is hilly. There is enough elevation change to give it visual interest and you will even drive up and down. Truly unique for central Florida. So while on a typical Theme Park vacation why not spice it up a bit and visit Florida as it was before the tourist boom? Mount Dora will steal your heart and melt away your stresses. Once again this town proves that everything is better in Florida!

Pictures from Mount Dora

Quiet Time Play On Reflection Inn-Credible View! Restin' the Day Away Blue Dazzled Inn Sun Over Harbor Time to Imagine Park Fountain
Photo prints available at

-Chris Parker

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