Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mount Dora–I could live here!

Mt. Dora



Back at Santee, the Refuge Manager had told us to make sure we visited Mount Dora, so we kept it on our list of places to go while we’re here visiting The Villages.

I heard about a Vintage RV Show that was taking place at the Flea Market last weekend, so we made plans to head that way on Sunday.  Renninger’s Flea Market was south of town, and there was a Catholic Church just down the road, so that was our first destination.

We arrived at the Flea Market after mass, and it was very crowded!

There was supposed to be a vintage RV Show!

We walked through the inside part, and that was pretty typical of all the Flea Markets in Florida – not much new to see there!  Then we headed outside, and this area of the flea market was pretty unique . . . oh, there was the typical “garage sale” booths,

I'm not sure what he thought he'd find in there!

but there was also a nursery,

Mt. Dora Flea Market

and chickens,



and an Artist’s Village.

Art Village

It was a pretty sparse village . . .

Bone Wind Chimes

but way in the back of the flea market, we found this “place” . . . really interesting!

Circle City

Treasures under the tree!


Surrounding the trunk of the giant Live Oak, underneath its sprawling branches, were this man’s creations.  Lots of unusual stuff, but the majority of his work was metal electrical conduit bent and curved into varying shapes – as sculptures, wind chimes, and just things to stick in the ground in the garden –really different!





We walked all through that flea market, and saw lots of interesting things, but we did not see a single Vintage RV!  So much for the Vintage RV Show!

From there, we drove towards the Mount Dora historic downtown.  We thought we walk through some shops and get an early dinner.  As we got close to the main business district, we saw lots of cars and people, and signs for “Event Parking” . . . there must be something going on!

We drove around a few residential streets, and finally found a spot to park on a side street several blocks up from the main street.  These were old neighborhoods, with tree-lined streets that reminded me more of Michigan than Florida.  Some of the houses were really cute!

Nice house

Another pretty house










This one is for sale!



This is exactly the kind of little town that I can imagine myself living in – someday!

Historical Building

We reached the main street, and found out that the Spring Festival was going on – Bonus!  The streets were filled with artist booths,

Cool Wind Chimes

Drums for kids











and there was food, and music.


Be the Hamster - really cute!


You could even take a run in this hamster wheel to build your own snowcone!









We walked by a lovely hotel that overlooks Lake Dora,

Hotel overlooking the lake

Beautiful Hotel


and as I took this picture, a local artist stopped us and told us about a park at the south end of town where there’s a light house and a boardwalk along the edge of the lake.  He pointed out that you could often see alligators, and Blue Herons, and occasionally a wood stork.  We told him that we would definitely check it out.





We visited several shops,

Cute Gift Shop

and studied the menus of several restaurants before settling on the Goblin Market Restaurant for dinner.

The Goblin Market Restaurant

Lunch on the back patio


We got lucky and a table opened up on the back patio just as we walked up to the host.

It was a cozy little corner!

Tom couldn't figure out where that tinkling sound was coming from!

We shared a salad and burger, and both were delicious!

Our cozy corner

After lunch, we walked back to get the Jeep – at that point, I think we officially climbed Mount Dora – all 98 feet of elevation change!

We found the park by the Light House (one of only three freshwater light houses in Florida), and snagged a parking spot by the marina.

Light House

Lake Dora is actually a pretty big lake, popular for boaters,

Lake Dora

including pontoon tours and little rental boats,

Boats on Lake Dora











Little rental boats

and even seaplane tours!  We watched this one buzz around aver our heads, and even saw it take off from the water.  Pretty cool!


From the light house, we found the Palm Island Boardwalk,


and as promised, we spotted alligators in the lake,


a water moccasin sunning itself on some weeds,

Water Moccasin

and plenty of birds and ducks.

Anhingas in another tree

Ibis in the trees


Gator waiting for that Heron to fall


I guess this isn’t a swimming lake – too many gators!  This one looks like he’s just waiting for that heron to drop something!

We followed the boardwalk into the hammock,

Walking on the boardwalk

and back out to the edge of the water,

Along the shoreline

where we flushed out a group of ducks from the weeds.


Taking the trail back


We circled back, following the trail through the hammock this time . . . thankfully we did not run into any gators or snakes on the trail!



That was the end of our adventure in Mount Dora, and we thoroughly enjoyed this cute little town – it’s definitely one I’ll keep on my list of potential future homes . . . although we’re not looking at real estate just yet!


  1. We've been through Mt Dora a few times but never really saw it. I guess we'll have to take some time to explore it one day. It looks beautiful.

  2. We didn't get the chance to investigate Mt Dora as much as you but did enjoy it. When they have their festivals they resemble Key West on a normal day.
    If you visit the Flea Market in Early January they have Civil War Re-enactments. STUFF in some of your pictures looks the same as when we were there. LOL!
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Ha Ha! That is funny - I wouldn't be surprised if some of the same stuff was still around at that Flea Market!


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