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!
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,
but there was also a nursery,
and an Artist’s Village.
It was a pretty sparse village . . .
but way in the back of the flea market, we found this “place” . . . really interesting!
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!
This is exactly the kind of little town that I can imagine myself living in – someday!
We reached the main street, and found out that the Spring Festival was going on – Bonus! The streets were filled with artist booths,
and there was food, and music.
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,
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,
and studied the menus of several restaurants before settling on the Goblin Market Restaurant for dinner.
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!
We shared a salad and burger, and both were delicious!
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.
Lake Dora is actually a pretty big lake, popular for boaters,
including pontoon tours and 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,
and plenty of birds and ducks.
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,
and back out to the edge of the water,
where we flushed out a group of ducks from the weeds.
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!