Spotlight on Mount Dora

Spotlight on Mount Dora


Spotlight on Mount Dora

By Debra Q. Markowitz


Can you imagine actually living in a place that everyone wants to visit? Mount Dora, where bubbles pour out of storefronts and festivals abound, has long been a popular weekend getaway or day trip for Orlandoans and more. Stroll through the colorful streets, where artsy and whimsical shops and art galleries promise shoppers one-of-a-kind finds at every price point. Wander down twisting alleys to discover hidden gems. Stop for ice cream or a sweet or a coffee, or sit awhile to enjoy lunch or dinner. You won’t find any chains in Downtown Mount Dora, but you will find several interesting museums. There’s the History Museum that showcases local history, the famous Museum of Speed, and the Modernism Museum that asks the question, “is it furniture, or is it art?” There’s also an excellent public library and a newly refurbished theater.

For those who love antiquing and flea markets, there’s Renningers, open on weekends. 117 acres of everything from oddities to gorgeous antique furniture to produce stands.

Undulating hills, a rare find in our mostly flat state, draw cyclists looking for a challenging ride. Lakes, parks, playgrounds and trails, and especially the Palm Island Boardwalk, offer nature lovers and photographers ample opportunities to immerse in flora and fauna. Mount Dora is also home to the only inland freshwater lighthouse in the state.


Are you looking to rent an apartment or a condo on a quiet street? Is a grand lakefront home more your style? Perhaps you’d prefer a modern house in a gated community or a brightly painted 100-year-old historic cottage. They’re all right here in Mount Dora, where new residents mingle with folks who’ve been here for generations. Home prices are lower than in many other areas in Greater Orlando.

While we love our quaint downtown and farmers’ market, we also enjoy the convenience of the supermarkets, big box stores, chains, and shops and services in the many shopping plazas along 441.

Mount Dora is considered one of the top retirement towns in the USA, and it’s also great for families, with good local schools and excellent private school options. There’s plenty of opportunity for kids’ sports, as well as classes in the arts.

The Future

Years back, driving to Mount Dora from Orlando was a scenic, 1-hour trip down country roads. Then came the highways! With the opening of SR 429 in 2000 and 417 in 2015, this charming storybook town was suddenly only half an hour’s drive from Orlando and Winter Park. With major highway construction that continues today, Mount Dora will continue to enjoy growth as a commuter community while retaining the atmosphere for which it’s famous.


Mount Dora is home to restaurants serving virtually every type of cuisine, each at its finest. Some are new on the scene; others seem to have been here forever.

For fine dining, there’s Norman Van Aken’s 1921, the cozy Goblin Market, and Pisces Rising overlooking the lake. For upscale northern Italian, don’t miss Café Gianni. For Cuban Fare, try Copacabana and Las Palmas. For a true British pub and chippy experience, head to the Magical Meat Boutique, open for breakfast and into the wee hours. Or, for a charming English lunch or high tea, transport yourself to the Windsor Tea Room. For Mexican, there’s Fiesta Grande. Is hearty German fare what you’re looking for? Stop in at The Bavarian Haus. New York-style pizza can be found at Anthony’s on 441. For Indian, there’s family-owned Shiva, where you will be as charmed by the service as you will be the food. The Mount Dora Brewery features fab burgers, among other choices, and live music. Try Wave for a creative sushi adventure, Saigon Fusion for pho that will knock your socks off, or Lampu for the Japanese hibachi experience. Maybe you’d like to people watch from the balcony while enjoying a large cappuccino with a great sandwich, soup, or salad at One Flight Up. Or, just go for a stroll and see what other gems you can find.

Watch our website for available rentals in Mount Dora.

Spotlight on Baldwin Park

Spotlight on Baldwin Park


Spotlight on Baldwin Park

Winner of Neighborhood Awards from the National Association of Home Builders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and more.


Where is Baldwin Park? If you’re an O-Town old timer, you’ll remember that Orlando was once home to a Naval Training Center. In 1998, it was decommissioned and the City Beautiful was—as one observer wrote—“left with a one thousand acre hole in its heart.” Developers stepped in with a vision, and what was once a traffic obstruction became a spectacular urban enclave, two miles from downtown.


Today, Baldwin Park is a trendy neighborhood, a planned walkable town of about 18,000 residents, primarily young professionals and young families. It boasts 15 different housing styles that include cottages, bungalows, manor homes, and mixed-use buildings with rental units, which means there’s a style to suit all tastes and needs. The energy is definitely urban and upbeat, with what some describe as a “London feel” to it. It’s an active community, and on any given day you’ll find people walking dogs, pushing strollers, wandering in and out of shops, and enjoying the outdoors along the preserved waterfronts of two lakes….and everyone looks so happy!


For the kids, there are A+ rated schools and a spectacular playground at Lake Baldwin Park, which also offers boat rentals (no gas engines) and picnic areas.


Ecology was no afterthought to the developers of the town—they partnered with the Audubon Society to recreate the area’s natural habitat with native plantings, and created an island rookery for local birds to nest.

Culture & Community

Cultural opportunities abound. You’re only minutes away from downtown, with its museums, gardens, theaters and music venues, but you don’t need to leave the neighborhood to find an exciting nightlife of pubs, clubs, sports bars, and great restaurants—some of which are dog-friendly.

Got a yen for sushi? Check out @Seito Sushi

A longing for Lebanese? Look to @Meza

Interested in Italian? For pizza, pasta and more, there’s @La Bella Luna

Got a flair for All-American fare? Hit up @Provisions & Buzz or @Osprey Tavern

Ever have coffee in a cone? You will at @Cafe 906

Considering Craft Cocktails? Head to @The Nest

Whatever your gustatory whim, you’ll find it in, or very near, Baldwin Park. Watch our website for available rentals.