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.