Mount Dora

Mount Dora is a quaint town in Lake County known for its shopping district, art and craft festivals and beautiful sunsets on Lake Dora. But it’s not immune from the country’s growth, as new residents are drawn to Mount Dora’s artsy small town confines.

Many believe the city’s names used to be Dora Ann Drawdy, whose winning personality and hospitable nature was said to have won over federal surveyors who then chose her name to bestow on the town’s lovely, expansive lake. Lake Dora, in fact, was the city’s first name. The “mount” part –always amusing in mostly pancake-flat Florida– came three years later when it was discovered that it sits a towering 184 feet above sea level.

Mount Dora is a well known antiquing haven and charms visitors with its unique historic homes; it’s often referred to as a slice of New England in the South. Tours are available and the town itself is replete with boutique businesses of all stripes –breweries to wineries, fine dining to home furnishing to gluten-free/vegan havens.

Per DataUSA.com, Mount Dora residents have a shorter-than-average commute time to work, but the drive to downtown Orlando will take you about 45 minutes with traffic flowing reasonably well. There’s no mountain in Mount Dora, but its terrain offers some unique vantage points to view its main lakes: Dora, Gertrude, and Beauclair.

Mount Dora’s main draw may be its downtown, with its myriad shopping, dining and sightseeing options, but its location amid lakes, waterways, and woodlands make it a solid pick for residents with more active pursuits. Gilbert Park with its expansive playground and Donnelly Park, often the center of activities for town celebrations, are just two. While paddling options abound, waterway exploration sans paddle is an option with CraigCat tours, Wherein two passengers can enjoy the water on tiny powerboats. Guided -and self- tours are available as are larger boat tours of the area.