Do you like the feel of a small town, meandering through tree lined streets, finding hidden antique shops or a village market? If you answer “yes” then you will love downtown Mount Dora. This is the kind of place I picture an old fashioned 4th of July parade and picnic to take place. With Donnelly Park located in the center of the historic district in front of Donnelly House, you can make your dreams of a picnic a reality.
Located about 45 minutes north of Orlando, the quaint town of Mount Dora boasts numerous B&Bs, antique shops, specialty stores, and hosts several arts and crafts shows each year. When you get thirsty head to Maggie’s Attic for a nice glass of wine or specialty beer. The village itself looks like something out of Victorian upstate New York. Nearby is Lake Dora where you can explore the lake on a cat boat tour for two. This is the ideal setting for a romantic weekend.
I need downtown Mt. Dora directions
Mount Dora is located in central Florida north of Orlando. The best way to get there from either north or south is to take the Florida turnpike. Then get off at the Apopka exit following the signs for FL429 N/Apopka. After that, take FL-453 N towards Mount Dora/Leesburg. Continue on, taking Highway 46 W to Highland Street. Then you can reach downtown Mt. Dora via 5th Avenue. There are several parking lots or parking along some of the streets.
This Mount Dora map shows all of the main streets, some downtown Mount Dora shops, downtown Mt. Dora restaurants, and some Mt. Dora bars.
Originally, we started visiting Mount Dora over a decade ago after a recommendation from my parents. Consequently, we befriended the owners of Maggie’s Attic, a charming wine bar. Once inside you will find latticework and vines decorating the ceiling, as well as a few bar stools, scattered couches and bistro tables, just like someone’s home decor. The restroom is located up a spiral staircase. In addition, they often host wine and beer tastings and live music in the courtyard out front on weekends.
Best restaurants in Mount Dora
These are some of our favorites.
- The Goblin Market – trendy venue tucked away down a side street serving American cuisine and cocktails
- Pisces Rising – fresh local cuisine on the lake. Outdoor seating is available on the patio
- Frog and Monkey Restaurant & Pub – pub food in a classy atmosphere
- Windsor Rose Tea Room & Resturant – specializing in British food
- One Flight Up Cafe – good lunch spot, literally one flight up above the shops on Donnelly Street.
- Olive Branch – Upscale Mediteranean and Italian food
As my husband and I had a tie-dye business at the time, the owners recommended we apply to participate in the fall craft festival.
Live, Mount Dora Festivals
Mount Dora hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. For example, the Annual Mount Dora Craft Fair which takes place each October attracts over 200,000 visitors annually. With that in mind, Dan and I considered ourselves privileged to participate in this festival which has been taking place for 36 years. We also participated in the Spring Festival for Arts and Crafts which takes place the 3rd weekend in March each year. As a result, we met many interesting and talented people during our visits to downtown Mount Dora. For example, check out Peggi’s Uniques for creative jewelry and Mike’s Metal Studio for one of a kind lawn art. Additionally, the Arts Festival takes place the 1st weekend in February. And in September, the Seafood Festival takes place. To find out the Mount Dora buzz, a calendar reveals some type of festival scheduled each month.
Love, The Heirloom Inn
My husband, Dan and I stayed at the Heirloom Inn. Located on Donnelly Street, The Heirloom Inn is within walking distance of specialty shops, antique stores, wine bars, and various restaurants. After exploring the town, relax out back. The Inn has several hidden gardens and sitting areas. We stayed in the Mahogany Suite. It housed a full kitchen where we cooked our meals, in addition to a sitting room, bedroom, and a private bath.
More Mt. Dora places to stay
These are additional places to stay, highly reccommended by people in the area.
- Magnolia Inn B&B – located within walking distance of Mount Dora downtown, includes breakfast
- Lakeside Inn – within walking distance of historic downtown Mount Dora, historic inn on the lake
- Mount Dora Historic Inn – also located within Mount Dora historic district
- Farnsworth House – another old home in historic Mount Dora
- Heron Cay Lakeview Bed & Breakfast – located outside downtown Mount Dora
Explore, Lake Dora
Nearby is Lake Dora. You can view the lighthouse or have a picnic lunch. However, we chose to take a catboat tour. Cat boats seat two. Even though neither of us had ever driven a boat, the controls are easy enough to learn. We followed behind a tour guide with a group of other couples. Highlights included fascinating historical information and many nature finds.
Things to do in downtown Mt. Dora
I am not much for shopping, but when visiting this village, you have to check out the quaint Mount Dora shops. There are quirky kitchen gadgets, vintage items, specialty shops, and lots of art. These are just some places for the best shopping in Mount Dora:
- The Secret Garden
- The Spice & Tea Exchange
- Renninger’s Vintage Antique Center
- Mount Dora Olive Oil Company
- Under the Cherry Blossoms
I already mentioned Lake Dora and the cat boat tours, but there are other things to do besides shopping and eating.
- Modernism Museum – unique collection of fine art and design
- Christmas Lights Cart Tour – take a tour of the beautiful holiday decorations without wearing yourself out
- Palm Island Park – small park with bbq area, fishing pier, and walking trail along the Palm Island Boardwalk
- Long & Scott Farms – during fall go through an outdoor maze and explore the country market
Don’t forget to check out these sponsored links for some ideas of items to bring along on your romantic weekend…..
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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