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Mount Dora - A Great Day Out - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

Mount Dora is a quaint litle town which is less than one hour's drive from the Orlando/Kissimmee area, heading north.

If you are looking for something 'different' to do and want a change from the theme parks and usual tourist attractions, Mount Dora makes an interesting and relaxing change.

This historic town is situated on the edge of Lake Dora. It originates back to the 1870s and was originally called Royellou (after the 3 children of the local postmaster - Roy, Ellie and Louis! ) but was reamed Mount Dora in 1883. The word Mount recognises the fact that this lovely little town sits on a plateau above sea level. The lake against which it sits was already called Lake Dora and so the name of the town was taken from this. The lake itself was named after Dora Ann Drawdy who lived nearby with her husband in the 1840s. The story has it that she gave lodgings to Federal surveyors who named the lake after her.

At the turn of the century the railroad arrived and passenger trains ran twice daily. The railroad can still be seen crossing the town streets and is a real tourist attraction.

You can wander arond the little streets lined with small shops, selling clothes, shoes, handbags etc and also lovely little art shops with paintings, antiques and other treasures. Why not stop for lunch or a coffee a one of the little cafes or restaurants.

Some of the buldings date back to the late 1880s and the style of these building sand indeed the layout of the town is a welcome change from all the new building in the holiday areas of Kissimmee and Davenport.

The Lakeside Inn, with gardens leading down to Lake Dora, is of particlar interest and is still a thriving hotel today. In 1930, President Calvin Coolidge and his wife stayed for an entire month at the inn. They in fact stayed not in the main building as it is today, but in a smaller building in the grounds, which is now a tea room. We stopped by and bought an ice cream and sat on the verandah to eat it. We thought of the one time President of the United States of America sitting on the same verandah enjoying his vacation some 75 years go!

A trip out to Mount Dora would be maybe a half day - so why not drive leisurely back, maybe through the town of Windermere which is an upmarket residential area straddling a lake where you can spot some very nice homes.

Altogether a very pleasant day out!

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