Mount Dora Florida: A Walkable Town

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Quiet Public Path Along Lake Gertrude

Quiet Public Path Along Lake Gertrude

Mount Dora is a great place for walking. Downtown is a favorite destination, especially Gilbert Park with its quaint lighthouse on Lake Dora.


Downtown also has lots of shops and restaurants to help you while away the time.

If you walk any direction from downtown, you will be passing through beautiful neighborhoods in all directions. Lots of good scenery including quaint old houses and plush landscaping.

One of the nicest walks is along the south shore of Lake Gertrude west of downtown Mount Dora. There is a wide multi-use path that goes past some of the nicest houses in Mount Dora. You can either walk or ride your bike, but no motorized vehicles are allowed.

You are really passing by people's back yards, and beautiful backyards they are too. Each back yard fronts on the lake. Some of the lakeshore has pretty white sand beaches.

Lake Gertrude is one of the cleanest in the area, and swimmers and water skiers are everywhere in the water on a hot summer afternoon.

The early Chautauqua movement in Mount Dora started on the south shore of Lake Gertrude. Chautauqua is a program that was started in New York state in 1874 and is still going strong.

It offered education, music and entertainment to early Americans in the days before radio and television. Famous lecturers spoke on the subjects of their expertise, accomplished musicians performed and stage plays were presented to audiences hungry for culture.

The New York movement was so popular it inspired offshoots all over the country. Florida was targeted because of its mild winter climate, and the southern headquarters of Chautauqua was located in DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

Mount Dora was the site of a Chautauqua early in its history. There is nobody left alive who can remember the programs, but the descendants of many of the settlers who started the program in Mount Dora are still around.

Chautauqua Park is a small park on Old US 441 at Lakeshore Drive, and it's close to where this path along Lake Gertrude has its beginning. It's easy to picture this scenic setting as the perfect spot for a Chautauqua.

The path has some of the most beautiful oak canopies you will see in Central Florida. Some of the houses are historic treasures. You can either walk from downtown to this path, or park along the grassy areas on the east side of Morningside Drive.

There is even a launching area for kayaks and canoes on the marshy southwestern shore of Lake Gertrude.

More info about Mount Dora can be found at Mount Dora, Florida.

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