Mount Dora Getaway
by Wendy Stains of Splendidlysimple.com
Lakeside Inn Mount Dora
Mount Dora is the perfect, little weekend getaway if you live in South Florida and enjoy a peaceful, artsy, small town vibe. It also holds a special place for us since that's where my husband Reid proposed to me back in 2007.
Our favorite place to stay is the historic Lakeside Inn. It opened back in 1883 and has since had some great renovations, but still holds that old time, historic small town charm that we love so much. In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge and his wife vacationed there for a month, and on our engagement weekend, we were able to stay in his room which was really neat. There are always activities and things to do (music, art and antique fairs, boat and plane rides), but we think the best part is just lounging by the pool or the lake and having some coffee on the big front porch of the hotel. It's also affordable to stay there, and if you're on their email list, you can get some great weekend package deals that include room, meal vouchers, and a bottle of wine or other goodies. We've been to Mount Dora several times and mainly stayed near the Inn as you can pretty much walk everywhere.
There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs to keep you occupied for a weekend, but this particular time, we chose to try out the Highland Street Café which is a short little drive from the main downtown area. Although it's pretty small and we had to wait a bit to get in and eat, the breakfast was delicious and affordable, so we ended up there two days in a row! Apparently the owner has quite a few Scottish Terriers, so the décor reflects that and is pretty eclectic and fun.
We're always trying to find good coffee wherever we go, but that has always been a little hard to find in Mount Dora surprisingly. Sure you can definitely find it, but it's usually just another service that the local ice cream shop or bakery offers. This time around, we were happily surprised to run into the newly opened Coffee Branch Cafe run by local sisters Mitzie & Vivian. Not only do they specialize in totally awesome coffee, but they grew up in Mount Dora and have tons of great stories and memories to share. It's always really cool to truly support local and learn more about the great history of neat places like Mount Dora. If you hit up Mount Dora for a weekend getaway, be sure to stop in and say hi!
We traveled some of the back roads on our way back to Tampa from Mount Dora and just happened upon the Yalaha Bakery. If we're being totally honest here, we didn't even know where the heck we were, let alone in Yalaha, who knew? I just thought it looked really cool and wanted to check it out, and Reid just saw the word "Bakery" and it was all over. It was a fun little experience as we ate our sugary treats under the trees in their huge patio area and listened to some live acoustic Tom Petty jams, score!
It was a bit hot outside so there wasn't a ton of people hanging out by the patio, but it was still fun. If you're going to visit Mount Dora for a weekend, we would suggest you visit during one of the cooler months. Granted, it doesn't get cool in Florida very often, but you'll want to do a lot of walking around and enjoying the outdoors and downtown shop areas, so maybe wait until after the brutal, summer heat.
Even though we've been to Mount Dora several times, it never gets old and we'll continue to go. For those minimalists like us who don't want to spend a ton of dough, but need a getaway or vacation, it's perfect.