Escape to Mount Dora


What better way to celebrate love than to escape to a laid-back, relaxing town just an hour from Orlando? With outdoor cafes, art galleries, wineries and bed and breakfast inns, Mount Dora offers the bliss of Old Florida country living.

Formerly known as Lake Dora in the mid-1800s, for Ms. Dora Ann Drawdy, the town officially became Mount Dora in order to reflect the above sea level plateau that the settlement rested on. Today, more than 12,000 people reside in Mount Dora, which is known for its many historic buildings and streets lined with specialty shops and boutiques. Once known as “The Antiques Capital of Florida,” Mount Dora still boasts some of the best antique shopping in the area.

February in Mount Dora is for the lovebirds. Not only can couples stroll through the annual Mount Dora Arts Festival on February 1 and February 2, but they can also dance the weekend away from February 20-23 at the Mount Dora Music Festival. Each year, this festival brings a multi-genre and cross-cultural celebration of music to the city, and this year is no exception. Headliners include international recording artists Chad and Jeremy as well as Leon Redbone, known for his stage ensemble of a white fedora, jacket and sunglasses, and his renditions of ragtime and folk-jazz tunes. Many other talented entertainers will join these acts in workshops and concerts throughout the weekend.

While you’re in town, be sure to stop at The Goblin Market Restaurant & Lounge located in the historic Mount Dora village for an intimate dinner for two. Known for its three book-lined dining rooms and private, tree-shaded courtyard and patio, this charming restaurant serves classic and sophisticated dishes. Try the richly decadent crab bisque, with fresh jumbo crab, wild mushrooms, leeks, sherry and tomato; or the New Zealand rack of lamb with a fennel, mustard seed and roasted garlic crust and brandy-mint demi-glace. Whatever you choose, the low lighting, muted tones and modern art is sure to set the mood and sweep you off your feet, just as the quaint town of Mount Dora will.


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Written by Bill Heneghan

Bill is an author, investor and serial entrepreneur.