There's a sweet little town in North Central Florida where they have a hundred or more antique and gift shops, an Ice Cream shop on almost every block, and benches for husbands to rest/sleep on as long as they like. It's Mt. Dora and we got lost there about 3 or 4 times. Seems that every time we'd start out, we'd manage to go the wrong way on State Road 46, U. S. 441, Old 441, or whatever street we happened to be on. But all the wandering around and U-turns were well worth it, as it's one of the nicest little towns that we've visited. We spent the weekend of August 2, 2003 there and had a great time! It's just Northwest of Orlando and you can get there on SR 46 from Titusville, US 92 from Daytona, US 441 from Ocala, or US 441 North from Orlando. When you get there, you'll find about 4-5 city blocks with antique shops, gift shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops. There's an Amish shop, a bakery that cooks for pets only, and a variety of other interesting stops. In front of most, there's a park bench, where the non-shoppers can while away the hours. I've included some photos below from Mt. Dora, with a little caption on each. Click any of them for a clearer, larger view.
We had planned to stay at a Passport America park up in Astor, but decided to try to find a place close-in to Mt. Dora. We ended up in Lake Saunders RV Resort about 2 miles from downtown. Only $20 a night for a full hook-up and we had a site right on the lake. Address is 1175 North Bay Road and phone is 352.383.4003. Below are a couple of photos of the new RV and a view of the lake from the campsite. To see the inside, go to the DamonRV website and take the Challenger tour. If you decide to go to Mt. Dora, I'd highly recommend this campground for convenience and price. Plan a long weekend -- it takes at least a couple of days to just visit most of the shops.
A view showing the Renaissance Building, housing a mall of several antique shops.
The Country Charm and adjoining shops on Fifth Avenue.
In front of the Whispering Winds, the owner's beautiful 1959 classic Mercury hard-top.
One of several streetcars that we saw shuttling people around the town.
Thee Clockmaker's Shoppe in the old Simpson Hotel -- many unique clocks!
The Princess Antique Mall in the old Princess Theatre -- ask the ice cream lady about the history. Is that Joyce in front?
Another view of the Donnelly House.
The historic Donnelly House on Donnelly Street.
I was surprised to see these bikes parked in front of the Amish Cupboard -- or maybe they were at Eduardo's Station restaurant .. LOL.
Old man reading on Third Avenue across from Pak-Ratz Antiques and the Deli.
Almost forgot -- if you go, don't miss Renninger's Antiques Market on US 441 a couple of miles out of Mt. Dora. It's both a Flea Market and an Antique Mall. We only visited the Antique Mall, where we found a large number of unique and unusual shops. I've never seen such a variety of antiques and such a large number of shops in one location. Plus, they have monthly things like an antique car and motorcycle swap meet, etc.
If you're in the neighborhood and have a weekend to spend shopping and resting, check out Mt. Dora, Florida.
By the way, they also have Arts Festivals, Exotic Car Shows, Antique Fairs, a Sailing Regatta, and big Christmas doings in Mt. Dora. Check their website for activity schedules, maps, and merchant listing. They also have some photos on the site that look much like those I included above.
My Travel Log
Nothing in this site is copyrighted -- I'd be honored if you'd reuse anything you find here for your website
Click any photo for a larger view