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Mount Dora is one of Florida’s most beloved small-town charms, known for its annual festivals and historic district. Those looking for a bit of romance should put this charming lakefront town on their itinerary, as its local markets, antique shops, wineries and historic bed and breakfast accommodations make it an ideal spot for a getaway with someone you love. From sipping a glass of vino to sunset cruising across the lake, these are the most romantic things to do in Mount Dora.
One of the city’s most charming restaurants, the Goblin Market is a warm and cozy spot that sets the scene for a romantic date. This quaint bistro is also a cool eatery that will delight food enthusiasts, as its diverse dinner menu includes items such as Pumpkin Bruschetta, Florida Crab Cakes and New Zealand Rack of Lamb. There’s also a small plate selection if you want to share, and a range of daily homemade desserts that can end your date on a sugary note.
A picturesque place to pack a picnic, Grantham Point Park is home to the Mount Dora Lighthouse, located just a short stroll from downtown Mount Dora. Admire views of Mount Dora’s most famous landmark, and soak up the gorgeous lakefront views along the shore at Elizabeth Evans Park and the Mount Dora Marina. Sometimes referred to as “Lighthouse Park”, you can also take the time to walk along the boardwalk into Palm Island Nature Preserve.
If you and your loved one are serious about sampling the local delicacies, go on the Taste of Our Town Tour. You’ll be able to explore the historic downtown area and make your way through some of the area’s best restaurants, local food shops and a collection of local wine bistros. It’s a leisurely way to explore the area, where you can enjoy around six to seven tastings in about three hours. From the Le Petit Sweet to Cody’s On 4th and the Magical Meat Boutique, this tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city.
Quite possibly the most scenic way to soak up the scenery in Mount Dora, couples looking for a bit of adventure should consider taking one of the private Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures. You can take flight during sunset and capture the spectacular views of the surrounding region. There are also an array of combination adventures to choose from, including the chance to add a paddling adventure, breakfast at De Leon Springs, or go bar hopping by plane.
If you’re looking for a leisurely way to explore the waterways, hop aboard one of the Rusty Anchor Mount Dora cruises. Here you’ll be able to float past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including Mount Dora’s waterfront, Boat House Row, the Historic Lakeside Inn, the Lighthouse, Palm Island Boardwalk and Simpson’s Cove. Described as “the most beautiful mile of waterway in the world”, your tour goes through the Dora Canal where you can spot birds, turtles, and alligators basking in the sunshine, then sit back and enjoy one of Florida’s colorful sunset shows.
A friendly spot with a welcoming ambiance, The Cellar Door in Mount Dora is owned by a couple that began their romance in a wine bar. The list of beer and wine is constantly changing due to their commitment to bringing new and exciting options to their guests, although you’re sure to find an excellent selection of red, wine and rose in addition to beer, cider and bubbles. It’s a great place for getting to know someone, with special events that include live music, karaoke and open mic night.
Perfect for a sunny day, get out on the water with the narrated Cat Boat Tours to cruise the Dora Jungle Canal. No boating experience is necessary on the tours, where get an up-close look at the history and wildlife of the area and drive your own high-performance boat. These two-hour tours are a fun-filled way to see the 2,000-year-old cypress tree-lined jungle waterway and cruise past scenes from the movie “The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart.
The Windsor Rose Tea Room and Restaurant in Mount Dora is a great place to enjoy an authentic British atmosphere. Get the Full English Tea for Two to be served a beautiful spread of English treats at High Tea, with a double-decked tray filled with scones, biscuits, cream and strawberry jam, in addition to Queen Victoria sponge cake, assorted finger sandwiches and your choice of over 15 tea selections. Like dining with royalty, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported straight to London.
Mount Dora is known for its antique treasures, and Renninger’s is its most famous hotspot that combines an antique center with a farmer’s and flea market. Look for unique pieces to take back to your home as you and your loved one browse the 117 acres of scenic land in Lake County. While its surrounding region is filled with towering oaks covered in Spanish moss, the twin markets at Renningers is bustling with activity as local vendors set up an open-air shopping area that is filled with produce stands, clothing shops and high-quality antiques and collectibles.
Held every 2nd Friday of the month, the Mount Dora Art Splash is a great place to browse for artwork and support the local community. It’s a lively celebration of local artists, where you can explore the art galleries and see a gathering of sidewalk artists, performers and musicians. From the Artisans on fifth co-op gallery to the acrylic masterpieces at Jane Slivka Gallery & Studio and thought-provoking pieces at Mount Dora Modernism Museum, you’ll find plenty of beautiful artwork to admire.