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Published: March 10th 2015
Mount Dora, Florida
At the Mount Dora welcome sign.
Last May we were in Lake county in the state of Florida. This county is aptly named because of the numerous natural lakes in the area.
The town of Mount Dora is a popular destination for residents of Florida and visitors from out of state. It is only about an hour's drive from Orlando. We packed a picnic lunch and went there intending to spend a leisurely afternoon by the lake. Instead we ended up spending more time at Tavares, a small town on the shores of Lake Dora. Now, Tavares is not as well known as Mount Dora and we came upon it by accident. I am glad we did because we found Tavares to be much more charming and attractive than Mount Dora, which is heavily geared for the tourist trade.
We were mostly at Wooten Park which overlooks beautiful Lake Dora. Although it was a Sunday there weren't that many people there which made our visit more pleasant and enjoyable. There is a small railway station just outside the park where the Orange Blossom Cannonball
vintage train goes on a two hour tour between Tavares and Lake Jem. It was too late for us to take
Entrance to Wooton Park in Tavares.
this train journey but we saw the train coming into the station, its cars pulled by an old steam locomotive. We were told that this old train has been featured in many Hollywood cowboy movies and TV shows.
The park also has picnic facilities, both outdoors and indoors. For the kids there is a Children's Splash Park
which is an instant hit for the kiddies, as it is a great place for them to cool down on a hot sunny day. There are water cannons, wet slides and an array of mini water spouts which keeps the water flowing. Benches are spread out all over the park in shady spots, and if you care for a meal in a restaurant there are several just across the street. As Tavares is a very small town, one can actually see the length and breadth of its Main Street from the park.
Tavares is also known as "America's Seaplane City." There is a seaplane dock/base on the lake, and we actually saw a plane take off and land on the water. However, the rates for taking a ride on one of the planes can be quite costly, around $60 for a
Fancy bench at Wooton Park.
ten minute flight, but if there are 2 passengers the price comes down to $40 each.
As mentioned previously, our original destination was the town of Mount Dora, so we couldn't leave Lake County without at least seeing it, so we drove along picturesque Lake Shore Drive lined with nice houses, cypress trees with hanging moss, and pretty views of the lake. At Mount Dora we went to the docks at the Yacht Club, walked along the downtown district, browsing at the many stores and gift shops. There were a lot more people here than at Tavares. After our sightseeing in Mount Dora we headed back home stopping for a short while at Apopka in Seminole County.
Florida is best known for its beaches and glamorous beach cities such as Miami, and of course Disney World which is the biggest theme park in the world . But for me personally, I prefer the small towns along the coast and inland. They have a much more cordial atmosphere than the big cities, but I suppose it's the same all over the world.
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