Tag Archives: Lake Dora

The Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, Florida, a guest post by Greg Jenkins

Spirits of an Old Florida Inn

The Lakeside Inn is one of central Florida’s best kept secrets. This modest Inn with its bed and breakfast charm, surrounded by huge canopy trees and resting on sparkling Lake Dora, is a true remnant of a more civilized time and culture from Florida’s past. Originally built in 1883 as a simple 10-room inn, it now offers Great Gatsby–like bungalows situated near the lake, a grand lobby and reception area, and the elegant Beauclaire dining room and Tremain’s Lounge. Guests desiring a brief escape from our fast and weary world will experience a fabulous, yet restful stay here. Although this lovely town offers many restaurants, antiques and variety shops, it’s the Lakeside Inn that serves as the brightest beacon to those venturing to Mount Dora…And apparently, it serves as a beacon for ghosts and other sundry spirits too.

The Lakeside Inn boasts of at least four resident ghosts. Reports of haunted experiences and accounts come from both staff and guests. Two of the spirits haunting the area in and around the Lakeside Inn are young girls dressed in costumes from various time periods. The first apparition is of a girl around the age of nine. She is believed to be Amy, a child who disappeared from the hotel around 1890. She wears a red dress and is seen standing near the lobby fireplace. Another spirit is of a girl around the age of twelve, seen sporting a blue dress, often seen smiling at a dining room table. She has been credited with moving chairs and chandeliers around the property.

Another spirit is that of a small man wearing a top hat. He has been witnessed walking through the lounge, and into the restroom, only to then disappear. Finally, there is the specter of a gangster who stares out a gable window. This dapper-dressed gentleman is believed to be the spirit of one of the many gangsters that stayed at the Lakeside Inn during the 1920s. Though he’s not dangerous, he is a bit intimidating to witnesses.

—Greg Jenkins

Greg Jenkins has close to 20 years working in the mental health and medical fields, and is currently a mental health therapist and case manager with several psychiatric and medical facilities. Since an early age, Greg has had a profound interest in the supernatural and fringe science, and after a personal experience with the unknown in 1987, he began his journey into the realms of parapsychology and all things mysterious. Greg is a folklorist and collector of oral traditions and urban legends, and is an associate member of England’s Society for Psychical Research. He has written a series of books called Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore and Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida. Reach out to Greg on Twitter @HauntedFolklore. His blog can be found at http://psiresearcher.wordpress.com.

LAKESIDE INN: 100 North Alexander Street ~ Mount Dora, FL 32757 USA

Toll Free 800.556.5016 or Local 352.383.4101

Email: info@lakeside-inn.com

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Guest Post: Mount Dora, Florida

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Mount Dora is many things to many people, but to me it has always been home. It’s where I learned how to ride a bike and drive a car. It’s where I had my first kiss, my first boyfriend and my first breakup. I spent most of my teenage years trying to get out of Mount Dora, but it’s the one place I had to get back to when I graduated from college.

If you can’t live here, it’s a great destination for day and weekend trips. There are several bed & breakfasts within the blocks of downtown, including the Mount Dora Historic Inn on 4th Avenue. If your accommodations don’t offer breakfast, there are several places to grab a quick bite and a cup of coffee. One Flight Up offers breakfast sandwiches, bagels, coffee and specialty espresso drinks or if you prefer more of a country cookin’ type breakfast then Chew Chew Express is the place to go.

If you’re a history buff and want to get the juicy gossip on how Mount Dora came to be, there are two different tours you can jump on. It’s best to do them early in the morning because they tend to get busy as the town wakes up. The first option is the Mount Dora Trolley Company. It was started a few years back by a mother and daughter. They really do know how to make you feel welcome. They take you by trolley all throughout the downtown area and into some residential streets, while giving you the history of our town that sits beside Lake Dora. If you prefer a more private tour then jump into a horse-drawn carriage over at A Hitch in Time Carriage Tours at the corner of 4th Avenue and Alexander Street. They do a 30–45-minute guided tour of the downtown area and it really is the best way to hoof the town without doing any of the work.

There are several specialty shops along Donnelly Avenue that can’t be found anywhere else. The Drawer Ltd. is the town hot spot for Vera Bradley, Crabtree and Evelyn, and Brighton jewelry. It’s one of the most frequented stores by the locals, and if you listen closely you’re bound to hear some town gossip. After walking through all the stores you have to stop by My Father’s Bread. They are the local celebrity in town after doing an appearance on NBC’s Today Show, and their assortment of fresh baked breads and cinnamon rolls are perfect for taking home. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, then swing through La Cremerie at Alexander Street and 3rd Avenue. They always have sixteen different flavors to choose from, all the toppings for a great sundae, and they truly make the best old-fashioned milkshakes in town.

Mount Dora is also a great place for outdoor lovers. The hills are perfect for bike enthusiasts. If you’re a boater, there is a public boat ramp down past the marina, and there are several golf courses nearby.

While Mount Dora is a great place to visit any day of the year, the best time to make a trip is during the holiday season. Here are the top five  holiday festivities that can’t be missed:

1. Light Up Mount Dora is always first to kick off the holiday season. This year it will be the Saturday night after Thanksgiving (November 26). The entire downtown area is blocked off from traffic, and when they flip the switch at 6:30 p.m. the entire Donnelly Park is lit by over two million twinkling Christmas lights high above in the trees.

2. The Christmas Walk is the first weekend in December. It’s a holiday street party with music, drinks, food, and entertainment out on the streets of downtown. The shops stay open late and carolers in time-period costumes make their way through the crowd caroling as they go (December 2).

3. The Boat Parade is the next night (December 3) just past dark. It takes place down along the shore of Lake Dora. Boats of all different shapes and sizes are decorated with strands and strands of lights that illuminate off the water.

4. The Christmas Movie in the Park takes place the second Friday in December. A large crowd gathers in Donnelly Park in front of a huge movie screen, and they bring their chairs and spread out blankets to watch a Christmas movie under the twinkling Christmas lights in the trees.

5. Snow in the Park is the second Saturday night of December and snow always finds its way into Donnelly Park for the younger kids to go sledding down the steep hill. When it’s really cold, the snow tends to last well into the next day, but there have been some warmer years where the snow started melting as soon as it hit the ground. (Truth in advertising: Mt. Dora has a snow-making machine.)

Overall, Mount Dora is a great place to live or visit any time of year. We truly have something for everyone. If you plan to take a trip soon, I am always more than happy to offer up recommendations when it comes to Mount Dora. Feel free to send me a message at: artinthedeal@gmail.com. You can also visit http://www.whattodoinmtdora.com/

Erika Bennett, Art of Living

I am a book designer at a publishing company in Orlando and when I’m not working, I’m blogging about the funny mishaps of life after college. I was born and raised in Mount Dora, FL, and left to attend college in Boca Raton, FL. After four years and one college degree later, I moved back to the town I call home, Mount Dora.

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