Tag Archives: #mytown

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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Pineapple Press is all about Florida

If it’s a Florida subject, we probably cover it.

Whether it be about Florida’s beaches or water

Florida towns or Florida travel

or rural Florida…

Learn more at our website at www.pineapplepress.com

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A Great Time for the Family at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota, Florida

This past weekend I took my family to Ken Thompson Park on City Island in Sarasota. The weather was gorgeous, with sunny skies and a gentle breeze. I knew that the park would be the perfect place for a picnic and an afternoon of play. We stopped for a picnic lunch right by the water and saw this beautiful scene before us.

While we ate, we saw children frolicking in the water while their parents fished or read or talked with family. It was easy to see that everyone was enjoying the nature surrounding them on this beautiful day. My son was excited to see  kayakers—some with their fishing gear and some just paddling through the brisk water. He excitedly told me that he wants to get his fishing license so he can wade fish and then get a kayak to fish from too! There are lots of small rocks near the shore, and he enjoyed tossing them in to see how the water moved around them.

We moved on to the two playgrounds that sit near the water. This equipment is in excellent shape and attracts both small and older children. Once you finish with the slides and rock-climbing wall, you can move on to the next playground that has monkey bars and swings. These are nicely situated by the restrooms, always a plus when you go somewhere with children. After some of the energy wore off, we went on to explore the neat boardwalk nature trail that follows the water.

This well-kept path usually has lots of fiddler crabs to keep you company, but we didn’t see any this visit. You meander amidst the mangroves until you come across the walkway that juts out into the water. We stopped there for a while and watched the boats and traffic on the bridge.

After this side-trip, you hop back into the mangroves and find your way to the sidewalks near the boat ramp. We kept on walking to the free water ski show put on by the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees. This is always a favorite Sunday adventure. My son thinks he might want to try waterskiing when he is bigger. It’s fun to watch them leap and jump and twist and make pyramids in their energetic show. We ended our trip to the island after the show, but one could always visit Mote Marine or the Save Our Seabirds sanctuary or grab a bite to eat at the Old Salty Dog. I highly recommend this day trip to any local resident or visitor. Don’t miss experiencing this beautiful site.

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Here’s a peek at downtown Sarasota, Florida

Our guest post by Bruce Hunt got me to thinking about towns. Our offices are in downtown Sarasota. I thought you might be interested to see what downtown Sarasota looks like. We’re probably a medium-sized city..smaller than Tampa and larger than Arcadia. I’d love to see what your city’s downtown looks like. Tweet them to us @pineapplepress using #mytown as a hashtag. I look forward to seeing them!

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