About 45 minutes north of Orlando is the quaint lakeside community of Mt. Dora. Lake County, Florida is made up of 1,400 lakes including Lake Dora, named after Dora Ann Drawdy. She and her husband were the first settlers in the area in 1846. Don't look for any mountains to climb because there isn't a pinnacle higher than the three-story Renaissance building downtown. Mt. Dora is technically a "mount" in Florida because it is 184 feet over sea level. There's central Florida logic for you.
We visited Mt. Dora over the holidays and found this town of shops, pubs and lakefront housing quite charming. While many shops abound the roughly four block downtown area, most of the goods are geared for the many retirees in this part of Florida. No Armani stores or funky boutiques for women. There's the Chef's Table which I liked and a couple of watering holes worthy of a pint or so. Mt. Dora is for rustic antique shopping and knick-knack souvenirs. I did find an Eames lounge chair proudly displayed in one antique store's windows. It was in such poor condition that for a spit second, I considered looking at it in the event that it may be for sale in my price range. I passed.
But we didn't visit Mt. Dora for the shopping, but for the appreciation of sleepy little American towns that dot this beautiful country of ours. The lake was scenic and the city's holiday lights were very impressive. Mt. Dora is definitely worth the day trip. Enjoy a pint of beer and people watch until the sun sets behind the "mountain" top.