Since I started a new job, Lance and I haven’t had days off together (I have Saturday/Sundays off and he has Tuesday/Wednesdays). But a few weekends ago, he took a couple days off so we could spend some time together. We wanted to find a town we hadn’t been to before, so we took a mini-vacation to Mount Dora.
It’s a really little town north of Orlando – very laid back and quaint. We headed up on Friday night and started off with dinner at Mount Dora Brewing/Rocking Rabbit Brewery (it seemed to go by two names…) True to their name, there is a giant rocking horse-style rabbit in the main dining area.
It was crowded, so we sat out in their beer garden. It was pretty with hanging lights and flowers, but we actually had to move into their screened in porch after a few minutes because the mosquitoes like me too much – I must have gotten 20 bug bites in the 5 minutes we sat out there, even with the citronella candles and fan on the patio.
The patio was filled with unusual junk art and found objects – and they had a projector screen showing the live music & dancing in the bar area next door.
We ordered a flight of beers – their beer list was a little unusual because it appeared that they brew only 3 different beers, then blend them together to create their 3 other beers. For instance, the “Dirty Blonde” was a blend of their porter and blonde ales, and their “Rabbit Pellet Porter” was a blend of their red and porter. I think the red/porter blend was my favorite.
For dinner, I enjoyed the coconut & panko crusted salmon filet and Lance had the prime rib salad with crispy onions. Both tasty – unfortunately the dim lighting didn’t do my photos justice. I think the crowd was a bit out of our age range – we were half the age of the rest of the diners, but it seems to be a popular local hangout.
We stayed at the Lakeside Inn, a historic Victorian hotel that’s been around for over 130 years. The room was very small, but the inn property was beautiful and they had a nice big porch lined with rocking chairs. Pretty much everything in Mount Dora is within walking distance, so we just kept the car parked at the hotel and wandered the town.
We headed to the Windsor Rose Tea Room & Restaurant for breakfast. I think this was my favorite part of Mount Dora – such a charming little restaurant and incredibly welcoming. It is very British – with artwork and trinkets depicting the royal family throughout. We started off with tea and coffee – their tea is served in mismatching bone china cups & saucers made in England and they even brought out a tea cozy to keep my teapot warm.
I ordered the Benedict Arnold eggs & hash browns and Lance had their Billy Bunter breakfast - two strips of bacon, Banger sausage, eggs, baked beans, and sautéed mushrooms. I would come back to this place in a heartbeat…the whole experience was wonderful.
The rest of the day we spent meandering through local shops – I found a cool adult coloring book that I’m pretty excited about at a store called Barrels of Books and Games.
Then we drove to Renninger’s, a huge flea market and antique center. It’s so enormous that we could have spent the whole day there. Part of it was outdoors, so we cooled off from the August heat with snow cones. There were plenty of really cool vintage furniture pieces, but we don’t really have space for anything in our little condo.
Mount Dora is a great getaway for a day or weekend trip – we probably couldn’t have found much to do if we were there a whole week, but we really enjoyed our stay.
Mount Dora Brewing/Rocking Rabbit Brewery is 405 S. Highland Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757 and is open 11am – 11pm Mondays and Fridays, 11am – 3pm Tuesdays – Thursdays, and 8am – 11pm on Saturdays - Sundays.
Windsor Rose Tea Room & Restaurant is located at 142 W. 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757 and is open 9am – 4pm Monday – Tuesday and Thursday – Friday, and 9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays - Sundays (they are closed on Wednesdays).