Mount Dora is the prettiest inland village of Florida. Gentle hills (some of the state’s highest) rise above scenic Lake Dora. Numerous other small lakes, plus citrus orchards and forests of hardwoods and pine, fill the surrounding semitropical countryside. From the earliest settlement well over a century ago, the town has grown slowly but steadily thanks to citrus and tourism.
The original symbol of Mount Dora’s auspicious beginnings, the Lakeside Inn, is still the village’s preeminent landmark. Palms and towering moss-draped hardwoods shade waterfront parks and line streets where tidy, whitewashed homes surrounded by manicured gardens are reminiscent of Victorian New England. The flowery little business district fills historic and contemporary buildings with distinctive specialty and antique shops, galleries, restaurants and quaint inns. Free of fast foods and chains, it is a genteel contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Orlando and the mega-amusement parks beyond.