At first, it was Wekiva Parkway. Now, in an effort to further increase accessibility from Orlando and Tampa, Mount Dora was awarded a transportation grant to build a municipal heliport downtown. The finalized plans allow for the heliport to proceed on the rooftops of two existing downtown buildings on the southwest corner of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street. The grant will fund the reinforcement of the roofs, FAA compliance and staffing, as well as a small office facility, according to Aru Keeding, the project's manager.
The project will be complete by September and initial transportation plans expect 3-5 helicopters a week to land downtown, says Keeding. Most of these will be doctors, real estate developers and other professionals doing businesses in the area. Once a helicopter tour operator is selected by a bidding process this fall, flights and tours will depart daily.
The council will vote on the name of the heliport at their May meeting. Keeding (pronounced "Kidding"), says April 1 is the perfect time to begin such a project. Gotcha!
There are many great things to say about Mount Dora. One thing is for certain: Many vibrant local businesses provide truly distinctive experiences and their owners are dedicated to making their customers happy. In turn, those customers eagerly shared their favorite businesses by casting their ballot for the Spring categories of Best of Mount Dora 2015.
Congratulations to this year's gold and silver winners. Thank you for the hard work you've done to build your local business.
BEST OF MOUNT DORA 2015 WINNERS...
Best Cup of Coffee: Gold: Village Coffee Pot Silver: One Flight Up
Best Bartender: Gold: Pisces Rising Silver: Maggie's Attic
Friendliest Customer Service: Gold: Julianne's Coastal Cottage Silver: Pure Aveda
Best Place to Grab a Beer: Gold: Mermaid Juice Silver: Frog & Monkey
Best Accommodations: Gold: Mount Dora Historic Inn & Cottages Silver: Adora Inn & Lakeside Inn (tie)
Best 'Date Night' Restaurant: Gold: Goblin Market Silver: Pisces Rising
Best Burgers: Gold: Frog & Monkey Silver: Mount Dora Streat Corner
Best Place to Buy Gifts: Gold: The Spice & Tea Exchange Silver: Julianne's Coastal Cottage
Best Pizza: Gold: PizzAmore Silver: Mellow Mushroom
Best Ethnic Food: Gold: Copacabana Silver: Oudom Thai & Sushi
Best Vintage Shopping: Gold: Renningers Antique Center Silver: Zen Cowgirl, and The Secret Garden (tie)
Best Festival or Event: Gold: Mount Dora Art Festival Silver: Mount Dora Crafts Festival
Man versus weed. It's a constant battle in Florida and every spring the enemy starts to get the upper hand. As residents struggle to gain control over unwanted plants, they often inadvertently tackle two toxic varieties with painful results.
Like dandelions and clover, poison ivy and stinging nettles make their appearance this time of year. Both of these plants have toxins that are highly irritable to human skin and can cause severe reactions and rashes. Poison ivy's sap, urushiol, causes the reaction and is present in the plant's leaves, stems and roots. Stinging nettles have tiny hairs loaded with a toxin that act as the plant's defense mechanism. These fine hairs get lodged into the skin.
Use the photos (at right) to help identify these plants. If you have the misfortune of coming across either plant, here are some suggestions:
After becoming aware of the exposure, don't touch any other part of your body (especially your face)
Don't scratch. The toxin from Poison Ivy is in its sap, so don't spread it and create a larger infected area. Scratching can also cause infection.
Wash affected area with cold water (hot water opens your pores to the toxins and can worsen the reaction)
Rinse or gently dab area with apple cider vinegar which can help break down the sap, reduce itching and dry out the rash. It may sting briefly.
Consider a topical antihistimine (Benedryl gel is fine)
If you have it on your face or the reaction becomes severe, seek immediate medical attention.
Thoroughly wash everything that may have come in contact with the plant (garden tools, shoes, clothing, pet), otherwise the sap doesn't leave and can irritate your skin again later.
Apply light adhesive tape on affected areas and pull it off (this helps remove toxic plant hairs deposited into your skin.
Wash area with cold water to relieve the skin and help remove nettle hairs.
Dab area with hydrogen peroxide
Consider a topical antihistimine (Benedryl gel or similar)
If you have it on your face or the reaction becomes severe, seek immediate medical attention.
To help prevent exposure, wear a long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves and closed two shoes while working in your yard.
Every day Lake Dora highlights her vast natural beauty. However this weekend she flashes her more refined and alluring attributes. Visitors can't help but be transported to the glamorous time of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Kate Hepburn as the lake is adorned with nostalgic, wooden boats lining the shore and boat slips of Wooton Park.
Now in its eighth year in Tavares, the 28th Annual Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival is the perfect place for dreamers and boaters to spend their day. The eye candy ranges from perfectly varnished Gar Wood race boats of the 1930's to intriguing concept boats like the Evinrude Lark, as well as vessels of fantastical design like the 1956 Lone Star Meteor and the 1955 Chris Craft Cobra.
This year's festival commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the highly recognizable Cobra, with almost a dozen being displayed at the event. According to Terry Fiest, chairman of the festival, some of these impressive teak speed boats are valued as high as $250.000. The Cobra was only made for one year and features a large, distinctive gold fin which marks Chris Craft's first experiment with fiberglass.
Under dozens of white tents, nautical vendors are also in abundance and selling everything from old parts and lanterns to shiny chrome accessories and wooden oars. Due to the large number of stunning vintage beauties for sale in a separate parking lot, dreamers are advised to bring just a little extra pocket change.
The festival hours are Saturday, 8:30-5:00 and Sunday 8:30 to Noon.
MOUNT DORA: THE AWAKENING OF A SLEEPY 'ANTIQUE TOWN'
Sleepy Mount Dora is gone. The quaint Central Florida town, dubbed the 'New England of the South', and well known for its historic downtown, moss-draped oak trees, and dusty antique shops, is no longer a tired little town.
Over the last decade, the popularity and demand for antiques have fallen. By contrast, the rents in the historic downtown commercial district have climbed making uptown Mount Dora and Renningers Antique Center a more attractive location for antique retailers.
The shift of Mount Dora's antique district, combined with a slow influx of more artists and younger residents has spurred a quiet awakening downtown. Dozens of eclectic boutiques now fill the quaint streets and feature everything from artisan accessories, books, and inspired decor to dog treats, unique gifts, kitchenware and apparel. The diversity has created a distinctive shopping experience in this lakefront village. Some stores still pay homage to the past by selling creatively repurposed and upcycled vintage items. Specialty stores have moved in that cater to the younger demographics and offer fine wines and original art, as well as olive oils and craft beers. Further evidence of change is the popular spice & tea retailer that sits in the former space of a Victorian quilt shop and the artisan bakery that now delights customers in a clock shop's old location.
Settled in 1874, it has only been in the last decade that downtown Mount Dora's culinary offerings diversified. Foodies enjoy everything from gourmet and ethnic fare including Thai, Peruvian, Italian, Mexican, plus a German restaurant, two British pubs and a French cafe. What was once a dusty watering hole has been transformed into an authentic Cuban restaurant. By day, outdoor cafes bustle with a lunch crowd, while at night cozy wine bars thrive on the narrow side streets where live music fills the air.
The art scene in Mount Dora is also ballooning with galleries exhibiting a higher caliber of art and a three-story building that once stood largely vacant is now home to a plethora of artist studios. Another formerly vacant building now houses a small, yet impressive Modernism museum. Adding more credibility to its reputation as an artists' community, the annual Mount Dora Arts Festival has garnered accolades as one of the nation's top juried art festivals.
The evolution of Mount Dora is more than skin deep. The recreational amenities added over the last several years also appeal to younger and more active residents and visitors. Segway tours, seaplane rides, paddle boarding and kayaking are common sights, as are the avid bicyclists that flock to Mount Dora for its challenging terrain and beautiful landscape. Recently, the desolate downtown shuffleboard courts were replaced with new tennis and pickleball courts and are now in steady use. Athletes from all over the state are drawn to the annual Mount Dora Half Marathon, as well as the annual Mount Dora Bicycle Festival. Needless to say, these are not the activities of a sleepy 'antique' town.
Through its continual metamorphosis, the town has kept its unique charm, friendliness and Spanish moss in abundance. Tourists still come in droves with a few looking for the antique stores, but many more returning for the fruits of Mount Dora's bountiful awakening.
A landmark is passing the torch. The downtown building where Palm Tree Grille is located has been sold and the restaurant's last day of service is March 28th. The eatery was a long time fixture at the premium location on the corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Avenue. Stay tuned to Mount Dora Buzz for updates on what will move into the space.
The most minor cases touch your heart. The more severe cases break it. However, making a difference is what makes getting involved so worthwhile,
All the cases in the court system involving the abuse, neglect or abandonment of children need someone to be a voice for those children. .The Guardian ad Litem program is currently seeking volunteers to be those voices. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a trained volunteer appointed by the court to advocate on behalf of a child. The GAL becomes familiar with the child’s case and makes recommendations to help ensure a safe, stable and permanent environment for the child.
“Around 1,400 children in Lake, Sumter, Marion, Hernando and Citrus counties have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. GAL volunteers make a profound difference in the lives of these children by helping judges decide whether a child should be reunited with his or her family, remain in foster care or in the worst of circumstances, placed for adoption,” said Marcia Hilty, Circuit Director of GAL Program for 5th Judicial Circuit. “They make sure important services are provided. Simply put, a GAL volunteer makes sure everyone does what is best for the child.” Research has shown that when a child whose case is being heard in dependency court is assigned to a Guardian ad Litem, they spend less time in foster care and do better in school. Unfortunately, there are more children in the system than volunteers to serve them. On average, volunteers should spend five to ten hours a month on a case, and most cases last 10 months. The volunteer works as part of a team including a volunteer supervisor and program attorney.
The next Guardian at Litem volunteer trainings for this area are March 27, 28, or 29 at the Ocala Police Department, For more information contact Sarah Jay at 352-274-5231 or Sarah.Jay@gal.fl.gov. or visit www.guardianadlitem.org.
March kicks off the BEST OF MOUNT DORA 2015. The local readers’ choice awards provide a glimpse into which business are doing what in Mount Dora and doing it exceptionally well. Readers are encouraged to vote for their favorite businesses in each of the following categories:
Best Cup of Coffee
Friendliest Customer Service
Best Place to Grab a Beer
Best Accommodations (B&B, hotel or inn)
Best 'Date Night' Restaurant
Best Place to Buy Gifts
Best Vintage Shopping
Best Ethnic Food
Best Festival or Event
Stay tuned for the Best of Tavares & Eustis edition in May.
VOTING INSTRUCTIONS: Voters can cast a total of one vote for each of the above categories at www.MountDoraBuzz.com/vote. Winners will be announced on the Mount Dora Buzz Facebook page www.Facebook.com/MountDoraBuzz, so be sure you ‘like’ that page for updates. Deadline for voting is March 15 at midnight.