cEvery year Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Mount Dora neighborhoods.
Santa covers a lot of ground touring the city, so he enlisted the help of Mount Dora's Police and Fire Departments. If you hear lots of sirens in the area, watch for Santa and his long motorcade.
Mrs. Claus reports Santa loves Christmas in Mount Dora, so his 2016 tour schedule covers a lot of the city. As a result, his arrival times can be unpredictable, but his elves assured Mount Dora Buzz that it's always worth any wait that might occur.
Santa is expected to tour from 5:45 p.m to 9-9:30 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 13 - Santa will follow a west of Donnelly Street route. Dec. 14 - Santa will travel the East of Donnelly Street route. Dec. 15 - Santa will take the route north of 441.
If the elves provide more route details they will be posted here. Due to Santa's busy schedule, he can't tour every neighborhood but there is one close enough to everyone. He encourages everyone to listen for the loud sirens and pull over to watch for him. Click here to see video of Santa touring downtown Mount Dora.
For more holiday events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here
History buffs and the curious have been chomping at the bit for this opportunity. Finally, they won't have to wait.
Sydonie Mansion, recognized as the oldest mansion in Florida, is offering special holiday tours. The guided tours of the grand estate will be offered twice daily on December 1 through 3, as well as December 5 through 9.
Tour times are 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and reservations are required. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children ages five to twelve. Children under five are admitted free.
All proceeds go to the ongoing restoration of the mansion. For tour reservations and questions call 518-860-4021. The estate is located at 5538 Sydonie Drive in Zellwood, south of Mount Dora. For more information about the history of Sydonie, click here.
For more holiday events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here
That fact is it's a stunning display. Mount Dora's holiday lights display helps make the city among the top Christmas towns in Florida.
The 35-year tradition takes the work of three city departments to pull off the illuminating display of approximately 230,000 lights painstakingly installed in trees, light posts and city buildings.
" It is tedious work putting lights on the tree trunks and limbs. Many of the trees in Donnelly Park are too large to hang lights in the canopies, so the trunks and limbs are wrapped instead," said Charles Revel, the city’s Electric Utility Manager, about the most difficult part of the project.
Four to six staff members of the city's Electric Division devote approximately fifty percent of their time over 6 weeks wrestling with strands of lights and riding in bucket trucks to complete the task.
This Friday marks the 24th annual Christmas Walk in Mount Dora. December 2 downtown streets will close in the evening as the festive street party begins at 6 p.m.
Visitors can take a stroll under the holiday light display in Donnelly Park with a view of the Victorian Donnelly House and walk to the nearby lakefront to see the impressive lights at Mount Dora Marina.
Children can visit with Santa and two of his reindeer, as well as meet Anna & Elsa from Frozen. The forty-foot tall musical Christmas tree next to Sunset Park on 4th Avenue has become a holiday landmark enjoyed by children and adults. There will also be a myriad of performers roaming the streets of downtown.
Christmas Walk also presents an opportunity for shoppers to discover unique gifts for everyone on their list at the quaint historic district’s stores that are open late for the event. The night's festivities wrap up with a holiday fireworks display at 8:45 p.m.
Free park-and-shuttle service will be offered from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church at First Avenue and Highland Street, as well as the Lincoln Park Complex at 1250 N. Unser Street.
For more holiday events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here
Last month the Travel Channel provided fifteen minutes of fame to two Mount Dora residents, as well as 25,000 reasons to stay in their downtown bed and breakfast.
The November 14 episode of "Hotel Impossible Showdown” pitted Mount Dora's Adora Inn against inns and hotels in South Beach, Stuart and Santa Rosa Beach. At stake: a $25,000 prize for the best accommodations and experience. By the end of the episode, Mount Dora's Adora Inn stood out against its competitors and took home the cash and bragging rights.
Owners John Cataldo and Arthur Natale ignored the first inquiry by the show's casting director in 2015. Eventually, she contacted them again and the couple agreed to a Skype audition. The next day Adora Inn was given the green light.
The inviting inn, built in 1906, is located on Tremain Street in the city’s historic district, and is anything but the dust and doilies you might expect from a bed and breakfast. Adora Inn's warm, contemporary interior features six guest rooms on the second and third floors. Adora's common areas feature original art, including abstract paintings by Natale, an established artist and former art director. Natale and Cataldo, both excellent chefs, are known for creating memorable gourmet meals and providing stellar service.
Impressed by Adora Inn's win, Mount Dora Buzz had a few questions.
BUZZ: How many days did it take to film the entire episode? CATALDO: We shot for 10 days traveling throughout the state.
BUZZ: What was your favorite property in the competition? CATALDO: The Old Colorado Hotel in Stuart.
BUZZ: Have you stayed in touch with any of the other innkeepers? CATALDO: Yes, actually Carrie from South Beach and Steven from Stuart are coming to stay with us in January.
BUZZ: What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself from the experience? CATALDO: The most surprising thing was that I could be so witty and funny. I never thought I was such a goof.
BUZZ: How did you spend your winnings? CATALDO: Arthur and I took a two-week vacation to Portugal.
BUZZ: What is the single most unique feature of Adora Inn? CATALDO: I think the most is hard to say. It’s threefold. 1. Our unique style; 2. Our love of good international foods; 3. Our genuine hospitality.
BUZZ: What are a few of Arthur's favorite dishes to prepare for guests? CATALDO: He likes making Italian frittatas and freshly baked pastries for breakfast, and for dinner he loves different types of risotto and braised short ribs with red wine chocolate sauce. Oh, and his orange ricotta cheesecake.
BUZZ: Where do most of your guests come from? CATALDO: The greater Tampa Bay area including the Sarasota, St. Pete, and Clearwater areas. Secondly, Miami-Dade, Broward and the Palm Beaches.
BUZZ: Who was more nervous about doing the show, you or Arthur? CATALDO: We were equally nervous.
BUZZ: Why? CATALDO: The contracts for the network were so lengthy and scary. We had no idea how they were going to portray us and how they were going to show our property.
On Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. the City of Eustis will host the second annual “Explore Eustis” event featuring complimentary food and drink samples from Downtown Eustis restaurants.
The free event, started last year by the City as an economic development effort, aims to promote the Downtown businesses and introduce visitors from nearby communities, including The Villages, to Eustis.
As part of the event, the City offers a free shuttle to and from the event for Villages residents through the Villages Transportation bus company. The shuttle buses will leave every thirty minutes from the Lake Sumter Landing Depot with the first bus leaving at 10 a.m. and the last bus returning from Eustis at 4 p.m.
The event will feature live music by Buddy Blues, Ryan Farner and the Eustis High School Morningview Jazz Combo. Free food and drink samples will be provided from participating restaurants including: 1884 Restaurant & Bar/Bakery, Barnwood BBQ, Crazy Gator, The Great Pizza Company, Harper’s Alley, Magnolia Café, Maria’s Latin Diner, Sol de Mexico, Strawberry’s Ice Cream & Treats, Tillie’s Tavern & Grill and Wine Cellars Uncorked. The Eustis Historical Museum and the Lake Eustis Museum of Art will also be open with complimentary admission.
Maps marking restaurant locations and sample selections will be distributed at the City’s event information tent located at the intersection of Magnolia Ave. and Eustis St. in Downtown.
“The Explore Eustis event is a way for us to invite our residents and visitors from nearby communities to enjoy the Eustis experience and sample dishes from our restaurants,” said Economic Development Director Tom Carrino. “Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success; we had over a thousand visitors come through Downtown. We heard from many of our business that they saw repeat customers throughout the year who were introduced to Eustis at this event.”
Mount Dora will play host again to Central Florida's massive and eclectic shopping experience. Three times a year Renningers Antique Center organizes the Antique Extravaganza, the motherlode of vintage and antique shopping, set in the rambling hills under majestic oaks. Make no mistake. There is antique shopping and then there is the ‘Extravo’ antique shopping. That’s the term seasoned buyers and ‘pickers’ use for the event that boasts over 800 dealers during its 3-day run spread on a scenic portion of a 130-acre property.
Dealers from across the U.S. descend on Mount Dora to offer a tremendous variety of vintage finds and fine antiques at every price.
Extravos only happen the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday of November, January and February. Shoppers and the curious can roam the hills from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday admittance costs more, however eager shoppers get first dibs on hard-to-find treasures. Sunday shoppers get better bargains, but some vendors do pack up early.
Parking is free. Admission is $10 on Friday, $6 on Saturday, and only $4 on Sunday. A three-day pass is $15. Renninger’s Antique Center is located at 20651 US Hwy 441. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Download the free Mount Dora Buzz mobile app here and follow theMount Dora Buzz Facebook page.
One thing is for sure. There is a lot to do in Lake County this time of year.
Mount Dora may be the epicenter for the area's activity and neighboring cities also provide plenty of entertainment opportunities.
Now there is one-touch access to the area's events calendar, local news, shopping, dining, things to do, what's hot and more with the free mobile app that covers Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis.The robust app is available for Apple and Android devices in their app stores. Download free iPhone app here. Download free Android app here. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.
As destinations go, Mount Dora is on the map. Now, the Travel Channel is providing fifteen minutes of fame for the historic town that will likely parlay into more notoriety.
On November 14 the network features the quaint Central Florida city in an episode of "Hotel Impossible Showdown.”
The show is a winner-take-all competition where four hotels, inns and B&B's go head-to-head for a $25,000 prize. Hotel expert Anthony Melchiorri follows the four very confident hoteliers, as they spend the night in each other's establishments with an exacting eye for details, both positive and negative. Then they score each other for accommodations, amenities, hospitality and overall experience. The property with the highest score takes home the prize money. Read more
No one does Christmas like Mount Dora. No one does holiday lights like Joe Lewis.
For the past 20 years, Joe and his crew of elves at Mount Dora Boating Center have created what is arguably the city's most impressive holiday display. This year the downtown marina boasts over one million lights.
Lewis has it down to a near science. Preparation begins in September, and the installation of all the illuminated decorations starts in October. After much anticipation by children and adults, the lights are turned on during the city's annual Light Up Mount Dora event and visited nightly throughout the holiday,
This year, the marina will feature an additional 100,000 lights, according to Lewis. Last year an enormous Frosty the Snowman and large, synchronized snowflakes mounted on the wall of the dry boat storage building were added.
"The lights are just inspiring and put you in the holiday mood," said Lewis when asked about his holiday labor of love. "Here in Florida we don't have seasonal cold weather, so we try to put up a few more lights than normal."
In 1989, Lewis and his wife Suzy purchased the marina which has 95 wet boat slips and another 140 dry slips. It wasn't long before the Lewis' growing tradition at home was moved to the marina.
"When my wife said we couldn't put them up at the house anymore, I said 'No problem, I'll come up with another place," mused Lewis.
With so many lights, something is bound to go wrong occasionally . One year, Lewis was decorating by himself on top of the tall dry storage building on a windy day. Much to his dismay, he discovered his ladder had been knocked to the ground by the wind. Lewis was then stuck alone on the roof and had to get creative to get down.
Lewis has removed any worries about a troublesome burned out bulb. A few years ago, the marina's display was upgraded to all LED lights for added vibrancy and durability.
Light up Mount Dora will be on November 26 and you can see the marina's light display at 148 Charles Avenue at the downtown lakefront. The lights are on every night through the holiday season. The marina can use assistance funding the display for future years. If you're interested in helping, click here.
This weekend begins six days of Renaissance fun in Tavares.
The Lady of the Lake Renaissance Faire began in 2002, offering visitors an opportunity to step back in time to a magical, enchanting fantasy land created to represent an authentic European village.
The Faire is an established member of a National Renaissance Faire circuit and features over 100 performers, representing various entertainments of the time – Knights in armor, gypsies, fire-eaters, pirates, dancers, merchants, peasants, historical characters and a variety of musicians.
Artisans fill the village, working in mediums such as pottery, leather work, sculpture, and candle making. The crafts and entertainment combine with thematic games and foods to create a glimpse of marketplace celebrations of life in the 16th century.
Lady of the Lake Renaissance Faire runs November 4-6 and November 11-13 at 12835 County Landfill Road in Tavares.