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.
Monday’s episode, which was filmed in January, 2015, pits Mount Dora’s Adora Inn against the Jetset Franklin in Miami Beach, the Old Colorado Inn in Stuart, and the 30-A Suites in the Panhandle’s Santa Rosa Beach.
The Adora Inn, built in 1906, is a contemporary bed and breakfast owned by John Cataldo and Arthur Natale. Located on Tremain Street in the city’s historic district, the inviting property features six guest rooms on the second and third floors. Natale and Cataldo, both gourmet chefs, are known for the stellar breakfasts they create for their guests.
The episode’s competition kicks off at the Jetset Franklin, an elegant remodeled historic building offering upscale lofts just a short walk from Miami Beach hot spots. Next, the contestants venture to the family-run Old Colorado Inn. After a quick tour of Stuart, Florida, the group takes a relaxing boat ride. Mount Dora is the third stop for the hoteliers where they enjoy a signature ghost tour before their final stop in Santa Rosa Beach.
The episode airs on November 14 at 10 a.m. The winner will be announced at the end of the morning’s episode.
During prohibition the “best water in town” came out of the basement and was stored in Mason jars. Memories of such family stories spurred Doug McCormack’s interest in resurrecting his family’s secret moonshine business--only this time around, he and his wife Amanda decided to distill the spirits legally.
It all started in Yalaha 12 years ago when the couple purchased a 1928 Craftsman-style house with eight acres and went to work farming.
"As an organic blueberry farmer, I started noticing more and more u-pick blueberry farms opening up. Competition became more fierce and we needed to find something that no one else was doing," said Doug, a fifth-generation Apopka native.
Yalaha Bootlegging Company came to fruition this year after the McCormacks spent three years jumping through state and federal bureaucratic hoops. The craft distillery is one of only eight in Florida and uses organic blueberries grown on the property for its moonshine, whiskey and brandy recipes.
The fermentation process for their moonshine takes approximately three weeks followed by a 10-hour distillation process. The brandy is made with the distilled moonshine that is aged in new barrels for six months. This process allows the clear moonshine to acquire an amber color and a smoother, richer flavor. The McCormacks’ family-run country store on Blue Bayou Farm offers local produce and honey, as well as jams, Amish products, boiled peanuts, ice cream shakes, homemade pies and pottery.
Yalaha Bootlegging Company is located at Blue Bayou Farms, 8222 County Road 48 in Yalaha. The farm and store are open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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