There always seem to be new businesses popping up in downtown Mount Dora, but rarely is one so long overdue.
A new bike share and rental company, Mount Dora Bikes, plans for its fleet of new bicycles to hit the road by mid-August or early September. The business will launch with twelve custom aluminium bikes, six of them available for hourly rentals, while the others will be for daily rentals. Read more
One of the Mount Dora area’s most anticipated recreational projects is the Wekiva Trail. The large project is a cycling and hiking trail that would connect Mount Dora to other existing trails through thousands of acres of preservation land and destinations such as Rock Springs Run, Wekiva Springs State Park, as well as both coasts of Florida. Read more
Florida Black Bears have long been residents of Mount Dora and the surrounding areas. However, bear sightings have been a more frequent occurrence in recent months. In addition to nearby construction projects in bear habitats, it’s also the season when older cubs are pushed out on their own so their mothers can find a new mate. However, the sighting of a Florida Black Bear doesn’t necessarily represent a threat. In mid-July, a young, non-aggressive,105 pound female bear was tranquilized, transported and euthanized by officials after it climbed two trees near downtown Mount Dora. Read more
Take an evening stroll on a downtown Mount Dora sidewalk and you’re bound to hear a sultry siren’s voice that gently lures music lovers into one of the many live music venues in the historic district. Once inside, all eyes are on the young artist projecting the light, yet soulful vocals.
In a short time, free-spirited Christina Adinolfi has connected with a diverse audience and developed a following. She selects covers that range from old-school classic rock standards to more current pop and country. Her song choices often have deeply emotional lyrics that, at first, may seem to lie beyond her age, but she always pulls it off. Along with her vocal talent, Adinolfi’s lightheartedness and humility are also on open display in the intimate venueswhere she performs. Read more
Making Mom feel appreciated on her special day is easy in Mount Dora. Whether she loves a big brunch, breakfast in bed, a thoughtful gift, or an outdoor hike, this cheat sheet with helpful links can help you plan the perfect Mother’s Day.
1. BRUNCH & BREAKFAST This is the first time Lake Receptions will be hosting a Mother’s Day brunch buffet, and they’re going all out. In addition to dishes like herb-crusted tenderloin, chicken prosciutto with fresh mozzarella and basil, grilled salmon, and ham with Jezebel sauce, there will be a saxophonist and a photographer providing family portraits for purchase. We're guessing you should make reservations soon.
If Mom prefers to order off a breakfast menu, the Rocking Rabbit Cafe next to Mount Dora Brewing is the place to be. Their eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes and omelettes always impress. The free mimosa for all ladies is a great touch. For the mom that loves a hearty traditional British breakfast, Magical Meat Boutiqueis also offering moms a free Mimosa.
2. BREAKFAST IN BED This year there is a foolproof way to serve Mom breakfast in bed. Cody’s On 4th in downtown Mount Dora is taking orders for take-out quiches in a choice of three flavors. A whole quiche and fruit cost $30 and must be ordered by noon on Friday, May 11. Mom is going to wonder how you pulled it off! Of course, if you would rather take her to Cody’s, they’re offering a $10 “all you care to drink” mimosas-with-entree-purchase promotion.
3. NOT YOUR EVERYDAY FLOWERS They are a must on Mother’s Day, but they don’t have to be a big, costly bouquet. Noni at the Olive Branch is a Donnelly Street store that sells beautiful, blooming orchids at great prices. Dudley, one of the owners, will even tell you how to easily care for them.
4. RELAXING LUNCH If Mom loves relaxing lunch, there is no shortage of places downtown. The delicious Italian fare at Olive Branch Mediterranean Grill makes it a great choice. Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant with its bountiful seafood paella and wide variety of authentic Cuban dishes also provides live music in the background, plus a free rose and specialty mimosa for mom.
5. THOUGHTFUL GIFTS: Finding Mom thoughtful gifts in Mount Dora is a snap if you know where to start.
For the nester: Cozy Nest, an adorable downtown boutique has a section specifically for moms, like cute frames and signs. Their Face Plant line of soft, lightweight robes and sleep accessories are perfect for Florida summers
For the creative mom: If your mom loves non-traditional gifts, you’re bound to find something she’ll love at Every Nook + Cranny artist collective downtown. This large labyrinth of original art features everything from paintings and artisan jewelry to pottery and furniture made by local artists.
For the cook: For the mom that loves to entertain or whip up amazing meals, a gift from Mount Dora Olive Oil Company is a no-brainer. Not sure what to get? Their staff always make great recommendations.
For the sporty mom: Anyone that’s been to a sporting event recently knows there are plenty of moms in the stands. Ashley’s Flags & Sports Shoppe has tons of choices for Mom’s favorite collegiate and professional teams.
For the bling-lover: Lake Cares Food Pantry has 1000 raffle tickets available for a stunning 3.51-carat diamond necklace by Gold In Art Jewelers. The elegant tickets come with a printed explanation of the fundraiser, so Mom will understand the thoughtfulness of the gift and the necklace she may win.
For the lighthearted: Take a stroll into Julianne’s Coastal Cottage to find coastal decor, whimsical gifts and top gourmet food brands. They will even offer you a free wine smoothie sample while you shop.
For the shoe and handbag lover: After all, a girl can never have too many accessories. For a great selection of leather purses and shoes to add to her growing collection, head to Becker’s Best Shoes (formerly Donnelly Euro Footwear).
6. PAMPER HER Moms take care of others all year. What better way to make her feel special than to provide some pampering. Saving Face Esthetics offers gift cards for luxurious and relaxing facials that will de-stress any mom. You can always throw in some bath bombs and soothing body butter from Naples Soap Company, too.
7. MOM’S TIME-OUT No doubt, sometimes the daily problem-solver of the family just needs a break. If she enjoys her wine, grab a gift card from Maggie’s Attic where she can choose to use it on a glass or bottle of wine, a fun Wine Tasting Walk, or even a useful “wine purse.”
8. THE GREAT OUTDOORS If Mom loves nature, exercise and the great outdoors, Palm Island Boardwalk is the place to take her after a Mother’s Day meal. The elevated wooden walkway winds through old cypress trees along Lake Dora. There are plenty of shady resting spots, too.
Ever wonder what Florida art shows are worth the trip?
The 2017 rankings of the top 100 art festivals in the country are out and 26 Florida festivals made the cut. Placement was determined by compiling ballots submitted by professional artists who rated the festivals according to their own gross sales at the events. That's a valuable metric because top producing festivals for artists attract the country’s best talent.
The annual ranking is conducted by the national magazine, Sunshine Artist, which prides itself on being the leading publication for art show exhibitors, patrons and promoters.
Here are the 26 Florida art festivals that ranked among the Top 100 nationally: 1. LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival (Tallahassee) 2. Under the Oaks Fine Arts & Crafts Show (Vero Beach) 7. Mount Dora Arts Festival 15. Naples National Arts Festival 17. Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts 18. Coconut Grove Art Festival 21: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (Fernadina Beach) 24. Cape Coral Festival of the Arts 27. Downtown Venice Art Classic 32. Ocala Arts Festival 39. Images: A Festival of the Arts (New Smyrna Beach) 40. Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (Tampa) 45. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival 50. Bonita Springs National Art Festival, Show 3 57. St. Armands Circle Art Festival (Sarasota) 58. Coconut Point New Year’s Art Festival (Estero) 64. Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts 65. Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival 66. Boca Fest, Boca Raton 71. Las Olas Art Fair, Part 1 (Ft. Lauderdale) 74. The Sanibel Masters Art Festival 82. Art Fest By the Sea (Jupiter) 95. Bonita Springs National Art Show 1 96. Downtown Art Festival (Gainesville) 97. Estero Fine Art Show 100. Boca Raton Fine Art Show
After a few months in its new downtown home, Mount Dora Village Market has come into its own. The Sunday market, located in Sunset Park in the city’s vibrant historic district, boasts Central Florida vendors that sell everything from homemade sweets, fresh veggies and seafood to tropical plants, natural bath products and handmade home decor. The vendors are ready for business from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mount Dora Buzz contributors had the enviable task of scouring the market to find the items you don’t’ want to miss. Here’s your shortcut to shopping the best of the market:
BEST OF THE MARKET OVERALL: Winner: Spicy Apple Jam byJovita Treats. We tried this savory jam on vanilla bean ice cream and no one could get enough. It would be delish on a grilled ham and brie sandwich or as a pork tenderloin glaze. It’s excellent to serve with brie, aged cheddar, chevre or cream cheese.
Vendor: THE Seafood
BEST SAVORY: Winner: Smoked Salmon by “THE Seafood” We tried this on crackers by itself and made smoked salmon spread by adding cream cheese, lemon and fresh dill. Either option is wonderful for an easy appetizer. Don’t miss: Smoked Garlic seasoning by Smoke Showin BBQ. The seasoning is all dehydrated garlic with some added smokiness. It was excellent added to our favorite grilling rub, as well as sprinkled on roasted veggies. This is a must for garlic lovers. Don’t miss: The roasted garlic and herb olive oil dip by Simply Savory We loved this with a crusty loaf of sourdough, but it was also excellent tossed in tortellini. Also try Lisa’s Ultimate Vinegars.
Vendor: Smoke Showin' BBQ
BEST SWEETS: Winner: Red White & Blue Jam by Jovita Treats This low-sugar, fresh local jam comes packed with the flavors of ripe strawberries and blueberries which are then accented with vanilla. We warmed it up and poured it over vanilla bean ice cream. After all, why spread it on toast when you have ice cream? Don’t miss: Smoked bacon bourbon syrup by Smoke Showin BBQ This is a must for anyone that loves bacon. Great on pancakes, but also very tasty when lightly drizzled on sauteed green beans and topped with blue cheese crumbles. For the more adventurous, pour a little over ice cream or cheesecake. Yum! More you won’t want to miss: Delicious and decadent cake truffles by Level Up Treats of Eustis, freshly made cannolis by Orlando Fresh Bread and the fruit custard spread by Melatta Spreads.
Vendor: John Plank Greenhouses
BEST PLANTS: Edible plants, by John Plank Greenhouses There was a big selection of edible plants like olive trees, coffee trees and various fruit trees, plus exotic tropical plants. All appeared very healthy.
Don’t miss: Orchids by the Orchid Man. Take your pick of healthy phalaenopsis and dendrobium orchids with or without decorative pots. Plus, the Orchid Man will answer all your orchid-growing questions.
Vendor: Darjees Tea
BEST BEVERAGE: Winner: Blackberry Tea by DarJees Tea Box Of the many delicious offerings of fresh black tea, we chose the blackberry to make iced tea. Surprisingly, two regular-sized tea bags make a whole pitcher, and everyone loved it. Don’t miss: The fresh-squeezed lemonade booth to cool off on a steamy day.
Vendor: Barse Bath Co.
BEST BATH & BODY: Winner: Eucalyptus & mint dead sea salt glow by Barnse Bath Co. The scent is so relaxing and makes a morning shower feel like you were at the spa. Don’t miss: Fragrant handmade soaps by Iyakere.
Vendor: Sawdust to Stitches
BEST HOME GOODS: Winner: Handmade wood signs and decor by Sawdust to Stitches. We found their cheerful signs to be thoughtful hostess gifts. Don’t miss: Watercolor greeting cards by Briana at Bubble Gum Colors and the stain removing bar by Tangie.
Shoppers are welcome to bring canned food donations for Lake Care Food Pantry to the market’s donation bin. The market is open every Sunday at Sunset Park except during certain downtown festivals and events.
These delicious local lunch salads are perfect summer meals (listed in order of price): Grilled California Chicken Salad ($9) Chargrilled chicken breast over a bed of lettuce topped with sundried tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, walnuts, onions and apple wedges. Jeremiah’s, 500 N. Highland St., Mount Dora Spring Salad ($9.50) Grilled chicken with crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts and onion over fresh greens. Crazy Gator, 402 N. Bay St., Eustis Spinach Salad ($9.75) Baby spinach topped with hard-boiled egg, crisp bacon, and sliced mushrooms with honey garlic dressing. Cody’s on 4th, 111 E. 4th Ave., Mount Dora Chicken Lime Salad ($10) Grilled seasoned chicken with lime and herbs over romaine with tomatoes, fried yucca and pico de gallo, served in a housemade sun-dried tomato tortilla bowl. Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant, 351 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Fajita Taco Salad ($10) Grilled chicken or steak on romaine with beans, tomatoes, cheese and guacamole. Fiesta Grande, 421 N. Baker St., Mount Dora Aunt Lucille’s Chicken Salad ($10.50) Chunky chicken salad with grapes, celery and toasted pecans, served on mixed greens. Cody’s On 4th, 111 E. 4th Ave., Mount Dora Antipasto ($10) Romaine, fresh and sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, artichokes, olives, fresh basil, pesto, roasted red pepper sauce. PizzAmore, 722 E. 5th Ave., Mount Dora Grilled Chicken or Shrimp Caesar ($10/$11) Tossed romaine, tomatoes and fresh parmesan, topped with housemade croutons. Mount Dora Brewing, 405 S. Highland St., Mount Dora Grilled Chicken Mediterranean Salad ($11) Grilled chicken atop mixed greens with feta, kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and pepperoncini The Olive Branch Mediterranean Grill & Bar, 115 W. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora Stilton & Pear Salad ($11) Stilton bleu cheese, bartlett pear and candied walnuts on mixed greens Magical Meat Boutique,112 W. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora
The warm weather is here and with it comes the need to stay hydrated. Some folks choose to wet their whistles with lively libations at their favorite watering holes. Others may be anxious to try a few new spots, so we scoured the area and asked readers for their favorites.
Here’s the top 10 list of the best daily Happy Hours of locally-owned establishments to make your search easier. Keep it handy for whenever you feel thirst coming on. Cheers! Olive Branch Mediterranean Grill & Bar 115 W. Third Ave., Mount Dora Happy Hours: Sunday - Wednesday, 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 p.m. - midnight. Specials:B.O.G.O. well drinks and house wine. More Happy Hours: Thursday and Friday, all night, starting at 5 p.m. Specials: $3 well drinks, house wines, and domestic beers. $3 mussels in red or garlic sauce. Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant 351 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora Happy Hours: All day, every day. Specials: B.O.G.O. well drinks, house mojitos, margaritas, house wines, and draft beers. Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St., Eustis Happy Hours: Monday - Friday, 4-7 p.m. and 9 p.m. - close. Saturday and Sunday 9 p.m. - close. Specials: B.O.G.O. well drinks, wines and margaritas, plus $4 domestic draft pitchers, plus half off select appetizers. Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland Street, Mount Dora Happy Hours: All day, every day. Specials: B.O.G.O. house margaritas and drafts (over 24 draft beers available). Tiki West 118 W. Ruby St., Tavares Happy Hours: All day, every day. Specials: $2.50 Bud Light drafts and $3 Yuengling, $3 wells, $4 house wines, margaritas, bloody marys $4 single or $7 doubles on Tito’s, Jim Beam, Bacardi, Captain Morgan and Exotica Tequila ($1 upcharge for margaritas and bloody marys). Mellow Mushroom 18221 U.S. 441, Mount Dora Happy Hours: Monday - Friday, 3-6 p.m., Sunday - Thursday 8-10 p.m. (bar only) Specials: $3 well drinks and house wines, $2 domestic bottled beer, $1 off drafts, $5 munchies and $8 medium cheese pizza, plus daily drink specials. Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St., Mount Dora Happy Hours: Every day, 2-7 p.m. Specials: B.O.G.O. house wine, draft beer, sangria and house margaritas.
Eduardo’s Lokos Tacos 226 W. Alfred St., Tavares Happy Hours: All day, every day in the bar. Monday-Friday from 3-7 p.m. in the rest of the restaurant. Specials: $3 well drinks, $3.50 house margaritas and sangrias, $8 domestic beer pitchers or $10 buckets, $12 imported beer pitchers or $15 buckets.
1884 12 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis Happy Hours: Monday - Friday, 4-7 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., plus Late Night Happy Hour Monday-Thursday from 10 p.m. - midnight. Specials: $2 Bud Light draft, $3 house wine, $4 well drinks, plus $2 mimosas on Sundays.
Pineapple Place 322 Alexander St., Mount Dora Happy Hours: Every day, 4-7 p.m. Specials: B.O.G.O. margaritas, $1 off drafts and wine, $10 domestic beer buckets (5 bottles), plus $10 domestic buckets all day Thursday. Enjoy! Remember, please don’t drink and drive. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's free mobile app. Monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
No doubt, Mount Dora offers some of the best sunsets in Florida. Fortunately, the void of lakefront dining to enjoy them will soon be filled.
A new waterfront restaurant, Boathouse on Lake Dora, is now in the design process. The targeted opening is currently the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 or first quarter of 2018. The downtown building sits at the entrance to historic Boat House Row next to Mount Dora Yacht Club. Read more