The area around Lake Dora could be your dream come true! Lakefront living with historic small-town charm away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando, and plenty of activities, restaurants, yearly events, shoppes, and more, detailed here by the Mike Rance Team!
Located between Lake Eustis to the north and Lake Apopka to the south on the Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Dora covers 4,475 acres perfect for fishing and boating enthusiasts alike. To the southwest of Lake Dora is pristine Florida wetland full of native wildlife. The Dora Canal, connecting Lake Dora to its northern cousin Lake Eustis, is a prime area for bird-watching. Whether visiting, new to the area, or long-time resident, Lake Dora activities like the guided pontoon boat and seaplane aerial sightseeing tours are perfect ways to capture the beautiful landscape of Lake Dora.
THE CITY OF THE SAME NAME
Lake Dora is the gem of the Central Florida city of the same name. Mount Dora, retaining over one hundred years of history, has the comfort and feel of a charming, small town that over 13,000 residents call home. One reviewer urges us to “experience the neighborhood … where the trees hang with Spanish Moss and gardens seem to be taken from the pages of a southern magazine from years gone by” (www.tripadvisor.com). Mount Dora sits along the northeastern shorelines of Lake Dora, hosting one of the lake’s only two boat ramps for direct access, letting the public enjoy the placid lake and relax with the beautiful Florida sunset.
THE SEAPLANE CITY
But Mount Dora is not the only city to claim a coast of the pristine Lake Dora. Tavares lines Lake Dora along the northwestern side of the lake, hosting Lake Dora’s only other public boat ramp and featuring the famous Tavares Seaplane Base & Marina in Wooton Park. Before the strategic city investment to build the Tavares Seaplane Base, no full-service seaplane base existed from Key West to Atlanta. According to an article from the Orlando Sentinel (articles.orlandosentinel.com), “When City Council members decided on a name for their seaplane base [..], they had a long list of interesting choices … Spruce Goose Lagoon, Happy Landings, Tavares Plain to See and Zero Feet on Sea, Tavares were among the options collected during a contest in which seaplane pilots across the country and local residents alike submitted entries.” But it was the most traditional name that won out and put Tavares on the map as “America’s Seaplane City.”
In recent years, the city-owned, public-use seaplane base on Lake Dora has created a lively seaplane culture throughout the town. Local festivals, restaurants, and even a Children’s Splash Park celebrate the seaplane theme.
The Seaplane Base itself hosts several yearly Fly-In Events such as the recent Halloween Fly-In and the upcoming Spring Fly-In, Saturday May 7, 2016 beginning at 9 am and featuring competitive events like Shortest Take Off, Bomb Drop Contest, and Spot Landing Contest! Participating pilots will receive a complimentary $10 dining voucher to Tavares Downtown restaurants.
TIS THE SEASON
Christmas Lighted Boat Parade/Cannonball Christmas Express
The City of Mount Dora loves Christmas, from its impressive light displays all over Mount Dora neighborhoods and huge Christmas trees that light up town squares. The Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is always a spectacle at the Lake Dora Lighthouse, where local boat owners compete for originality and best-in-show titles.
If you missed this year’s parade on December 5, you can still enjoy the city of Tavares’s Cannonball Christmas Express the entire month of December. Bound for the “North Pole” from the Tavares Train Station, you can “enjoy hot chocolate & cookies on the station platform” while waiting for your train. “Santa will board the train … to visit with kids of all ages and present each child with a gift,” all in a magical 50 minute trip! Bonus visits along the train from Eugene the Elf and Mrs. Claus make this family event a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience.
RESTAURANTS ON LAKE DORA
The Goblin Market
“Celebrating seventeen years in the historic downtown Mount Dora village,” the Goblin Market’s unique concept of “casual elegance” shines in this Lake Dora restaurant. This restaurant takes pride in its “intimate, book-lined dining rooms,” “alfresco” courtyard and garden patio, and “personable and attentive staff,” operating under a simple philosophy to provide a unique experience complete with high quality products. Their fresh meat, seafood, and other homemade delicacies such as the jumbo lump Crab Bisque soup will make you fall in love with this one-of-a-kind Mount Dora establishment.
ALS Sand Bar/Puddle Jumpers Lakeside
The name ALS stands for Air, Land and Sea, and is your simple, American style restaurant that boasts casual waterfront dining on the northwestern corner of Lake Dora. Although ALS Landing might have closed earlier this year, ALS still stands strong with its sister dining experience – the Sand Bar Island Cantina. ALS Sand Bar sits directly on the Tavares Seaplane Base & Marina and provides live musical entertainment daily. ALS menu features fresh, hand-crafted burgers, hand-battered fish and chips, and other daily specials that are “not just good but great.”
ALS Landing quickly re-emerged after remodeling and under a new name, “Puddle Jumpers,” a term that refers to small seaplanes. Puddle Jumpers features the same casual lakeside experience, with a few upscale menu options that highlight the “extreme care for the food and drinks” served at this spectacular restaurant.
Both locations feature a full bar and invite you to “watch the seaplanes land while enjoying life and good food” – exactly what life in America’s Seaplane City of Tavares on beautiful Lake Dora is all about.
For a smart, casual dining experience featuring a one-piece mahogany bar, comforting jazz music, and floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the picturesque Lake Dora sunset, Pisces Rising is a happy mix of Florida history and modern dining. The restaurant is “lovingly wrapped around a Florida cracker bungalow-style home built in the 1920s,” and focuses on freshness, from its meat and seafood to its seasonal vegetables and flair. Pisces Rising features live music and monthly three-course wine dinners, occurring every third weekend of the month with wine provided by family-owned Maggie’s Attic Wine and Beer Cellar.
The Lakeside Inn has been a landmark for history and hospitality in Mount Dora since 1883. For more than a century, this lovely Victorian Era inn has provided a unique and classic destination for tourists and pioneers, accessible before railways by lake steamer from Jacksonville and the Harris Chain of Lakes. Beautiful cypress trees and other native subtropical vegetation are complemented by the many possible sightings of bald eagles, alligators, egrets, and turtles that can still be seen today on the Dora Canal. Since Florida’s coastal railroad boom of the Roaring 20s, the Lakeside Inn has fought the quick decline of Central Florida tourism and stood the test of time, remaining as the last Victorian Era hotel of the area and the “oldest continuously-operated hotel in the State of Florida.” The inn offers 87 guest suites, weekly entertainment, their local arts, crafts, and gift item shop The Gatehouse, and indoor and outdoor function areas alike for social and business events and beautiful weddings.
Malena & Magda’s Boutique
Malena and Magda’s Boutique is your small city boutique with an elegant and exclusive twist. Malena & Magda’s takes pride to offer their customers great quality and exclusive items. The boutique carries a unique variety of designer leather and vegan purses, while always featuring a wide selection of jewelry and other items made by local artists. “None of our purses or jewelry are alike,” says Magdalena, who named the store after her and her grandmother’s nicknames. “You always will find something different at very reasonable prices.” Their products include handbags by Carbotti, Nicole Lee, Sondra Roberts, Ili New York, and Dida. If you aren’t charmed by the cotton clothing made with Pima and organic cottons from Peru, right beside you can find knitted tops made in Greece by designer John P. or a pair of handmade ElizaB. flip-flops to show off lakeside.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Downtown Mount Dora stands as one of the best romantic getaways in all of Central Florida, streets lined with New England architecture highlighting the city’s century of history. With Victorian details, beautiful lakeside parks perfect for romantic walks, and horse-drawn carriage rides, Mount Dora transports you to a simpler time. The carriage rides are an exceptional activity during Christmas time in Mount Dora, passing through streets lined with Christmas lights on historic houses and trees draped with bulbs.
HOMES ON THE LAKE
20 Active Listings
9 properties with private pools
2 bed 1 bath – 6 bed 5 bath
$249,000 – 1.795mil List price
1 Active with Contract
1 property with private pool
4 bed 4 bath
$634,900 List price
2 Pending Listings
2 bed 2 bath – 4 bed 4 bath
$345,000 – 557,000 List price
10 Sold Listings (past 6 mo.)
3 properties with private pools
2 bed 1 bath – 4 bed 6 bath
$69,900 – 1.795mil List price
$54,900 – 1.725mil Sold price
Even more properties are available close to Lake Dora without direct lake frontage. Talk to the Mike Rance Team today to see what is available or schedule a showing to get your hunt started for your dream house!