Destination Main Streets

Mount Dora, Florida

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What's in a name? Quite a bit if you're Mount Dora. The Dora part comes from Lake Dora, the tranquil body of water where the town was founded. The Mount part comes from the fact that the town sits 184 feet above sea level, an uncommon trait in Florida. But that region of the state is known for its rolling hills and—of course—beautiful lakes. The terrific scenery is just one reason that Mount Dora is such a popular destination. Mount Dora's busy season is in the winter when many snowbirds come down from the north to enjoy boating, golf, and the sunny weather. And they also enjoy the shopping and dining of downtown Mount Dora.

Mount Dora is loaded with antique, gift, and clothing stores, as well as other unique shops. You won't find any major chains here. But there are plenty of excellent restaurants, some of which are high end. The heart of downtown Mount Dora is at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Donnelly Street. It's hard to pick just one road as Mount Dora's Main Street. Most of the retail action is on Donnelly Street but other shops can be found on 3rd, 4th, and 5th Avenues, and Alexander Street and Dora Drawdy Way. Mount Dora, Florida is about 46 miles from downtown Orlando, Florida. Other Main Street communities in Central Florida include Sanford, Deland, and Winter Park.

Photo Gallery Tour

We'll start our tour of Mount Dora, Florida at the southern end of Donnelly Street and then work our way north along Donnelly, which is the Main Street of Mount Dora.  Here at the southern tip of Donnelly is Elizabeth Evans Park where you can get a great view of Lake Dora and the Mount Dora Light House across the way.
We'll start our tour of Mount Dora, Florida at the southern end of Donnelly Street and then work our way north along Donnelly, which is the Main Street of Mount Dora. Here at the southern tip of Donnelly is Elizabeth Evans Park where you can get a great view of Lake Dora and the Mount Dora Light House across the way.
Although Donnelly Street is the main spine through the heart of downtown Mount Dora, many other side streets with businesses also spin off of Donnelly.  We'll start with 3rd Avenue, which curves up towards Alexander Street.  Here we see the Chamber of Commerce and signs for the Mount Dora Trail.  This building used to be a rail depot for a line that first opened in 1887.
Although Donnelly Street is the main spine through the heart of downtown Mount Dora, many other side streets with businesses also spin off of Donnelly. We'll start with 3rd Avenue, which curves up towards Alexander Street. Here we see the Chamber of Commerce and signs for the Mount Dora Trail. This building used to be a rail depot for a line that first opened in 1887.
As we head along 3rd Avenue, we come across this restaurant with outdoor seating.
As we head along 3rd Avenue, we come across this restaurant with outdoor seating.
Across the street is the Lakeside Inn, one of many lodging options in the area.  The Gate House is a gift shop on the grounds.  The Lakeside Inn was the first hotel built in Mount Dora in 1883.  Guests have included Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Across the street is the Lakeside Inn, one of many lodging options in the area. The Gate House is a gift shop on the grounds. The Lakeside Inn was the first hotel built in Mount Dora in 1883. Guests have included Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
And if we pan ever so slightly to the left we can see some more signs for shops, taverns, and boat tours all on the grounds of the Lakeside Inn.
And if we pan ever so slightly to the left we can see some more signs for shops, taverns, and boat tours all on the grounds of the Lakeside Inn.
As we continue up 3rd Avenue, we see a deck being built around this railroad car.  Railroad-related tourism is important in the town of Mount Dora.  In fact, some trains still roll through Mount Dora, such as the Orange Blossom Cannonball, which travels between Mount Dora and nearby Tavares.
As we continue up 3rd Avenue, we see a deck being built around this railroad car. Railroad-related tourism is important in the town of Mount Dora. In fact, some trains still roll through Mount Dora, such as the Orange Blossom Cannonball, which travels between Mount Dora and nearby Tavares.
Here is another view of that restaurant along 3rd avenue.  It seems to have a British theme going for it.
Here is another view of that restaurant along 3rd avenue. It seems to have a British theme going for it.
We reach Donnelly Street again where there is a parking lot with an office building behind it.
We reach Donnelly Street again where there is a parking lot with an office building behind it.
Strolling north on Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, there are shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
Strolling north on Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, there are shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
We come across a Cuban restaurant and another brightly colored store in Mount Dora, Florida.
We come across a Cuban restaurant and another brightly colored store in Mount Dora, Florida.
Across the street are more shops and businesses along with lush landscaping.
Across the street are more shops and businesses along with lush landscaping.
More shops and restaurants along Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
More shops and restaurants along Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
We get to the corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Avenue.  A plethora of signs on each corner points visitors to various shops, restaurants, and other services throughout Mount Dora.
We get to the corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Avenue. A plethora of signs on each corner points visitors to various shops, restaurants, and other services throughout Mount Dora.
Now let's take a detour and travel down 4th Avenue from west to east, starting with the waterfront.  Here is a view of Lake Dora from one of the piers.
Now let's take a detour and travel down 4th Avenue from west to east, starting with the waterfront. Here is a view of Lake Dora from one of the piers.
Heading east we come across this restaurant, which seems to have great views of the waterfront.
Heading east we come across this restaurant, which seems to have great views of the waterfront.
Continuing to head back up from the waterfront area, we pass by this complex filled with shops and restaurants.
Continuing to head back up from the waterfront area, we pass by this complex filled with shops and restaurants.
Here is another view inside the quaint shopping center, adorned with trellises and fountains in Mount Dora, Florida.
Here is another view inside the quaint shopping center, adorned with trellises and fountains in Mount Dora, Florida.
Across the street on the corner of 4th Avenue and Alexander Street is Sunset Park.  They also have public restrooms at this park.
Across the street on the corner of 4th Avenue and Alexander Street is Sunset Park. They also have public restrooms at this park.
It would be easy to miss the charming little home boutique store hidden behind this small forest.
It would be easy to miss the charming little home boutique store hidden behind this small forest.
And next door, at the corner of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street is a tea room and restaurant in this nice looking cottage.
And next door, at the corner of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street is a tea room and restaurant in this nice looking cottage.
Another intersecting road is Dora Drawdy Way, which is pretty narrow here, almost like an alley.  But it's still well worth a visit.  Here we find another boutique and another restaurant.  So the lesson here is you don't know what you'll find down these side streets unless you look.
Another intersecting road is Dora Drawdy Way, which is pretty narrow here, almost like an alley. But it's still well worth a visit. Here we find another boutique and another restaurant. So the lesson here is you don't know what you'll find down these side streets unless you look.
We come back out onto 4th Avenue and Dora Drawdy Way.  I believe that reddish building on the far left may be a private residence, but it sure is an interesting looking home.
We come back out onto 4th Avenue and Dora Drawdy Way. I believe that reddish building on the far left may be a private residence, but it sure is an interesting looking home.
Here is a view looking at a Cuban restaurant with outdoor seating towards the intersection of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street in Mount Dora, Florida.
Here is a view looking at a Cuban restaurant with outdoor seating towards the intersection of 4th Avenue and Donnelly Street in Mount Dora, Florida.
We cross over Donnelly Street and continue on 4th Avenue where we find more home furnishings stores and other shops.
We cross over Donnelly Street and continue on 4th Avenue where we find more home furnishings stores and other shops.
Across the street are other shops, including boutiques, gift shops, and even a wine bar with a tasting room.
Across the street are other shops, including boutiques, gift shops, and even a wine bar with a tasting room.
Mount Dora is also home to the Modernism Museum.  This is a picture of the museum gift shop.
Mount Dora is also home to the Modernism Museum. This is a picture of the museum gift shop.
Across the street are more shops.  Some of the signs can be just as entertaining.  We've reached the far eastern end of 4th Avenue so let's head back to Donnelly Street.
Across the street are more shops. Some of the signs can be just as entertaining. We've reached the far eastern end of 4th Avenue so let's head back to Donnelly Street.
We make it back out to the corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Street where we will continue our tour heading north on Donnelly Street.  Here we see what was once Rehbaum's Hardware Store built in 1915.  The second floor served as apartments, and the back served as the family funeral business.  Today, shops occupy the first floor of the historic building.
We make it back out to the corner of Donnelly Street and 4th Street where we will continue our tour heading north on Donnelly Street. Here we see what was once Rehbaum's Hardware Store built in 1915. The second floor served as apartments, and the back served as the family funeral business. Today, shops occupy the first floor of the historic building.
Across the street are more shops.  The building on the left called The Drawers was built in 1929 and was the Crane Furniture Store.  To the right is the The Renaissance.  It had been The Mount Dora Hotel and was built in 1922, the only hotel built in Mount Dora during the Florida land boom of that time.
Across the street are more shops. The building on the left called The Drawers was built in 1929 and was the Crane Furniture Store. To the right is the The Renaissance. It had been The Mount Dora Hotel and was built in 1922, the only hotel built in Mount Dora during the Florida land boom of that time.
Here is the interior of The Renaissance.  It contains shops on two floors and offices on the third.  It was one of the last properties to be renovated in downtown Mount Dora.
Here is the interior of The Renaissance. It contains shops on two floors and offices on the third. It was one of the last properties to be renovated in downtown Mount Dora.
Heading back out to Donnelly Street we find more shops and eateries, including this one with colorful stone work.
Heading back out to Donnelly Street we find more shops and eateries, including this one with colorful stone work.
Across the street are more shops and eateries, including some with outdoor seating.  Notice the awning?  You can see where the umbrella is that there is outdoor seating above as well.  This is also probably the densest commercial stretch in Mount Dora.
Across the street are more shops and eateries, including some with outdoor seating. Notice the awning? You can see where the umbrella is that there is outdoor seating above as well. This is also probably the densest commercial stretch in Mount Dora.
Heading back across the street again are some more gift shops, this time in some quaint buildings with cedar tiled roofs, along Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
Heading back across the street again are some more gift shops, this time in some quaint buildings with cedar tiled roofs, along Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
Some gift shops and art galleries with colorful signage and displays all underneath the bright sunshine and palm trees.  You may not be close to the shore but you won't forget that you're in Florida when you're strolling through Mount Dora.
Some gift shops and art galleries with colorful signage and displays all underneath the bright sunshine and palm trees. You may not be close to the shore but you won't forget that you're in Florida when you're strolling through Mount Dora.
Some more shops and another view of those palm trees on a warm summer day in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
Some more shops and another view of those palm trees on a warm summer day in downtown Mount Dora, Florida.
Gift shops and art galleries along Donnelly Street.  The awning above can provide visitors with some shade on a warm Florida day.
Gift shops and art galleries along Donnelly Street. The awning above can provide visitors with some shade on a warm Florida day.
More gift shops, art galleries, and eateries.  The sign for One Flight Up implies that the restaurant is on the second floor.  The outdoor seating is on the balcony over the sidewalk overlooking Donnelly Street with a view of Mount Dora.
More gift shops, art galleries, and eateries. The sign for One Flight Up implies that the restaurant is on the second floor. The outdoor seating is on the balcony over the sidewalk overlooking Donnelly Street with a view of Mount Dora.
As we continue heading north on Donnelly Street, we look back and see more shops including a candy store.  Also you can see the overhang with the upper-level outdoor seating.
As we continue heading north on Donnelly Street, we look back and see more shops including a candy store. Also you can see the overhang with the upper-level outdoor seating.
We'll take another detour off of Donnelly Street, this time to cover 5th Avenue.  But we'll take just a minor detour off of that and hit Alexander Street.  Are you lost yet?  Okay there's a lot of ground to cover here so there's really no easy way to do this.  Here we see a restaurant on Alexander near 5th Avenue.
We'll take another detour off of Donnelly Street, this time to cover 5th Avenue. But we'll take just a minor detour off of that and hit Alexander Street. Are you lost yet? Okay there's a lot of ground to cover here so there's really no easy way to do this. Here we see a restaurant on Alexander near 5th Avenue.
Also on the corner of Alexander Street and 5th Avenue are these signs pointing to various businesses and other services, including nearby public restrooms.
Also on the corner of Alexander Street and 5th Avenue are these signs pointing to various businesses and other services, including nearby public restrooms.
Heading down 5th Avenue, we see the sight of the Princess Theater built in 1922.  It was rebuilt in 1928 after a fire with a Spanish Revival style but eventually movies stopped being shown here in the 1970s.
Heading down 5th Avenue, we see the sight of the Princess Theater built in 1922. It was rebuilt in 1928 after a fire with a Spanish Revival style but eventually movies stopped being shown here in the 1970s.
We see more shops and other businesses as we stroll along 5th Avenue.  Papilio is a nature inspired art and gift shop, selling all natural merchandise such as bath and body products, garden and home decor, jewelry, and more.
We see more shops and other businesses as we stroll along 5th Avenue. Papilio is a nature inspired art and gift shop, selling all natural merchandise such as bath and body products, garden and home decor, jewelry, and more.
The large brick building on the right was the Simpson Hotel and the building on the left was the First National Bank.  Both were built by James Simpson in 1925.
The large brick building on the right was the Simpson Hotel and the building on the left was the First National Bank. Both were built by James Simpson in 1925.
We make it back to the corner of 5th Avenue and Donnelly Street.  I love those directional signs throughout town.  Also note the folks on the Segways.  You can rent them for tours.
We make it back to the corner of 5th Avenue and Donnelly Street. I love those directional signs throughout town. Also note the folks on the Segways. You can rent them for tours.
We cross the street and I get another picture of the sign.  They make great photos.  And check out the building across the way with the wrought iron work.  It is known as the Ramsey Building and was built in 1922.
We cross the street and I get another picture of the sign. They make great photos. And check out the building across the way with the wrought iron work. It is known as the Ramsey Building and was built in 1922.
Heading east along 5th Avenue, we find more shops and restaurants.  In the background there is a county sign for Old Highway 441, which passes through the area.  U.S. Highway 441, known as Orange Blossom Trail is a major highway and now bypasses the town.
Heading east along 5th Avenue, we find more shops and restaurants. In the background there is a county sign for Old Highway 441, which passes through the area. U.S. Highway 441, known as Orange Blossom Trail is a major highway and now bypasses the town.
And if we head a little further east on 5th Avenue we come across an ice cream shop and the Mount Dora Center for the Arts.
And if we head a little further east on 5th Avenue we come across an ice cream shop and the Mount Dora Center for the Arts.
Taking another detour off a detour we head down the side street that is Royellou Lane.  This leads us to the Mount Dora History Museum.  It was originally built as a fire station in 1923 and then expanded in the rear when a LaFrance fire engine didn't fit.  In 1940 it was expanded in the front for four jail cells.  It has been operating as a museum since 1979.
Taking another detour off a detour we head down the side street that is Royellou Lane. This leads us to the Mount Dora History Museum. It was originally built as a fire station in 1923 and then expanded in the rear when a LaFrance fire engine didn't fit. In 1940 it was expanded in the front for four jail cells. It has been operating as a museum since 1979.
We head back out to 5th Avenue.  Covering an entire city block is the enormous Donnelly Park, which is bounded by Donnelly Street, 5th Avenue, 6th Avenue, and Baker Street.  Here you will find amenities, including public bathrooms.
We head back out to 5th Avenue. Covering an entire city block is the enormous Donnelly Park, which is bounded by Donnelly Street, 5th Avenue, 6th Avenue, and Baker Street. Here you will find amenities, including public bathrooms.
Here is a view of downtown Mount Dora from the Donnelly Park Building.  Below you can get a good view of an information kiosk, the intersection of Donnelly Street and 5th Avenue, and also the First National Bank building.
Here is a view of downtown Mount Dora from the Donnelly Park Building. Below you can get a good view of an information kiosk, the intersection of Donnelly Street and 5th Avenue, and also the First National Bank building.
We continue heading north along Donnelly Street.  Across the street from Donnelly Street are more shops underneath the shady oaks.
We continue heading north along Donnelly Street. Across the street from Donnelly Street are more shops underneath the shady oaks.
This is the Donnelly House built in 1893.  An example of Queen Anne architecture, the house was built by entrepreneur and former mayor, J.P. Donnelly for his bride.  Now you know where the name Donnelly comes from.  Today it is owned by the Mount Dora Masonic Lodge.
This is the Donnelly House built in 1893. An example of Queen Anne architecture, the house was built by entrepreneur and former mayor, J.P. Donnelly for his bride. Now you know where the name Donnelly comes from. Today it is owned by the Mount Dora Masonic Lodge.
Once we pass by Donnelly Park and cross over 6th Avenue, the commercial services become more sparse, but there are still a few more businesses worth checking out such as this cafe.
Once we pass by Donnelly Park and cross over 6th Avenue, the commercial services become more sparse, but there are still a few more businesses worth checking out such as this cafe.
Finally, we end our tour on the northern end of downtown with one last historic site.  This is the Community Congregational Church.  It was constructed in 1887 and it stands today as the only nineteenth century church in Mount Dora, Florida.
Finally, we end our tour on the northern end of downtown with one last historic site. This is the Community Congregational Church. It was constructed in 1887 and it stands today as the only nineteenth century church in Mount Dora, Florida.

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