Mount Dora, FL – Elevation: 184 ft.
Let’s face it, geographically Florida is pretty flat. Every once in a while when I am driving down the highway in the early morning, low lying purple clouds along the horizon can fool this New England Girl into thinking they are mountains, just for a fleeting second. And then back to flat.
Ahhh…. at least visibility is good.
Setting the Scene
Doug and I spent the day exploring historic Mount Dora scouting a location for a collage workshop and taking advantage of some photographic opportunities. Right in the heart of downtown we were met by the Orange Blossom Cannonball, Central Florida’s historic train on the Tavares, Eustis and Gulf Railroad. This 1907 steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches from Mount Dora to Tavares on a 35-minute trip. I spoke the the engineer for a minute while he was getting the engine ready. He told me that these days this locomotive is wood powered, rather than the coal it used to burn in the old days. “Its just more readily available.” he said. The wood is coming from trees that are cut down for construction, so it’s a resource right here in Florida.
An Inn By the Lake
Once the train whistle blew and the train headed out, we were able to walk down to the historic Lakeside Inn. Built in 1883, Lakeside Inn is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the State of Florida, it’s the last of the Grand Victorian Era Hotels still remaining in Central Florida. There are 87 guest rooms and suites, a lovely dining room, tavern, and a 200 foot verandah lined with white wooden rocking chairs. We were really taken with the Grand Lobby when we first walked in, such a beautiful space!
The Inn also offers a large lakefront swimming pool, two docks, swan boats, and a picturesque gazebo. They offer guided boat tours, jet ski rentals, seaplane rides and carriage rides if you are up for some adventure. If not, there are lots of rocking chairs on that porch.
What I’m looking forward to doing is painting papers and letting them dry in the sun by the lake.
Doug and I explored the meeting room space and the grounds of the Inn and decided that it would be a perfect place to host a collage workshop retreat next January in conjunction with the Craft Shack Studio in Longwood, FL. It was Debbie from the Shack who first located the Inn and suggested it to me as a venue. But, I had to see for myself. What a beautiful day we had exploring the rest of town, you must take the time to check out the many open-air dining opportunities, shops and pubs along Donnelly Street when you visit.
Mount Dora Center for the Arts hosts the Mount Dora Arts Festival on the first full weekend of February. There is a craft show every Fall near the end of October. If you want to get out and get moving, a bicycle festival is held annually in early October and the Mount Dora Ghost Walk is a theatrical walking tour of this city which visitors often refer to as the New England of the South.
You see? Something for everyone. And this New Englander did indeed feel right at home.
It Always Comes Down to Food
We did so much scouting and exploring that we had to stop at the Palm Tree Grille & Bar to refuel. Tuna Niçoise salad, Ahi tacos, and two beers later, we were ready to do some shopping. We stopped at Piglets Pantry to pick up home baked dog treats and an “I (heart) Malteses” car magnet, much to my husband’s chagrin. Despite the fact that we were full of tuna, we had to just “look” in the Mount Dora Confectionery due to all the wonderful colors that drew me to jaywalk from across the street.
I tugged Doug’s arm to get him to come into the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company, despite the fact that our cupboards are full of flavor infused olive oil and balsamic. It just looked so good through the window. When we got inside, we admired the original photography of South Florida by the owner. Huge oversized prints adorned the walls of this quaint shop. Doug appreciated the photography, I sipped the fig balsamic, and we walked out with two bottles of vinegar to add to our (my) ever-growing collection.
Anyone got recipes?
Plenty of Inspiration
Whether you come to lounge on the porch, take a class, eat, shop, or appreciate local color of door knobs, there really is something for everyone in this historic city. If you decide to join me in learning how to hand-paint your own collage papers and incorporate them into an impressionistic collage, you might bring a friend or family member to share the weekend with.
I promise you’ll leave the weekend with new friends.
The beauty is in the details of Mount Dora, walking around we had a lot of fun looking at the old style store fronts and iron work. This town has a lot of history and if you look closely, you’ll see things you just don’t find everyday here in Florida.
Paper Paintings Mount Dora Collage Workshop Weekend
January boasts some amazing weather in Florida. My Collage Workshop will take place at the Lakeside Inn January 23-25. Students will have a discounted room rate at the Lakeside Inn in addition to 24-hour access to the studio space. That means if you want to tear paper all night long, you can. We will be taking a two-hour break in the middle of the day in order to give those who wish to, time to explore the town and have a leisurely lunch. If you prefer to stay on site, the Inn is offering lunch options so you can keep right on gluing!
Looking for a Paper Paintings Collage Workshop closer to home?
Check out my listing here.
Thank You for being
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