When I want to go and experience a quaint, relaxing and comfortable girls day lunch, a tea room always seems to be top choice. We are lucky to live in an area where we have many to chose from, specializing in many different foods and or themes. One of my most favorite places to go for this experience is the Garden Gate Tea Room in Mount Dora.
If you haven’t visited Mount Dora before, firstly you need to, and secondly its a wonderful little lake front historic town! Its famous for its festivals, arts, dining and especially its antique stores. They often have art fairs and festivals, there’s always something to do when visiting.
There are so many restaurants I love here, but the Garden Gate Tea Room is always my most favorite!
Nestled in the heart of historic Mount Dora, The Garden Gate Tea Room is such a wonderful establishment, I end up spending the majority of my birthdays and celebrations here. They have a wide range of different teas, and despite my British heritage I actually find myself favoring their iced tea! My favorite is their Southern Belle peach iced tea, which comes served with the sugar around the rim of the glass, its so refreshing! I love their menu, as being a vegetarian I love that they have a delicious vegetarian option, the asparagus sandwich melt, and sometimes the quiche of the day. I feel neither are rushed just to simply accommodate vegetarians last minute, they are wonderful options.
One of their most popular dishes is their “famous Herb-crusted Rosemary Baked Chicken Pie”, everyone I go with who orders this cannot believe how it just melts in your mouth. It’s so popular they do end up selling out some days, but don’t fret as, really, any of their options are just wonderful.
They also offer “Afternoon Tea”, which does require at least a 24hr reservation in advance, and costs $17.95 per person. I can tell you it was worth every penny! I let them know in advance one of us was vegetarian so they ensured that I had a starter in place of the salmon souffle salad normally served first.
After this you are presented with a three-tiered tray of chef’s assorted sandwiches (again vegetarian ones are made by request).
Next are the desserts, my favorite! This featured a selection of chocolate covered strawberries, lemon curd cookies, fruit and their home made Cream Puff Swans filled with Chantilly Cream, so good!!!
No afternoon tea is complete without fresh home made scones! Theirs are served with clotted cream and jam. There is much debate on the appropriate way to layer ones scone, from what I have been told it is proper to spread the jam first, then apply the cream going around the scone in a circle. But hey, who are we to judge how to eat your scone, as long as it tastes delicious thats all that matters!
My favorite feature of this tea room is the simply stunning, shabby chic inspired decor. From the light blue paint, to the antique artifacts placed around the cafe, you feel so cosy and comfortable there. You wont be able to stop looking around at all the antique mirrors, lamps and twinkling lights.
For those with a sense of style, one may also select a hat from their collection to wear during tea! I like to try them on after my lunch and take silly selfies in the mirror, but thats just me!
The ladies who work there encourage you to take your time and take as many pictures as you’d like, and will happily take any groups pictures for you. Make sure you go down the stairs and look into their larger seating area too, its simply stunning. You can also get a glimpse into their garden from there, which is available for private functions.
If you have not been already I strongly suggest you take the time to visit this wonderful cafe, it does close at 2/3pm, so ensure you come early or book in advance.
After lunch, you can walk off your food and browse the many stores they have here, or drive a mile or so down the road to the lake and miniature lighthouse for a peaceful relaxing afternoon.
Living in Central Florida there is always something to do, or somewhere to go, it’s one of the many reason I love living here! Having said that, I do like to venture out a little bit, and the wonderful thing about Florida is that you don’t have to go very far to feel like you’re in another world. Whether its Miami, Naples, or Clearwater, or if you’re looking for scenery, culture, or shops there is so much to see and each place is unique in it’s own way.
There are some great Florida Day Trips, and my favorite place to visit to is St Augustine. The city is the oldest continuously occupied European established settlement and port in the Continental US, with a founding date of 1565. If you have a passion for history and or architecture, then this city is for you! Aside from that, it also has some wonderful stores, carriage rides, restaurants, and we can’t forget the famous ghost tours!
Speaking of Ghost Tours a few years ago i did one of the guided ghost tours, and one of the points of interest were the city gates. Legend has it that a ghost of a little girl (Elizabeth) who died due to yellow fever can be seen waving to passerbys. Others just capture orbs within their photos of the gates at night. While on the tour I was the only one who caught orbs by the gates, many of them in fact, so everyone wanted to look at my photo.
I recently went back to St Augustine on a day trip and took another photo of the gates, this time in the day light. I didn’t notice at first, but on closer inspection I noticed that I captured an orb this time too by the gates. It was during the day light, yet its as bright as it were night, right by the gate. Whatever your beliefs are, it is a strange coincidence to get orbs in the same place, this time with my iPhone, and in day time.
The only other place I captured one that day was by the Old School house, which is the oldest wooden school house in the US. It was just as bright as the one I captured by the city gates!
If you get the chance you should pay a visit to the St Augustine Lighthouse and museum out on Anastasia Island. Built in 1874 and standing at 165ft , the 360 degree views from the top are amazing! Some come back at nighttime for the haunted tour, but I have yet to be brave enough to do this!
The shops here vary quite a bit from gift stores, unique jewelry stores, health shops, and clothing. We especially loved our visit to the Arcade of Professional Artisans and Craftsman!
One of my favorite places to go for lunch is the Spanish Bakery right there on St George Street. Not only do they bake the best fresh bread, but they sell Empanadas, sausage rolls, soup, cookies, and a lot of carry out options. I like to buy 3 loaves of bread, one to eat when i get home and 2 to freeze. Although, the bread is so tasty they normally don’t even make it to the freezer!
If you haven’t been over Christmas time to St Augustine i highly recommend it, they have light shows, trolley rides, and the decor is just stunning all over!
We normally end up visiting the beach on the way home, as its pretty quiet and very pretty. Its also not far from the center of town.
I feel like there is something for everyone in St Augustine, and I haven’t even mentioned Castillo De San Marcos, Ripley’s Believe it or not, or the premium outlets! With so much to do in St Augustine, you could come back each week and still find things you haven’t done or seen before!
Im already planning my next visit back, maybe it will involve another ghost tour this time since I haven’t done that in a while.
Have you had the chance to visit St Augustine? If so, what were some of your favorite things to do or see when there?