On the Go with Gail: A Visit to Mount Dora

I have always loved Mount Dora, it’s such a quaint little town not too far from Orlando, about a 30-45 minute drive from the Disney area.

Founded in 1880, Mount Dora is known for its quaint southern charm, it has many stores including antique stalls and local craft shops where you can find unique gifts for anyone and everyone!

If you have ever wondered why it’s called Mount Dora with no actual mountains in sight, the Mount part reflects the fact that the town is on a plateau 184 feet above sea level. The more you know!

Normally we come over to go visit the shops and try the restaurants, you really can’t go wrong with any of them here. You can grab Italian, Indian, American, British, Cuban, French, the list goes on! I have tried most of them and multiple times. They also have some really unique coffee shops and ice cream stores that are worth trying out.

This time, we just came to wander around outside and enjoy the peaceful town. We love to go for a walk by the lake, Lake Dora is so beautiful, whether you are by the lighthouse or the docks, the views, especially at sunset are spectacular! If you have time, they offer a lot of boat tour options down at The Rusty Anchor (Golden Girls Fans will smile at that name!). I have not done one myself but would love to do a sunset boat tour one evening so I will have to come back for that soon.

I was pleasantly surprised to see they still had their Christmas tree on display, as I hadn’t had a chance to make it over there for the Christmas season yet. My daughter loves Christmas Trees, so we were really happy they had theirs up still.

We found out that they still had their Christmas lights up around the town too, and that they usually do until the beginning of February. So this meant that, of course, we had to come back and see the lights as we hadn’t done that yet either.

Most of the lights were centered around Donnelly Park, where most of the trees were draped in lights and they even had a Santa in his sleigh pulled by his reindeers.

I love the fact they still had their decorations up, plus it was super quiet so we were able to just wander around admiring them! Mount Dora is one of my favorite places locally, we normally like to visit Renningers Antique Center on a weekend then head over. It makes a nice day trip that way as they have the antiques on one side and a flea market on the other.

You can always come to visit during one of their many outdoor festivals too, you can check out their calendar for upcoming events by visiting https://www.mountdora.com

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Girl’s Day – Mount Dora Garden Gate Tea Room!

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.

 

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

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.

IMG_6266 Garden Gate Tea Room

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.

 

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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.

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After this you are presented with a three-tiered tray of chef’s assorted sandwiches (again vegetarian ones are made by request).

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

 

Silly Selfies
Silly Selfies

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Mount Dora Lightouse
Mount Dora Lighthouse

You can visit www.thegardengatetearoom.com for more information or how to book your visit ahead of time, and also take the time to look at www.mountdora.com for ideas on how to make the most of your visit.

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