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Walking around Downtown Mount Dora and the streets surrounding the Historical District will offer you a chance to see many old homes and commercial buildings from the past. Many have recently been 'updated' by a major renovation project initiated and co-funded by, not only the private business owners but, the City of Mount Dora. Part of the 'charm' of Mount Dora is the different architectural styles and upgrades that have taken place over the last 40-50 years. You'll get to see everything from Victorian, Colonial, Federal Brick, Modern to Spanish and 50's-Style cracker house. The downtown streets have almost completed a long, overdue renovation with wider sidewalks, planters and Palm Trees on Donnelly Street, Alexander St. and thoroughways down by the Railway Station (Chamber of Commerce)....with plans to start renovation on 3rd, 4th and 5th Streets in April 2015. Mount Dora has even added an exclusive Bicycle Path that runs paralell to Donnelly on Tremain St.
The "Ghost Walk", previously mentioned in this space, now starts from the Lakeside Inn every Saturday Night meeting at 7:45pm with a charge of $10pp for Lakeside Guests and $15 for non-guests. Another company called 'America Ghost Adventures' also leaves that area with an open schedule that can be found on their website. Fees range from $15pp to $25pp. A Tour guide leads the tour throughout the oldest areas of downtown for about an hour.
Mount Dora is an 30's-50's town with buildings, like the Lakeside Inn, which have had colorful past including weekend stays from past U.S. Presidents to Al Capone.... whose 'bookeeper' lived in a late 1920's Sam Stoltz cottage, just outside the City in Mt.Plymouth. His accountant's house even contained a closet access/secret escape, hidden staircase for quick exit (now privately owned).Sam Stoltz built 4 'crooked chimney' Cottages near the old Mt.Plymouth Golf Resort ( which was frequented by Capone, Connie Mack, Babe Ruth & Kate Smith). It burned to the ground in 1987.
If you continue walking past the Lakeside Inn, passing the City Parking Garage , and the Marina, you will find yourself in Gilbert Park. On Gilbert Pointe is a miniature Light House whose red beacon burns all night long warning boaters of hitting shore. A Boat Ramp, and recently renovated Boat Docks, are for Public Use w/ adjacent Trailer Parking. This is where the Annual Wooden Boat / Woodie Show used to take place before it moved to Tavares (Mid-March each year). It closes at Dusk but, there is a spectacular Nature Walk on a near-new $1.2 million boardwalk and pier built from Brazilian Hardwood (guaranteed 25 years lifespan). It takes you out into the edge of Lake Dora and Alexander Creek. It's the perfect place for birdwatching, fishing and experiencing nature. If you time it right-you can see fabulous sunsets from Gilbert Park and are pretty much guaranteed the sight of an alligator or two, Blue Heron, Turtles, Duck and other wildlife like Raccoons and Possum. Gilbert Park also includes a wonderful Childrens Playground with Swings, Slides, Monkey Bars, Water Fountain and an entire structure custom built for small children to play in and around. Plus, Public Restrooms and a few Gazebo's for Picnics. Feel safe, the Police patrol this area often. All in all, wonderful places to walk in and around Mount Dora.