Take Off

Hunting for Antiques in Adorable Mt. Dora

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I have long heard of Mount Dora but never ventured up there until recently. Mt. Dora is a charming old Florida style town in Central Florida, just a short half-hour from Orlando. Several of my friends had gone and raved about their findings. Stained glass, antique mirrors and furniture, quilts and other keepsakes all at your fingertips. The evidence was mounting and I had to see this place for myself.

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Last weekend, I picked up my girlfriend and headed to Mount Dora, a mere three-hour drive from Jupiter. We decided to spend the night and to my surprise there were over 25 different bed and breakfast to choose from. Some were absolutely beautiful. Mountdora.com offers many selections, but make sure you call ahead for reservation, as many only take two night stays and are sold out weeks in advance.

We stayed at quaint Bed & Breakfast called Christopher’s Inn. Many of the homes were built in the late 1800 Christopher’s is no exception, built in 1886. Our hosts made us a delicious breakfast, sat down and chatted with us and told us some great places to go. The Darst Victorian Manor appeared to be one of the biggest B & B’s in town. The Mount Dora Historic Inn, had a great location. You could cover the whole downtown area by foot from that hotel.

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There are many dining options in Mount Dora. We dinned at a wonderful restaurant on the lake called Pisces Rising while the sun was setting and a band strummed some Jackson Brown songs.

For more of a gourmet dining experience try Goblin Market. This eclectic restaurant has artsy vibe and a great selection of upscale cuisine and fine wines.

shopping1It was time to get down to business, the reason you come to Mount Dora is for the Antiques and the world famous Renninger’s. We made our way through the downtown shops which had an interesting smatterings of collectables and expensive reproductions. This took the better part of a day upon our arrival.

On Sunday, we headed to Renninger’s, the largest antique center and flea market in Florida. They have over 200 shops, plan to go early because they are not kidding when they say large; it is over 50,000 square feet. You need to have some kind of a system just to get through the whole thing, it is like a treasure hunt. Starting outside usually works best, before it gets hot, then move inside to the air conditioning. There were some beautiful and unique items to be found. They have collectable glass in all colors from ruby to light blues, jewelry, art, furniture, clocks, dolls and just about anything you may be looking for.

There are certain weekends called Extravaganzas, this is when the largest gathering of dealers and collectables are displayed in Florida. They occur four times a year and the dates are on http://www.rennigers.com.

Mount Dora is a great weekend getaway with something for everyone, I know I certainly enjoyed the hunt and came back with some real treasures.

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