08 September, 2015

Cupcakes and Coffee in Mount Dora, Florida

In case you haven't picked up the slightly negative vibes in a few of my previous posts, I'm not a huge fan of Florida. It's too built up, too unorganized and there are way too many cars! However, there are exceptions to every rule, and I've finally found an exception to the Florida rule of disorganized suburban development: Mount Dora!

About 45 minutes by car from Orlando, Mount Dora is a small town of 12,000 nestled on the shore of Lake Dora. My mom had already been there a few times, and hoping to show me a nicer side of Florida, she treated me to a day trip. What I found there was an adorable little town with many interesting stores and a lot of character. (Bonus points for free public bathrooms!)






The first place we came upon as we meandered down the street was the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company (which I unfortunately didn't take a picture of because I hadn't decided that Mount Dora was blog-worthy yet! You can find pictures of it by clicking the name above which will take you to their website). They have tons of different olive oils and balsamic vinegars that you can sample, ranging from high-quality olive oils from different parts of the world to unique flavors such as orange and chili pepper. They even have chocolate and espresso flavored balsamic vinegars!

Next it was time to eat lunch, so we headed to a cafe called One Flight Up. As the name suggests, it's on the second floor of a building on the main road, and inside there are several cozy rooms in which you can sit, as well as outdoor seating on the balcony overlooking the street. The atmosphere reminded me of the inside of a house that just happens to serve simple, homemade food. Despite being divided into different rooms, the space is bright and airy and made me feel at home. (Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures here, either. These can once again be found by clicking the name  of the cafe above.)


The next place was by far my favorite: a cupcake shop called Cupcake Delights. The decor is a little on the girly side, but don't let that scare any of you men away, because the cupcakes are delicious! My mom and I got red velvet cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake and they were both wonderful, but you don't have to stop there. They had what seemed like dozens of flavors to choose from and they all looked so good that my mom and I had a hard time deciding what to order. The woman working was very nice and patient with us, so don't feel alarmed if you suffer similar indecision faced with tons of mouth-watering cupcakes to choose from.

I also ordered a cappuccino along with my cupcake, which was decent but a bit large for my taste (the smallest size they have is 16 ounces/475 ml). All in all, I can definitely recommend a trip to this adorable little cupcake shop.




After satisfying our sweet tooth, we continued to wander through a variety of fun and unique stores. They are all small, local businesses, which made me so happy (no big box stores, yay!). Hopefully the pictures I took will help me remember which one was which; in any case, they are all certainly worth a visit!


Walk in the Woods sells tons of cute "Life Is Good" T-shirts as well as other clothing, shoes, hats, mugs and an assortment of useful items including a stretchy jogging belt (I don't remember if that's what it was actually called) to hold your phone and keys while you run. I really wanted to buy one but I'm on a budget. :(


Papilio sells purses, jewelry, notecards, clothing, mugs, soaps and a variety of other things that would make great gifts. I saw several wallets and earrings that I wanted to buy, plus I loved the atmosphere of the store.


Blue Sky Blue Water sells clothing and bags, most notably Bungalow 360 purses, tote bags and wallets. If you have never heard of Bungalow 360, you are missing out! Their bags are just adorable and they hold up well to wear and tear. My sister used to have one of their bags and she loved it.



These are just two of many designs being sold at Blue Sky Blue Water. I took pictures of these two because I love the patterns of the fabric.

Even more than the individual shops, what I liked the most about Mount Dora was the walkable downtown. That's what I feel is missing in most towns in Florida (and in many towns in the U.S. in general), and it was nice to finally spend time in a place where I can walk around from store to store without driving. It feels more intimate, in a nice way, and gives the town a sense of life that doesn't exist amid the strip malls and huge parking lots that dominate most of the landscape around Orlando. The downtown area of Mount Dora feels like a place where I can relax and enjoy life, instead of being constantly in a hurry to get somewhere else.

This is by no means a complete list of all the great stores in Mount Dora but is simply a sampling of my favorites. If you are ever in the Orlando area and feel like taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city (or the numerous theme parks), I would highly recommend a day trip to Mount Dora for lunch, coffee, a cupcake and some window shopping. You can also stroll down to the lake to take in the views and check out the mini-lighthouse!

For more information about what the town of Mount Dora has to offer, visit www.visitmountdora.com.

8 comments :

  1. Lovely way of highlighting the stores hv the region and saying what you loved about them :) I've never been to Florida, but I'm glad you liked parts of it, instead of having an unpleasant experience with the whole city!

    X Carina
    Running White Horses | Travel + Fashion Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :)

      Delete
  2. Come back the first week of December. On the 5th and 6th you will be able to take a peek inside the homes of some of the residents during the Christmas Tour of Homes put on by the Women's Committee of Fine Arts. Proceeds are for scholarships given to local area students!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this post. I'm one of the houses on the tour but didn't know what weekend it was. Have to start decorating early!

      Delete
    2. That sounds like a great tour! Unfortunately I'll be back in Germany in December, but hopefully I will be able to come for the tour some other year.

      Delete
  3. Have you been to Winter Park and Winter Garden? They have nice downtown areas, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been to Winter Park a few times and I like it. I thought about writing a blog post about Winter Park as well but I didn't take any pictures while I was there so the post would end up pretty boring. I haven't been to Winter Garden yet.

      Delete
  4. I live near Mount Dora. Its a great little town. There is a French restaraunt, Ceciles. Very tasty. Inside and outside dining. Stay overnight at Lakeside Inn. There are several Bed and Breakfasts. Many dining oppertunities. A Marina on the edge of town, probably rents boats, its on the lake. Lake Dora. 2nd Friday is a street party with Music etc.

    ReplyDelete