We all know central Florida is home to Disney World and lots of other big time tourist attractions. Staying at an RV park near Clermont we’ve discovered many other attractions that appeal to us.
Mt. Dora is a lovely town with the historic Lakeside Inn on Lake Dora. We were lucky enough to visit when they had tradional Irish music in the pub and a Florida Highwaymen Art Show. Mt. Dora is known for a quaint town atmosphere as well as a lively art scene and local theatre. Sadly the tourist train operating there has closed down. Thanks to our friends Joe and Diane for a wonderful day.
Oakland Nature Preserve is on the south shore of Lake Apopka. We attended an open house which included a edible Florida hike with an expert edible weed picker. Great fun learning we can eat Smilax, Spanish Needles, Elderberry, Sorrel, and Beautyberries. Florida also has wild citrus, blackberries, blueberries and lots more. The preserve has great hiking too.
Lakeland has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in the world. During the Great Depression Florida Southern College envisioned a college of tomorrow and invited Wright to design for the school. He designed 20 buildings of which 10 were built initially and one was just completed in 2013. Wright described his work at the college as “out of the ground and into the light, a child of the sun!” It is a under the radar gem of Florida history. Lakeland also features many lakes filled with birds.
Deland is another interesting town in central Florida. Joe and Diane joined us for a tour of the Stetson Mansion. The famous hatter, John Stetson built the home in 1886. It is privately owned and a home yet today. It is Florida’s oldest grand home and available year round. Deland is a very walkable town with great restaurants and shops.
Clermont, Minneola and West Orange County have countless lakes and great hiking/biking trails that go on for miles and miles, one to the next to the next. While awfully close to horrendous traffic and crowds, central Florida has a lot for us.