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SPONSORED BY

TO L AK E CO UN T Y

LAKE COUNTY IS HOPPIN’ Local beer that’s truly local. Fresh hops, fruit and other ingredients grown in Lake County.

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FRESH TODAY!

WHERE THE LOCALS GO

BIRDWATCHERS UNITE

Enjoy food picked fresh at a farm café, pick your own fruit, or take a hayride to relish agritourism.

Find the best places for outdoor fun, downtown adventure, and lazy life on the water.

Lake County is home to hundreds of bird species, including the native scrub-jay.


Looking for a complete event destination?

accomplished.

LAKE COUNTY’S #1 MEETINGS DESTINATION TWO GOLF COURSES| MARINA | TRAP & SKEET | SPA We have 30,000 square foot of conference space, 4 restaurants and a variety of activities. A dedicated staff of service professionals to ensure success. Howey-in-the-Hills, FL 34737 • MissionInnResort.com • 800.874.9053


Real Adventure is a vacation that gives you space and time to relax. Lake County Florida is filled with a rich mix of natural wonders— more than 1,000 lakes, state parks, pristine reserves, boutiques, galleries, and a calendar full of festivals and celebrations. Come see Real Florida. Real Close‌real soon. VisitLakeFl.com


Someplace Special

Shop | Play | Live Scenic Views, Perfect Sunsets, Nature Trails, Unique Shops & Restaurants, Parks, Festivals And So Much More! CityOfMountDora.com


SPONSORED BY

W E LCO M E TO LA K E COUNTY

38 Those special places Lake County got its name from the more than 1,000 lakes you’ll find here. In addition to an array of water activities and seaplane rides, there are miles of hiking and biking trails, a salute to original Florida with the Big Orange, and ice cream with a kick. Learn about all the hidden gems of Lake County and add to your bucket list!

46 Locally grown, locally brewed

The beauty of craft beers is the ease of brewing, so the local breweries can feature a variety of beers throughout the year. Due to the abundance of fresh fruits, honey, and other flavorings in Lake County, the craft beers here have a special flavor. From blueberries to citrus, to white wheat, you’ll find a flavor you love.

50 A haven for birders

Florida is known for a variety of bird species, and birders come from all over the world to visit Lake County. From the tender touch of a Florida scrub-jay landing on your hand to the majestic flight of bald eagle, this area is a birding paradise.

54 The freshest you can get

Two local farms have seasonal restaurants where you can enjoy fresh produce picked from the field that morning and prepared fresh for your eating pleasure. Dine under the historic oak tree at Bountiful Farms or enjoy the signature corn chowder at Long & Scott Farms.

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ABOUT THE COVER peaches, citrus, and other organic ingredients to local craft brewers to produce flavors that are “homegrown.”

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Local beer that’s truly local. Fresh hops, fruit and other ingredients grown in Lake County.

Lake County farms provide blueberries,

FRESH TODAY!

Enjoy food picked fresh at a farm café, pick your own fruit, or take a hayride to relish agritourism.

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WHERE THE LOCALS GO Find the best places for outdoor fun, downtown adventure, and lazy life on the water.

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There’s always something exciting happening at Akers Media.

TO LAKE COUN T Y SPONSORED BY

PUBLISHING

PRESIDENT | DOUG AKERS

The magazines of Akers Publishing – Healthy Living, Style/Lake & Sumter Edition, and Style/The Villages Edition—set the standard by focusing on the communities they serve. Each magazine provides up-to-date, entertaining and thought-provoking content that thoroughly represents the people and places that make these communities special.

doug@akersmediagroup.com

PUBLISHER | KENDRA AKERS kendra@akersmediagroup.com

EDITORIAL November 2018

LEIGH NEELY leigh@akersmediagroup.com

VILLAGE EDITION

Our annual Extraordinary issue highlights amazing people and places Hungary to the U.S. Featuring Eva Kovacs’ escape from

JAMES COMBS james@akersmediagroup.com

MY FIRST TIME

Style debuts new monthly profile

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDEavailable in local shops Check out the cool items

E TRAARTS AND CULTURE

Interactive media PR and Promotions Media placement Custom Publishing

The old adage holds that a picture is worth a thousand words. Our philosophy is a thousand words is merely a good starting point. At Akers Studio, we produce priceless images that inspire words like magnificent, stunning, breathtaking and perfect. And we do so for every client, whether they need a quick passport photo or a 60-minute documentary. Portraits Events Architectural Videography

• Commercial • In-studio • On-location

Show Your Love. Become a fan of Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living by signing up on our Facebook page, following us on Pinterest, on Twitter (@GetStyleMag or @GetHLMag) or visiting our YouTube channel.

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MARY ANN DESANTIS maryann@akersmediagroup.com CHRIS GERBASI chris@akersmediagroup.com

Down on the farm, they grow foods to help cancer patients | A deadly infection is showing up more often

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DEATH BREATHING LIFE INTO Chareece Hall

Meet bereavement counselor

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THE

In 2012, Akers launched a full-service advertising agency that was been recognized nationally by the American Advertising Federation (AdFed) with multiple Addy awards. Our strategy is simple: provide big market agency quality with local convenience and attitude. • • • •

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24-page insert showcases Lake County’s music, festivals, and performing arts

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PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY FRED LOPEZ MARY ANN DESANTIS ANTHONY RAO NICOLE HAMEL VISIT LAKE FL ADOBE STOCK SHUTTERSTOCK

Akers Apps! Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living online magazine app for your mobile device. For the best in enhanced magazine entertainment, join us online for the media experience of a lifetime. A K E R S M E D I A G R O U P. C O M

Creativity at its peak.

SALES VP OF SALES AND MARKETING | TIM MCRAE tim@akersmediagroup.com

AKERS MEDIA IS A PROUD MEMBER OF

FLORIDA LEESBURG LEESBURG TAVARES SOUTH LAKE MAGAZINE PARTNERSHIP CHAMBER OF CHAMBER OF CHAMBER OF ASSOCIATION COMMERCE COMMERCE COMMERCE

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Welcome to Lake County, April 2019. Published by Akers Media, 108 South 5th Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2018 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Welcome to Lake County is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Special Advertising Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.


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Welcome to Lake County!

W

e are very excited to welcome you and thank you for choosing Lake County as your travel destination. Whether you are escaping the weekday grind for a weekend getaway, discovering a unique Florida gem, dropping by to enjoy one of our exciting festivals, or just looking for a relaxing alternative to an overloaded vacation, we are confident Lake County has something for everyone to enjoy. You’ll find an abundance of opportunities to enjoy “Real Florida, Real Close” as you discover inviting trails for hiking and rare birdwatching through our nature preserves and national parks, refreshing springs for swimming, tranquil blueways for paddling, and more than 1,000 lakes for world-class bass fishing. Experience our friendly small towns and trendy downtown locales for dining, drinks, and boutique shopping. Don’t forget to include some of our diverse cultural experiences, from excellent art galleries, festivals, and museums, to a one-of-akind historic village. Maybe adventure is more your speed—take flight on an unforgettable seaplane journey or ride a monster truck through a gator-filled swamp!

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Lake County is the Real Florida experience, yet we are uniquely located only a short drive away from world-famous attractions and beaches. Our family-friendly experiences offer fun geared for every generation. This tourism guide offers a wealth of information on all there is to experience and explore during your stay. Within these pages, you’ll find much of what makes Lake County “Real Florida, Real Close,” as you soon will discover for yourself. Please visit our website at www.visitlakefl.com for interactive maps, planning tools, a calendar of events, itineraries, and much more. We hope you enjoy your visit! Wishing you great travels,

KATHY PAGAN ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, VISIT LAKE, AGENCY FOR ECONOMIC PROSPERITY


A Timeless Experience Florida’s Most Historic Hotel, Lakeside Inn, is Located in the Heart of Mount Dora and Features a Timeless Setting for Relaxing Getaways and Special Events. The Inn is Open to the Public and Features: – – – – – –

Nightly Entertainment Complimentary WiFi Casual & Formal Dining Lakeside Pool, Deck, and Bar The Gatehouse Gift Gallery Special Events & Catering

800.556.5016 or 352.383.4101 Lakeside-Inn.com 100 N. Alexander St., Mount Dora

STUDENT SUCCESS STARTS HERE

LSSC.EDU TO L AKE COUNT Y •

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C ALENDAR

Save the date

OCTOBER

Lake County is home to an array of vibrant communities that host various festivals year-round. Find a treasure, take a bite, or see something truly unforgettable.

Florida Black Bear & Wildlife Conservation Festival October | Cadwell Park, Umatilla Florida Wildlife Festival is a fun and educational annual event that increases awareness and promotes safe coexistence of humans and wildlife. NOVEMBER

F E S T I VA L S JANUARY

Renninger’s Civil War Reenactment Renninger's Antique Center, Mount Dora Get a taste of history with live Civil War reenactments and weaponry demonstrations. FEBRUARY

Winefest Feb. 7-9, 2020 | 10am-5pm Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards Winefest offers an opportunity to enjoy all the fruits of the year’s harvest while browsing the wares of 80 local artists and crafters and live music. 19239 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont. Mardi Gras Festival Feb. 15, 2020 | Leesburg The streets of downtown Leesburg come alive with the sights and sounds of New Orleans.

African-American Heritage Festival Tavares Providing cultural, educational, civic, and charitable contributions to the community of Tavares. Live performances, music, food, arts and crafts, and more. Free admission. Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Show Leesburg A weekend of exhibits, pony rides, tractor pulls, vendors, and entertainment ending with a tractor show. 615 S. Whitney Road. GeorgeFest Feb. 28-March 1, 2020 Eustis Ferran Park Founded in 1902, GeorgeFest of Eustis celebrates George Washington’s birthday. MARCH

Pig on the Pond March 13-15, 2020 | Clermont This annual event at Waterfront Park enables more than 20 local nonprofit organizations to conduct fundraising efforts.

Antique Boat Festival March | Tavares The Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival at Wooton Park on beautiful Lake Dora offers visitors an opportunity to view some great antique boat restorations. Fruitland Park Day March 28, 2020 | Downtown Fruitland Park Day begins with a Saturday morning parade complete with local entertainment and marching bands. 506 W. Berckman St. APRIL

Lake County Fair April 9-18, 2020 Lake County Fairgrounds The annual fair includes a carnival, vendor booths, livestock shows, and more. 2101 County Road 452, Eustis. Leesburg Bikefest April 2020 | Downtown Feel the rumble of motorcycles and more than 200,000 visitors for Leesburg Bikefest, with live entertainment, demonstrations, shows, and contests at 12 venues downtown.

Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire Nov. 1-3, 9-10 | Tavares Step back in time at the annual Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire, recently expanded to two weekends at 12835 County Landfill Road.

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Mount Dora Plant & Garden Fair Nov. 9-10 | 9am-5pm Sunset Park, Mount Dora Florida’s top growers bring more than 12,000 plants to the 25th annual Mount Dora Plant & Garden Fair at Donnelly Park. For info, call 352.729.2170. Mount Dora Scottish Highland Festival Nov. 15-16 | Gilbert & Sunset Parks, Mount Dora The Scottish Highland Festival celebrates Scottish culture with Highland athletics, music, dancing, clan tents, and vendors. FOOD EXPOS AND COMPETITIONS MARCH

Taste in Mount Dora & Casino Night March | Sunset Park An evening of dancing, gaming, and culinary delights from some of Mount Dora’s finest restaurants. Information: Mount Dora Area Chamber of Commerce, 352.383.2165. Mount Dora Blueberry Festival April 27-28 | Donnelly Park Get ’em at the peak of blueberry season from local farms. Crafters, live music, pancake breakfast, and a blueberry pie-eating contest. Call 407.913.4140 for info.


M AY

Clermont Caribbean Jerk Festival May 4 | noon-10pm Waterfront Park Sponsored by the Caribbean American Association of Lake County and featuring great food and entertainment.

Leesburg Fine Art Festival March 14-15, 2020

Towne Square This fine art and crafts show organized by Leesburg Center for the Arts has exhibitors, vendors, live music, cars, kids’ area, and student art exhibit. Includes Leesburg Public Library literary festival.

AUGUST

Mount Dora Seafood Festival Downtown Enjoy entertainment, food vendors, and the Olde Port of Mount Dora Pirate Village. See visitmountdora. com for information. SEPTEMBER

Clermont Sips & Salsa Festival Sept. 14 | Downtown Enjoy cultural cuisine, live salsa music and dancing, family activities, chihuahua races, domino tournament, kids’ zone, and more. NOVEMBER

Leesburg Craft Beer, Wine, & Food Festival Nov. 22 | 6-10pm Held at the beautiful Venetian Gardens in Leesburg, this popular event allows attendees to travel booth-to-booth sampling more than 25 craft beers, wines, and signature fare. Tickets are $35 at the door. THE ARTS FEBRUARY

Mount Dora Arts Festival Feb. 1-2, 2020 | Downtown The Mount Dora Arts Festival is a juried fine arts festival with approximately 250,000 visitors anticipated. MARCH

Mount Dora Spring Festival See more than 200 vendors with treasures of all kinds in the downtown streets of Mount Dora.

DECEMBER

Art of the Deal Nov. 2 | 6pm | Mount Dora Celebrate the arts in the Donnelly Building at 5th and Donnelly. Enjoy catered cuisine, an open bar with wine and top-shelf liquor, dancing, and live and silent auctions. M U S I C F E S T I VA L S AND CONCERTS FEBRUARY

Mount Dora Music Festival February | Mount Dora Community Building This festival is dedicated to presenting an annual, multigenre, high-quality, cross-cultural celebration of music. MARCH

BBQ , Blues and Brews Downtown Leesburg Organized by the Leesburg Partnership, this festival offers all you can eat from the area's best backyard barbecue competitors, electrifying blues music, and beer.

Sail Boat Regatta March/April | Mount Dora Yacht Club Ongoing for 66 years, the Sail Boat Regatta is the oldest in the state and provides a full day of family fun. OCTOBER

Mount Dora Bicycle Festival Oct. 3-6 | Downtown Florida’s oldest and largest bicycling event with rides of varying lengths and skill levels for cyclists of all ages. 29th Annual Great Floridian Triathlon Oct. 20 | Waterfront Park, Clermont A scenic and challenging course awaits competitors who will swim, bike, and run.

OCTOBER

Lake County Folk Festival Oct. 12-13 | Eustis A time to relish America’s great music, including folk, Americana, blues, and Celtic. Lots of great food, Amish furniture, Intertribal Spirit Designs, and much more. Indoor shows hosted by the Historic Bay Street Theater and Lake Eustis Museum of Art, and outdoor performances at Ferran Park.

DECEMBER

Mount Dora Half Marathon The event offers two walk/run distances, a single-loop halfmarathon, and a 5K walk/ run. The half-marathon is on a USATF-certified course. H O L I D AY E V E N T S APRIL

SPORTING EVENTS

OCTOBER

Mount Dora Craft Fair Oct. 26-27 | 9am-5pm Downtown The 35th annual Mount Dora Craft Fair, a nationally ranked juried event, continues to attract more than 200,000 visitors and over 350 of the best crafters in the country.

Lake Minneola Half Marathon & 5K Clermont Competitive and casual runs presented by Sommer Sports at Victory Pointe downtown. Races of three distances starting in the morning.

MARCH

Tavares Spring Thunder Regatta Wooton Park, Tavares The past comes alive as vintage and classic race boats of bygone eras return to Lake Dora, now a major stop on the CRA Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit. In addition to seeing and hearing these beautiful vintage boats run, spectators also can view them close-up in the pit area.

Clermont Earth Day & Lake Clean Up April 2020 | Waterfront Park Environmental education, Earth Kids Zone, DJ music, nonprofit food vendors, giveaways, and more. Earth Day Mount Dora April 2020, 10am-3pm Gather at Donnelly Park, 530 N. Donnelly St., and celebrate Earth Day with free music, exhibits, a raffle, and more. See mountdoraenvironment.org.

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C ALENDAR

Freedom on the Waterfront July 3, 5pm | Mount Dora Elizabeth Evans Park Festivities for all ages with fireworks at dusk. Contact Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce at 352.735.7183. Independence Day Parade July 4, 10am | Downtown Mount Dora Begins at Donnelly and Seventh and goes through Charles Avenue. Contact Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce at 352.735.7183. Leesburg’s Fourth of July Celebration July 4 | Shores of Venetian Cove This celebration at Venetian Gardens is a fun-filled evening with live entertainment, traditional summertime food, kids’ games, baseball, and, of course, spectacular choreographed fireworks over Lake Harris. Red, White, and Boom July 4 | Waterfront Park, Clermont Traditional Americana-type activities for all ages with the evening ending in fireworks above Lake Minneola. DECEMBER

27th Mount Dora Christmas Walk Dec. 6 | Downtown Free admission, live music, dancing, and shopping. Call 352.383.2165 for info. Light Up Clermont Dec. 6-7 | Waterfront Park Clermont’s three-day holiday festival recently added a live Christmas tree at City Hall Park, which will be the focus of the lighting ceremony, live carolers, and food trucks. Leesburg Christmas Parade Dec. 7 | Downtown Enjoy an evening of holiday entertainment and fun for the whole family in historic downtown

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Leesburg with performances by local groups, dazzling Christmas light displays, festive food, plus carnival rides and games for kids.

Mount Dora Christmas Parade Dec. 7, 10am | Downtown The 59th annual parade takes over the streets of downtown. Call 352.449.8443 for info. Lighted Boat Parade Dec. 7, 7pm | Grantham Point The boat parade on Lake Dora begins at the signature lighthouse. Local boat owners compete for best in light show display and originality. Children’s Christmas in the Park with Snow Dec. 14, 5-9pm | Mount Dora Go snow sledding in Donnelly Park during this special night. It’s a free event for families. Call 352.735.7183 for details. Cracker Christmas Parade & Festival Dec. 14 | State Road 19/ Cadwell Park, Umatilla This hometown Christmas celebration begins with a Dog Jog followed by the parade at 9:30am along Central Avenue (State Road 19). The event continues throughout the day with the festival at Cadwell Park featuring live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, food, children’s activities, and more. New Year’s Eve in Mount Dora Dec. 31, 9pm-midnight An evening of celebration with food and drink and live entertainment in the streets of Mount Dora. Fireworks at midnight to ring in the new year. 230 W. 4th Ave. Light Up Lady Lake Sponsored by the Lady Lake Chamber of Commerce, this celebration features more than 2.2 million lights decorating the chamber’s Log Cabin and Veterans Park.

NOVEMBER

Light Up Mount Dora Nov. 30, 4:30-6:30pm Join the celebration as Donnelly Park lights up with close to 2 million sparkling lights and a visit from Santa.

Howey Christmas Festival Log Cabin, Howey-in-the-Hills The annual festival is held downtown and features food vendors, a car show, and a parade. RECURRING AND M O N T H LY E V E N T S

Renninger’s Antiques Extravaganza Jan. 17-19, 2020, and Feb. 14-17, 2020 Renninger’s Antique Center, Mount Dora Renninger’s plays host to nearly 800 dealers from across the U.S. offering an array of items, including high-quality antiques and collectibles, clothing, and oddities. Leesburg Food Truck Night This is a free monthly event that features a classic car cruisein, live entertainment, a free

movie, and food trucks lining downtown. Movie, musical performers, and trucks change out regularly. For dates and information, visit foodtrucknflick. leesburgpartnership.com.

Music on Montrose Every first Friday gather to enjoy the free music series on Montrose Street, downtown Clermont. Features food trucks and local talent. To see the lineups, visit clermontdowntownpartnership. com/other-events/first-fridays. Eustis Live! Family-friendly events held downtown featuring vendors and two stages with live entertainment. Enjoy the lovely local shops and eateries. Every first Friday 6-10pm.

Sources: visitlakefl.com/Events/AnnualEvents,leesburgpartnership.com/events, clermontdowntownpartnership.com, eustis.g, mountdora.com

J U LY


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BeaconCollege.edu TO L AKE COUNT Y •

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E X P L O R E • S TAY • P L AY • D I N E

Finding every corner of the county The cities and towns of Lake County always warmly welcome visitors. Whether you’re looking for fun on the water, a nature hike or birding, shopping in great boutiques or antique stores, you can find what you’re looking for in Mount Dora or Leesburg or Eustis or Clermont or Lady Lake. Peace and tranquility on a pontoon boat or fun and laughter on a water craft are within easy distance at any location. The possibilities are endless, and all that’s missing is you! TO L AKE COUNT Y •

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LAKE MINNEHAHA

LAKE APOPKA

LAKE APOPKA

MONTVERDE

CR

CLERMONT C R 561 US

561

S

S

1 C R 56

A’

A’

LAKE MINNEOLA

ID

ID

27

CR

OR

OR

LAKE APOPKA NORTH SHORE

C L E R M OM NITN N E OS RL50A

South Lake

SR 50

SR 50

FL

FL

HOWEYIN-THE-HILLS

Y A LHAO HW A EYIN-THE-HILLS ASTATULA

YALAHA

LAKE HARRIS

MASCOTTE GROVELAND

48

48

27 US

27

GREEN SWAMP WILDERNESS PRESERVE

SR 33 US

US

GREEN SWAMP WILDERNESS PRESERVE

27

MASCOTTE

U S 27 27

SR 50

U S 27

SR 1 9 US

SR 50

K

48

’S

PI

CR

A 19

ID

N

48

CR

SR 1 9

CR 5 61

R

R 561 CR

CR

561 CR

CR 5 61

O FL

TU SR

LAKE DORA

TO LAKE COU NTY

0

1

2

4 MILES

6

8

S TAT E / U S R O A D S COUNTY ROADS B L U E WAY S TRAILS B O AT R A M P S

You’ll find fun, food, and adventure from one end of Lake County to the other. With more than 1,000 lakes, the water activities are endless, from kayaking, fishing, boating, and canal tours, to taking a leisurely cruise on a rented pontoon boat. Prefer a land-loving adventure? Enjoy a visit to one of the many quaint downtowns, featuring unique shops, historic museums, art galleries, local theaters, and picturesque waterfront dining.

437


EXPLORE

Forest Gateway A LTO O N A • U M AT I L L A • A S TO R

LADY LAKE

CR 4 66

CR

44

FRUITLAND PARK CR 4 66A US

LAKE GRIFFIN

27 /4 41

SR

US

LEESBURG

441

44

US 27 LAKE HARRIS

FL O R ID A ’S TU R

CR

N PI

48

K E CR

48

YALAHA

US 27

HOWEY IN-THE-HI SR 19

SR 33

FL

20 •

TO L AKE COUNT Y

SR 50

OR

ID

A’

S

TU

R

CR 56

MASCOTTE

LAK MINNE

SR 50

GROVELAND

CLERM


LAKE GEORGE

F O R E S T G AT E WAY

S R 40

ASTOR

SR

19

CR

44

5A

Small, rustic towns that allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas are a big part of Lake County’s charm. Few towns epitomize that more than the ones surrounding the Ocala National Forest. A visit to Umatilla, Altoona, and Astor allows locals and tourists to take advantage of the nature that abounds here.

C

R

44

5

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST

CR 4 2

LAKE DORR

ALTOONA SR

19

C R 42

UMATILLA

LAKE NORRIS

SR

44

CR 450

LAKE NORRIS CONSERVATION AREA

LAKE YALE

A LT O O N A

SR 19

ALEXANDER SPRINGS CR 44 LOWER WEKIVA RIVER PRESERVE STATE PARK

S R 44

EUSTIS

LAKE EUSTIS

CR 4 37

SR 19

U

US 44 1

S 44

19

SR

CR

44

CR

8

561

ASTATULA LLS

RN

CR 5 61

LAKE APOPKA NORTH SHORE

PI

CR

455 LAKE APOPKA

KE

US 27

61

KE EOLA

MONTVERDE

MINNEOLA

MONT

SR 5 0

MOUNT DORA

SR

46

CR 4 37

LAKE DORA

1

TAVARES

Population: 123 Size: .5 square miles

CR 4 6A

Thanks to Altoona, tourists can explore a phenomenal underwater world. The town is home to Alexander SR 4 6 Springs Recreation Area, which attracts divers from as far away as Germany and the Netherlands. “The water is crystal clear, so visibility is unlimited,” says Judy Holdrem, who serves as the state park’s area manager. “People who dive first thing in the morning say it’s one of the most peaceful feelings they’ve ever experienced.” Alexander Springs is one of only 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida, meaning it gushes 100 gallons of water per cubic second from under the ground. In addition to diving, families can swim in a large spring-fed

pool, canoe down Alexander Creek, walk along a hiking trail, and enjoy an afternoon picnic. The springs’ temperature remains 72 degrees year-round. Altoona also is the site of the McTureous Homestead and Museum, This museum not only gives visitors a glimpse of the life of a Florida Cracker family from the early 19th century. These cowboys were also called cow hunters because the cattle roamed free until it was time for branding or driving to the market. The homes were distinguished by their wood frames, metal roofs, and straight hallways that went from the front to the back of the house. They were also referred to as “shotgun houses.”


EXPLORE

U M AT I L L A Population: 4,021 Size: 3 square miles

Birds chirping, frogs croaking, and wild turkeys clucking make a wonderful soundtrack for Umatilla, which is appropriately nicknamed “Nature’s Hometown.” Brimming with historic charm and scenic beauty, Umatilla offers many benefits that big-city life cannot: shorter commutes and less time stuck in traffic, low crime levels, small-town hospitality, intimate churches, and friendly neighbors. It’s also a great place to enjoy outdoor opportunities such as boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. One of the most popular hiking destinations is Sawgrass Island, a 1,137-acre preserve where hikers take in breathtaking views of sawgrass marshes and longleaf pine communities. The preserve is home to an abundance of wildlife, including gopher tortoises, Florida pine snakes, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and migratory waterfowl. Be sure to have your camera available to capture the prickly pear cactuses seen along the preserve’s numerous hiking trails.

OCKLAWAHA RIVER

Umatilla is on the edge of an exciting and adventurous place—Ocala National Forest. At 40929 State Road 19, in Umatilla, you’ll find great places to hike see coastal lowlands, swamps, lakes, and ponds. There’s plenty of wildlife, so beware, but if you venture in, you explore what Florida was centuries ago. Another “sweet” place to visit is Sunsational Citrus, which will take visitors to a place in time when citrus production drove Lake County’s economic engine. The company, which is one of the few citrus packing houses remaining in the county, sells fresh-squeezed orange juice, local honey, jelly, and candy. The retail store at Sunsational Citrus sells honey, jelly, chocolate treats, Florida wines, and candles. Tourists to Umatilla also should visit North Lake Community Park, which features a 1.4-mile loop trail and .75-mile nature trail.


F O R E S T G AT E WAY

ASTOR LANDING RV RESORT & MARINA

CASTAWAYS RESTAURANT

ASTOR Population: 1,560 Size: 2.34 square miles

From big bass tournaments to leisurely narrated boat cruises, Astor’s proximity to the St. Johns River allows visitors to get wet and wild. Step aboard a covered pontoon boat at Captain Ernie’s St. Johns River Tours and learn all about the local plant life and wildlife. Or paddle Blue Creek Run, a four-mile scenic trip that leads paddlers from Astor to the St. Johns River. You’ll likely see Florida’s most popular reptile, the alligator, along creek beds. Enjoy a memorable hiking and birdwatching experience at Bluffton Recreation Area, which offers a .75-mile nature trail.

Or, you can enjoy a multi-day experience in Astor thanks to the Castaways on the River, which offers cozy cottages and boat rentals. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, consider stopping at Blackwater Inn, where diners can arrive by automobile or boat. Guests enjoy a panoramic view of St. Johns River while feasting on popular seafood items such as shrimp, fish, oysters, crab legs, and scallops. Castaways provides another great dining option and is known for its frog legs, grouper filet, snow crab legs, and popcorn shrimp.

TO L AKE COUNT Y •

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Northwest Lake L A DY L A K E • FRU ITL A N D PA R K • L EE S B U RG


LAKE DORR

ALTOONA

NORTHWEST L AKE

SR

19

CR 42

UMATILLA

LAKE NORRIS

CR 450

LADY LAKE

CR 4 6 6

The communities in Northwest Lake feature appealing small-town charm. Boating, golf, motorcycle shows, barbecues and chili cook-offs, art festivals, parades, dining, music concerts, and activities in the area’s beautiful lakes and parklands draw visitors and residents alike. LAKE NORRIS CONSERVATION AREA

LAKE YALE

S R 19

FRUITLAND PARK CR 4 6 6 A CR

44

CR 44

US

LAKE GRIFFIN

27

CR 437

41

SR 19

/4 US

441

US 441

CR 4 6A

S 44

LEESBURG

U

44

1

SR

SR 44

EUSTIS

LAKE EUSTIS

US 27 LAKE DORA

SR

46

CR 437

MOUNT DORA

TAVARES

LAKE HARRIS

FL O R 19

ID

CR

’S

SR

A R N

CR

TU

CR

44

8

K

561

PI

48 VENETIAN GARDENS

E

YALAHA 48

ASTATULA

Population: 22,689 Size: 42 square miles

CR

H O W E Y -Leesburg offers a relaxed, I N - T H E - H Ihometown L L S atmosphere and sense of

U S 27

AKE community that makesA PLvisitors feel OPKA NORTH SHORE welcome and at home, according to City Manager Al Minner. “What is best about Leesburg are our residents,” he says. “They have CR 4community such pride in our and are 55 FL OR actively working to make Leesburg ID LAKE A’ APOPKA S TU R N best place in Florida to live, the PI KE work, and play.” Billed as the “Lakefront City,” Al says Leesburg’s historic character, natural beauty, modern M Oelements, N T V Eyear-round RDE 1 56 R events, and economic development C L Acomponents KE make the city a great MINNEOLA MINNEOLA place to visit and reside. In particular, the city is completing the Venetian Gardens Master Plan, C L E Rwhich M O involves N T improving Rogers Park, SR 50 Ski Beach, and construction of a new LAKE community center. As a picturesque MINN EHAHA

SR 19

CR 5 61

S R 33

US

27

SR 50

LEESBURG

MASCOTTE SR 50

GROVELAND

64-acre park on the west shore of Lake Harris, Venetian Gardens is one of Leesburg’s prized attractions. The park has several landscaped islands separated by serene, meandering canals, along with a pavilion, benches, and wooden bridges popular with runners, cyclists, and nature lovers. A boat launch at Venetian Gardens is one of Leesburg’s three boating and recreation access points to the Harris Chain of Lakes, and a Kids Korner playground and splash pad also are nearby, which are a big hit with children and families. The chain of lakes also attracts nationally known professional fishing tournaments and is also great for year-round fishing and water sports. Historic downtown Leesburg has an array of shops and restaurants and is home to Beacon College,

US

CR 561

SR

27

33 LAKE

TO L AKE COUNT Y •

25


EXPLORE

F R U I T L A N D PA R K Population: 8,000 Size: 6.8 square miles

DOWNTOWN LEESBURG

an expanding, private, nonprofit college that is the first accredited institution of higher learning to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. The Leesburg Partnership sponsors a Food 'n Truck Flick Night every month on the second Saturday. With a plethora of food offerings, families can enjoy a great movie at dusk sitting on blankets or chairs in Leesburg's beautiful Towne Square. Lake Square Mall offers shopping, dining, movies, and entertainment. “Leesburg is well known for its three-day Bikefest, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country,” Al says of the event slated for April 26-28 in downtown Leesburg. “Our annual Fourth

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TO L AKE COUNT Y

of July fireworks show on Lake Harris is also spectacular.” Other popular events include many activities at Christmas, the Leesburg Black Heritage Festival and Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, Leesburg Fine Arts Festival on Main Street, a festive Mardi Gras, Juneteenth Celebration, and Food Truckn-Flick Nights. Every year, the city also hosts a series of collegiate fastpitch softball tournaments and youth baseball tourneys, as well as in-door kart racing, carnivals, car shows, and other special events. The Leesburg Lightning collegiate summer league baseball team plays in historic Pat Thomas Stadium. Built in 1937, the stadium originally was the spring training home to a Philadelphia Phillies minor-league team.

Movies on the lawn, family fun runs, Fruitland Park Day with a barbecue cook-off, and Light Up Fruitland Park, a holiday lighting contest, are among the small hometown attractions residents and visitors enjoy in Fruitland Park. “We encourage people to come out and participate,” says City Manager Gary La Venia. “Fruitland Park offers residents and visitors an enjoyable small-hometown feel with friendly people.” The friendliness is what attracted Gary to the area, and he joins local residents in looking forward to the city’s most popular annual event, Fruitland Park Day.

The next one is scheduled for March 28, 2020. “The event gets bigger and better than ever, and it’s exciting that it’s growing,” Gary says. One of Fruitland Park’s longstanding attractions for nature lovers is the 620-acre Lake Griffin State Park, 3089 U.S. Highway 441, where visitors often rave about the relaxing, beautiful scenery as well as the wildlife. One “must-see” sight at the park is a mammoth live oak tree, which is billed as the second-largest oak tree in Florida. A nearby sign reads that the tree is estimated to be 300 to 500 years old, and that it may have been a landmark for Timucua Indians who LAKE GRIFFIN STATE PARK


NORTHWEST L AKE

L A DY L A K E Population: 14,960 Size: 8.5 square miles

frequented the area before settlement and later the Seminole Indians. “Lake Griffin State Park is always a great place for people to go and enjoy the water, boating, camping,” Gary says of the park that has a full-facility campground, boat ramp, and nature trails. Anglers and birders can rent a canoe or a kayak to explore Lake Griffin’s marshes. Among the wildlife and animals that visitors often see are osprey, bald eagle, blue heron, anhinga, alligator, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, and even bear. “Have grandkids in town and want to show them the ‘Real Florida’? Bring them for a paddle on the marshes of Lake Griffin,” park manager Rachel Nunlist says on the park’s website.

Lady Lake’s picturesque streets are lined with mossdraped oak trees that were planted in 1886-87, and the cathedral arch formed by the massive oaks on Lady Lake Boulevard remains a beautiful sight today, just as when it was pictured in the Saturday Evening Post in 1929. Lady Lake Town Manager Kristen Kollgaard cherishes all that her town offers residents and visitors. “Lady Lake has a friendly, hometown atmosphere where we have something for everyone, from shopping to recreational activities for the whole family,” Kristen says. “It is a great place to live, work, and visit.” Visitors driving into Lady Lake on U.S. Highway 441 will see the historic log cabin built in 1935 as the original

Town Hall and now site of the Farmer’s Market hosted on Tuesdays. Nearby is the Lady Lake Historical Society Museum housed in the old Train Depot with artifacts and educational exhibits showing Lady Lake’s earliest Native American inhabitants and pioneer families. The museum also has a train display that depicts how Lady Lake looked in the 1940s and ’50s. Uncle Donald’s Farm is a big farm tucked away on a country road, well, maybe not fully country, but it had a guard goose that lets owners know when guests arrive. You’ll see animals here you

won’t see anywhere else: a redtailed hawk, silkie chickens, a live panther, and even a baby alligator! Enjoy a hay ride to see everything the big farm has to offer. Dress the kids in their country finery and enjoy a day of farm life. Guests can buy feed for many of the animals, though a sign reads, “Don’t feed animals fingers.”

WELCOME CENTER

HERITAGE PARK


LADY LAKE

CR 466

EXPLORE

FRUITLAND PARK CR 466A US 27 /4 41

Golden Triangle

SR

LEESBU 44

US 27

A S TAT U L A • E U S T I S • H O W E Y- I N -T H E - H I L L S • TAVA R E S • M O U N T D O R A • YA L A H A

FL O R ID A ’S TU R N PI K CR

48

E S R 33

SR 50

MASCO

GRO

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TO L AKE COUNT Y

GREEN SWAMP


LAKE NORRIS CONSERVATION AREA

LAKE YALE

S R 19

GOLDEN TRIANGLE CR 44

CR

44

LOWER WEKIVA RIVER PRESERVE STATE PARK

LAKE GRIFFIN

SR 44

EUSTIS

LAKE EUSTIS

CR 437

S R 19

US

441

U S 441

U S 44

URG

1

TAVARES

19

LAKE HARRIS

SR

CR CR

44

8

SR 46

SR

46

561

48

CR 4 6A

CR 437

MOUNT DORA

LAKE DORA

CR

The Golden Triangle in Lake County offers outdoor activities from fishing to boating to flying, and celebrations of holidays and special events at the annual festivals staged throughout the area. The cities of Eustis, Mount Dora, and Tavares make up the Golden Triangle, and a smaller triangle to the south includes the towns of Astatula, Howey-in-the-Hills, and Yalaha.

YALAHA

LAKE EUSTIS

ASTATULA U S 27

HOWEYIN-THE-HILLS SR 19

LAKE APOPKA NORTH SHORE

FL

OR

ID

CR 5 61

LIGHT UP MOUNT DORA

A’

S

TU

RN

PI

A S TAT U L A CR

455

Population: L A K2,016 E APOPKA Size: 3.2 square miles

KE

US

Astatula, considered the center point of Central Florida, is on the eastern shore of Little Lake Harris, one of Lake County’s finest areas for shing MfiO N Tand V Eboating. R D E The outdoors is 1 C R 56 the focus of many of the town’s attractions. LAKE The Clay Island area has six miles of multi-use MINNEOLA MINNEOLA trails, and plenty of wildlife and birds to see from the trails or the observation towers. For off-road enthusiasts, the Central Florida CLERMO NT Motorsports Park motocross tracks, ATV S R 5has 0 trails, and a mud pit. Stanley Pond Adventure LAKE M I N N E H A HFarm A offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including airboat rides, horse rides, a jumping pillow, slides, Halloween and Christmas celebrations, and more. 27

OTTE S R 50

OVELAND

US

C R 56 1

SR

27

33

STANLEY POND ADVENTURE FARM

LAKE LOUISA

LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK

CR

EUSTIS Population: 20,827 Size: 11.4 square miles

Eustis may be best known for celebrating American history with Georgefest, honoring President George Washington, but local history also has a prominent place in the city. Ferran Park, named after Eustis pioneer and businessman Edgar L. Ferran, was the city’s first public park. Today, the park and the historic Alice McClelland Bandshell host the city’s big events and holiday

celebrations along Lake Eustis. The Eustis Historical Museum details the stories of sites such as the Clifford House, the Citrus Museum, and the Unity Bell Pavilion, all related to the city’s early homesteaders. Georgefest is a timehonored tradition attracting about 30,000 visitors over three days each February. Started in 1902, it’s the oldest Georgefest in Florida, and the second-longestrunning festival of its kind

561

TO L AKE COUNT Y •

29

US 27


EXPLORE

in the country. The African American Heritage Festival and parade also have been staged annually in February for the past 25 years. The Lake County Fair is approaching 100 years, having begun in 1921 as the Florida Sportsman Exposition. Eustis is home to the April event, which includes entertainment, carnival games, food vendors, educational activities, as well as competitions in crafts, cooking, baking, and livestock. Music festivals and fairs—such as the relatively new Busker Festival, which features street performers each

spring—also are popular attractions. The historic downtown area is home to the Bay Street Players Theater, unique shops, and restaurants. Works of art are sprinkled throughout downtown, and the Lake Eustis Museum of Art offers fine art exhibitions and art classes. “We’ve got great festivals and a lot of activities to bring people here,” City Manager Ron Neibert says. “Add to that the makeup of the community, the great location, and the makeup of downtown, and there are a lot of lifestyle activities for people.”

MOUNT DORA Population: 13,916 Size: 9.3 square miles

Mount Dora offers a unique experience for visitors with its New England architecture, scenic views of Lake Dora, and artsy downtown businesses. Some of the best attractions for visitors are the city’s 34 festivals throughout the year, City Manager Robin Hayes says. The large events, such as the Mount Dora Arts Festival in February and the Mount Dora Craft Fair in October, bring upwards of 250,000 people into the city, and smaller events bring tens of thousands. Among the other crowd-pleasers hosted by “Festival City” are the Bicycle Festival in October, the Scottish Highland Festival in November, the

LAKE DORA

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TO L AKE COUNT Y

Seafood Festival in August, Light Up Mount Dora during the Christmas holidays, the African-American History Festival in February, and Independence Day festivities that include fireworks over the lake. Mount Dora also brands itself as a great arts and shopping district in a historic downtown area. Unique shops and boutiques specialize in hand-crafted gifts, arts and crafts, spices, wines, sculptures, bath and body, flags, clothing, pets, and more. Shoppers who love art can find the Mount Dora Center for the Arts and several art galleries on the downtown streets. “Visitors come to Mount Dora to see the charm of yesteryear in our city,” Robin says. “We have specialty boutiques, unique restaurants with a range of flavors from around the world, and sights which make us an excellent walking city.” The Mount Dora Community Building Theatre has been renovated with a state-of-the-art sound system and books national acts such as Blue Öyster ult, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Wynonna Judd, and many tribute bands.

H O W E Y- I N THE-HILLS Population: 1,166 Size: 2.7 square miles

When anyone thinks of Howey-in-theHills, iconic landmarks such as the Howey Mansion and the Mission Inn Resort and Club immediately spring to mind. The mansion has been restored to its former glory from the 1920s, when it was built by the town’s founder, William John Howey. In fact, architecture of the ’20s is predominant in the town, which promotes itself as a quiet and safe community focused on family living. Mission Inn Resort continually receives high marks from

US E D OW NTOW N S I G N PIC

HOWEY MANSION


GOLDEN TRIANGLE

TAVARES ECO PARK

TAVA R E S travelers and locals for its pro-caliber golf courses, fine dining, and spa. This rural village also is surrounded by lakes, rolling hills, and the natural beauty of Griffin Waterfront Park and the Sara Maude Mason Nature Preserve. A new site, Blevins Patriot Park, is a small but idyllic garden spot dedicated in 2017.

Population: 16,865 Size: 10.9 square miles

This city on the shores of Lake Dora is enjoying a major revitalization of its downtown area. The Ruby Street Stormwater and Beautification Project is boosting downtown’s retail and entertainment businesses, as several new restaurants and shops have opened recently. In addition to receiving new stormwater pipes, Ruby Street also has been repaved with hand-laid ruby red bricks. Tavares Ecological Park, part of the beautification project, opened this year. The scenic eight-acre walkable park has five small retention ponds that

filter out stormwater pollutants before water is discharged into Lake Dora. Paved trails and wooden bridges that lead around and over the retention ponds are designed to attract visitors to the park, the first of its kind in Florida. Follow the red brick road to the boarding station for the Royal Palm Railway Experience. The tourist train rolls between Tavares and Eustis, a pairing of the Golden Triangle and the “Golden Age” of travel. Daytime rides, dinner trains, morning brunches, and theatrical presentations—

including “The Wizard of Oz”—are all part of the railway that is reminiscent of the streamlined passenger trains that once served Florida. Tavares also continues to capitalize on its branding as “America’s Seaplane City.” On any given day, visitors to Lake Dora can look skyward and see seaplanes taking off or splashing down upon arrival. Wooton Park and Pavilion on the Lake host dozens of events and special occasions, including weddings, barbecues, dragon boat races, and professional personal watercraft competitions.

YA L A H A Population: 1,044 Size: 14.5 square miles

Two namesake businesses are not only synonymous with Yalaha, they are known throughout Lake County: Yalaha Bakery and Yalaha Bootlegging Co., next door to each other on County Road 48. Yalaha Bakery has a German motif and serves German-style foods that draw rave reviews: bread, schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerbraten, Reubens, and desserts including pies and cakes with streusel and Bavarian cream. Yalaha Bootlegging Co. sells genuine moonshine and brandy, all made from certified organic blueberries grown on 13 acres at Blue Bayou Farms. The site includes a farmhouse kitchen, a greenhouse for vegetables, and a rustic country store that sells homemade

fruit pies, meat pies, produce, and cheese. The owners also offer tours, u-pick blueberries, and tastings of the moonshine, brandy, and other drinks. The town is known for other farms as well, such as Green Acres Fernery and Citrus on High Street, which offers u-pick blueberries each March and blackberries and peaches in April. YALAHA BOOTLEGGING CO.


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South Lake

CL ER M O NT • G ROV EL A N D • M A S COT TE • M I N N EO L A • M O NT V ER D E


9

NORTH SHORE

OR

ID

CR

CR 5 61

SR 33 FL

A’

S

TU

RN

PI

455

SOUTH L AKE

LAKE APOPKA

KE

US 27

SR 50

MONTVERDE

1 CR 56

MASCOTTE

LAKE MINNEOLA

MINNEOLA

SR 50

CLERMONT

GROVELAND

SR 50

LAKE MINNEHAHA

US

CR 5 6 1

SR

27

33 LAKE LOUISA

LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK

CR

South Lake County features lush rolling hills, a rare sight in Florida, and that gives the area its matchless beauty and outstanding topography. Add to that the Choice of Champions, Clermont, the pristine lakes, and inviting small towns—Groveland, Mascotte, Minneola, and Montverde—and you have an ideal destination for great fun.

561

CLERMONT

US 27

GREEN SWAMP WILDERNESS PRESERVE

Population: 33,5497 Size: 16.82 square miles

CR 4 74

FOUR CORNERS

Clermont is known as the Choice of Champions because of its international reputation as a training ground for elite athletes. The combination of beautiful lakes, challenging hills, and warm climate makes it a perfect place to train and compete. Home to the National Training Center, a 37,000-square-foot fitness facility with a track-and-field complex that includes a 400-meter outdoor track, Clermont has athletes coming from around the world. Many elite athletes, including Olympic hopefuls, train at the NTC. Clermont offers a beautiful 10-mile clay loop that has

become a mecca for runners, bicyclists, and those who love nature. Get away from the noise and traffic and run wild. Residents were pleased to learn that Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course in Lake Hiawatha Preserve is among the sites for the 2020 Amateur Disc Golf World Championships. Scott Davidoff, parks and recreation director, worked with Mark Janssen, president of Orlando Disc Golf Inc., on the application and bid. “When the city partnered with Lake County to create Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course, it was with the goal of being able to host local, statewide, national, and

LAKE MINNEOLA

LAKE LOUISA

TO L AKE COUNT Y •

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EXPLORE

international events,” Scott says. “The course has been a huge success for the city, and the feedback from the community has been phenomenal. As the Choice of Champions, there is no better place to host an event of this caliber, and we are looking forward to welcoming all of the athletes and spectators to showcase all that Clermont has to offer.” Located at 450 N. Lake Minneola Shores, the course has restrooms, and golf carts are welcomed. It’s the longest course in Florida, at about 9,000 feet, and offers 18 holes. Clermont is a hotbed for investment opportunities thanks to the implementation of the city’s award-winning master plan. City Manager Darren Gray says, “It was another amazing year

RAINBOW FAMILY RESTAURANT

in Clermont, the Choice of Champions. In the last year alone, we’ve brought Clermont to new heights, and together, we continue to move Clermont forward.” Clermont is located at the center point of the state’s underconstruction Coast-to-Coast Trail, 101 miles to the Gulf of Mexico and equal distance to the Atlantic Ocean, inviting ecotourists from across the globe to “Meet Us in the Middle.” Visitors can enjoy Lake Minneola and its freshwater beaches. The city also boasts 23 parks and 14 lakes within the city limits. Southern Hills Farms, a Central Florida U-pick blueberry farm, is a favorite among locals. Blueberry picking is conducted in April and May at 16651 Schofield Road.

MONTVERDE Population: 1,472 Size: 1.8 square miles

MASCOTTE Population: 5,401 Size: 11.38 square miles

Celebrating culture and community, Mascotte is located west of Groveland on State Road 50 and offers plenty to do and see. The Tedder/Thomas Civic Center playground has four lighted softball fields, a basketball court, soccer field, and swings. One of the town’s most popular mainstays is the Rainbow Restaurant. Opened in 1964, the restaurant provides diners with a home-style buffet that includes fried chicken, vegetables, and, of course, mashed potatoes and gravy. Another wonderful dining option is Tacos De Don Ramon, featuring authentic Mexican food. For exciting nightlife, be sure to visit The Breeze, where live music, drinks, and food await. Enjoy a great shopping experience at Jot Em Down, a popular retail store with antiques, shabby chic, primitives, home accent pieces, yard art, and much more.

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On the west shore of Lake Apopka, Montverde is 17 miles south of Tavares and 30 miles from Leesburg. The town takes pride in its rural character and easy-going lifestyle. There’s no shortage of celebrated athletes in South Lake County, and Montverde, a private boarding school, is home to its share. In fact, the girls varsity soccer team was 2019 state champions. The school, which celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2012, also is home to the Soccer Institute of Montverde Academy. Also nestled on the shores of Lake Apopka is Bella Collina, a golf club community situated among the rolling hills and best known for its luxurious, award-winning lakefront homes. It offers peaceful living just 30 minutes from Walt Disney World. Popular sites to see include Harper House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Truskett Park is an excellent venue to enjoy a family picnic and stunning views of Lake Apopka.

CARL E. DUNCAN TOWER


SOUTH L AKE

FOUR CORNERS Population: 26,116 Size: 50.1 square miles

GREEN MOUNTAIN SCENIC OVERLOOK

MINNEOLA Population: 10,470 Size: 10.34 square miles

Minneola proudly uses the Native American interpretation of the area, as the town’s name means “much water.” The town has received several accolades. First, the website niche.com ranked it as the best city in all of Lake County for millennials to live. Second, the AreaVibes website ranked Minneola as the most livable community in all of Lake and Sumter counties. The 17-acre Minneola Trailhead Park is a paradise for avid outdoor enthusiasts with a playground, basketball court, dog park, and pavilion. For health enthusiasts, the Minneola Recreation Department offers several activities, including an adult/senior walk program, belly dance classes, line dance classes, and adult floor hockey.

Four Corners was so named because it is the only community in Florida located in four counties—right at the quadripoint of Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties. It’s certainly a unique place to visit. Located north along U.S. Highway 27 to Lake Louisa State Park, south along the same highway to Heart of Florida Hospital, west to State Road 33, and east to Walt Disney World, it’s also known as Citrus Ridge. It’s home to Showcase of Citrus, where you can tour a 2,500-acre working citrus and cattle ranch on the world’s largest ATV, specifically designed for the terrain in the area. Showcase of Citrus is open every day of the year from 8am-7pm. There’s also

SHOWCASE OF CITRUS

a gem mine and a chance to pick Florida citrus in season. The nearby Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve is a place where visitors can enjoy natural Florida. It’s a favorite of master birders and those who enjoy exploring the rich plants and trees native to Florida. Please note, certain areas are off-limits during hunting season. See swfwmd.state.fl.us for information.

GROVELAND Population: 12,077 Size: 14.98 square miles

Between 2010 and 2014, Groveland enjoyed a growth rate of 15 percent, making it the fourth fastest-growing Florida city, according to the AreaVibes Growth Index. The city recently adopted a new brand, “City with Natural Charm.” The city hosts events such as a Christmas parade and movie nights with food trucks. Dining venues include Red Wing Restaurant, Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant, and Coyote Rojo 2. The Groveland Historical Museum is a wonderful way to learn of the town’s rich and colorful past. Veterans Park, used by Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 188, features a monument to Korean War veterans. Groveland is located in the southwestern corner of Lake County. This town is very scenic and home to Lake David Park, a wonderful venue for birdwatching and fishing. Groveland’s popular Fourth of July celebration, one of the biggest events of the year, is presented at Lake Catherine Blueberries on State Road 19.

RED WING RESTAURANT

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In the center of it all Business and tourism go hand-in-hand in Florida, and Leesburg offers the perfect place to grow your business. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Location, location, location is the business cliché and Leesburg has been the center of commerce in the heart of Florida for more than a century. The city is ideally located immediately northwest of Orlando and within easy proximity to Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. Leesburg is a diverse business and residential community with 23,000 residents nestled among the Harris Chain of Lakes with a pleasant average annual temperature of 71 degrees. The area attracts 50,000 people to work each weekday with a large hospital and medical office community, a regional shopping mall, growing industrial development and aviation-related businesses at the city airport. Workforce training is provided through Lake-Sumter State College and the University of Central Florida in Leesburg as well as Lake Technical Center in nearby Eustis. The area is intersected by major highways including U.S. Highways 27 and 441 and Florida’s Turnpike, which connects locally to Interstate 75. Florida Central Railroad is a few miles away. Leesburg International Airport features an office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, which allows for international flights to be inspected and cleared here in the city. Leesburg offers fast and efficient, single-point access to government services — a big benefit to get your project started quickly and smoothly. A full complement of utilities includes electric, water, wastewater, treated re-use for irrigation and natural gas. The city also provides solid

DOWNTOWN LEESBURG

CITY OF LEESBURG GATEWAY

waste and recycling collection. Economic development and tax incentives are available to businesses that create highpaying jobs. Florida has no state tax and tax advantages are available to make your business dollars go further. Leesburg’s leadership is looking toward the future with additions to the local budget, capital improvements and an emphasis on

For more information about the City of Leesburg, call Michael Rankin at 352.728-9786 ext. 1100 or visit leesburgflorida.gov

economic development that includes grants to encourage businesses to update their façade, signage, and landscaping. These are small changes that can be big for business and money is available to help business owners make the changes. Quality of life for residents is also an integral of planning for the city’s future. The renaissance of Venetian Gardens, the “Gem of the City” is well underway with completion of a splash pad, state-of-the-art Kids Korner playground, covered pavilions and enhancements to the Ski Beach area including a walking trail and boat ramp. Construction of a new community center is ongoing and plans for a lakeside restaurant are in the works. Events including the Mardi Gras Party in the Street, Fine Art Festival, Leesburg Bikefest, 4th of July celebration, Food Truck-n-Flick Nights and fishing tournaments draw thousands of visitors to the City each year. Moreover the Leesburg City Commission is in the process of developing a new Downtown Master Plan which seeks to preserve the full southern ambiance of Leesburg’s historic business district. With residents, city leadership, and progressive plans well underway, Leesburg is headed to a great future filled with partnerships, performance and progress.


Hidden gems Lake County has more than 1,000 lakes with activities and attractions to keep you busy for days. However, there are many others places to enjoy a day of fun, a quiet hike, great places for kids and animals, history and historical buildings, along with the joys of Real Florida. Real Close. Lake County can keep you treasure hunting as you search for its many hidden gems.


PINE AND DA N DY

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PINE MEADOWS CONSERVATION AREA

ine Meadows Conservation Area opened with great fanfare earlier this year. It has six miles of hiking trails, including a dog-friendly loop trail, that let you walk in the heart of nature—wetlands, pine flat woods, and open water. Avid birders should know there are 120 bird species in the area. However, it’s also a great place to enjoy any outdoor activity including picnic facilities, a launch for canoes and kayaks, a gravel boat ramp, and restrooms. Centrally located between Trout Lake Nature Center and Lake May Reserve, it may eventually be part of a trail system that links the three places. It’s easy to find at 2280 Pine Meadows Golf Course Road in Eustis.

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MAKING THE SCENE

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reen Mountain nature site is a gateway to adventure. Many visitors may not realize Florida has “mountains.” They’re not big, but one mountain in southeast Lake County is a great spot for hikers and nature lovers to observe wildlife, cyclists to venture out on a scenic ride, and visitors to soak in beautiful panoramic views of wooded landscape, Lake Apopka, and the Orlando skyline in the distance. Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead opened in 2014 at 20700 County Road 455 in Montverde. Situated just west of Lake Apopka, the site features

a three-story observation tower with a 130-foot boardwalk, and a picnic pavilion. The tower overlooks the lake’s North Shore Restoration Area from 132 feet above sea level, and the trailhead leads to the 18-mile Lake Apopka Loop Trail. The site also is home to dozens of species of butterflies and birds, including bald eagles, short-tailed hawks, swallowtailed kites, and songbirds, as well as thousands of native plants. In addition to birdwatching, recreational opportunities include hiking, biking, picnicking, and family gatherings. The roads make this part of Lake County a destination for cyclists from

all over the country, says Bryan Davis, owner of the Trek Bicycle Store of Clermont and an avid cyclist in the area since 1989. The overlook is located along the Green Mountain Scenic Byway, which begins at the intersection of County Roads 455 and 561 and winds south through a hilly region that poses a stiff challenge to cyclists. One road, for example, leads to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, which is the highest point on peninsular Florida at 312 feet above sea level, according to greenmountainbyway.org. As the western gateway to the Lake Apopka Loop Trail, the Green Mountain

GREEN MOUNTAIN SCENIC OVERLOOK


IT’S WORTH THE TRIP overlook is gaining popularity as a starting and stopping point for participants in other outdoor activities as well, Bryan says. The trail is mostly made of limestone, hard-packed clay, and engineered trails that are suitable for runners, walkers, hikers, mountain bikers, and gravel bike riders. Bryan says he enjoys the scenic ride along a trail that’s loaded with wildlife and birds. Together the overlook and trail provide visitors with a place of tranquility. “Green Mountain overlook is just going to blossom as far as the popularity as that Lake Apopka Loop Trail continues to grow and is sought out by more and more people,” he says.

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evisit the ’60s at Mystic Ice Cream. Mystic Ice Cream poses so many choices. How do you choose from 30 to 40 flavors? Do you want to have some fun with alcohol-flavored ice cream? Maybe you want to enjoy music and trivia nights or play board games and socialize. You could make an evening out of just exploring the unique decor. Owner Jeff Markow has created a trippy little ice cream parlor and lounge that serves up a little bit of everything. Patrons are greeted by classic 45s (remember those?), album covers, posters, and photos from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s lining the walls (and restrooms). The motif leans heavily toward the Beatles and lava lamps, as well as posters for movies such as “The Godfather” and “Casablanca.” The homemade frozen desserts—adult varieties with alcohol and non-alcoholic varieties—contain cookies, candy, fruits, pies, chocolates, fudge, vanilla, and other treats. The addition of drinks and liqueurs produces flavors such as Kahlua Fudge, Rum Raisin, Razzleberry, and more. Nightly events include karaoke Tuesday and Friday, Name that Tune on Wednesday, trivia on Thursday, music and dancing each Saturday, and Thank God We Made It Another Week parties each Sunday. Mystic Ice Cream, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is located at 1217 W. Miller St. (County Road 466A) in Fruitland Park. Hours are 6-10pm Tuesday-Sunday; closed Monday.

GREEN MOUNTAIN SCENIC OVERLOOK

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FOLLOW THE ‘RUBY BRICK ROAD’

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he “Ruby Brick Road” will take you through the newly revamped area of Tavares on the shores of beautiful Lake Dora. Not only is Ruby Street a great place to stroll, you also can watch seaplanes take off or see boats and Jet Skis that provide all the fun of a day at the races. Ruby Street has been paved with ruby-red bricks as part of the Ruby Street Stormwater and Beautification project and is luring more people to enjoy the shops and restaurants that surround it. The colorful road was hand-laid by skilled craftsmen. A great collection of restaurants offers whatever you might like: great seafood, a delicious burger, or pub food. There’s also a very nice picnic pavilion to enjoy a meal with family with a great playground nearby for the kids.

ECOTOURISM MAKES ITS MARK

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nother part of the beautification project is the Tavares Ecological Park. The eight-acre park off Sinclair Avenue has wonderful walkways that wind around and through ponds. All this beauty makes up the state-of-the-art stormwater treatment area for Tavares. While everyone enjoys the lovely landscaped green space, it actually filters pollutants that would go into the sparkling waters of Lake Dora. The park has inviting ponds and wooden bridges, floating flower and fauna mats, which are bee mats that help remove pollutants. Hikers and walkers will love the scenic beauty while others will enjoy the activity and excitement on the Lake Dora’s shores. “This is an awesome eco park that provides a wonderful lakefront venue and a state-of-the-art stormwater treatment system,” says Phillip Clark, director of utilities for Tavares. “The park connects the west side of downtown to the east side of downtown, making it more convenient for pedestrians to enjoy our beautiful lake views, as well as all the wonderful businesses located downtown.”

RUBY STREET

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LOOK FOR THE BIG ORANGE!

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ranges, along with beaches, theme parks, alligators, and sunshine, have always been the symbol of Florida. Sunsational Citrus in Umatilla is keeping that tradition alive with the Big Orange. In 2012, the late Nick Frayna and his wife, Sharon, bought the historic orange from a friend who, like them, wanted to preserve the heritage of citrus in Lake County. Nick was a thirdgeneration citrus grower and it’s still a family business. A complete restoration was done and the Big Orange is now on display outside Sunsational’s citrus and gift shop. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The shop not only sells fruit but has citrus memorabilia acquired through the years as decor. Fresh fruit is available during season and can be shipped as gifts. The shop also has local honey, jelly, candies, and delightful novelty items like old Florida souvenirs along with fresh-squeezed orange juice, Florida wines, and chocolate. On hot summer days, there’s little that tastes better than soft-serve ice cream in a variety of flavors that can be twisted with vanilla. Or you can try the flavored shaved ice, which includes the popular flavors of blue raspberry, cotton candy, and watermelon. Visit the Big Orange and the store at 700 N. Central Ave., Umatilla, or call 352.771.2013 or toll-free at 866.354.7696 for out-ofstate orders.

A W O R L D A W AY

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innie the Pooh may have had Hundred Acre Woods, but Clermont has the scenic and exciting Lake Louisa State Park. The 4,500-acre park offers an array of outdoor activities and a resort for any occasion. The lakes, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes make it the perfect place for those who enjoy being outdoors. In addition to swimming, picnicking, and barbecuing, the park offers guided tours, kayak tours, hikes, and equipment rentals. Want a little bit of luxury while you’re sleeping under the stars? Try glamping, which is glamorous camping. This means you get a fully furnished, luxury bell tent that is air-conditioned, waterproof, and furnished like home with a comfortable bed. Like a hotel room, it includes towels, a coffee maker, a seating area, and the all-important devicecharging station. There’s also traditional, rustic camping, featuring 60 sites with water, electricity, and convenient bathhouses nearby. Laundry and vending services are available 24 hours.

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SUNSATIONAL CITRUS

iscover a new, exciting sport at JetSurf Academy Orlando. It’s a surfboard. It’s a Jet Ski. It’s a surfboard and a Jet Ski. Visitors to Lake County who want to experience an extreme watersports adventure can discover something new and different at JetSurf Academy Orlando. Instilled with the motto “Born for fun,” the academy opened in 2018 on Sawgrass Lake at Clermont Watersports Complex, 6010 Cook Road. JetSurf boards are small motorized surfboards that resemble a combination of snowboards and Jet Skis. JetSurfers stand up with their feet strapped into the boards and use their “trigger finger” on a handheld control to operate the throttle and reach speeds up to 36 mph. They turn and “carve” the board just as they would a wakeboard, surfboard, or snowboard. The sport combines the thrills of surfing and wakeboarding, but JetSurfers control their own ride without the need for waves or boats. For experienced racers, the academy also has a permanent course, similar to motocross, marked with buoys on the lake.


In addition, there are cabins, equestrian camping, and primitive campsites for large groups. The park is also a great place for a day away where you can spend time on the water, walking or riding under the shade on woodsy trails, or just relaxing by the lake. If you’re planning a special event, corporate retreat, or family reunion, consider Lake Louisa Events & Resort, a 54-acre site opened last year. Owners David and Sherri Canther found a mansion in foreclosure on Lake Louisa and gave it a stunning makeover. The resort adjoins the park and shares its picturesque views and amazing sunsets. Reservations are made through the park’s website at lakelouisastatepark.com. Play for the day or come to stay at Lake Louisa State Park, 7305 U.S. Highway 27, Clermont; 352.394.3969 (ranger station) or 352.503.4489 (park). It’s open year-round, weather permitting, from 10am-4pm.

LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK

JETSURF ACADEMY ORLANDO

“It’s just a great feeling of freedom and exhilaration,” says Cliff Huff, co-founder and general manager of JetSurf Orlando. The boards are powered by a small gas engine (electric versions are also made) and the carbon fiber hulls are sleek and light. The whole unit weighs about 40 pounds and can be put in a travel bag, Cliff says. JetSurfers can ride for 45-60 minutes on a tank of gas—and it’s a workout. “It’s a great exercise and it’s just a whole lot of fun,” he says. JetSurf Orlando offers “discovery” lessons and instruction for riders of all skill levels. Lessons cost $159 an hour, with 15 minutes of instruction on land and 45 minutes of fun on the water. The facility books reservations for lessons, as well as day passes for surfers who have boards or visitors who need rental boards, at jetsurforlando.com. Clermont Watersports Complex, in an idyllic natural setting, also provides paddleboard and kayak rentals, a wakeboarding boat, fishing and boating passes, and watersports instruction. With these additional activities, JetSurf Orlando is targeting the Central Florida tourism market. “We’re well aware that people come to Disney and stay in the area five, six, seven, eight days, and they’re looking for things to do outside the park, and we want to be a destination for those families,” Cliff says. “Our goal is to get the entire family out and have something for everyone to do.”

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sweet blend A

Lake County brewers and farmers team up for craft beer. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

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ans of craft beer love to try new, unique flavors, like oatmeal and blueberries, oranges and coriander, sweet and spicy. Visitors who want to sample the flavors of Lake County can enjoy a cold one that’s locally brewed and infused with locally grown ingredients. In a time when many restaurants promote “farm-to-table” foods, craft brewers have a “farm-to-bottle” arrangement with county farms that provide organic products for specialty beers. These cross-promotions build relationships and create positive word-ofmouth for county businesses. Lake County is home to several craft breweries and several more are in the works. The increase in new sites coincides with the growing popularity of craft beer. For example, more than 900 tickets were sold for the 2018 Leesburg Craft Beer, Wine, and Food Festival, an annual event staged in November. Wolf Branch Brewing Company, opened in 2018 in downtown Eustis, hand-crafts Old World-style beer infused with modern tastes. Co-founder and master brewer Jose Villafana Jr. is a graduate of the World Brewing Academy. Wolf Branch’s flagship beer, Season, is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale brewed with

grapefruit in a nod to the citrus-growing history of Lake County. The brewery describes Season as dry and crisp, yet packed with spicy, peppery, and grapefruit zest notes that make for a drinkable beer. “We use local ingredients like the blueberries at Far Reach Ranch, citrus from Graham’s U-pick in Umatilla, peaches from Mike Straughan’s grove in Umatilla, strawberries from Oak Haven Farms in Sorrento, and peppers from Over the Hill Farms in Eustis,” Jose says. Far Reach Ranch is a blueberry farm near State Road 19 and County Road 561 in Tavares. Brennan Hamill, part of the family that has owned the farm since the 1940s, says the business partnered with Wolf Branch as a way to interact more with the public. “A cross-promotion with a brewery seemed like a cool idea,” Brennan says. “They said, ‘Let’s do a blueberry beer,’ and I said, ‘I’d love to do a beer with you guys, too.’” The first batch of Blueberry Oatmeal Brown Ale


rolled out in November 2018, and the partners are planning to produce a new seasonal blueberry-infused beer every three months, he says. The proposed brew for spring 2019 is Black & Blue Blond, which is black rum with blueberries in a blonde ale. “I just like Jose and his people over there. They’re just awesome,” Brennan says. “Right now, I feel like Wolf Branch is my home brewery. We like what they do and we like the environment.” King Grove Organic Farm in Eustis sells organic blueberries to Mount Dora Brewing for a blueberry beer described as “tart and refreshing,” and also sells to Central 28 Beer Company in DeBary. Mount Dora Brewing, also known as Rocking Rabbit Brewery, uses organic ingredients in its craft beers, including Dora Drawdy Drool, a blend of red and blond ales that combines brown sugar and caramel

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malt; and Rocking Rabbit Red Ale, a sweet beer made of organic grains and orange blossom honey. The benefit for King Grove is not so much financial as promotional, such as emphasizing “local” in the local economy, say owners Hugh and Lisa Kent. “We like to support it any way we can,” Hugh says. “And they reciprocate by saying their beer is made with organic blueberries in their marketing.” Crescent Lake Brewing, a home-based operation, has produced beers using blueberries and honey from Lake Catherine Blueberries. Both are Clermont businesses, and a partnership appealed to Jamie Lowe, who coowns the farm with her husband, Dustin. “We are a local, familyowned business, so we are all about partnering with other local businesses,” she says. “Blueberries are a specialty crop, and once they’re pulled

and packaged, they go to Manhattan, so to keep them local is very nice to see.” Lake Catherine Blueberries also is in discussions for a deal with Clermont Brewing Co., which is expected to open in 2019. Another Clermont brewer, Suncreek Brewery, was poised to start brewing in spring 2019 and was considering local ingredients, general manager John Rink says. In addition, owners of the 24 Tap Room in Leesburg are expanding the existing facility to create another new brewhouse, Mammoth Oak Brewery. Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room in Leesburg also uses fresh fruits from local vendors and grains from the Vintner’s Choice, a Leesburg supply company, says brewmaster Todd Nystrand. Among his creations are Raspberry Wheat, a light and smooth brew with just the right amount of raspberry flavor, and White Wheat, made with Belgian-style

yeast, sweet orange peels, and coriander, an aromatic herb. As craft breweries flourish, Lake County farms are adding the specialty ingredients to a batch of new tastes for beer lovers.

JOSE VILLAFANA, JR WOLF BRANCH BREWING CO.


LOCAL BREWERIES A N D TA P ROOMS SERVING CRAFT BEERS Brü Tap House 143 E. Main St., Tavares 352.508.9321 Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W. Desoto, Clermont 321.430.BEER (2337) MOUNT DORA BREWING

Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg 352.474.2739 Mermaid Juice 458 N. Highland St., Mount Dora 352.556.1030 Mount Dora Brewing/ Rocking Rabbit Brewery 405 S. Highland St., Mount Dora 352.735.1111 Suncreek Brewery 790 W. Minneola Ave., Clermont 407.850.8810 Wolf Branch Brewing Company 119 N. Bay St., Eustis 352.602.4564

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Birds of a feather Lake County is an ideal destination for flocks of birdwatchers. STORY: JAMES COMBS


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inoculars? Check. Bird-identifying field guide? Got it. Checklist to record what you see? Already handled. Smartphone to snap photos? Done. Great. Now, it’s time to partake in one of the country’s fastest-growing hobbies. Approximately 48 million Americans are birdwatchers, or birders, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And it’s no longer just a leisurely hobby for retired people. Today, youthful birders are using mobile apps such as eBird to upload photos and record data. Simply put, there are many reasons for people of all ages to enjoy this hobby.

FERNDALE PRESERVE

The thrill of the chase. The companionship of fellow birders. The intrigue of cataloging the world of birds around them. After a while, seasoned birders are able to distinguish between various species not only by observing their physical markings but also through learning their calls and songs. Lake County’s state parks, county parks, city parks, and preserves offer hundreds of miles of outdoor walking trails, providing birders with ample opportunities to see their favorite species and also find that one elusive, rare bird. Even better, more and more

local activities are centered around birding. The North Shore Birding Festival, held in January near Lake Apopka in Mount Dora, features various field trips and presentations from notable birders. Trout Lake Nature Center in Eustis offers a Birding 4 Kids program to introduce youngsters to the hobby, while the Ocklawaha Valley Audubon Society hosts educational programs and occasional field trips. Clubs take monthly trips to birding venues around Lake County. It’s little wonder why James Currie, host of the popular television show “Birding Adventures,” offered glowing praise to Lake County’s birding culture. He has made appearances at the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail and other birding venues. “Lake County is one of the premier birding locations in Florida, and with such hotspots as Lake Apopka and Emeralda Marsh, the county is sure to continue to deliver many rare and unusual sightings for many years to come,” he said in 2015. THE FLORIDA S C R U B - J AY T R A I L

Clermont resident Cathy Brown likens birding to a treasure hunt “because you never know what you are going to find.” Cathy should know. In 1996, she and her husband, Bruce, left behind television production careers at Walt Disney World to immerse themselves in the Clermont countryside and open BB

Brown’s Gardens. As they explored their 15-acre property, a gray-and-blue bird roughly the size of a mockingbird landed on Cathy’s hand. “It flew stealth-like through the air and came right to me,” Cathy recalls. “I had never seen such a beautiful shade of blue on a bird like that. It was love at first sight.” That bird was a Florida scrub-jay, which is the only species to live exclusively in Florida and was listed federally as threatened in 1987. Realizing that a family— two adults and three babies— was living on their property, the Browns decided to take the birds under their wings. They cleared out invasive plants and replaced them with scrub oaks, the natural habitat for this species. They also created a trail system and opened it to the public in 2003. It is affectionately named the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail. Today, birding enthusiasts from far away as England, Germany, Japan, and Canada visit the 15-acre property to view this elusive, rare species whose estimated population

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“That’s because there are no bugs to eat during the winter.” Of course, Florida scrub-jays are not the only birds found on the property. The trail is home to 135 other species, including painted buntings, warblers, herons, sandhill cranes, Carolina chickadees, redbellied woodpeckers, and purple martins. The Browns offer formal tours the first Saturday of each month. They also host educational programs for adults, as well as Eagle Scouts, Boy Scouts, and local schoolchildren. “For us, it is important that people of all ages are educated about the Florida scrub-jay and learn how to maintain the right habitat so these

is 4,000, according to Partners in Flight, a national organization focusing on land bird conservation. “Visitors are so delighted when one of our Florida scrubjays land on their arms or shoulders,” Cathy says. “They are very inquisitive birds and want to know who we are.” Along the trail are clusters of stubby scrub oaks no taller than 10 feet. Acorns that fall from the scrub oaks provide a wonderful diet for the Florida scrub-jay. “Each bird will hide as many as 8,000 acorns in the sand to use as a food source during winter,” Bruce says.

magnificent birds can thrive,” Cathy says. A B I R D I N G PA R A D I S E

Ken Uslabar is a resident of The Villages and a member of The Village Birders. He has enjoyed the hobby in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. However, he appreciates Lake County for its amazingly diverse range of species and habitats. “In February 2019 alone, I have seen 71 species in Lake County,” he says. “This county allows you to enjoy birding in lots of different environments: marshes, wetlands, hardwood hammocks, oak forests, and many others.” His favorite local birding destinations include Pine Meadows Conservation Area in Eustis, Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, the Tavares Nature Park, and Venetian

Gardens in Leesburg. He never grows tired of seeing the tufted titmouse, a bird known for its distinct whistle, “peter-peter-peter.” For anyone thinking of becoming a birder, Ken strongly recommends joining a local club. “Clubs will have experienced birders who know where the good spots are,” he says. “They will also be more than willing to help get you started in the hobby and share their knowledge.”

L A K E C O U N T Y ’ S P O P U L A R B I R D I N G D E S T I N AT I O N S

Bourlay Historic Nature Park 700 N. Canal St., Leesburg Crooked River Preserve Lake Louisa Road, Clermont Emeralda Marsh 38000 Emeralda Island Road, Leesburg Ferndale Preserve 19220 CR 455, Ferndale Flat Island Preserve 2301 Owens Road, Leesburg

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Florida Scrub-Jay Trail 11490 Montevista Road, Clermont

Lake Louisa State Park 7305 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont

Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead 20700 County Road 455, Montverde

Lake Norris Conservation Area Lake Norris Road, Eustis

Hidden Waters Preserve 2010 Abrams Road, Eustis Lake Apopka North Shore Clay Island Trail 22526 Carolyn Lane, Astatula

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Marsh Park and Boat Ramp 36545 Yale Retreat Road, Eustis Ocala National Forest, Seminole Ranger District 40929 SR 19, Umatilla

Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR Park) 5336 University Ave., Leesburg Sabal Bluff Preserve 1201 Leesburg Mobile Road, Leesburg Sarah Maude Mason Nature Walk Off Lakeshore Drive and Buckhill Road, Howey-in-the-Hills

Sawgrass Island Preserve 12050 Sawgrass Island Road, Umatilla Tavares Nature Park 1551 Milwaukee Ave., Tavares Trout Lake Nature Center 520 E. CR 44, Eustis Venetian Gardens 109 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg


WHERE FISH TALES AREN’T EXAGGERATED Lake County, Florida’s Best Bass Fishing

“The Harris Chain of Lakes is a big bass factory. I know I have the opportunity to catch a 10-pounder on every cast. Fishing in Lake County is a must for every bass angler’s bucket list!” — Tim Frederick, FLW Tour Angler To plan your next fishing trip visit: www.LakeBigBass.com/Welcome

TOP 6

MUST-FISH LOCATIONS:

Lake Eustis Lake Harris Lake Griffin Johns Lake Lake Dora St. Johns River


Lake County farmers provide tasty meals made from fresh bounty. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

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hose seeking a true farm-to-table experience will delight in visiting Bountiful’s Bistro at 27314 County Road 33 in Okahumpka. The bistro offers serene al fresco dining underneath a massive, centuries-old oak tree that provides great shade for diners to enjoy an array of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and daily specials. The menu is bound to delight foodies. It features the fresh organic produce harvested daily from Bountiful Farms, located on the same property as the seasonal outdoor restaurant. For starters, guests can order fresh corn chips and heirloom tomato salsa. Sweet potato fries with cinnamon roasted pecans and vanilla yogurt sauce is another offering. “This is the closest you can get to farm-to-table,” says Jessica Gentry, who owns the farm and bistro with her husband, Gareth. “There are other restaurants who support us and buy from us and sell products in their kitchens, but this is daily picked, daily cooked.” The Gentrys were chefs before they decided they wanted to grow safe, healthy food and help people understand how food can be the medication a body needs for wholesome healing. The farm belonged to Gareth’s grandfather, and the family now lives in his

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former home. The bistro, which debuted in December 2018, is open from 11am-3pm WednesdaySaturday from October to Memorial Day. Reservations are requested, but not required. “Everybody seems to really love it,” Jessica says. “We’ve gotten great reviews and repeat customers, people bringing their families, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is calming and relaxing. We just want people to come off their porch and sit on ours and just enjoy the farm.” Eventually, Jessica hopes to have families come out to the farm with their children, go out and pick their food, bring it in, and have it cooked for their meal. “It’s going to be an evolution of the restaurant to get families involved in farming and know what it is,” she says. “Our concept is everybody wants really good, homegrown, home-cooked food.” The farm also is a place where people can buy the

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farm’s organic vegetables, fresh eggs, honey on tap, and tinctures made with the pure, organic items—all at a little store on the property. The Gentrys keep busy to provide fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs to the farm’s 125 local communitysupported agriculture (CSA) members, residents, and restaurants. CSA members purchase shares of the farm’s crops, which guarantees them a weekly “bounty” of vegetables. “It’s basically a guarantee you’re going to get our crops. No one gets their produce until the members have theirs,” Jessica says. The farm constantly produces from September until June; in July and August, they till and replenish the land to begin growing again. “We have over 15,000 seedlings in the greenhouses ready to go at any time,”

Jessica says. “We grow over 120 varieties of produce, so when our varieties start coming in, we’ll have anywhere from 30 to 50 types of foods to choose from here on any given day. We do it on the squarefoot gardening technique, so every square foot is taken up with food. There’s very little space to walk and no room for tractors. We pull weeds and we use a scrapper hoe.” In addition to the vegetables, the Gentrys grow blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, depending on the season, and it’s all “weather permitting.” The farm’s 300 chickens, who live in a 3,000-square-foot chicken coop, eat the garden leftovers and are given an organic layer mash poultry feed. Fresh eggs are available in the store every day.

SCOTT’S COUNTRY CAFÉ

Long & Scott Farms, 26216 County Road 448A, Mount Dora, offers tasty foods from the field right to the tables of Scott’s Country Café on the farm’s grounds. The café features a farm-fresh breakfast and lunch specials. Zellwood sweet corn chowder is the farm’s signature dish, made with

fresh Zellwood sweet corn, potatoes, onion, red pepper, and bacon. “Once people taste for themselves, they realize fresh tastes a whole lot better,” says Rebecca Scott Ryan, whose late father, Hank Scott, started the farm in 1963 with his childhood friend Billy Long. “People just love the food because it’s fresh and they love how it’s fixed,” she says. “They probably haven’t had it like that before or haven’t realized how much better it tastes when food is fresh off the farm.” The café is open 9am-3pm Tuesday-Saturday, and noon-4pm Sunday during the spring season from April 23-June 15, and in the fall from Sept. 24-Dec. 14. The café is adjacent to Scott’s Country Market, where a wide array of produce, dressings, jams, and Florida specialty items are available. The most popular item is Scott’s Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. The farm also provides family fun with Scott’s Maze Adventures park, which features a seven-acre corn maze, jumping pillow, zip line, super slide, and more. It’s open to the public during weekends in the fall and a few special events and private parties throughout the year. The farm is a place for visitors of all ages to savor the outdoors. “A lot of people were raised on a farm, and they have been away from it for so long that it takes them back to their childhood,” Rebecca says.


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Make yourself at home For visitors to Lake County who want to see Real Florida, places to stay are Real Close. With a range of accommodations that includes high-end hotels, family-friendly inns, bed-and-breakfasts, vacation rentals, and cabins in the great outdoors, Lake County makes visitors feel comfortable. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile.

MISSION INN RESORT & CLUB

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S TAY

LAKESIDE INN


Hotels and resorts Whether visitors are looking for luxury and pampering or affordable, familyfriendly accommodations, the hotels and resorts in beautiful Lake County are part of a landscape that includes lakefront views and watersports, golf courses and spas, and popular attractions and fine dining. Angelina Lakeside Inn 21726 U.S. Hwy. 27, Leesburg 352.787.8876

FairďŹ eld Inn & Suites 1750 Hunt Trace Blvd., Clermont 352.394.6585

Best Western Plus Chain of Lakes Inn & Suites 1321 N. 14th St., Leesburg 352.460.0118

Fox Den Country Inn 27 S. Central Ave., Umatilla 352.669.2151

Budget Lodge 18730 U.S. Hwy. 441, Mount Dora 352.383.2181 The Castaways on the River 25130 Blackwater Lane, Astor 352.759.3422 Comfort Inn & Suites 1380 E. Burleigh Blvd., Tavares 352.253.2378 Crown Club Inn by Exploria Resorts 105 Summer Bay Blvd., Clermont 855.849.2205 Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham 20390 N. U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.429.0483

Grand Oaks Resort 3000 Marion County Road, Weirsdale 352.750.5500 Groveland Motel 896 E. Myers Blvd., Mascotte 352.429.2655 Hampton Inn & Suites 2200 E. SR 50, Clermont 352.536.6600 Hampton Inn 9630 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg 352.315.1053 Hampton Inn 19700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Mount Dora 352.383.4267 Holiday Inn Express 1810 U.S Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.243.7878

Holiday Inn Express & Suites 3601 W. Burleigh Blvd., Tavares 352.742.1600 Home2 Suites By Hilton 11450 Champions Court Clermont 352.227.2900 Inn on the Green 700 E. Burleigh Blvd., Tavares 877.220.2687 Key West Resort on Lake Dora 199 W. Ruby St., Tavares 352.508.5344 KH Ranch Resort 18604 Demko Road, Altoona 321.356.3754 Lake Louisa Villa Events & Resort 11450 Nellie Oaks Bend, Clermont 407.625.4655

Maison en Ville 644 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora 352.385.3919 Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Lady Lake 850 S. U.S. Hwy 27/441, Lady Lake 352.561.8038 Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Leesburg 9700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg 352.315.1234 Mission Inn Resort & Club 10400 CR 48, Howey-in-the-Hills 800.874.9053 Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria Resorts 17805 U.S. Hwy. 192, Clermont 855.849.2205 Villa Lagoon Inn 1051 Lake Shore Blvd., Tavares 352.343.3377

Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St., Mount Dora 800.556.5016

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B&Bs and vacation homes For a home away from home, Lake County offers cozy bed-and-breakfast inns and spacious rental houses for the perfect vacation site. Visitors can enjoy all the great sights and activities in the area, and then come “home” at the end of the day. 60 •

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MOUNT DORA HISTORIC INN & COTTAGES

Adora Inn 610 N. Tremain St., Mount Dora 352.735.3110 adorainn.com Astor’s Floridian Inn 55336 Claire St., Astor 352.759.3395 facebook.com/ astorsfloridianinn


Cara Mia Cottages 220 N. Baker St., 225 N. Tremain St.,and 244 E. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora 727.809.1360 caramiacottages.com Christopher’s Inn 539 Liberty Ave., Mount Dora 352.383.2244 christophersinn.net Cinnamon Inn 7241 Lake Ola Drive, Mount Dora 352.383.6541 thecinnamoninn.com Coconut Cottage Inn 1027 McDonald St., Mount Dora 352.383.2627 facebook.com/pages/coconutcottage-inn/113548782011338 Farnsworth House 1029 E. 5th Ave., Mount Dora 352.409.0330 farnsworthhousebb.com Grandview 442 E. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora 352.383.4440 grandviewbb.net Heron Cay Lakeview B&B Inn 495 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441, Mount Dora 352.383.4050 heroncay.com

Moss Gate 210 Rose St., Umatilla 352.669.3557 umatillachamber.org/mossgate

Fox Den Country Inn 27 S. Central Ave., Umatilla 352.669.2151 foxdencountryinn.com

Mount Dora Historic Inn and Cottages 221 E. 4th Ave., Mount Dora 352.735.1212 or 1.800.927.6344 mountdorahistoricinn.com

IPG Florida Vacation Homes 9550 U.S. Hwy. 192, Clermont 863.547.1050 ipgflorida.com

Simpson’s Bed & Breakfast 441 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora 352.383.2087 simpsonsbnb.com

Our Florida Concierge 10018 CR 561, Clermont 863.420.4092 ourfloridaconcierge.com

VA C AT I O N R E N TA L S

The Sweet Escape 11207 Guilford Road, Minneola 352.978.8730

Award Vacation Homes 1536 Sunrise Plaza Drive, #100, Clermont 800.338.0835 contempovacationhomes.com

Swiss Vacation Houses 13114 Skiing Paradise Blvd., Clermont 352.429.2178 swissvacationhouses.com

Bella Vista Golf & Yacht Club (semi-private) 26935 Bella Vista Drive, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.3233

Tremain Street Cottages 615 N. Tremain St., Mount Dora 352.638.0257 tremainstreetcottages.com

Clermont Cabanas 875 W. Osceola St., Clermont 352.978.5856 clermontcabanas.com

Vacation Village Resort 10301 US Highway 27, Clermont 352-394-4091 floridavacationvillage.com

CLERMONT CABANAS

Lake Minneola Inn & Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave., Minneola 352.394.0134 lakeminneolainn.com Le Petit Suite 1174 E. 5th Ave., Mount Dora 305.338.9931 lepetitsuite.com Lisa’s Cottages 32593 Lakeshore Drive, Mount Dora 561.613.5952

MOSS GATE B&B

Magnolia Inn 347 E. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora 352.735.3800 magnoliainn.net

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Campgrounds and cabins Lake County is home to numerous parks and campgrounds that give visitors the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of large cities or overcrowded theme parks and beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of rivers and lakes, the scenery of Spanish moss dangling from majestic oak trees, and the sights of birds and wildlife in their natural habitat.

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LAKE GRIFFIN STATE PARK


CAMPING

Alexander Springs Recreation Area In addition to a 67-unit trailer campground and sites for tents, campers can swim or canoe in the crystal-clear spring. Restroom and shower facilities available. 49525 CR 445, Altoona 352.669.3522 Astor Landing This campground, RV resort, and marina is on the banks of the St. Johns River and surrounded by the Ocala National Forest. Accommodations include a campground with full hookups, boat docks with water, sewer, and electric, a boat ramp on the river, a boat and RV storage yard, and a bathhouse with hot showers. 25934 Holmar Drive, Astor 352.759.2121 Clearwater Lake Campground This relaxing campground offers 42 tent spaces under shady oak trees and bathhouses with warm showers. Guests can hike nature trails, rent canoes, enjoy a kayak ride across the lake, or go mountain biking. 24511 CR 42, Paisley 1.877.444.6777 Lake Griffin State Park This 40-site campground allows visitors to canoe and kayak, hike nature trails, fish, and see one of the state’s largest and oldest live oak trees. 3089 U.S. Hwy. 441/27, Fruitland Park 352.360.6760 Ocala Forest Campground This family-friendly campground nestled in the picturesque Ocala National Forest offers excellent opportunities for fishing, hiking, and horseshoes. 26301 S.E. CR 42, Umatilla 352.669.3888 Wekiva Falls RV Resort More than 800 RV sites and 40 tent sites are available. Enjoy canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and a water park at the beautiful river locale. 30700 Wekiva River Road, Sorrento 352.269.6615

LAKE GRIFFIN STATE PARK

CABINS/VILLAS

Lake Harris Lodge The family-owned lodge features 10 one- and two-bedroom cottages and a 27-space RV park. Visitors can rent a boat for a day to fish or explore the beautiful Harris Chain of Lakes. 11924 Lane Park Road, Tavares 352.343.4111 Lake Louisa State Park Twenty cabins overlook picturesque Dixie Lake, plus there are 60 fullfacility campsites. Guests may view

wildlife, picnic, fish, kayak, and hike nature trails through the park’s 11 natural communities. 7305 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.394.3969

St. Johns River Campground Enjoy bass fishing on the St. Johns River, as well as shuffleboard, horseshoes, and a recreation hall for cookouts and bingo parties. Cabins that sleep four to nine guests are available, along with RV sites. 1520 SR 40, Astor 386.749.3995

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E X P L O R E • S TAY • P L AY • D I N E

Let’s play Playing a challenging game of golf. Kayaking down a river. Shopping for hardto-find antiques. Exploring art galleries brimming with creativity. Hiking in a subtropical forest filled with native Florida wildlife. Lake County is home to all of these fun-filled activities and many more. You’ll relish the rural charm, relaxed vibe, and diverse set of attractions.


P L AY

In full swing Do you have the “drive” to get out and experience Lake County’s 99 miles of fairways and greens? The county boasts 26 golf courses that are popular for both residents and tourists. The unique layouts—including tree-lined fairways, sweeping vistas, sloped greens, and strategically placed bunkers—will excite

and challenge novice and experienced golfers alike. Whether you’re looking for some leisure, beauty, or spirited competition, be sure to book those tee times and fine-tune your game on some—or all—of Lake County’s most beautiful golf courses. MISSION INN RESORT & CLUB - EL CAMPEÓN


CENTRAL

Arlington Ridge Golf Club 4,877 yards from front tees, 6,610 from back tees Rating: 71.2 with slope of 117 $$ Designed by pro Gary Koch. Lots of nuances on course featuring winding river and centuries-old oaks. 4463 Arlington Ridge Blvd., Leesburg 352.728.4660 arlingtonridgegolfclub.com The Club at Pennbrooke Fairways $$ Two executive nines and one regulation nine. 32900 Countryside Blvd., Leesburg 352.728.3200 pennbrooke.org Mission Inn Resort & Club – El Campeón 6,923 yards, par 72 Rating: 74.2 with slope of 135 $$$ One of the oldest courses in Florida (1917), 85 feet of elevation change breaks the mold of traditional flat Florida courses. Signature hole is No. 17, a par-5 double dogleg full of obstacles. 10400 CR 48, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.3885 missioninnresort.com Mission Inn Resort & Club – Las Colinas 6,867 yards, par 72 Rating: 73.3 with slope of 132

$$$ Nominated as Best New Resort Course and rated four stars by Golf Digest. Recognized as Top Fairways by Golf for Women. Plenty of water hazards. Signature hole is No. 12, a 493-yard, par-5 along a tree-lined fairway. 10400 CR 48, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.3885 missioninnresort.com Monarch at Royal Highlands 6,018 yards, par 72 Rating: 68.9 with slope of 119 $$ Member owned, semi-private course. Striking elevation changes and beautiful views. 5325 Saint Andrews, Leesburg 352.314.9000 monarchgolfclub.com

Plantation at Leesburg – Cranes Roost 6,005 yards, par 71 Rating: 68.0 with slope of 118 $$ Four tees challenge all skill levels. 4720 Plantation Blvd., Leesburg 352.365.0526 plantationleesburggolf.com Plantation at Leesburg – Otter Creek 6,264 yards, par 72 Rating: 70.0 with slope of 127 $$ Five tees challenge all skill levels. 4720 Plantation Blvd., Leesburg 352.365.0526 plantationleesburggolf.com

Key $ = $25 or less • $$ = $25-50 • $$$ = $50 or more

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P L AY

NORTHWEST

Harbor Hills Country Club 6,910 yards, par 72 Rating: 72.5 with slope of 126 $$ Rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. Spacious layout. Hilly terrain, like that in the southern part of the county, is challenging but not overly difficult. Harbor Hills has hosted numerous high school state playoff tournaments and National Golf Association tour events. 6583 Lake Griffin Road, Lady Lake 352.753.7000 harborhills.com Lakes of Lady Lake 4,174 yards, par 63 Rating: 59.3 with slope of 96 $ Good putting touch required on a course featuring elevation changes and water. 503 Canopy Lane, Lady Lake 352.750.4474 golf-fla.com Water Oak Country Club Estates 5,944 yards, par 72 Rating: 68.4 with slope of 117 $$ Situated among 300 acres of unique terrain and large oak trees with 14 tree-lined holes and emphasis on accuracy. 605 Hickory, Lady Lake 352.753.3905 wateroakcountryclub.com

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BLACK BEAR GOLF CLUB

Baytree Golf Course 3,752 yards, par 62 Rating: 57.8 with slope of 95 $$ 18-hole executive course opened in 1990. 129 Juniper Way, Tavares 352.343.7227 baytreegolf.com

Country Club of Mount Dora 6,571 yards, par 72 Rating: 72.1 with slope of 125 $$ Water comes into play on 16 holes. Raised greens present challenges. 1900 Country Club Blvd., Mount Dora 352.735.2263 ccofmtdora.com

Black Bear Golf Club 7,002 yards, par 72 Rating: 74.7 with slope of 134 $$ One of the premier championship layouts in Central Florida. P.B. Dye design worthy of seven U.S. Amateur Public Links tournaments. Practice facility boasts complete doubleended driving range and 40,000-square-foot shortgame area. 24505 Caluso Blvd., Eustis 352.357.4732 blackbeargolfclub.com

Deer Island Country Club 6,852 yards, par 72 Rating: 73.8 with slope of 133 $$ The course, which was designed by renowned architect Joe Lee, opened in 1994. In addition to experiencing 18 wonderful holes of golf, golfers enjoy beautiful views of Lake Dora and Lake Beauclair, as well as majestic magnolias and towering oak trees. 18000 Eagles Club House Way, Tavares 352.343.7550 deerislandcc.com

E A S T

Eagle Dunes Golf Club 7,024 yards, par 72 Rating: 73.7 with slope of 135 $$ 4-star rating by Golf Digest. Elevations and beautiful fairways. 24000 Marbella Drive., Sorrento 352.357.0123 eagledunes.com Mount Dora Golf Club 5,719 yards, par 70 Rating: 67.9 with slope of 114 $$ Opened in 1945. 1100 S. Highland St., Mount Dora 352.383.3954 mountdoragolf.com


Red Tail Golf Club 7,152 yards, par 72 $$ Located in Heathrow Country Estates. Private, non-equity course. 26026 Member Lane, Sorrento 352.383.5692 redtailclub.com

Clerbrook Golf Club 5,154 yards, par 67 Rating: 63.4 with slope of 108 $ Opened in 1981. 20005 N. U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.394.5513 clerbrook.com

Kings Ridge Golf Club 6,269 yards, par 71 $$ Course capitalizes on naturally rolling terrain. Greens are a true test of putting skills. 1950 Kings Ridge Blvd., Clermont 352.242.4653 kingsridgegc.com

Wedgewood Golf Course 1,400 yards, par 27 $ Opened in 1989. 12635 CR 44, Grand Island 352.589.0072

Green Valley Country Club 6,645 yards, par 72 Rating: 71.8 with slope of 128 $$ Founded as nine-hole course in 1967, expanded to 18 holes in 1989. Member-owned, semiprivate club with full driving range. 14601 Green Valley Blvd., Clermont 352.394.0632 gvcountryclub.com

Legends Golf and Country Club 6,652 yards, par 72 Rating: 72.5 with slope of 133 $$ Recognized as one of Florida’s finest courses. Hosted Hooters Tour event in 2003 and National Football League Players Association tournament in 2004. 1700 Legendary Blvd., Clermont 352.243.1118 legendsgolfcc.com

S O U T H

Bella Collina Golf Club 7,500 yards, par 72 $$$ Premium course designed by pro Nick Faldo. Valley-style layout provides open fairways but provides a true test. 16355 Vetta Dr., Montverde 407.469.4000 bellacollina.com

Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club 7,005 yards, par 71 Rating: 74.2 with a slope of 139 $$ Link-style course with significant elevations and 18 uniquely different holes, it’s nicknamed Florida’s mountain course due to an elevation change of 190 feet, with water on seven holes. 2601 Diamond Players Club Drive, Clermont 352.243.0411 sanctuaryridgegc.com Swiss Fairways 6,725 yards, par 70 Rating: 72.3 with slope of 126 $ Unique course has 135 sand traps and 10 water hazards. Large greens. 13144 Skiing Paradise Blvd., Clermont 352.429.9065 swissskischool.com

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P L AY

Sowing the seeds of agritourism Pick your own blueberries. Experience the thrill of riding a horse through the beautiful countryside. Carefully navigate your way through a cornfield maze. Agritourism is blossoming in Lake County, showcasing the agricultural attractions the county has to offer. Wineries, working farms, citrus groves, and U-pick farms are among the county’s diverse agricultural businesses. Thanks to this wide range of activities, visitors to Lake County can immerse themselves in natural surroundings and get a glimpse of rural life.

Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards Complimentary tours and wine tasting offered seven days a week. The winery features a wide array of festivals and events throughout the year. 19239 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 800.768.WINE lakeridgewinery.com Oak Haven Farms and Winery Visitors can pick their own strawberries, and the winery offers a variety of locally produced fruit and grape wines. 32418 Avington Road, Sorrento 352.735.1996 berriesandwine.com

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Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest The farm offers private and seasonal farm field trips along with farm birthday parties and events. 35317 Huff Road, Eustis 352.357.9863 santaschristmastreeforest.com Scott’s Maze Adventures at Long and Scott Farms The corn maze and adventures are open to the public during weekends in the fall and for special events or private parties throughout the year. 26216 CR 448A, Mount Dora 352.383.6900 longandscottfarms.com

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Showcase of Citrus Citrus park features an oldtime store and marketplace and more than 70 varieties of citrus. Visitors can pick citrus from a tree and experience a 4X4 Monster Truck ride through the spacious property to see wildlife animals, including zebra, Watusi cattle, water buffalo, alligators, snakes, and exotic and native birds. 5010 S. U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.394.4377 showcaseofcitrus.com Stanley Pond Adventure Farm Farm features familyfriendly activities of catch-and-release fishing, mini-airboat ride, jumping

pillow, giant sand pile, and more. 15426 CR 48, Astatula 352.516.4937 stanleypondfarm.com

A Natural Farm and Educational Center 23630 SR 19, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.536.3112

Uncle Donald’s Farm A chance to go on a hayride, pet and feed farm animals, and see wildlife up close. 2713 Griffin Ave., Lady Lake 352.753.2882 uncledonaldsfarm.com

Blue Bayou Farms 8222 CR 48, Yalaha 352.324.4069

U - P I C K FA R M S

A&A Country Orchard 2917 Lake Griffin Road, Lady Lake 352.217.8853

Chatterson Farms 4401 CR 561, Clermont 407.342.9512 Green Acres Fernery and Citrus 8635 High St., Yalaha 352.360.5445 Heather Oaks Iris Farm 4240 Christmas Lane, Lady Lake 352.753.1184


GREEN ACRES FERNERY AND CITRUS

EQUESTRIAN AT T R A C T I O N S

Al-Marah Arabian Horses 11105 Autumn Lane, Clermont 352.536.1502 H&H Berry Farms 15217 CR 455, Montverde 321.436.5830 King Grove Organic Farm 19714 CR 44A, Eustis 352.589.2469

Lake Catherine Blueberries 5849 Lake Catherine Road, Groveland 352.536.4324 Mark’s U-Pick Blueberries 18900 CR 561, Clermont 352.394.2135 Valley View Vineyards 22310 CR 455, Howeyin-the-Hills 352.243.4032

Rock Spring Run Trail Rides 31700 CR 433, Sorrento 352.266.9326

Ocala National Forest, Seminole Ranger District 40929 SR 19, Umatilla 352.669.3153

EQUESTRIAN TRAILS

Rock Springs Run State Reserve 30601 CR 433, Sorrento 352.383.3311

Black Horse Resort Ranch 22651 S.E. CR 42, Umatilla 352.434.1204

Lake Louisa State Park 7305 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.394.3969

DreamCatcher Ranch 10639 Toad Road, Clermont 407.702.8332

Lake Norris Conservation Area Lake Norris Road, Eustis 352.343.3777

Grand Oaks Resort and Museum 3000 Marion County Road, Weirsdale 352.750.5500

Lower Wekiva River Preserve 38015 Fechtel Road, Eustis 352.884.2009

Sawgrass Island Preserve 12050 Sawgrass Island Road, Umatilla 352.343.3777 Seminole State Forest 9610 CR 44, Leesburg 352.360.6675

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P L AY

Lights, camera, action! Lake County’s entertainment venues have hosted popular singers and musicians in every genre, productions of well-known Broadway plays and musicals, performances by unique comedians and street performers, and much more.

THE HISTORIC STATE THEATRE

BROWNWOOD SQUARE


LEESBURG

Leesburg Towne Square has a variety of annual events, including Mardi Gras and Bikefest, as well as occasional live entertainment. The Melon Patch Theatre, at 311 N. 13th St., is celebrating its 67th season. The theater includes Patchwork Productions with classes in drama, dance, comedy, and musical theater for children. Ticket and performance information is available at 352.787.3013 or melonpatchplayers.com.

MELON PATCH THEATRE

EUSTIS

The city of Eustis has regular town square programs that include live music and other performances. The annual Busker Festival, which marked its fourth year March 30, features street performers such as musicians, dancers, comedians, jugglers, mimes, living statues, artists, acrobats, and more. The Historic State Theatre is home to the Bay Street Players. The troupe offers educational opportunities that include classes in acting, set production, costuming, and front house management. It’s at 109 N. Bay St. Call 352.357.7777. MOUNT DORA

Mount Dora Live features live SONNENTAG THEATRE

CLERMONT

The Clermont Performing Arts Center

has an amazing array of stars and live shows on the schedule. The center is located downtown at 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27. Information and a map are online at clermontperformingarts.com or call 352.394.4800.

The Moonlight Players Warehouse Theater is in the historic downtown

at 735 W. Minneola Ave. The Moonlight Players is a community group that presents small-stage play revivals and also works with young people. Information about performances and tickets is available at moonlightplayers.com. Call 352.319.1116 for ticket information.

entertainment throughout the year at various locations, including the Community Building Theatre, 520 N. Baker St. Concerts and shows are staged almost every month. The Festival City, as Mount Dora is called, again is set for a year of entertainment and fun outdoors on weekends.

Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse is a delightful community theater featuring a program for children and teens with workshops and productions. Information is available at icehousetheater.com. The theater is at 1100 N. Unser St. Call the box office at 352.383.4616.

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Exploring local treasures Museums and galleries in Lake County provide visitors an opportunity to explore all the culture, history, and art the area has to offer. Museums keep our rich and colorful history alive, while galleries help foster an appreciation of beauty, creativity, and originality. Spend afternoons or entire weekends exploring these treasures but be sure to check websites or call ahead as hours do change seasonally.

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HISTORICAL

Clermont Historic Village The South Lake Historical Society operates this enclave of historic buildings, which includes the old train depot and a World War II quonset hut, near Lake Minneola. Go through the seven buildings to learn more about the history and pioneering families of South Lake County. 4880 W. Ave., Clermont clermontvillage.org 1-4pm Saturday-Sunday Eustis Historical Museum The former Clifford House contains memorabilia about the 19th century resort town of Lake Eustis and how it became just Eustis in 1883. 536 N. Bay St., Eustis eustishistoricalmuseum.com 1-5pm Friday-Saturday Groveland Historical Museum Many residents have donated memorabilia about this small town, including a miniature replica of the high school and how it looked in 1937. 243 S. Lake Ave., Groveland grovelandhistory.org 11am-1pm Saturday and by special appointment The Howey Mansion Abandoned for 10 years, the newly renovated estate is elegant, sophisticated, and ready for tours. The Mediterranean-style mansion was the home of William and Grace Howey in the 1920s. Today, it is beautifully restored and the setting of wonderful events and celebrations. 1001 Citrus Ave., Howey-in-the-Hills thehoweymansion.com Lady Lake Historical Society Museum The former Lady Lake train depot houses exhibits depicting the area’s history from the earliest Native American inhabitants to present-day events. The model train layout has contributed to the museum’s increased popularity

with its depiction of Lady Lake in the 1940s and ’50s. 107 S. Old Dixie Hwy., Lady Lake ladylakemuseum.org 10am-1pm Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (closed in August)

Lake County Historical Museum Located on the first floor of Lake County’s Historical Courthouse, this museum is a treasure trove of Central Florida memorabilia, period antiques, murals, and historical artifacts. Discover Walt Disney’s tie to Lake County and how Tavares almost became the state capital. Admission is free. 317 W. Main St., Tavares lakecountyfl.gov 10am-2pm Thursday-Saturday Leesburg Heritage Museum Conveniently located in the former Lassiter-Ware Insurance Building in downtown, this museum is packed with 150 years of history, including

EUSTIS HISTORICAL MUSEUM

such keepsakes as former Leesburg visitor Annie Oakley’s 1886 suitcase. Learn about the first PAQUETTE’S HISTORICAL watermelon FARMALL MUSEUM festival as well as how One cell contains original artwork Venetian from a former prisoner while Gardens got its start. another cell contains a painting 111 S. Sixth St., Leesburg depicting the one and only jail leesburgflorida.gov break, when a prisoner left a note 1-4pm Monday-Friday stating he had gone home and would return for his trial. Mount Dora 450 Royellou Lane, Mount Dora Historical Museum 1-4pm Tuesday-Sunday Operated by the Mount Dora Historical Society, this museum Museum of Speed is housed in the city’s first fire Described as the “ultimate man station and city jail, which opened cave,” Mount Dora’s Museum of in 1923. The exhibits highlight Speed not only features a 46activities from the 1880s to the year collection of auto antiques 1930s, but the restored jail cells (cars, gas pumps, signs) but are the most significant feature.


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RENOWNED ARTIST WENDELL CASTLE AT THE MODERNISM MUSEUM

MUSEUM OF SPEED

also autographed guitars and backstage passes from many legendary rockers. No children under age 14 are allowed. 206 N. Highland St., Mount Dora classicdreamcars.com 10am-5pm Monday-Friday; call ahead for Saturday hours

Paquette’s Historical Farmall Museum Everything you ever wanted to know about tractors and International Harvester equipment can be found in the tractor barns. The “dealership” is a replica of an International Harvester store from the 1940s. Many family-friendly events are held throughout the year. 615 S. Whitney Road, Leesburg stewsihstuff.com 9am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday MOUNT DORA HISTORY MUSEUM

The Presidents Hall of Fame One of Lake County’s most unusual museums, the Presidents Hall of Fame next to the Citrus Tower has garnered attention from national magazines and television shows. Displays include replicas of the State Dining Room, the White House’s Blue Room, and even the Oval Office. Many gowns worn by first ladies are also displayed. 123 US Hwy. 27, Clermont thepresidentshalloffame.com ART MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Lake Eustis Museum of Art Located in Ferran Park in downtown Eustis, this museum was Lake County’s first art museum with a donated collection of 18 paintings of Australian Aborigines as its cornerstone. The LEMA collection has grown and includes artworks from many different sources. In addition to changing exhibits, the museum also offers art classes for children and adults. 1 W. Orange Ave., Eustis lakeeustisartmuseum.org 10am-4pm Tuesday-Friday; and noon-4pm Saturday

Leesburg Center for the Arts The mission of the Leesburg Center for the Arts is to provide a central location where artists, musicians, and patrons gather. Located in a historic downtown building, the center hosts numerous activities, exhibitions, classes, and the annual Leesburg Arts Festival each March. 429 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg leesburgcenter4arts.com 10am-4pm Monday-Thursday

Montrose Gallery The gallery, operated by the South Lake Art League, hosts art and photography shows in the fall and spring each year. Founded in 1966 to encourage and promote all forms of art, the league offers a variety of classes. Check its website for exhibition and class schedules. 776 W. Montrose St., Clermont southlakeartleague.com Hours vary

Modernism Museum Mount Dora This small, private museum in downtown Mount Dora is devoted to collecting, exhibiting, and promoting the work of the American Studio Arts Movement, which combines high art with craftsmanship. Open since 2013, the museum contains a unique and expansive collection of modernist art by iconic and influential American masters of the craft. The artwork marries form and function, and visitors will wonder, “Is it sculpture or furniture?” 145 E. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora modernismmuseum.org 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday

Mount Dora Center for the Arts The center provides diverse fine art exhibitions, educational programs, an annual auction, art strolls through downtown, and the nationally acclaimed Mount Dora Arts Festival, which brings more than 250,000 visitors annually to the downtown area. A community-based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the center is dedicated to fostering an appreciation of art and culture in the region. 128 E. Fifth Ave., Mount Dora mountdoracenterforthearts.org Gallery 10am-4pm MondayFriday;11am-4pm Saturday-Sunday.


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Answer nature’s call Who needs overcrowded theme parks when you can hear the peaceful sounds of birds chirping overhead, bicycle along picturesque trails, or kayak peacefully down a river and see wildlife in its natural habitat? With more than 1,000 lakes and endless miles of hiking trails, Lake County is a natural paradise for avid outdoor enthusiasts. Sometimes, it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of life and bask in nature’s glow.

BIRDING

Lake County is one of the top destinations in the nation for birdwatching. The lakes and natural areas have attracted more than 200 different species of birds. Some of the most popular places for spotting multiple bird species include:

Alexander Springs has been popular with nature enthusiasts for years. Located in northern Lake County, the springs recreation area is an excellent destination for swimmers, hikers, campers, birdwatchers, and wildlife lovers. The Timucuan Trail is a 1.1-mile interpretive loop trail that highlights vegetation used by early Native Americans. Green Mountain Scenic Overlook is a 132-foot elevated

ALEXANDER SPRINGS

boardwalk that offers exceptional views of Sugarloaf Mountain, Lake County’s highest point. Popular with bicyclists traversing the Green Mountain Scenic Byway, the overlook is an ideal location


DORA CANAL

for watching birds and butterflies, with dozens of species of birds and butterflies observed at the property. Located at 20700 County Road 455 in Montverde, the overlook is open daily from 7am-dusk.

Lower Wekiva River Preserve is a system of backwater streams and wetlands that provides habitats for black bears, river otters, alligators, wood storks, and sandhill cranes. The Sand Hill Nature Trail offers a self-guided hiking tour. There is no admission fee at the Fechtel Road entrance in Eustis, and the park is open daily from 8am-sunset.

Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve, also known as

PEAR Park, is filled with native plants, wildflowers, and migrating birds as well as a Florida scrub-jay restoration area. The 318-acre park offers several miles of hiking trails, a nature center, and a new Wildlife Watch Post. Located off U.S. Highway 27 in Leesburg, the park is open daily from 6:30am-dusk.

K AYA K I N G AND CANOEING

Experience Lake County’s scenic and wildlife areas along the shorelines of nine blueway trails. A blueway is similar to a hiking trail. Physical and geo-positioned markers guide kayakers, canoers, and paddleboarders through the waterways. The following trails are within the areas of the St. Johns River, Golden Triangle, Palatlakaha Basin, and Oklawaha Basin: • • • • • • • • •

Blue Creek Run Golden Triangle Run Helena Run Lake Eustis Run Lake Griffin Run Lake Harris Run Palatlakaha Run Stagger Mud Lake Run St. Francis/Dead River Run

Blueway users can find a trail for different experience levels. The Golden Triangle along Lake Dora’s shorelines in Tavares and Mount Dora is suitable for novices and casual use; the trails along the St. Johns are considered “wilderness” areas,

more appropriate for experienced users. For more information about the Lake County Community Blueways Project, visit paddlelake.com. ECOTOURISM ADVENTURES

Dora Canal – Any visit to Lake County

should include a boat ride, especially on the Dora Canal. Lined with cypress trees, the Dora Canal is one of the best waterways for wildlife viewing because it is a safe haven for nesting ospreys, herons, and egrets.

Showcase of Citrus – Tour a 2,500-acre working citrus farm and cattle ranch on the world’s largest ATV. Open since 1961, the Showcase offers 100 percent “pure Florida fun” with the highly modified giant trucks that are designed for safe rides through native woodlands, pastureland, swamps, and groves. The farm is at 5010 U.S. Hwy. 27 in Clermont. Visit showcaseofcitrus.com.

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DORA CANAL

B I C YC L I N G

Most avid cyclists know about Lake County’s 12.6-mile South Lake Trail, which runs from the West Orange Trail to Silver Eagle Road in Clermont. The picturesque and oftenchallenging trail will be the heart of the Coast-to-Coast Connector, a 250-mile trail across Florida that is under construction. In the meantime, there are 25 more miles of bicycle trails around Lake County. Pack some water and sunscreen and find your starting point on these trails:

Black Still Lake Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles Start and end: Black Still Lake Road, Clermont

Green Mountain Trail

Distance: 1 mile Start: CR 455, Montverde End: Truskett Park

Fountain Lake Trail

Distance: 2 miles Start: Canal Street, Leesburg End: 13th Street, Leesburg

Hancock Trail Extension

Connects to South Lake Trail. Distance: 2.4 miles Start: Hancock Road & CR 50

End: Cooper Memorial Library & National Training Center

Lake Apopka Loop Trail

Distance: 18 miles Start: Green Mountain Scenic Overlook & Trailhead End: Magnolia Park (Orange County)

Magnolia Trail

Designed for walkers and bikers, lined with benches and outdoor exercise equipment. Distance: 0.7 miles Start: Mote-Morris House, Leesburg End: Palmetto Street

South Lake Trail

Connects to West Orange Trail at Old CR 50 and Lake Blvd. Distance: 12.6 miles Start: Lake Blvd. & Lake County Line End: Silver Eagle Road & CR 565A

Tav-Lee Trail

Distance: 3.5 miles Start: Downtown Tavares End: Lake Square Mall

Venetian Gardens Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles Start: Venetian Gardens & Canal Street, Leesburg End: Magnolia Trail and Bourley Historic Nature Preserve

Wilson Lake Parkway Trail Distance: 3.0 miles Start and end: Wilson Lake Parkway, Clermont


Let’s talk shop Art galleries, clothing stores, home décor shops, and antiques are just some of the treasures you’ll find throughout the downtown streets of Mount Dora, Leesburg, Eustis, Clermont, and other Lake County communities.

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MOUNT DORA

DOWNTOWN EUSTIS

EUSTIS

Peddler’s Wagon in downtown Eustis entices the senses as it’s packed with more than 7,000 square feet of home accent pieces, silk floral designs, and one of the largest arrays of unique Christmas decor. Terri’s Eustis Flower Shop has specialty items, too, and has

CLERMONT

AGELESS ANTIQUES & GARDENS IN MOUNT DORA

The Broom Tree is one of the newest quaint stores to open in downtown Clermont, filled with collectibles from yesteryear, modern items, jewelry, furniture pieces, and more. Rabbit’s Hole is a combination bookstore, comic book shop, and coffee shop with a mix of new and used books. Erika’s Tea Room and Gifts features an array of special tea sets and more than 80 teas from around the world, and Encore is filled with a great selection of home decor items, while Livi & Tate is the place to go for makeup, bath indulgences, contemporary apparel, swimwear, and accessories.

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been serving Lake County’s floral needs since 1928. Merry Jewelers has been a popular Eustis store for 64 years, and My Favorite Things features craft supplies, rubber stamps, and coordinating card stock, inks, ribbons, and buttons.

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Mount Dora’s downtown is bustling with a variety of shops, including Secret Garden, a Parisian-inspired boutique with frilly feminine apparel—some fashions are reminiscent of the 1920s—along with a variety of stylish hats, and one-of-a-kind jewelry. Matamo Design is filled with unique tropical home furnishings and accent pieces, and the Cozy Nest has a mix of vintage, shabby chic, inspirational signs, and baby gifts. Fun shops for specialty items include the Checkered Moon, Patrick’s Fine Art, Home and Garden Treasures, Noni and the Olive Branch, Under the Cherry Blossom, Amy Sellers Art Gallery, Julianne’s Coastal Cottage, the Spice and Tea Exchange, the Willow Tree Gifts, Desire, Whispering Winds, KaDee Kay Gourmet Kitchen, and Piglet’s Pantry. The Rafiki Exchange, in a side strip of Renaissance Shops off Donnelly Street, is filled with one-of-a-kind handcrafted items made by African widows.


MAIN STREET ANTIQUES IN LEESBURG

DOWNTOWN MOUNT DORA

LEESBURG

Downtown Main Street in Leesburg has several specialty shops, including Alada’s China & Gifts, a fine gift shop filled with seasonal items for holidays, weddings, baby gifts, and Pandora jewelry. Doggibags Boutique has the latest fashions designed by Clara S., Joseph Ribkoff, Valentena, Krazy Larry, Damee, Jana, and Rebel Jeans, along with unique handbags and accessories. Everything a University of Florida fan could possibly desire can be found at Grand Gator. Enchanted Days Gift Emporium is filled with incense, jewelry, sage, essential oils, pendulums and more. Other shops to check out are Shabby Chic, Linda’s Soapbox, Willowbee’s, Le Attitude, Mayan Experience, Lacy Ladybug, Karen’s Canine Kitchen, and Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe.

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Y O U R

GOLF

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RESORT

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H O M E T O W N

MEETINGS

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DINING

Along with world-class golf on two championship courses, you can take in the vistas along our hiking paths, lounge poolside, play tennis and volleyball, or even try bass ďŹ shing and trap/skeet shooting. There are countless ways to enjoy a memorable stay with us. Howey-in-the-Hills, FL 34737

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MissionInnResort.com

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800.874.9053

R E S O R T

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REAL ESTATE


E X P LO R E • S TAY • P L AY • D I N E

EL CONQUISTADOR RESTAURANT, MISSION INN RESORT

Bon appétit! If your bucket list includes savoring a variety of good food while vacationing in Lake County, you’re in for some wonderful dining experiences. The county is home to a plethora of great restaurants offering a wide array of cuisines to please any palate.

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1921 MOUNT DORA

Fine dining Lake County offers an extensive variety of fine dining establishments to please any palate. Whether it’s fresh seafood or fine aged steak, you’ll find the perfect meal in any one of these restaurants. 801 City Grille 801 W. Montrose St., Clermont 352.394.6911 1884 Restaurant and Bar 12 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis 800.856.1884 1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora 352.385.1921

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The Beauclaire Dining Room, Lakeside Inn 100 Alexander St., Mount Dora 352.383.4101 Chesapeake Bay Grille at Arlington Ridge 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd., Leesburg 352.315.0066

El Conquistador Restaurant, Mission Inn Resort 10400 CR 48, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.3911 Goblin Market & Lounge 330 Dora Drawdy Way, Mount Dora 352.735.0059 Guru Restaurant 2400 U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 101, Clermont 352.251.9884


Casual dining Casual dining abounds in Lake County. Casual doesn’t mean less quality. The following restaurants serve fare that is fresh and delicious, but you can wear shorts and flip-flops while you chow down: A S TAT U L A

CLERMONT

Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940

Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. Hwy. 27, Ste. 101 352.243.8988

ASTOR

Blackwater Inn 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802 PISCES RISING

Nicker’s Restaurant 10400 CR 48, Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.2718 Olive Branch Mediterranean-Italian Grille 115 W. 3rd St., Mount Dora 352.729.6734 Pisces Rising 239 W. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora 352.385.2669 The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340 SIP Restaurant Jazz and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St., Leesburg 352.435.7840 Turner’s Kitchen & Bar 114 S. 5th St., Leesburg 352.530.2274

Castaways Restaurant 23525 SR 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place 24646 SR 40 352.759.3551 William’s Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802

CASTAWAYS

Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925 El Cerro 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.242.4669

Calabria Ristorante 13900 CR 455 407.656.5144

Flippers Pizzeria 2523 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.242.2214

Cheeser’s Palace 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431

Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818

Clermont Fish House 110 W. Hwy. 50 352.708.5563 Corelli’s Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924 The Crooked Spoon 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900 Green Garden 1790 E. Hwy. 50 352.243.2077 Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola 352.708.6565

Robata Japanese Steak House And Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 Root & Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031 San Jose Original Mexican Restaurant 4315 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.536.2006 Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club Restaurant 2601 Diamond Club Dr. 352.243.0411


DINE

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 EUSTIS

Combat Café 1602 N. Hwy. 19 352.483.0250 The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Great Pizza Company 23 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.357.7377 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 Bay St. 352.357.4600 Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.4444

FRIAR TUCK

Night Owl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Stavros & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022

SAN JOSE ORIGINAL MEXICAN RESTAURANT

Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 Tillie’s Tavern and Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza and Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001

GROVELAND

Coyote Rojo 2 214. W. Broad. St. 352.557.8999 Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 7965 U.S. Hwy. 50 352.557.8988

F R U I T L A N D PA R K

James Barbeque 262 E. W. Orange St. 352.557.4050

Fruitland Park Café 3180 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.435.4575

Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997

I Barbeque Express 3170 U.S. Hwy. 27 352.315.4227

H O W E Y- I N - T H E HILLS

Legends Café 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.0006 Rae Rae’s Restaurant 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.323.1595

JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 Restaurants at Mission Inn Resort & Club 10400 CR 48 El Conquistador 352.324.3911 Nicker’s Clubhouse 352.324.2718 La Hacienda 352.324.3910 La Margarita 352.324.3911


Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344

Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327

Two 09 West Main 209 W. Main St. 352.801.7966

Cody’s On Fourth Café 111 E. Fourth Ave. 352.735.8426

Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777

Copacabana Cuban Café 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000

MASCOTTE

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540

Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 RED WING RESTAURANT

L A DY L A K E

Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.753.2722 LEESBURG

Cafe Ola 400 N. 14th St. 352.365.0089 Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 Gator Bay Bar and Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006

Ichiban Chinese and Japanese 10301 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.6669

Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616

JMatt’s Downtown Cafe 110 3rd St. 352.348.3863

Osaka 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Plantation Diner 25327 U.S. Hwy. 27 352.805.4054

Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 The Marinated Olive Bistro & Gourmet Market 712 W. Main St. 352.801.7239 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217

Ramshackle Cafe 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565 Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 U.S. Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Southern Gourmet 314 W. Main St. 352.409.7512 Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427 Stavros Pizza 755 N. 14th St. 352.326.4202

MINNEOLA

Jack’s BBQ 100 U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.2673 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Tiki Bar and Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

The Frog and Monkey Restaurant and Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352.383.1936 Highland St. Cafe 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 Lake House Bar and Grill 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433

MONTVERDE

Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577

Green Mountain Pizza 17415 7th St., Suite B 407.469.2279

Magical Meat Boutique 112 W. Third Ave. 352.729.6911

MOUNT DORA

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668 The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387 Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067

Mount Dora Pizza and Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 One Flight Up 440 N. Donnelly St. 407.758.9818 PizzAmoré 722 E. Fifth Ave. 352.383.0092

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DINE

Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. Fifth Ave. 352.735.4555 Windsor Rose Tea Room & Restaurant 142 W. 4th Ave. 352.735.2551 Zellie’s Pub 4025 N. U.S. Hwy. 19A 352.483.3855 SORRENTO

China Chef 24430 SR 44 352.357.2242 Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Lisa’s Kountry Café 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380 Momiji Sushi Bar 24400 SR 44 352.357.2285

BOCCE PIZZERIA

TAVA R E S

Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 2270 Vindale Rd. 352.343.2757 BTW—Burgers Tacos Waffles 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 China Wok 342 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.5188 The Deli Llama 124 E. Alfred St. 352.508.5044 Eduardo’s Lokos Tacos 226 W. Alfred St. 352.742.1181 Havana 1959 1080 E. Alfred St. 352.609.5247 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Kalua Hale Sand Bar 111 W. Ruby St. 352.609.5910

Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313

Thai Jasmine 1010 E. Alfred St. 352.742.0956

Lake Harris Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 W. Ruby St. 352.508.5783

Main Street Diner 505 W. Main St. 352.253.4663

U M AT I L L A

Mary’s Country Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub 115 S. Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant and Marina 11801 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.343.2024 Puddle Jumpers 111 W. Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 220 E. Main St. 352.742.7829 Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744

Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145 Gator’s 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969 Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555 The Mason Jar 37534 SR 19 352.589.2535 Old Crow Restaurant 41100 U.S. Hwy. 19 352.669.3922 Shanghai 531 N. Central 352.669.2004


Neighborhood bars They’re the best places to go for great craft beer, draft beer, or specialty cocktails—the neighborhood bars. Everybody may not know your name, but you’ll feel like you’re among friends in these local establishments. The 24 Tap Room 1107 W. North Blvd., Leesburg 352.315.0198 11am-1am

McGregor’s Bar 502½ N. Highland St., Mount Dora 352.735.7443 4pm-2am

Big Dog Saloon 4060 N. Hwy. 19A, Mount Dora 352.589.2442 Noon-2am

Mermaid Juice 458 N. Highland St., Mount Dora 352.556.1030 4pm-1am

Brü Tap House 143 E. Main St., Tavares 352.508.9321 Hours vary

Suncreek Brewery 790 W. Minneola, Clermont 407.850.8810 11am-midnight

The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd., Clermont 352.404.7808 11am-2am

Tiki Bar Grill at Lake Minneola Inn 508 Main Ave., Minneola 352.394.2232 11:30am-12am

Crown Restaurant & Lounge 1340 SR 50, Clermont 352.394.3888 11:30am-2am

Tremain’s Tavern at Lakeside Inn 100 Alexander St., Mount Dora 352.383.4101 11am-8:30pm

Devenneys Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd., Clermont 352.432.3925 Noon-2am

Two 09 West Main 209 W. Main, Leesburg 352.801.7966 11am-midnight

Even Par Bar 20329 U.S. Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.429.9033 2pm-2am

Wolf Branch Brewing 119 N. Bay Street, Eustis 352.602.4564 Hours vary

Froggers Grill & Bar 4931 Lake Park Court, Mount Dora 352.385.3555 11am-1am

Zellie’s Pub 4025 N. Hwy. 19A, Mount Dora 352.483.3855 11am-10pm

Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg 352.474.2739 11am-10pm WOLF BRANCH BREWING

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YALAHA BAKERY

Bakeries & sweets Lake County offers an array of places to go for delicious bakery goods, desserts, and sugary confections. Here are some of the one-of-a-kind places worth visiting to satisfy those sweet cravings. AnnOlivia’s Sweet Shop and Bakery Shop features wide array of desserts, including cupcakes loaded with different fillings and toppings. 12302 Roper Blvd., Ste. 103, Clermont 407.371.2052 annoliviassweetshopandbakery.com A Wish or Two Ago French Bakery and Market Place Fresh-baked breads, assorted pastries, and other sweets. 13810 CR 44, Grand Island 352.483.5074 Corelli’s Dolceria Italiana Shop features Italian cupcakes, custom cakes, cookies, and more. 736 W. Montrose St., Clermont 352.432.5484 facebook.com/corellisdolceria

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Donut King Handmade, fresh doughnuts including red velvet and Boston cream. 208 U.S. Hwy. 27, Minneola 352.243.4046 thedonutking.com

Ritter’s Frozen Custard Custard made fresh daily—higher protein, less fat than ice cream. 2560 E. Hwy. 50, No. 114, Clermont 352.536.2979 ritters.com

Le Petit Sweet French macaroons, iced cookies, cake cones, and cream puffs. 110 W. Fifth St., Mount Dora 352.729.2453 lepetitsweet.wixsite.com

Scoops on 5th 36 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, fresh-baked cookies, and individual cakes. 130 E. Fifth St., Mount Dora 352.800.9381 scoopson5th.com

Mount Dora Confectionary Large array of gourmet treats, fudge, gelato, soft-serve ice cream. 450 N. Donnelly, Mount Dora 352.735.6555 mountdoracandy.com Mystic Ice Cream Cafe Up to 40 flavors, including adult ice cream with favorite liqueurs. 1217 W. Miller St., Fruitland Park 352.801.0411 mysticicecream.com

Tavares Ice Cream Wide variety of Hershey’s ice cream, Italian ice, and dairy-free ice cream. 214 E. Main St., Tavares 352.508.5342 facebook.com/tavares-ice-cream

Twistee Treat Shaped like an ice-cream cone, offering variety of frozen treats. 397 E. Burleigh Blvd., Tavares 352.343.6177 700 Hwy. 27, Clermont 352.243.1170 twisteetreat.com Yalaha Bakery German breads, Old World tortes, and pastries. 8210 CR 48, Yalaha 352.324.3366 yalahabakery.com Yummi’s Frozen Yogurt and Café More than 50 different flavors of frozen yogurt, sorbet, and gelato. 650 Eighth St., Clermont 352.243.4529 yummisfrozenyogurtandcafe.com


Coffee & tea The aroma and flavor of fresh-brewed coffee is one of the satisfying pleasures of life—a great way to get an energy boost to start the day. And, of course, it’s often delightful to savor your favorite beverage with friends at a local coffeehouse or tearoom. Here are some of the popular places in Lake County to enjoy the experience: Cody’s on 4th 111 E. Fourth St., Mount Dora 352.735.8426 codyson4th.com

Le Petit Sweet 110 W. Fifth St., Mount Dora 352.729.2453 lepetitsweet.wixsite.com

Coffee Shop of Horrors 16937 Lakeside Dr., Montverde 321.244.8668 coffeeshopofhorrors.com

One Flight Up 440 Donnelly Ave., Mount Dora 352.735.1446 facebook.com/oneflightup

Energy Lab Cafe 528 8th St., Clermont 352.432.8985 energylabcafe.com

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont 352.241.4295 troyscubandeli.com

Erika’s Tea Room and Gifts 787 W. Montrose St., Clermont 908.670.2305 erikastearoom.com Fruitland Park Café 3180 U.S. Hwy. 441, Fruitland Park 352.435.4575 facebook.com/ Fruitland-Park-Café

Village Coffee Pot of Mount Dora 425 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora 352.383.3334 villagecoffeepot.com The Windsor Rose Restaurant and British Tea Room 142 W. Fourth St., Mount Dora 352.735.2551 windsorrose-tearoom.com

THE WINDSOR ROSE RESTAURANT AND BRITISH TEA ROOM


• Boat Ramp on St. John’s River • Beautiful Campground • Bath House with Hot Showers • Dockside Marine Pump-Out • Dockside Water Hook-Ups • 30 & 50 Amp Electric • Can Accommodate Large Boats

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LOCATED ON THE ST JOHNS RIVER IN BEAUTIFUL ASTOR, FLORIDA! • Full hook-ups for RVs or pitch a tent • Daily, Weekly or Monthly rates available • Recreation Room, A Laundromat & Clean Showers

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ASS B T S BE NG IN FISHI IDA! FLOR

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BUILDING UNIQUE POOLS “They built the pool to perfection, and the finished design was better than we ever imagined. The superintendent was willing to answer all our questions before, during, and after the project. Although we have been swimming in the pool for three months, we can still call him with any questions. Wiseman Pools went above and beyond, and the pool is functional and works like we want it to.” —SCOTT STEPHENS, LAKE PANASOFFKEE

We know that every single customer is unique—Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present. 352-431-3766 | www.WisemanPools.com | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver.


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Visit Lake County, Florida and get your fill of ripe strawberries, blueberries, and citrus from our U-pick farms. Or take a day-trip to the vineyards, where wine is always in season. Get to know the real Florida, just outside Orlando. VisitLakeFl.com


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NO ONE KNOWS LAKE COUNTY LIKE WE DO. SERVING ALL OF YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS! 352.435.HOME // 10135 U.S. Hwy. 441, Suite 3, Leesburg, FL 34788 352.530.2665 // 1217 W Miller St., Suite 6, Fruitland Park, FL 34731 MorrisRealtors.com

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Welcome to Lake 2019  

A visitor's guide to the place we call home.

Welcome to Lake 2019  

A visitor's guide to the place we call home.