On Friday evening, the Top 5 headed to Mount Dora for a “Tweet Up.” For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a tweet up is a face to face meeting between Twitter users, and in this case, some major ones. The Twitter user @MountDora has over 11,000 followers and helped to place the City of Mount Dora on the virtual grid with his website What to Do in Mount Dora. As a frequent virtual visitor, I was thrilled to finally meet owner Brian Young in person. He also owns Tremain Street Cottages and so he commented on how using the social media sites like Twitter has helped bring a measurable number of new visitors each weekend to Mount Dora. Unfortunately, Brian’s better half, Rachelle Lucas (@travelblgger on Twitter – over 22,000 followers) was in Winter Park filming. I guess I’ll have to wait until my next visit to meet her! Her videos can be seen on her food blog Inn the Kitchen.
I also met Jim and Ana Tuttle (@MountDoraBnB on Twitter) who own the Mount Dora Historic Inn. It was wonderful how I was welcomed with a warm hug from Ana, as if we were old friends… instead of just old virtual friends!
Everyone in Mount Dora was this friendly, though. Welcoming us “tweeps” as we descended on Mt. Dora Sushi who graciously opened their doors (and beer garden) for us. (@MtDoraSushi on Twitter, with over 17,000 followers.) This restaurant is well worth the drive to Mount Dora, which was surprisingly easy thanks to the new 414 that has opened up. It only took me 20 minutes door to door!
I also met some other locals, such as realtors Kim Johnson and Camille Ruiz, writers Lisa Rast and George Passwater, and Nanci and Traci. I was fascinated how much they each love Mount Dora and the surrounding areas, and I must admit, there was something a bit intoxicating about the town’s charm and quaint downtown. Gorgeous Victorian style houses line the streets, and antique stores, boutiques, and inviting restaurants provide a very walkable city. (Or you can always take a Segway tour!)
I was also thrilled to meet some travel writers, whose blogs give info to complement my Central Florida Top 5 info. I met Rori Paul, who writes the travel blog Rori’s Travel Florida. She’s a relative newcomer (but frequent past visitor) to Florida, and her zest for travel and all-things Central Florida were inspiring! The two of us were also introduced to Gary McKechnie, dubbed the “Mark Twain of Motorcycling.” (And, yes, as an English teacher, we traded favorite Mark Twain stories!)
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my jaunt to Mount Dora. I am looking forward to going back for a weekend stay with my husband…now the only question is in which bed and breakfast do we stay!
Oh, and the answer to the title of this blog post? At 184 feet above sea level, Mount Dora is indeed a “mountain top” town, but, nope, it is not Florida’s highest. That distinction belongs to Britton Hill, at Lakewood Park, Walton County, 345 feet above sea level.