Mount Dora, Ybor City, and Power Parachutes, Oh My

Our winter in Florida is almost over, and before we move on we wanted to share a few more of our adventures in central Florida.

Exploring Mount Dora

On a windy Monday in January, we took off for the unique town of Mount Dora, Florida. Located about an hour north of Orlando, this town was full of charm and character. The shops and restaurants lining the streets were full of unique items and cuisine.

Tony’s Chowder House was recommended to us by local merchants as a good place to get seafood. Mike is the seafood expert in the family, and he said the clam chowder was the best he’s ever had.

We kept hearing about Mount Dora Lighthouse, which we thought was unusual since the town is in the middle of the state, nowhere near the coast. A short walk to the south end of town took us to a wonderful park, and that was where we found the lighthouse.

Ybor City

We met friends for dinner at Bernini’s in Ybor City and took time on a rainy afternoon to explore this interesting location near Tampa.

Near Tampa’s historic district, Ybor City is the only neighborhood on Florida’s west coast to be designated a National Historic Landmark District. Founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor, it has a rich and diverse culture.

Ybor City was created by Cuban, Hispanic, and Italian immigrants, and is known for cigars and bars. Knowing absolutely nothing about cigars, or Cuban coffee, we stopped in at Tabanero Cigars, where we got a lesson in both. The smell reminded me a lot of my Uncle Larry, who was never without a cigar in his mouth.

The coffee was a bit strong for my liking, but Mike enjoyed it. After all, almost everything we do is about the experience!

There is a strong cultural influence around the city. The murals and statues tell the story of this small, but culturally diverse area. It proves that different cultures can come together to create something terrific.

As the Ybor City official website says:

If you are a history buff, cigar aficionado, architectural admirer, coffee connoisseur, serious shopper, fanatical foodie or simply just looking for a fun place to go; Ybor City is the destination for you.

Mike’s Ride on a Power Parachute

On our recent weekend trip to Inverness at the home of our longtime friends, Dana and Carmella, Mike was introduced to Power Parachuting. Dana is working toward becoming a certified power parachute pilot, and his friend, Dan, already has his license. At dinner, Dan asked Mike if he’d like to go up with him on his 2-seater. Not one to pass up an opportunity to try something new, Mike jumped at the chance. I, on the other hand, made sure his life insurance was paid up and politely declined the invitation.

Facts about Power Parachuting

  • They can only fly when the wind is less than five knots;
  • They can go as fast as 30 mph;
  • The runway is a grass field;
  • And there is no floor, so if you drop something it’s lost forever!

Views from Above

Mike said the flight was thrilling and an experience he will never forget!

The flight took them about 30 minutes from the airport to Crystal River, FL, to see the manatees that had gathered to keep warm over the winter months.

A few more photos from the day

These are some of the adventures and experiences that are making our time as full-time RVers so rewarding. We love meeting new people and meeting up with old friends while on our travels.

Next week – We explored more biking trails near Gainesville and Tallahassee on our way west.

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