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Mount Dora, Florida – A Shopping Mecca With Tons of Local Flavor

About a month ago, my college friend Lisa was telling me about this place called Renninger’s in Mount Dora.  Lisa has lived in the Orlando area for many years and she said this was a place she has always wanted to go, but just never took the time to do it.  At that very moment, I took out my iPhone, opened my calendar App and told Lisa that I had just booked us to spend the day together on August 3rd and that Renningers in Mount Dora would be our first stop.

The day had come and Lisa and hit the road around 7:15am.  From Winter Park, it was a very easy drive up US 441 North.  We arrived at Renninger’s around 8am and at the entrance we had a decision to make.  Go left towards the Farmers Market/Flea Market or go right towards the Antique Shops.  Lisa was on a mission and said TURN RIGHT!

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

We found it strange that we got such a great parking spot, but it was at that moment we realized that the vendors were still setting up for a 9am opening, no 8am.  No worries!  There was plenty of merchandise already out on the grounds and the vendors were more than willing to welcome us into their shops early.

As we were walking in we remembered what we had read online.  This weekend Renninger’s was hosting a Steampunk Industrial Show.  What is Steampunk you ask?  Think of going back into time where Victoria & Albert meet HG Wells.  According to Wikipedia, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery.  Lisa and I were amazed at some of the creations we saw.  The first create we saw was the Airship Diamler.  This creation had the privilege of being in the 2012 Gator Bowl parade

The Airship Diamler

The Airship Diamler

The creativity did not stop there.  Here are a couple of other vehicles that we came across

The creativity did not end with the vehicles.  There was jewelry, hats, goggles and then there was this fascinating piece.  I can not begin tell tell you how many little switches were on this arm piece that turned on and off lights.  It was truly a work of art.

We also found that our newly found Steampunk friends were very passionate about their Minions.  As you can see here, this Minion has been customized with a Steampunk top hat and they even took the time to paint his goggles gold.

Steampunk Minion

Steampunk Minion

Once Lisa and I finished oohing and aahing over the Steampunk merchandise, it was time to get serious.  Lisa was on the hunt for a unique piece that she could display in her house.  She wasn’t sure what she was looking for but she knew we would know it when she saw it.  As we ventured the halls of the indoor antique shops, Lisa was not finding that special item.  We then decided to take on the the little shops that lined the outdoor paths.  It was there that Lisa saw what she was looking for.

No, not the birdbath.  It was this great rusted arrow.  Lisa and I met with Mike, the owner of the shop, and Mike was willing to part with this for $15.  What a bargain!  What will Lisa do with this you might ask?  Lisa will use some soft steel wool to remove the loose rust.  She is then going to put a primer on.  Finally she is going to paint the arrow a deep red and then hang it proudly in her home.  Mike had other great metal signs and letters as you can see below.  His shop was really a lot of fun to rummage around in.

Renninger’s has something for everyone.  They are two markets located on one property and are open ever weekend from 9am-5pm.  If you are planning on visiting, Vendors did share that best time to go was during Antique Extravaganza, which is held the third weekend of the month in November, January and February.  You can find details for Antique Extravaganza here.

Once we finished our shopping at Renninger’s, Lisa and I decided to drive into Historic Mount Dora.  We parked our car and strolled the streets of downtown doing some window shopping before lunch.  While peering in windows, we found a store we could not resist.  The name of this store was Julianne’s Coastal Cottage.  You can also find Julianne’s shop on Facebook here.  Julianne’s store was fun and had a wide array of gifts, ranging from art work to wine and everything in between.  One of our favorite things was the Wine Slushies.  They were kind enough to allow free samples.  We sampled Key Lime, Banana, Orange and a few others.  Ok, maybe we overdid it on the wine slushie samples, but they were so good.  And yes, we did buy a few bottles also!

Wines and Wine Slushie Mixes

Wines and Wine Slushie Mixes

Lisa and I also found these unique gifts at Julianne’s to be quite funny!

Lisa and I finished our day in Mount Dora having lunch at Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill.  The enchiladas were delicious, the Corona was cold and the Margarita was great!

If you have not had the pleasure of visiting Renninger’s or Mount Dora, I highly encourage it.  Here are a few calendar of events coming up in that area that you will not want to miss.

Mount Dora Craft Fair – October 26th & 27th, 2013

Renninger’s Antique and Collector’s Extravaganza – November 15th, 16th & 17th, 2013

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