About Denise

DogMy husband and I both grew up in Michigan. However, before moving to Florida in 1996, we had been in Chicago for several years. When we were choosing between moving back to Michigan to raise our babies nearer to relatives there or venturing south to Florida where my two brothers had already migrated, it was not a difficult decision. However, once we got down to Central Florida we found it very difficult to find a town in which we could feel comfortable. The landscape, architecture, and culture seemed so foreign to us. Then I discovered Mount Dora!

I grew up on a lake in Waterford Township, a small residential suburb of Pontiac, so coming to Mount Dora was a lot like coming home. I still remember the first day I drove into town looking for a place to call home. I knew in an instant that Mount Dora was my new hometown. I have a lot to say when answering the question, “What do I love about Mount Dora?” but you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what “Money Magazine” had to say about Mount Dora in 1997 when they printed their very first list of Top Ten Terrific Retirement Towns:

You know you’ve reached Mount Dora when the Dairy Queens and Cumberland Farms along the highway give way to antique lampposts. Suddenly, you might think you were in New England – except for the palm trees. The occasional gingerbread house, the hilly, live-oak-lined roads that wind along a chain of nine lakes leading to the Atlantic, and the 1915 train depot, now home to the Chamber of Commerce, look exotic in central Florida…You’ll be bowled over by the quaint charm of Mount Dora, a little town that’s evocative of New England, with much better weather plus Southern hospitality.Family
Mount Dora isn’t just for retirees. My family and friends are proof of that. Mount Dora is cited as one of the “50 best small Southern towns” for city-dwellers who want to relocate. The book by that name looked at factors beyond Mount Dora’s hills and lake views, Victorian architecture and old oak trees. Internet access, proximity to bigger cities, and cost of living were as important as charm and livability. The author of “Visiting Small Town Florida” called Mount Dora “the prettiest, most quaint, and most romantic small town” in Florida.
Most recently, USA Today confirmed that Mount Dora still ranks with the best when they included it as one of only 5 in their October 2013 list “The Best Small Towns For Retirement”:
While you might not think of culture as a typical small-town draw, Baby Boomers, who desire a rich cultural lifestyle, can find a perfect balance of small-town and culture in one Central Florida town. Mount Dora, Fla., has multiple cultural venues, with two theaters, including the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, plus many festivals and events on the Town Square. Mount Dora exudes a comfortable Southern charm and hospitality. This central Florida lakefront community is nestled amid gentle hills, orange groves and Live Oak trees. Its elevation of 184 feet makes it Florida’s equivalent of a mountain-top town. Laid out around a large square, the downtown has shopping and excellent antiquing in addition to a rich cultural life with many festivals.
HammockNow, let’s get personal: “What do I love about Mount Dora?”
I love the fact that I can walk to town and get the mail. I love that everyone smiles and waves as they pass or when they take the time to stop and admire my dog. He adores the attention.
I love that I can “borrow a cup of sugar” from my neighbor. I love that we carved a gate in the fence between us to encourage our friendliness. I love that they look out for us and we look out for them, just as it should be.
I love that my kids got to grow up swimming, fishing, and skiing on a beautiful pristine lake just as I did in Michigan. Except here we get to use the lake 12 months out of the year!!! One year my son went skiing on Christmas day just so he could tell his cousins up North about it!
I love that our family gets to participate in the extensive culture Mount Dora has to offer. My kids spent many years starring in the Young Actors Theatre and even enjoyed performing several years with their Mom and Dad as a family act in the annual Light Up Mount Dora event during the Christmas Holiday, and all four of us enjoy performing with the Mount Dora Jazz Orchestra. I love that this small town prepared them well for their college studies in the big city. Our daughter is now a music performance major at the Eastman School of Music in New York, while our son is doing the same closer to home at the University of Central Florida. I love that, while the snow is a novelty, our daughter and her college friends love coming home to Mount Dora, FL for the holidays and college breaks.
I love that we can go mountain biking right from our driveway. Yes, Mount Dora has excellent single track Mountain Bike trails! If you’ve got the guts, you can get all the glory. Plus the annual Mount Dora Bike Festival provides a weekend of biking for visitors from all over the South
I love that we have the best family entertainment that the country has to offer right in our “backyard.” There’s no need to get a hotel for our visits to Disney, Sea World, Busch Gardens or any one of the many theme parks nearby.

I love that when we go to the Opera or catch a Broadway Musical (front and center tickets to “Wicked” was the best birthday present ever!) we only have a 45 minute drive to Orlando. Or we can enjoy our own local Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra performances throughout the year or other special live musical and theatrical events put on in our downtown Community Center theatre.
I love Mount Dora. I love the people. I love the homes. I love the lifestyle. These passions are why I became a Realtor shortly after we moved into our own Mount Dora home. Through the process of finding our Best Mount Dora Home, I came to realize that I take “home shopping” very seriously. I want to share my passion and expertise with others looking for their Best Mount Dora Home.
I’m home, now I’d love the opportunity to welcome you home too.

welcome home to mount dora real estate