Three times a year Mount Dora, Florida becomes a major destination for antique-lovers. This is when Renninger’s, the famed Pennsylvania antique show promoter, hold their Extravaganzas.
Taking place in November, January, and February, Renninger’s Mount Dora Extravaganzas live up to their name with about 800 dealers from all over the country selling vintage and antique wares. The Extravaganzas go on rain or shine; while not as pleasant in the rain, many of the dealers are set up in indoor spaces and covered sheds making it possible to get some serious antiquing done even when it’s raining (and being Florida, the rain usually passes quickly). It’s also fairly spread out with some booths climbing a gentle hill, so be prepared for a lot of walking.
At the most recent Extravaganza (January of 2015) I found some great jewelry. Here’s a small sample of what I found (click on photos to enlarge):
The Town of Mount Dora
Mount Dora is about a 45 minute drive from Orlando and, for antique-lovers, worth a side trip even if your vacation doesn’t coincide with one of the Extravaganzas. The town itself is charming with a historic town center and several antique malls.
Renninger’s Mount Dora Antique Center
The large indoor building at the Extravaganza is open year-round and known as the Antique Center. Though additional dealers set up in it during Extravaganza weekends, the 40,000 s.f. Antique Center is a substantial antique mall in its own right. Though I’ve only attended during Extravaganza weekends, I’ve purchased many items from the permanent Antique Center vendors. Renninger’s also operates a permanent indoor Flea and Farmer’s market nearby, but don’t confuse this with the Antique Center, the Flea Market mostly has vendors with new merchandise. The Antique Center is open Friday through Sunday, but I’d recommend checking their website if you’re visiting off-season.
Village Antique Mall
The Village Antique Mall is a nice antique mall near the historic center of Mount Dora. On each of my trips to Mount Dora I’ve found nice jewelry at the Village Antique Mall, and I once found a stunning jet-beaded Victorian jacket. My most recent visit’s purchases include a Napier bracelet, a Vendome necklace and earring set, and this fabulous Vendome multi-headed cobra pendant:
Oliver’s Twist Antiques
Oliver’s Twist Antiques is a nice antique shop in the historic town center. While I didn’t find anything to purchase on this trip, I will definitely return in the future. Plus, the owners also run estate sales which they post on their website.
Nearby: Morse Museum
Antique and art lovers who are visiting the Orlando area should plan a visit to the Morse Museum in Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando. The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work including jewelry, pottery, paintings, glass, lamps, and windows.
However, what distinguishes the museum is the large collection of objects that were originally part Tiffany’s home, the Long Island estate known as Laurelton Hall. Two major architectural elements were salvaged from the estate, the Tiffany Chapel and the Daffodil Terrace and these pieces make the museum a world-class destination and unlike other collections of Tiffany’s work.
Where to eat: Across the street from the Village Antique Mall is bar and grill called Jeremiah’s with good burgers, prime rib, honey fried chicken and a large selection of beer and cider on tap. On Highway 441 there is a good barbeque joint, the Black Bear Smokehouse. I tried the three-way combo of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork and the portion could easily have fed two people. The meats had a nice rub and smoke plus the restaurant has a sauce bar with an array of 15 barbeque sauces in different regional styles.Shareby