Long after Ponce De Leon made it to Florida's waters, settlers had built a sugar mill and plantation around the springs that later became a popular winter resort. Ironically, this winter retreat at one time featured a water skiing elephant, Sunshine Sally. Mount Dora had it's own water skiing elephant during the filming of the movie Honky Tonk Freeway. Might they have been the same elephant? Hmm? But I digress. Let's talk about breakfast some more.
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill has now become a novelty restaurant where the experience is hands-on with frying up your own eggs and pancakes on a griddle in the center of your table. Now why on earth, you ask, would I want to wait in line to cook my own breakfast? Because it's fun. Because the food is just darn good. Because the pancakes are delish and they offer a myriad of toppings including fresh blueberries, sliced bananas, pecans, peanut butter, chocolate chips and of course maple syrup & honey.
To burn off your sugar high and carb-loaded calories, there are an array of activities to keep you occupied all day including canoeing, kayaking, historical boat tours, swimming and scuba diving. If water sports don't float your boat, then you could take a 4 mile hike through a Wild Persimmon trail or spend some time in the Visitor's Center learning about the park's interesting history and watch a eco-educational presentation on Florida's waterways.
Admission to the State Park is $5 per vehicle. Arrive early or bring a book, blanket and a bathing suit to bide your time as the wait for the Sugar Mill Restaurant is about an hour on a slow day. But well worth every minute ... and calorie! A great day trip from Mount Dora.