For our first stop in Florida we needed a place in the central part of the state to facilitate picking up a relative from the Orlando International Airport. In this general region, I prefer the areas to the North of Orlando. We have stayed at several state parks (Blue Springs, Wekiva), in the Ocala National Forest (Alexander Springs), with relatives (Geneva) and at a private resort (Wekiva Falls.) While we enjoyed all of them, we wanted to try something different this time, and online research led me to the tiny campground at Trimble Park in Mount Dora.
Set in a beautiful lakeside setting with only 15 sites, it is tough to get into on the weekends. We made reservations for one weekday night, hoping to extend through the weekend: Trimble County Park is one of those that maintains a “hold back” of a couple of sites specifically for walk ins. The plan was to arrive in the early afternoon on Thursday and at that point ask for one of the walk in sites through the weekend. Though each site has only electricity and water, there is a dump station on the grounds, and the price is right: $23 per night, $18 for seniors or country residents.
We were fortunate that there were only two other spots occupied upon our arrival and neither of hem had asked for the walk in spots for the weekend, so we were set for a three day stay, plenty of time to do a full set up of our campsite and get to know our new RV a bit better. We picked up Aunt Linda on the second day allowing the three of us to enjoy both Trimble County Park and the very neat town of Mount Dora.
The park is fantastic, huge oak trees throughout, the majority of the sites directly on edge of one of the big lakes, very well maintained facilities, and plenty of space between spots. We saw gator, raccoons, about a billion squirrels, and plenty of bird life. It is Florida in a forested area, so biting insects had to be managed.
We also took a day trip over to Blue Springs, a state park at which we stayed in 2014. The parks main claim to fame, aside from having a very large, crystal clear, fresh water spring, is that it is a major winter gathering spot for manatees. Around 90 were present during our visit.
Mount Dora was great as well. Any time of the year it is a nice place to visit because of all the antique and art galleries. The town holds several very large antique shows each year, and the historic section of town is a great place to walk, window shop, and eat. During the winter holidays, its even better, with plenty of lighted decorations and events. Our visit was timed perfectly: we attended the Christmas in the Park evening event complete with live music and even snow sledding for the kids despite the hot Florida weather.
We took most of our meals at the campground, but we did splurge for one dinner downtown when we stumbled across a place that had lobster rolls, one of Linda and my favorites. We had discussed that since we were already on tap to pick up Aunt Linda as well as see my son, daughter-in-law, mom and stepdad, this trip through central Florida was to be a bit low key; we did’t even tell all of our friends in the region that we were coming.
At dinner we mentioned how embarrassed we would be if we ran into our friends Anthony and Anita, but having passed through the crowded Christmas celebration without seeing them, and now safely ensconced in an out of the way and tiny restaurant, there would be no real risk of that. Doh! No sooner had we ordered than we heard, in a distinctive New York accent, “Is that Rosie? And is that Jack?” Sure enough, there were Anthony and Anita, with relatives on their way to the restaurant directly upstairs. We love you guys, and will catch you and everyone else we missed in central Florida in the Spring at the latest.
On our last morning, an hour or two before departure my son, mom and stepdad came by. We had kept the news of our new RV a secret until we could at least show immediate family.
This is definitely a place we would like to come back to, perhaps during our movement north this spring.