Flush with success from the McIntosh Festival, we moved on to one of our favorite Central Florida locations, Trimble Park near Mount Dora. We try to spend a few days there on our way out of Florida each Spring and as part of our return route in the Fall, but hurricane damage and availability have prevented us from staying since March of 2017. We really love this place but it can be difficult to secure reservations: it is pretty popular with the local weekend RVers, and the campground itself is tiny: only 15 sites.
Sometime during the last year and a half they have modified their reservation rules: it is still by phone or in person only, but now instead of an unassigned general reservation and you pick your spot upon arrival, it is a traditional space reservation system. Boo, we liked being able to scout out the park and perhaps even switch sites if one of our favorites opened up.
The weekend popularity of the place meant we could only secure five days, Sunday through Thursday, and we didn’t get one of our preferred spots, but it was still a great stop. Five to seven days is about our preferred sweet spot for stay length: it allows us to relax, unrushed, enjoying a full set up and the local scene, yet permits a pace of travel that keeps us on the move, able to see a lot of places, old faves and new ones alike.
A local told us that there are some wild peacocks that roam an area a few blocks from the campground. He wasn’t lying.
While there Rose crafted away, restocking our supplies in teh wake of brisk sales at the McIntosh Festival, and working on some new seasonal items in preparation for a series of four upcoming markets at Lake Mary. We also managed to work in a dinner with Anthony and Anita’s family, very long time friends of Rosemarie, their daughter Bella, and Anita’s sister Yoli at their preferred downtown Mount Dora eatery, One Flight Up. They have both indoor and exterior balcony seating available, and we enjoyed excellent meals, wine and desserts: very recommended.
Our campground neighbor Carol meeting PKM.
After our five days were up, we shifted to our “go to” central Florida weekend spot, Monroe Park. It’s a Volusia County park, and even on relatively short notice we have never failed to secure a weekend spot. Aside from far greater availability compared to our preferred popular state parks in the area (Wekiwa Springs and Blue Spring) it is dirt cheap: just under $17 a night, all in. For that you get mostly large sites with 50 amp power and water under a canopy of oak trees.
Our assigned site at Lake Monroe
They also have a shower house with eight separate rooms, each with toilet and shower, rather than one big room for each sex. If you have a boat, the park has a ramp and plenty of trailer parking (no swimming allowed, besides, this lake has a LOT of gators.) A bike or hiking path leads a couple of miles up the way to the very attractive Gemini Springs.
There are downsides to Lake Monroe Park which will no doubt cause some to balk at even considering a stay there. It’s in Florida woods next to a body of fresh water, thus, mosquito heaven. With the ranger shack unmanned and no onsite camp host, the rules are, shall we say, loosely enforced. By this I mean dogs aren’t always on leashes, barking is not addressed, and quite hours are frequently violated. Yes, less than ideal. That’s why it is cheap and available.
The Lake Mary Market Manager, Jessica, incorporates seasonal events to spark additional attendance and fun. This week it was a dog costume parade and contest.
If that has not scared you away, the place has other noise issues. The train whistles from nearby tracks can be heard quite clearly in the campground sporadically through the night. Perhaps worse is the Sanford Power Plant across the street, which creates a “steam-rushing-hissing” type noise for large parts of the day and night. Rosemarie and I are in the habit of wearing ear plugs to bed every night, so the noise doesn’t bother me, though the trains penetrate through to effect Rose. That said, the availability, location, and low cost mean we will be spending several weekends here a month, though this has to be carefully monitored: you are only allowed 15 days here per calendar year. With our series of Lake Mary markets, this place is just too convenient to turn up our noises.
Speaking of which, we renewed our Seminole County Tax Receipt permit ($25) and prepaid for four of the Lake Mary market events. Last year we were only guaranteed two, though two more opened up for us, because the city employed market manager enforces a “maximum of two of the same type of vendors at any one event” policy. Apparently one of the other jewelry vendors has dropped out because we got all that we asked for this season, and our first week provided very solid results, ending our October Central Florida time on a great note.