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Old 30 Jul 17, 04:53 PM  
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anji
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Road Trip – OLD & NEW ADVENTURES – Day 7 – Seaplane, Cat Boat & Anna Maria Island

Road Trip – OLD & NEW ADVENTURES – Day 7 – Seaplane, Cat Boat & Anna Maria Island

The Comfort Inn provided breakfast – not a patch on the Penny Farthing breakfast, but perfectly ok will all the usual offerings. We checked out, leaving my new dress in the wardrobe ☹, and headed off to the Lakeside Inn and the Seaplane dock.

I think my only regret about all 9 of my accommodation bookings was not spending the night here. It’s such a gorgeous looking place and right on the lake, close to everything. It was also a lot more $$ though. We parked up and walked down to the dock.


There was the little hut to check in and this poor woman trying to get rid of thousands of moths and flies from inside. She’d left the window open the night before and they all came in for the light. I really felt for her.

Our flight cost us just $25 and was a 3 minute ride from Mount Dora to Tavares on the other side of Lake Dora. Just a short hop but we thought it would be a great experience. The plane arrived and tied up at the dock.

It was a Cesna 185 for those into these things and very small – just 4 seats and an ashtray for the pilot (not used of course!). I sat in the back and Will sat by the pilot. We put on our earphones and off we went.

Taking off was amazing and smooth. We chatted to the pilot and he ended up flying us all over the place for 15 minutes! You could see the tall buildings of Orlando city in the distance and there was a cute racetrack and horses too. We didn’t fly very high so the views of the ground were quite detailed.

For $25 that was just brilliant. We landed smoothly too into Tavares and were welcomed by an alligator – apparently there are 4000 of them in Lake Dora and the surrounding lakes!

On Facebook I see that they have just bought a new plane jonesairandsea.

We had a walk around Tavares for a while. It was really quiet apart from down at the dock and the playground. Obviously, everyone leaves town on a Sunday! We had a beer and a snack at O’Keefe’s Irish Bar, which seemed to be one of only two places open.

They were kind enough to call us a cab for the trip back to Mount Dora. We could have waited for a return flight at 3pm but had our Cat Boat booking to get to. $12 and 10 minutes later we were at the jetty for the boats.

This was a 2-hour trip with catboattours There were 6 boats, plus the guide, Craig. The boats are catamarans a bit bigger than a pedalo but with an outboard motor on the back. There’s a sunshade if you want it and a drybox for your stuff at the back. Craig said we would be going straight across Lake Dora and then along the Dora Canal, which is said to be one the most beautiful miles in the world.

Off we went – these boats travel at 35mph at full pelt. We zoomed across the lake – it was a bit breezy so it wasn’t exactly a millpond and we got splashed and laughed the whole way. We did stop every now and again for Craig to point out things – Al Capone’s house for one. Communication was by walkie talkie for each boat and him.

When we reached the canal connecting Lake Dora to Lake Eustis he told us we must go slowly and single file. There were a few other tour boats on the canal and I was glad we were in our little ones.

I had my doubts about the claims about this canal but it was honestly breaktakingly beautiful. It was used for the first 2 Pirates of the Caribbean films and part of the original Jungle Queen. Lots of hanging Spanish moss, big roots of the mangroves and other trees and tons of wildlife. We saw an alligator of at least 7 feet with its mouth wide open on a log – and I missed taking a photo of it – doh! Lots of birds and fish.

Eventually we came out onto Lake Eustis – just as beautiful. Then it was back down the canal again to Mount Dora.

We then had a race across the lake to a point Craig directed us to – we won! It was a lot smoother on the way back with no splashing.

We continued back to the dock and thanked him for a great afternoon. I would definitely recommend both these things to do at Mount Dora – such great fun and a real opportunity to do and see something different.

Now it was time to get on the road south for Anna Maria Island for 2 nights. This was to be our first experience of AirBnB. I’d found us a place in Bradenton which looked lovely and was a real bargain at $50 a night. The communication from Erin, the owner, had been excellent too. It was about 140 miles and we went on some fairly new roads, encountering our only tolls of the holiday.

The house was in a quiet cul-de-sac and Erin and her family were there to greet us.

The room was within her house but she showed us round and we had full run of the place, including the kitchen. Our room was amazing, especially the bed, and we had tv, coffee, flowers etc and our own bathroom too.

Besides husband Rick and son Riley, Erin had Molly – the squarest and friendliest cat ever – and Beetle – a resentful of visitors black pug. By the 3rd day he had warmed to me!

We headed out about 8pm for something to eat and drove the short distance to Anna Maria Island. We were shocked by the enormous line of traffic leaving the island and how it was backed up all the way from the Bradenton to well into the Island itself. Sundays were certainly popular for visiting the beach, especially as it was a holiday weekend, and some would be there for a long time!

We parked up and found the Sandbar restaurant, which I’d read good things about. Unfortunately it was packed, noisy in a bad way and seemed pretty chaotic. We didn’t really want to wait 45 minutes so had a wander on the beach before driving to City Pier. We ate at the Waterfront Restaurant, where we sat next to the fish tank and had excellent meals. I can’t remember what they were called but they were lovely!

Back to Erin’s and we let ourselves in the front door with the code. They were watching tv. It was a bit odd going into someone’s house like this and we agreed we’d rather have somewhere with our own entrance etc. if we did this again. Off to a very comfortable bed after a busy day!

Index - https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/edi...ost&p=12643444

Edited at 03:01 PM.
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Old 31 Jul 17, 10:40 AM  
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GopherLass
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You already know that I'm a bit (AHEM) anti-social; I can't imagine walking into another family's house like that.

I think that AirBnB is probably not for me!


Love the seaplane tour - that one's gone on the list. Those cat boats, though...they look VERY close to the alligators.


Per usual, an absolutely fascinating day. We need some more snaps of the authoress, though.
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Old 31 Jul 17, 01:57 PM  
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anji
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Originally Posted by GopherLass View Post
You already know that I'm a bit (AHEM) anti-social; I can't imagine walking into another family's house like that.

I think that AirBnB is probably not for me!


Love the seaplane tour - that one's gone on the list. Those cat boats, though...they look VERY close to the alligators.


Per usual, an absolutely fascinating day. We need some more snaps of the authoress, though.
Yes it was a bit odd and we felt a bit self-conscious BUT we'd definteley do AirBnB again if we had our own place. It was a total bargain though and they were perfectly lovely people too, especially Molly!
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Old 1 Aug 17, 02:30 PM  
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collybird
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It looks lovely down by the Lakeside Inn, I definitely agree it would have been lovely for you to stay there.

Utterly fascinated by your next accommodation, a very strange experience and so funny that the cat just welcomed you in as a member of the family.
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Old 1 Aug 17, 05:21 PM  
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anji
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Originally Posted by collybird View Post
It looks lovely down by the Lakeside Inn, I definitely agree it would have been lovely for you to stay there.

Utterly fascinated by your next accommodation, a very strange experience and so funny that the cat just welcomed you in as a member of the family.
A couple more of the Lakeside Inn - plus another motor bike. We saw so many big bikes while we were away!

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Old 5 Aug 17, 07:39 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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What a superb day, love both the seaplane and the cat boats. Brilliant pics, what fun things to do.
Weird sharing the house with the family ... I keep looking at that Pugs face, definitely not amused !
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Old 5 Aug 17, 02:22 PM  
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Cutiepie
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What a fab day! Lovely to read about different things to do in Florida! Must try to remember the cat boats & seaplane for a future trip
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Old 6 Aug 17, 11:34 AM  
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Waltdisnae
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Mount Dora canal looks very atmospheric and the catboattour looks great fun... but like gopherlass says maybe a bit too close to the water...
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Old 19 Aug 17, 03:28 PM  
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anji
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Originally Posted by Waltdisnae View Post
Mount Dora canal looks very atmospheric and the catboattour looks great fun... but like gopherlass says maybe a bit too close to the water...
It was just idyllic along the canal. I didn't think about the gators at the time to be honest as I was too busy looking around or holding on when we were whizzing across the lake.
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Old 6 Nov 17, 01:55 AM  
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Thanks to your report we did the cat boats trip today .It was brilliant even though it rained and we got soaking wet !Well worth the drive and the money.
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