For this post, I thought I would do something a little different. I wanted to give you all a glimpse into my life, well current life that is. This past weekend, my wife and I took a nice trip to a lovely town called Mt. Dora. It's about forty five minutes north of Orlando, FL. The historic downtown area sits on the edge of a beautiful lake named Lake Dora, obviously. It was a wonderful, small town in the middle of Florida, a true gem hidden in plain site. If you haven't been there, you should go.
My wife and I decided to go to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. I know, visiting a small town in the middle of Florida seems like an odd place to spend a one year anniversary. We were actually supposed to be on a Caribbean cruise this whole week for our celebration. We booked it only weeks after getting back from our honeymoon. But then, something wonderful happened. We got pregnant! Upon my wife visiting her doctor, and mentioning our upcoming cruise, she was told "Absolutely not!" At first I thought the doctor was being a bit paranoid so I took to Google. Her reason for banning us from the cruise was the current outbreak of Zika in the Caribbean. I assumed it was over-hyped, much like it is in the states, and thought we would go anyway. Turns out, I was wrong.
It's pretty bad in the Caribbean right now, unfortunately. They're projecting 1 in 4 pregnant women are infected with Zika. It's spreading there a little too fast. Of course, this can be attributed to people in Puerto Rico not taking proper precautions like bug spray. It was not guaranteed we would contract Zika if we went, but better safe than sorry, right?
Zika is really only a major concern for pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant. If we were not pregnant, nor trying, I would have no fear going to the Caribbean. It's such a lovely place down there. But we just figured, why take the risk? Instead, we were able to work with Royal Caribbean and obtain vouchers for another cruise within 2 years.
But I'm getting off topic here. We decided to see a part of Florida we had never seen before for our anniversary and I'm glad we did. It was lovely. Downtown is a very historic place with old buildings converted into new shopping centers. An old, brick building that used to be a hotel in the 1920's is now used as a shopping center, the old prison a museum, and a house built in 1893 is now a masonic lodge. Pretty crazy!
There's a train that runs from Mt. Dora to the neighboring city of Tavares. It's an old train built in 1907 and still runs on a wood-powered steam engine. It's about an hour and a half round trip and well worth it. The ride is pleasant and really gives you the feel of what life must have been like to travel back then. These days, we're pretty spoiled. We jump in the car and drive across country in only couple days, or take a plan to the other coast in a few short hours. Back then, it was as much about the journey as it was the destination. I think that's been lost on a lot of people these days.
One of the things that really stood out was the history museum. It was only $2 an adult so I wasn't expecting much. I must say, it was a highlight of our trip. The woman who was our tour guide was a lovely person who really enjoyed the history of American and the town. I feel like I learned a lot! Later, my wife told me the ladies working the museum didn't get paid, they were volunteers. I feel really bad I had no cash on me at the time, otherwise I would have left them a nice tip!
At the history museum, they gave us a map that outlined the historical homes in the town. It was a self guided driving tour that took us around the city. I don't think the map was completely updated as it told us to turn south on a one way street that only traveled north. Despite that, the tour was really cool! There were some beautiful houses that were built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. I would love to tour the inside of some of them! While we were on the train, the tour guide told us we had passed a house belonging to Al Capone. I looked it up but couldn't find any truth to it. Apparently, Mr. Capone really liked visiting Mt. Dora but there are no records he bought a house. It may have been in someone else's name. Those mobsters weren't dumb.
Saturday night we decided to leave the hotel and go out for dinner. In the elevator we met up with this wonderful couple who was working at a Renaissance festival in the area. We had seen signs for it and thought about checking it out but weren't entirely sure. We got to talking to them in the short elevator ride and they offered us free tickets to the fair. I was completely surprised and ecstatic that they had extended such a wonderful offer to us. They said they would leave the tickets at will call, if we decided to show up.
Sunday morning, we had our breakfast, visited a few parks in the area, and decided to head to the Ren fest. Sure enough, the tickets were waiting for us at will call with a note explaining they were actors who ran the show The Wonder Elixir of Life. Naturally, we had to check out their show. It would be the least we could do for getting free tickets. We headed in and found a large map. I stood for a moment trying to find the show. A gentleman came up to us and asked what we were looking for. I didn't quite look down from the map and told him the name of the show. He pointed us in the direction and said we would love the show. My wife nudged me and told me that was the guy in the elevator who had given us the tickets. I didn't recognize him at all. We said hi and I apologized for not recognizing him. Then we headed over to watch their show.
It was pretty funny and we both had a good time. They were a lovely couple that clearly enjoy the work that they do. I can definitely respect that. It was so cool to meet such wonderful people, unexpectedly. It was such a pleasure meeting such wonderful people.
My wife and I have only been married for one year but we've been together for six years now. I still look at her as my best friend and feel exactly as I did all those years ago. It's nice spending your life with someone who understands you and supports you the way she does. There will be many more wedding anniversaries in the future, of that I'm sure!
So, that was our little weekend away for our anniversary. We had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed exploring a new area. I look forward to more trips in the future, especially after our little one has joined the family. It will be fun to explore the world with a child and share my life with another person who will most assuredly have a grip on my heart!
If you enjoyed this, let me know. Leave me a comment saying you would like to see more of these types of posts in the future. There's plenty of adventures for me to share. We camp, hike, and do a lot of things. Let me know! And as always, thanks for reading!
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.