The historic town has long been prized for its many antique stores – the streets of the downtown area are lined with shops full of collectibles, and nearby Renninger's (20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora, 352-383-3141, renningers.net) holds Antique Extravaganzas three times per year, welcoming vintage and antique dealers from around the country. It's not all old stuff, though – the Modernism Museum (145 E. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora, 352-385-0034, modernismmuseum.org) offers a look at an organic vision of the future, articulated in beautiful midcentury furniture. Celebrated chef Norman Van Aken plans to open his newest restaurant, 1921 by Norman Van Aken, next door the Modernism Museum, but until it's completed, you can always post up on the porch of the Lakeside Inn (100 Alexander St., Mount Dora, 352-383-4101, lakeside-inn.com) the oldest continuously operating hotel in Florida, for a sunset cocktail.
Less than an hour outside Orlando, tiny Cassadaga is known as the "Psychic Capital of the World"; consult cassadaga.org for a listing of the mediums, tarot readers and aura photographers that make up the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp to book your own reading. Then hop over to DeLand (17 minutes away). Follow a quick browse through the downtown satellite galleries of the Museum of Art – DeLand (100 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, 386-279-7534, moartdeland.org) with dinner at the outstanding Cress Restaurant (103 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand, 386-734-3740, scressrestaurant.com) – we recommend the chef's tasting menu for a hedonistic experience.
Over on the west coast, the Tampa Bay area has plenty to offer. St. Petersburg's white-sand beaches are deservedly beloved, but we never miss a visit to the world-renowned Dalí Museum (1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg, 727-823-3767, thedali.org). As part of Sarasota's Ringling Museum (5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, 941-359-5700, ringling.org), don't miss the spectacular Cá d'Zan (below), a palatial, 56-room Venetian-style villa that has to be seen to be believed. For a more leisurely afternoon, download the Sarasota Architectural Foundation's self-guided driving tour to peruse the city's stunning trove of mid-century modern architecture.
And sure, Tampa is known for the historic Ybor City, where Cuban workers once rolled cigars, but we love this city most for its shopping and dining opportunities: The Oxford Exchange (420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-253-0222, oxfordexchange.com) is tops for retail therapy, with a stunning bookstore, a lovely tearoom/luncheonette and a retail Warby Parker boutique, where you can try and buy frames if you're not sure about buying glasses online. And your restaurant options are stellar. The farm-to-table Refinery (5137 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-0237-2000, thetamparefinery.com) is the place you'll brag about to your foodie friends; Bern's Steak House (1208 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-251-2421, bernssteakhouse.com) mixes serious steakhouse chops (ha) and a world-class wine cellar with a certain hard-to-describe wackiness. Not in the mood for a fancy meal? Six outposts of the Taco Bus (taco-bus.com) are scattered throughout the Tampa Bay area; their butternut-squash tostada is a don't-miss dish.