Final Impressions

Lovin’ me some Lake

Written by James Combs

It’s October.

College football is in full swing, the holidays are rapidly approaching, and cooler weather will soon replace the unbearable heat and humidity we’ve endured for months.

We have many reasons to be thankful.

We should also be thankful to call Lake County home. Here’s a laundry list of why I enjoy living here.

• Contrary to popular belief, this is not a boring, desolate area. Simply put, a county with 315,690 residents cannot even be considered rural. That’s more than four times the population of Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware. We have approximately 106,000 more residents than Des Moines, the largest city in Iowa. You cannot possibly drive through Clermont, The Villages, and Mount Dora and tell me there’s nothing to do here. In fact, it’s the 19th-largest county (out of 67) in the country’s third-fastest growing state. You want to see rural? Go to North Florida. You’ve undoubtedly heard the old joke: “Florida: the farther north you drive, the farther south you get.”
• Leesburg Bikefest. I’ve attended most years, and watching this grow into one of the country’s largest motorcycle events has been a real treat. Beer, bikes, and bikini-clad babes. Like they used to say in the Old Milwaukee beer commercials: “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” Did I mention bikini-clad babes?
• Each town has its own identity. The tourist attractions in Mount Dora, the bustling events in Leesburg, the waterfront activities in Tavares, and the health-conscious options in Clermont make Lake a truly diverse county.
• The wealth of events. Hold on to your handlebars because Leesburg Bikefest is not the only game in town. The Lake County Folk Festival, Pig on the Pond, the Mount Dora Arts Festival, and the Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival—the largest classic boat show on America’s East Coast—draw thousands of visitors to the area. Oh yeah, Eustis’ GeorgeFest is the second-longest-running festival of its kind in the country.
• Ample opportunities for the avid outdoor enthusiast. Love to fish? Enjoy hiking? Want to discover birding? With various preserves, nature parks, and more than 1,000 named lakes, Lake County has you covered.
• Lake is becoming a destination for niche sports such as beach volleyball and disc golf. In fact, the sand volleyball complex at Hickory Point is the largest in Florida and the third-largest in the United States. County officials hope to build the Lake County Disc Golf Trail, which would allow Lake to host prestigious tournaments and world championships.
• Last, but certainly not least, the people. Lake County residents embody the true meaning of community spirit and would gladly give you the shirts off their backs if you needed it. Here, we don’t have neighbors; we have extended family.


About the author

James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County’s many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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