Spectacular solar relief 

The sun is the mother of all fires, and while minions flock to Florida to worship her powerful rays, sooner or later the solar queen becomes a nemesis to all -- sweat, sunburn, dehydration, literal burn-out. Relief comes only when the sun goes down, and locals know that's when it's time to play in the summer.

But the transitional sunsets are an event in themselves. And there are spectacular viewing spots for that free evening display of color and closure. Make no mistake, it's not just the rejuvenating East Coast sun-breaks, viewed from New Smyrna or Cocoa beach, that inspire. Looking west from Mount Dora, the sunset can be caught from a variety of scenic spots overlooking the Harris Chain of Lakes. The perspective is such that it fools the eye into forgetting the longitude as the brilliant glow disappears over endless-watery reflections. The intensity and size of the dropping sun make it appear closer and more intense than the lauded West Coast views.

There's variety in the vantage points -- from sunset cruises to public boardwalks to find-for-yourself secret spots along the ample shore lines. Start the day early with a snorkel in one of the cool springs in the Ocala National Forest, or follow with dinner at one of the eateries along the downtown strip. Tap into this historical city's resources through the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce (phone, 352-383-2165).


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