When visiting Micanopy, Florida, you will get a taste of Old Florida. Worn brick buildings surrounded by iron fences infused with gardens of azaleas and majestic old oaks and pecan trees, have been converted into shops and casual eateries. In the shops you will find collectibles, folk art and, of course, hundreds, maybe thousands, of antiques.
While antique hunters and treasure seekers are drawn to Micanopy for its many shops and unique finds, this quaint little hamlet is also home to a lot of history, charm and natural beauty. Making it an ideal stopping point for just about anyone visiting the Central Florida area.
Named for Seminole chief Micanopy (pronounced Mick-can-oh’-pee), the small town (population 653) is considered the oldest inland town in Florida, claiming settlements as early as 1539. It currently boasts 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
Just a few hours drive from Orlando, Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, and 25 miles from The University of Florida in Gainesville; Micanopy is a quick trip from many Central Florida hot spots.
One of historic downtown Micanopy’s most popular buildings is The Daily building, constructed in 1925 as a drug store, doctor’s office and hotel. Today the structure houses 3,500 square feet of eclectic home furnishings, art and antiques. You can also explore vintage treasures in the Mott-May building, a pre-1900s gothic revival.
The Micanopy Historical Society Museum in the old thrasher Warehouse offers a glimpse into the town’s history. The Herlong Mansion is now an historic inn that serves as the communities’ centerpiece and attracts visitors far and wide to its “haunted” halls.
One of the more popular eating spots is the Old Florida Café, which opened in 1996. The cafe serves hearty dishes, like its popular black beans and rice and homemade key lime pie, made from old family recipes.
For those who prefer a more natural setting, just two miles north of Micanopy’s downtown you will find Paynes Prairie, a nature preserve habitat filled with exotic birds, bison and other Florida creatures (maybe an alligator or two). Eight trails offer the ideal setting for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Outdoor enthusiasts also can take advantage of the Florida weather with canoeing, golfing, kayaking, fishing and swimming at Orange Lake and Lockloosa. Other nearby natural sites include Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Devil’s Millhopper State Park, Poe Springs and Ginnie Springs.
And don’t forget to visit the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, former resident and author of the book “Cross Creek.”
Most of the year, Micanopy is a laid back little town, but every October the town’s population swells during the fall arts and crafts festival on Cholokka Boulevard. A variety of artists and crafters offer more than 200 displays for visitors to view and buy their wares. Festival-goers can enjoy music and an old-time auction too.
Micanopy also boasts some Hollywood history. In the 1980s, the films “Doc Hollywood” and “Cross Creek” were filmed here.
For more information, visit welcometomicanopy.com/things_to_do.htm