All about Hoofbeats & Footprints

The “Old Florida” at Micanopy

Nestled away from the sandy beaches, and craziness of the tourists hides the true “Old Florida.” With majestic Oak trees heavily shrouded with Spanish Moss, Palmetto bushes, and Cypress Trees are little towns where time appears to have stopped. Micanopy, Florida is one of the many Old Florida towns in the north-central region of Florida. Within an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Orlando, one can step back in time and reminisce of times past.

This hidden town was the backdrop for the well known movie Doc. Hollywood with Michael J. Fox. With a charming main street lined with antique shops and several cafes, Micanopy is a perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.  The Herlong Mansion Bed and Breakfast offers a full-service get-away destination that promises a romantic and peaceful home away from home.

Walking along Micanopy’s main street under the Oak trees and Spanish Moss, one almost feels like an explorer. The tropical vegetation engulfs you with their bright greens and silvery grays that mother nature painted them with.

In Micanopy’s ‘downtown’ area are wonderful antique shops and cafes. The Old Florida Cafe is a local favorite, while the adjacent Coffee n Cream offers ice cream and a resident cat that makes you wish you had his lifestyle.

Towards the north side of Main Street, Micanopy has a truly special museum that preserves the agricultural heritage of the area. The Micanopy Historical Society Museum is located in the Thrasher Warehouse that dates back to the late 1800’s. Old farming equipment is strewn along the garden and one can see how nature begins to reclaim its space.

Even though Micanopy has always been a very small town, there are several country churches that one can attend. The white church is known as the Church of the Mediator. First built in 1874 for the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians acquired the church in 1966.

My journey continued along the main street, enjoying the big and little views that this scenic town had to offer.

184 replies »

  1. Cool shots! That area of Florida is pretty rustic. It is cool that you do not have to venture far from the major cities like Orlando or Tampa to find towns like these.

    • It is so true Steve. Just briefly off the main drag are picturesque and unique places. Yes, much of this area is still several decades behind and it really does give one perspective. Thanks for liking my post and hope to see more of you.

    • Hi Mikalee ! Michael J. Fox was such a cute guy then too. Discovered the movie on the local cable on-demand this week, so it was great to see it again and try to place Micanopy in the backdrop. Thank you so much for liking my post and look forward to sharing more.

  2. Beautiful Photographs! This looks like a great vacation idea. I live in Baltimore, MD & you can go around the block & find yourself in another time completely. This town looks like another time. Thank you.

    • Hello Flatland! We are neighbors then as I live near Annapolis ! It is true, we can live in such modern society, but then go down the road and it’s like you’ve gone through a time warp. Thank you so much for liking my post and come back soon.

    • Thank you Owl ! Clearing the B&B was the home of an affluent family, while very close by are traditional Florida Cracker homes. Most times I think of Florida being such a young state, but then seeing that Micanopy started in the mid-1800’s that’s more in the past than I had realized. Thank you so much for liking my post, and hope to see you back soon.

      • I lived in North Island NZ for a little while, and there are similar houses, and churches and barns there too. It’s partly the design, and partly the materials used, I guess…

        • That is really interesting. You would never think two places on opposite sides of the world would have such similarities. Wonder if perhaps the churches/missionaries had something to do with that.

        • Hi Evelyn! Yes, I do use Lightroom 3.5 and do some tone curves and adding some black to the image. However, this was after a rain, so with the damp leaves, the green did stand out a bit. I also chose the Landscape option on my Canon 7d DSLR which really brightens up tones. I found though that I have to be careful in really green or blue scenes as it becomes the predominant color. I still shoot in jpg.

  3. Each one just blew me away! I was scrolling down going “Oooh, I like that one…and that one, too…oh! And that one!” so smashing job, you. 🙂

    • Your kind words brought a tear to my eye. I’ve been working hard the past year trying to develop my photographer’s eye and my technical aptitude and it is so rewarding to hear that you enjoy my photos so well. Thank you so much and hope to see you back soon.

    • Really, the more I go through the comments I’ve received today, the more I’m astounded. Thank you so much for liking my post and I truly enjoy being able to share them. Please come back to visit soon.

    • You are so kind, and Thank you! I can’t tell you what a surprise it was to open up my email and see that it had exploded due to the FP. What a thrill, and I truly appreciate being able to share what I see in the world with others. Hope to see you back soon.

    • Hi Rae ! Thank you so much for liking my FP post and it’s true. Most people think of Florida to be full of Mickey Mouse, Cubans and busy beaches. But there are so many off-the-beaten-track places in Florida that keep the “Old Florida” alive. Hope to see you back soon.

  4. Wow, what a neat little town. I live so close to Micanopy and I have never been. I definitely need to visit, thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you Carlie ! It is amazing how we tend to not visit the places closest to home, in spite of how special home can be. Yes ! You should go and visit, as well as nearby Cross Creek. Hope to see you back soon.

  5. Wow, really lovely post, and the photography is fantastic!! I live in Ireland, but always intended to visit the U.S. again, so Micanopy is now firmly on my list of places to visit =)

    • Thank you so very much for your kind words. What an incredible surprise to see this post fresh pressed. Truly, this area of Florida is unique especially with its oak trees with spanish moss. I hope to make it to Ireland someday and want to horseback ride in the countryside.

      • I’ve been dying to incorporate spanish moss into one of my fairy paintings for ages! 🙂 If you make it to Ireland I definitely recommend beach trekking on the east coast where I live, my horse & I trek several times a week at Ballymoney beach & woods, it’s just magical 🙂

  6. Came across your blog and very much enjoyed reading your posts about Florida. Your photos are amazing! I am a photography addict and love to see other works. Thanks for the smiles!

    • You are so very kind Vicki. I’ve always hoped that my photos can bring someone else joy, and what an incredible surprise that this post was able to do that. Thank you so much and hope to share more with you.

  7. Absolutely love this post! Florida is just full of little towns like this if you know where to look. The big cities are nice, but there’s a lot to be said for sleepy little towns like this. Great pictures!

  8. I took a year off from the hustle and moved to Dunnellon, FL from Miami in 2006…. This little town reminds me of that year. It was a different way of life. And I miss it.

    • Hi Stephanie! Wow, Dunnellon – now that is a place most people haven’t heard about. I used to work for Barnett Bank and had to visit the branch there. Now that’s truly the secret Florida. Thanks for liking my post and glad it reminded you of more peaceful times.

  9. Great post. Good photos.

    As organist/pianist at the Episcopal church anyone reading this is welcome to stop by if you are in the area. The building is often open and I think looks even better inside. I teach piano lessons and practice during the week. You’re welcome to stop by and say hi.

    • What a pleasure to see you James. If I had known, I would have gone in myself and seen the inside of your beautiful church. Thank you so much for finding my post and stopping by and sharing. Hopefully this will help people find you locally.

  10. What beautiful photos! I especially love the “Robert’s Antiques” framed by the Spanish moss from a (Live Oak?) tree. I’ll send this to my mother as she grew up in “old” St. Petersburg and remembers when Orlando was all farmland.

    I’m also a musician and I love the soundtrack to Doc Hollywood. This pictures remind me of some of the themes from the movie, a testament to composer Carter Burwell’s talent for evoking the spirit of the place. You can hear all his tracks here — I recommend Jasmine Strut, Stones Rounds, and Fireflies and Night Shade. http://www.allmusic.com/album/doc-hollywood-r112337 A nice accompaniment 🙂

    Lovely work and blog concept!

    • You are so very kind Laura, and thank you so much for enjoying my post. I also have one on Cross Creek that you can share with your mom. Yes, tons of Live Oaks covered with Spanish moss in the area – you just have to watch out for the red bugs that live in the moss.

      We just watched Doc Hollywood last night and you can just see Micanopy in the backdrop. We’re now watching Cross Creek and see more of Micanopy in the movie. Thanks for the sound track recommendation. I’m definitely going to get them.

      Thank you so much and look forward to sharing more with you.

      • Thanks for the kind comments and visiting my blog 🙂 Loving your latest Cedar Creek post. Florida birds are wonderful. My grandmother lived near a small drainage lake in FL and we loved seeing the little gallinules born every spring. Their feet aren’t as webbed as ducks’ are, so the poor mother would always be frantically swimming/grapplilng after her babies, protecting them from snapping turtles and who knows what else lingering under the surface!

        • It is my great pleasure Laura ! I really enjoyed visiting your blog and will be back soon. The story about the little gallinules is so touching..poor babies ! Time to start making some turtle soup! Thanks for your visit and see you soon.

  11. I am forever grateful that my grandparents introduced me to THIS Florida when I was younger. Totally didn’t appreciate it in 7th grade, but now, this is the FL I love. 🙂

    • Hi Shellie/Booktopia ! Isn’t it funny how our parents were so good about exposing us to the world, and how we rejected the experience. I really appreciate the time and exploration my parents shared with me now. Thank you so much for liking my post and hope to see you back soon.

  12. Absolute pleasure to see and read this post. I am from Gainesville, just 20 minutes north of Micanopy, and was pleased to see this favorite destination given mention. Your photographs are superb and absolutely did this magical little town justice. It oozes southern charm and a taste of old Florida. It’s a favorite stop for antiquing and I must recommend to those visiting a stop at Smiley’s Antiques Mall and Dakota Mercantile.

    • Thank you so much Carey. From one Hogtown local to another. I’m so happy to hear that Smiley’s is still standing and really is a great place for antiquing. Enjoy Gainesville for me, and perhaps next time I’m down there our paths will cross.

  13. I’m from fla as well, central, but I have always loved north centrals climate etc.. I’ve never been to this quaint little spot though I’ll have to check it out. Great pics, thanks for capturing a side of Florida most people don’t see.

    • Hi Kimberly! Yes, you absolutely should take the time to drive up north and check out the area. I’m assuming you’ve also made it Mount Dora. Thank you so much for enjoying my post and hope to see you back soon.

  14. You captured Micanopy so beautifully! I remember the Herlong Mansion before it became a B&B. And, I saw Doc Hollywood several times just to see old familiar places. Thank you for the lovely reminder that all of Florida is not Disney or South Beach, but truly an old southern place with history still waiting to be discovered. ~Linda Joyce

  15. I remember riding the Auto Train through your part of Florida when I was young. I am not sure how close Micanopy is to the train route, but I loved seeing the old north Florida towns…the fern farms near Palatka, and life along the St. John’s. You have preserved a slice of our disappearing Florida heritage. Chapeau. Jane

    • Thank you so much Jane. The Auto Train stops in the speed trap capital of Florida Waldo, then heads on the east side of Micanopy. I appreciate your kind words, and happy it was able to bring back fond memories for you.

  16. Wonderful photos! I live in Orlando and a friend of mine is from Micanopy. She loved seeing this blog and posted it on Facebook. I’m anxious to take a trip up there now. This is the part of Florida that most people don’t realize still exists. Thank you for capturing it and sharing!

    Karen

    • Hi Karen ! Wow ! Someone is actually FROM Micanopy ?? Now that is a first ! Please tell your friend I said hello and that I truly enjoy her town. Hopefully when I head back down to Gainesville in the next month I can stop by again. Thank you for your kind words and hope to see you back soon.

      • Hi again! I just now read your message. I did tell my friend about your photos of Micanopy and I know she shared it with family and on facebook. I also like your photos from Cedar Key. Keep up the great work!

  17. I love your pictures and the backstory behind each and every one of them. I’ve been to Alabama and Georgia, but never Florida. And my friends and relatives keep on telling that I need to go. Even here in Detroit, we have some Florida transplants who have literally unending stories to tell about the Sunshine State.

    I plan to visit one day, God willing.

    • Hello Jvlivs ! Even though I’ve also traveled through the southern states, I’ve never thought of actually going out and photographing them and thinking about their illustrious past. I know the terrain in Georgia is a little different, but I’d imagine the culture is nearly the same. I also hope you get a chance to get south and enjoy a different view of the world. Thank you for your comments.

    • Hi Yoga Leigh! You are really giving me the vote of confidence for the day. Thank you so very much, and so happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed my photos of Micanopy. It truly is a special place.

    • Hi Daryl ! I drove through Paines Prairie and as an old time Gator and horse lover, I can’t believe I never knew about the horses until just this past trip. Alas, I didn’t have enough time to go and find them. Supposedly there are buffalo there as well. I saw one once back in the 1990’s. Thanks for enjoying my post.

    • Thank you so much Michele! It is funny how you can leave the UF campus and drive down the road a short bit and literally be in a different world. I wonder how many students never knew this area existed. Thanks for your visit and hope to see you back soon.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Hopefully you also had the chance to see the post on Cross Creek as well. You have a wonderful blog, and just in case you need it, this is in Alachua County. Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by.

  18. Artistry in photography, about village streets that my husband & I walk along many times a year. One of the best posts I’ve seen about Micanopy. Thank you!

    Jan Godown Annino
    Bookseedstudio
    Florida

    • WOW Really Jan ?? That is such a kind and generous thing to say. I used to LOVE going to Micanopy for their arts festival and miss living in Gainesville so that I could do so. I’m sure you’re quite familiar with Cedar Key as well. Enjoy Florida for me will you?

      • you have a cute name Bella … mine is Roda. I believe in the philosophy … do unto others what you would have them do for you …. I think of friends that I may never meet as ships that pass in the night … and I will always toot a hello.

  19. Gorgeous photos and a beautiful town. Those little towns where time seems to stand still are more interesting then any big modern city and a valuable source of American history.

  20. Seeing your pics brings back good memories – my two best friends and I had a Girls Weekend Away at Micanopy recently and stayed at The Herlong. The Herlong is absolutely beautiful and a wonderful B&B. And Micanopy is absolutely perfect for a relaxing weekend. Definitely a world away from the mouse and the rest of the tourist craziness of Central Florida.
    Jeanni

    • Hi Jeanni ! I am so happy that this post was able to bring back fond memories for you. I wish I could have stayed at the Herlong as it looked so well kept and seems like a wonderful place to escape to. Thank you for your visit and hope to see you back soon.

  21. Wow, so beautiful! Lately, I’ve been gaining much interest in moving to Florida. This pushes me even more to move! Of course, Micanopy wouldn’t be where I’d end up, but it’s still in Florida which adds another pro to the list.

  22. When I lived in Sarasota, Micanopy was on my drive back home to my parents’ house. It was one of my favorite scenes, and I never got the chance to stop and fully look at it. Thank you so much for sharing these. I am loving reliving the scenes up close!

  23. I have only been to Micanopy one time and that was last year at the end of January. It truly is a unique and charming little town. The church with the red door is very quaint. I love old churches and I drove around the outskirts of that area to a little town called Campville. I found 2 churches that I really liked there. I don’t have pics of them on my blog but they are on my flickr page. Great set of photos!

    • Hi Michael ! It really is a sleepy tiny town isn’t it? So happy to hear that you made it. I’m amazed that you know of a little town that I’ve never heard of. Think I need to go and track down Campville. Now off to flickr to check out your pics.

  24. I was born and raised in Florida (Miami). How come I never heard of Micanopy? What a wonderful place! And your photos are superb. Thanks for finding my blog so that I could find you.

  25. I love it. I wish I had been in town that day! I would have been taller and thinner. Maybe that’s just the way they appear on my screen. It takes an out of towner who knows how to size up an image…so we can appreciate how beautiful and unique Micanopy is.

    • Hello Les Singleton. It would have been wonderful to have met you. Perhaps on my next visit through Micanopy I may be able to capture you. Thank you so much for your visit and keeping in such a lovely town.

  26. I am from perdido bay fla and I was in LaBelle in march. These are wonderful so I am sharing an old few I found of same area- my sister is an artist there and she sent me some historical shots. Enjoy and thank you!
    Mary

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