common / Luxe Living

Time may have forgotten sleepy Micanopy, but visitors won’t

BY MARY THURWACHTER


The Herlong Mansion in Micanopy has been a bed-and-breakfast since 1987. 
PHOTOS BY MARY THURWACHTER/FLORIDA WEEKLY The Herlong Mansion in Micanopy has been a bed-and-breakfast since 1987. PHOTOS BY MARY THURWACHTER/FLORIDA WEEKLY When I want to escape the frenetic bustle of the city, I find tiny Central Florida villages like Micanopy especially appealing. Not much has changed in sleepy hamlet, and that’s just the way villagers — and tourists — like it.

Nestled between Interstate 75 and U.S. 441 in southeastern Alachua County, Micanopy (Mick-can-oh-pee) retains the unspoiled quietness folks seeking rest and relaxation crave. The roads are lined with little stores, a small, old wooden church, private homes and ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

The place to stay is the Herlong Mansion, a grand Southern mansion with four carved Corinthian columns and a wide veranda — a popular gathering place for guests who enjoy the view of rose gardens, magnolia trees and Cholokka Boulevard, the town’s main street. I call the veranda “the reading room,” because every time I’ve been there, everyone has had a book or Kindle in hand.


The Episcopal Church of the Mediator, built in 1873, has a new steeple. The Episcopal Church of the Mediator, built in 1873, has a new steeple. Lumber baron Z.C. Herlong built the house in 1875 during the time Micanopy briefly became a regional transportation hub. In 1910, he enlarged the original two-story farmhouse, turning it into the grand mansion it is today.

Herlong has floors inlaid with maple and mahogany, 12-foot ceilings, tiger oak and walnut paneling and 10 fireplaces. The dining room features ceiling-to-floor windows, giving guests a good look at the rose gardens outside while they’re enjoying breakfast. The menu ranges from country ham quiche and grits fritters to apple sausage covered with cornbread.

Carolyn Stevens West, who owns the bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Stephen West, says guests seeking a peaceful start to the day can join in one of the daily yoga classes offered at Herlong. Classes are held on the gazebo lawn or in the Long Hall (part of the Herlong campus, which also includes a garden cottage and pump house cottage).


The Shop offers a treasure trove of unique gifts and décor, including Christmas décor, and has been on Cholokka Boulevard since 1980. The Shop offers a treasure trove of unique gifts and décor, including Christmas décor, and has been on Cholokka Boulevard since 1980. “It’s air-conditioned in the summer and heated for those cold winter mornings,” Ms. West says. Massages are available for those looking for some added pampering.

Guests often choose to explore the old Micanopy cemetery and check out the shops. The Shop is full of Christmas décor. Dakota Mercantile sells creams and candles and hand-embroidered items. The Old Florida Café is a good option for lunch. You can enjoy a Cuban sandwich, chicken wrap or an ice cream cone under an old oak tree.

Some nearby dinner options include a pizza shop and an Italian restaurant in Harvest Village.


The second-floor porch is a favorite perch for guests who relax there on large swinging outdoor beds. The second-floor porch is a favorite perch for guests who relax there on large swinging outdoor beds. On Saturday evenings, live auctions are held in the garage of a house featured in the “Doc Hollywood” movie that starred Michael J. Fox.

Many visitors like to take a short drive to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Rawlings’ old Florida homestead gives visitors a look into life in the 1930s, when Rawlings lived and worked in the tiny hamlet of Cross Creek. She wrote her Pulitzer Prizewinning novel “The Yearling” while living in Cross Creek.

Micanopy is called “the town that time forgot,” but those who experience its tranquil beauty never will. ¦



Herlong Mansion has floors inlaid with maple and mahogany, 12-foot ceilings, tiger oak and walnut paneling. Herlong Mansion has floors inlaid with maple and mahogany, 12-foot ceilings, tiger oak and walnut paneling.

Shops along Cholokka Boulevard, the town’s main street. Shops along Cholokka Boulevard, the town’s main street.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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