When I was in Florida helping my family member move, I decided after a long week I needed a break before returning home. So I took a few days and decided to visit friends in Gainesville, Florida. They took me to a tiny village called Micanopy. It is a town south of Gainesville, and as of 2010, it had a population of 600 people. It was established in 1880 and named after a Seminole Chief.
Micanopy has one street named Cholokka Boulevard that is lined with big oak trees, cabbage palms, and brick and framed buildings that are old but have now been turned into new, small businesses. The little village is home to a few coffee shops and a couple of ice cream shops, a cute cafe with records for sale, and an antique glassware shop that serves hardy sandwiches, art galleries, an elegant French shop, antique shops, and more. Micanopy also has the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, home of Bison and wild horses that you can see from a tower in the middle of the Park.
When looking for unique items to purchase, from art made by locals to decorative home furnishings to decor imported from France, this cute little village is the place to go when in Central Florida. One place that I enjoyed was Dakota Mercantile. This shop has everything you need for your bath, bed, garden and home decor from imported French sheets, cards, soaps and creams, candles and much more. I met the owner who was from New York, and her husband is from South Dakota; they named their shop Dakota. Dakota had a fountain that you’d find in Paris, but this one is miniature in size. It is out back in a pretty garden with more merchandise displayed for purchase. Both the outside space and the inside of the shop are so pretty.
When we first arrived, we started off by going to the coffee and ice cream shop called Coffee ‘N Cream where we bought some ice cream, banana pudding to share and some coffee. We were served by the owner Kelly Harris and her daughter. The shop has inside and outside seating with a wrap around porch. They had a three-person band with a violin, a guitar and an instrument that I did not recognize; all the tables were filled with customers, eating and listening to music. Next door was Shady Oak Gallery and Stained Glass Studio where beautiful works of art and stained glass lamps, windows, and jewelry from the artist in Florida. They even hold stained glass classes there for the public.
When we were sitting outside I met an artist, Andy Thurber, who had moved to Micanopy from Key West. He was painting this painting below of the ice cream/coffee shop. He told me that he had a gallery on the other side of the street, so we went to see more of his paintings and the work of other artists.
There was a beautiful shop that reminded me of a shop I’d find in Franklin, TN; it was called The Shop which opened in 1980. The place where Interior Designers
At the shop ‘Gallery Under the Oaks‘ where artists from the community house their artwork, I met one of the artists who make soaps and candles; her brand was Victorian Rose. She said each artist works there a short amount of hours per month so that they man the store, and people come from all over the country to this little village. She also told us that the 4th of July is a big deal with an old fashioned parade and activities and lots of fun. She said at Easter they gather at the Gazebo for their Easter Service.
I suggest if you are ever close to Gainesville or Ocala then make a point of visiting this cute little village. And if you have ever been there please