Small Florida town captures visitors with laid-back approach

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MICANOPY -- This town, population 650, draws most of its visitors during a specific 17 weeks of the year -- when people attending sports and music events in Gainesville, 12 miles to the north, take a side trip here.

Micanopy is known for the movies made here: "Doc Hollywood," a comedy starring Michael J. Fox, and "Cross Creek," the story of author Marjorie Kinan Rawlings. Rawlings' home, eight miles away, is a popular tourist stop.

The community also has dirt roads that are popular with bicycle riders who enjoy riding under the roads' shaded canopy of ancient live oaks.

In fact, tourism officials said that visitors enjoy Micanopy because it is pretty quiet; there is no apparent nightlife.

There are also few activities. It delivers "old-time, laid- back Florida," one official said. If clients want to shop, there are stores filled with antiques, collectibles, pottery and custom-stained glass.

Nearby is a bird sanctuary at the 18,000-acre Payne's Prairie State Park.

During a spring 1998 record rainstorm, park rangers with shovels had to remove alligators to save them from vehicles on Route 441. Micanopy, founded in 1821, is said to be Florida's second oldest town. It was the site of fighting during the Seminole wars.

Micanopy has two memorable restaurants. The first is the Old Florida Cafe located on Micanopy's main street, Cholokka Boulevard. Diners order food from inside the cafe-store and munch on generous sandwiches from thickly sliced homemade bread that is also sold here by the loaf.

Many patrons prefer to eat at outside tables shaded by the oak trees. The second dining spot is Mildred's Cottage Gourmet on Hunter Avenue. Popular dishes at the eatery include brown rice and crab salad and an artichoke/chickpea concoction. Sandwiches are served on European-style bread.

Alachua County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Phone: (353) 374-5231

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: www.co.alachua.fl.us\~acvacb

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