**disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but this does not alter the fact that I share my own honest experiences **
Experience the “southern charm” in an authentic American Mansion, transformed into a bed & breakfast in the heart of Florida in the United States of America.
Have you ever seen the romantic blockbuster the Notebook? If not, you should definitely watch it. Not only the storyline, but also the location and setting where this film was shot, are fantastic. Anyway, this is how I imagined the Deep South of The United States and this was what I wanted to experience. Daydreaming about our trip, I saw myself drinking freshly made lemonade in a swing chair on the front porch of a typical American Mansion.
Looking for an overnight stay in the area near the Ocala forest and the famous springs of Florida, we found the bed and breakfast “The Herlong Mansion“. We decided to spend 2 nights there and would like to share our experiences with you, here.
De Herlong Mansion
Arrived in the quiet town of Micanopy, we turned into a lane with large overhanging oak trees. I thought to myself, this is it! This is the “Deep South” that I wanted to witness! But my heart really skipped a beat when I saw the Herlong Mansion for the first time. Jan had to calm down my enthusiasm.
We were welcomed very friendly and immediately got a tour of the house. The Mansion dates from 1845 and was originally a small farm. Only later, with the arrival of Mr. Herlong, this property was transformed into a beautiful southern colonial villa. Hence the name “Herlong Mansion”.
Today you can still find many of the original elements here, such as the colossal Corinthian columns, the gorgeous oak wooden floors and the authentic lead windows. The owners do everything to create the authentic atmosphere that you would experience in the Victorian era, with the right interior design. And I have to say, they succeed perfectly.
It’s for a reason that the Herlong Mansion is on the national register of historic places. Staying here, for us, was an experience in itself. Extending the Victorian theme throughout the entire villa only contributes more to a unique experience.
You can also find canes throughout the whole villa. The previous owner was a true collector and left a few hundred in all shapes and colors. The craziest and most unique first! These are now used as a decoration. Jan who is also a die-hard cane fan, had to see them all and of course try them out
Since it’s especially calm on weekdays during the summer months, we were the only guests. This meant that we had the Mansion entirely to ourselves. We took advantage of that and took a peek into all the rooms.
Each room has a different design and is therefore completely unique. Every time we opened a door, we were always amazed by the beautiful interior. Large rooms, small rooms, the most mesmerizing bathtubs. Yes, Jan has a soft spot for canes and I for bathtubs!
Every room was taken care of to perfection. It’s obvious that this Mansion is maintained with much love and care.
We chose to sleep in the Herlong Suite. Not only because this is the most spacious room, but because it opens onto the enchanting porch. Through the original French doors you immediately reach the balcony with a dazzling view of the front garden. In this way my daydream to relax in a swinging chair on a porch became reality. Only the freshly made lemonade had to make way for a glass of wine.
Romantic strolls in the garden
One of my favorite places to spend time, besides on the first floor balcony, was the beautifully landscaped garden. The well-kept garden full of rich, blooming flowers, impressive trees and vintage elements adds even more dimension to the entire villa.
The eye catcher of the garden is certainly the central white arbor. This creates a magical and romantic atmosphere. No wonder that this place is booked for many weddings.
At the back of the Mansion there is also a free parking for guests.
Relax in style in the Lobby
On the ground floor there are cozy spaces where you can enjoy a wonderful welcome wine in a beautiful setting. Here too, there is a front porch overlooking the walking path with beautiful palm trees. Every day delicious freshly made cookies, coffee, tea and water are available here.
Enjoy the southern cuisine during breakfast
Every morning it was a pleasure to wake up knowing that a delicious breakfast was waiting for us. Breakfast was served on the ground floor in a gorgeous space where the morning sun lit up the entire room. The breakfast consisted of a full three-course menu with both savory and sweet flavors. And as icing on the cake you could also order a delicious mimosa.
Enthusiastic and helpful staff
Both the staff and the owners were always very friendly and helpful. Moreover, they also knew everything about the house and the entire history. They were always there for us and made sure that our stay was as pleasant as possible.
The Herlong Mansion is located in the small town of Micanopy in North-Central Florida. It’s the perfect base for exploring this less touristic region. Around Micanopy you have beautiful nature reserves, lakes, the famous Ocala forest and the natural springs that you can visit.
What to do in the area?
Entering Micanopy is like traveling back in time. The beautiful centuries-old oak trees, the authentic houses and the many rustic antique shops provide a magical atmosphere. This fully contributes to the unique experience of an overnight stay in the Herlong Mansion. It’s for a reason that Micanopy is called the capital of the Antiques. Here you should definitely make time for a short walk alongside the main road Cholokka Blvd, where the Herlong Mansion is located, and explore the cosy town centre.
If you like historical towns than you should definitily visit St. Augustine, the oldest town of the US. It’s a 2 hour drive from Micanopy but definitely worth it. Check out this St. Augustine guide for more tips on what to do there.
Before this road trip there was already 1 activity that we wanted to do for sure. And that was visiting the Ginnie Springs. Ginnie springs is located near the town of High Springs. The name speaks for itself, here you can visit various natural springs. Ginnie Springs is about an hour’s drive from the Herlong Mansion and is definitely worth a visit. It was by far one of our favorite activities on this road trip. Read all about our unforgettable day trip to the Ginnie Spings right here.
The Ocala forest is the southernmost forest in the United States and is approximately an hour’s drive from the Herlong Mansion. We unfortunately didn’t have time to discover this forest. But it seems to be beautiful there. There are also various natural springs where you can take a refreshing dip. You can also explore different hiking trails by foot, bike or even by horseback riding.
One evening we dediced to drive to Gainesville to look for a nice restaurant. This is the closest major city. It’s only a 20 minutes drive away from the Herlong Mansion. This is also where the University of Florida is located. So it’s a real student city. We immediately felt at home here. There was a vibrant and pleasant atmosphere. We decided to dine at Harry’s seafood bar and grill and ate delicious seafood dishes. We can really recommend this restaurant.
At the end of these 2 days we can only speak words of praise on our stay at the Herlong Mansion. Staying in this unique and authentic setting was already an experience in itself. We really enjoyed it.
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