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Outside in Madison County – 25 Greatest Issues to Do!

 The town's Lake Frances a beautiful outdoors scene
Lake Frances, Madison, Florida

Madison County is 716 sq. miles crammed filled with small cities, forests, rivers, lakes, and rolling hills. All of those provide you with numerous alternatives to get outside and, as they are saying right here, “transfer on the pace of nature.”

County, like Jefferson County, was named to honor a president—the fourth United
States President, James Madison, one other Virginian. Madison County was
chartered in 1827, 18 years earlier than Florida grew to become a state. Madison was the
largest county in Florida however contributed land to type three new counties:
Taylor, Lafayette, and Dixie. The county seat, the City of Madison, was
truly named for Madison C. Livingston, a resident who donated the primary plot
of land in 1838 to type town.

1. Water, Water In all places

River with fall colors in the trees on the banks
Withlacoochee River in its fall splendor

County is bordered on three sides by water. The Aucilla River separates the
county from Jefferson County. The Withlacoochee River divides a part of Madison
County from the state of Georgia. And the Suwannee River streams alongside the
jap aspect, bordering the counties of Hamilton and Suwannee earlier than it flows
by means of Lafayette on its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The views whereas
floating on native rivers are breathtaking.

2. Go With the Movement

With all these rivers, naturally, there’s an emphasis on water sports activities. All three rivers supply lovely, however very completely different, surroundings. Make a journey with Madison Outpost Adventures—they supply kayak, canoe, or tube leases. for adventures within the nice outside. Simply know…the meals is well worth the journey! LOL. No, critically, the kayak journey was implausible; with a lot selection within the panorama, you’ll suppose you’ve modified rivers. And the guides had coolers with drinks and snacks for picnicking alongside the way in which. You understand how I like meals, so they’d me at “snacks!” Inform them I despatched you—I can promise a ten% low cost! *smile*

Woman in purple kayak outdoors waving from middle of the river
Daybreak, proprietor of Madison Outpost Adventures, welcomes me to the Withlacoochee River

3. Benefit from the Outside with the Wind in Your Hair

Carry your bike, strap on a water bottle, get outside, and experience awhile. Madison County has bicycling lanes alongside picturesque nation roads shaded by stay oaks and big pines. In actual fact, you might experience the circumference of the county–all 100 miles of it. Discuss your tangled hair!

The Four Freedoms Trail is the realm’s paved Rails-to-Trails mission, beginning simply north of town and ending a little bit over 12 miles later on the Withlacoochee River overlook. So the round-trip will internet you a 25-mile day journey.

man riding bike on outdoors trail, surrounded by shade trees
A simple Sunday afternoon

Then there’s U. S. Freeway 90, which begins on the Jefferson County line and hyperlinks the communities of Greenville, Madison, and Lee earlier than reaching the Suwannee County line. This path is a portion of the American Cycling Association Southern Tier, part 7 of their Coast-to-Coast route. You’re most likely going to want extra water bottles.

4. Stroll Round City

Dome of courthouse, with a clock in the top;  red leaves in the foreground and palms by the building
Madison’s Historic Courthouse

The city is anchored by the 1912 Madison County Courthouse, constructed on land deeded to the “County Court docket of the County of Madison” again when Florida was a territory. The crowning prime of the Courthouse, an attractive dome, may be noticed from anyplace in Madison.

will discover an enormous oak tree on a aspect avenue—proper in the course of the highway!
This tree was saved by Theodore Livingston Fraleigh, who sat underneath the tree,
refusing to maneuver and permit it to be destroyed. Her house, the A. E. Fraleigh
Home (1895), is on the strolling tour map.

5. Thank a Veteran

Go to the Four Freedoms Park. It’s simple to search out—it’s throughout the road from the Courthouse. The park was the unique website of a blockhouse that served as a “protected home” for ladies, youngsters, and the aged between 1835 and 1842 (the Second Seminole Conflict.) Later the constructing was used as a courthouse earlier than the land was donated to town to be used as a park. The park is what you dream of while you image a small city: monuments to heroes, azaleas, oaks dripping in Spanish moss, and a gazebo for bands (it has near-perfect acoustics.)

Gazebo in park, with Christmas lights, garland, and red bows
The 4 Freedoms Park Gazebo – superbly decked out for Christmas

Four Freedoms Monument stands on the southwest
nook of the park. The marble marker was designed by Walter Scott Russell and
is devoted to the reminiscence of native son Colin P. Kelly, Jr., the primary
declared hero of WWII. This heavy bomber pilot sacrificed his life to avoid wasting his
Flying Fortress crew within the Philippines. He was awarded the Distinguished
Service Cross for his bravery and valor in fight.

White Marble statue in park, angels back to back forming a square - representing Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.
The 4 Freedoms symbolize our privileges as People

Fascinating Truth: The title comes from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech concerning the 4 Freedoms that describe core American values: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Need, and Freedom from Worry.

6. Keep in a Victorian Inn

The Unity House Bed & Breakfast in Madison is an enthralling Victorian house in-built 1890. Fantastically adorned, the Inn has acquired a five-star score from TripAdvisor—and belief me, they’re proper! My room was comfy and quiet, and the Inn is barely a block from downtown (and throughout the road from the fireplace division.) I didn’t even hear the A/C unit because it cycled. What a aid! Every visitor has a code for the entrance door, so you’re feeling very safe. Ms. Linda serves breakfast within the sunroom. And her banana bread—properly, I’ll allow you to decide that for your self!

Bedroom in the Unity House B & B
Big bed, large floral chaise lounge.
My room – I did lots of writing in that chair!

7. Go to a Distinctive Hearth Engine

In 1926 the Madison Engine Firm bought a brand-new American LaFrance Pumper truck. It was a workhorse, preventing fires till 1963. The corporate had the foresight to hold onto that truck, and in 2000 superbly restored it. The wood spoke wheels and authentic tools will shock you. Now housed within the glass-front Hearth Division, it’s nonetheless a workhorse, persevering with to be a shocking addition to the city’s three parades. The station is conveniently positioned throughout the road from Unity Mattress & Breakfast.

Restored antique fire engine in fire department garage
Fantastically restored American LaFrance Pumper

8. Circle the Lake

The town’s Lake Frances is beautiful and a terrific place to get outside and stroll. This spring-fed lake is surrounded by a path for biking, strolling, and train. There are train tools stations periodically as you circle the lake for the actually motivated. Birders will discover a wide range of waterfowl and birds in an attractive setting for images.

Exercise stations surround Lake
Train stations encompass Lake Frances
Bright orange Blood Oranges in crate
Blood Oranges

You’ll want to cease at Holmes’ Produce Stand and decide up a snack on your stroll. I’d advocate the Blood Oranges, however you’d want a roll of paper towels for these juicy treats!

July fourth, avenue distributors encompass the lake, because the Lions Membership’s God and Nation Pageant fills the city with exercise. And, like Greenville, they set off fireworks. Hmmm…now how can I be two locations without delay?

9. Go to a Film Set

No, I’m not kidding. Little Madison has a declare to fame within the film Prayer By no means Fails. An area favourite, Sunrise Coffee Shop & The Wine Cellar Tasting Room, is featured in Den of Thieves. It’s an eclectic spot crammed with uncommon gadgets and antiques (most are on the market.) Additionally it is a great place for distinctive drinks. Warning: their Blackberry Mimosa is addictive! 

Two ladies at table with bubbly drinks, toasting
Journey Author Jo Clark and Marlene Squires-Swanson of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism toast to Mild Up Madison

10. Escape to the Caribbean

Effectively, escape for dinner a minimum of! The Unity Home Inn & Caribbean Restaurant serves up tropical delights; each week, the menu adjustments. The servings are beneficiant, and the ribs soften in your mouth. If you’re lucky, you will note Oxtail on the board. Don’t ask, don’t hesitate, simply order it! Go forward and ask for a “to-go field” so that you’ll have room for dessert!

11. Get pleasure from Italian

at La Piazza Bella Italian began with
Garlic Knots (heat and dripping in garlicky butter) and moved proper on to a
scrumptious Italian Vegetable Soup. The primary programs had been tasty dishes—Fettucini
and Baked Lasagna!

12. Mexico in Madison

The Rancho Grande Restaurant is vivid and festive. The furnishings is carved and painted with scenes from Mexico. They’ve an indication on the wall, “You’ll be able to’t make everybody blissful—you’re not a taco!” They don’t point out whether or not their Mango Margarita could make everybody blissful—however I promise you—it will possibly! The shrimp tacos had been contemporary, sizzling, and oh, so good!

13. Tour Historic Madison

Beautiful, angled church building with palms on a corner.
The 1920 First United Methodist Church

Choose up a Strolling/Driving Tour brochure on the Customer’s Heart in the event you like historical past, and get outside and discover! Greater than 50 historic locations are mapped, with photos and transient descriptions. Just a few of my private favorites have been listed on this article as a result of I don’t wish to spoil the enjoyable you’ll have discovering your personal favorites. The city is crammed with varied architectural kinds, akin to Victorian, Federal, Queen Anne, Mediterranean Villa, Italianate, and Greek Revival.

Courthouse with palm trees on lawn, pink sunset sky behind
Solar setting behind the Madison Courthouse

The parks have benches good for enjoyable or consuming your lunch whereas smelling the flowers—azaleas and daylilies abound. What? You say you hear bells? Why, sure! You might be certainly—that lovely Courthouse has a bell tower within the prime of the dome (behind the clocks), and native church bells chime in together with the courthouse bells—on the hour and half-hour on daily basis. It’s a lovely sound.

14. Blue Waters

A primary-magnitude spring attracts guests to the city of Lee to swim within the lovely waters of Madison Blue Spring State Park. In 2015, U. S. A. As we speak’s readers named Madison Blue Spring the “Greatest Swimming Gap” by a substantial margin. Whenever you see it, you’ll agree. The spring feeds into the Suwannee River and gives a wide range of actions for guests to take pleasure in; they will canoe, kayak, fish, swim, snorkel, or dive. Or like me, stroll round, clamber over the banks, and take nice images—particularly of the divers as they seem like magic from the caves beneath. The spring is over 80 ft huge and 25 ft deep and flows at a charge of 150 million gallons a day!

Blue spring, Withlacoochee River in the background
Sure, the water actually IS that blue!

15. Wet Day Blues? Can’t Get Outside?

wet day is an ideal excuse for an extended afternoon nap. Additionally it is a superb
excuse for antiquing! Madison is house to 4 vintage markets, and one has a
espresso store, and…await it…a wine bar!

16. Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Plate of food - scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, mussells, cinnamon roll
Plate #1 – don’t decide!

I do! I do know the Muffin Man! His title is Erik Johann Wolfe. His enterprise, Muffin Man Mania Mess Hall in Lee, has a drool-worthy brunch on Sundays and a case filled with baked goodies on daily basis. However I’m certain sorry I missed Prime Rib Thursday. Subsequent journey, I have to plan higher! There may be even a “sides” buffet to choose what you wish to go together with that luscious 14-ounce prime rib. *drool* You’ll want to get one in all his cookies. Oh, what the heck—get two! (You’re welcome!)

A table filled with platters of desserts. OH, YUM!
Simply the desserts on the Brunch Buffet at The Muffin Man

17. Cease a Spell

Beautiful little white church, with antique stained glass windows, in front of a lake
Honey Lake Church (with Honey Lake within the background)

A drive to Honey Lake Plantation in Greenville is a simple hop from Madison. The plantation has been reborn as a rehab clinic. As we speak, individuals from everywhere in the county come right here to chill out and heal. There’s a quaint church by the lake, with the oldest stained glass home windows in Florida—they had been reused from an previous church in Madison. 

18. Well-known Resident

Ray Charles statue - he is on piano bench playing a keyboard
Sing it, Ray!

A well known county resident was Ray Charles. Born Ray Charles Robinson, in 1930, in Albany, Georgia, he was reared in Greenville. He dropped the “Robinson” to keep away from confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. A life-sized monument beside a small metropolis lake in Haffye Hayes Park leaves a peaceable feeling in your coronary heart. I couldn’t assist however consider him tickling the ivories and singing Georgia on My Thoughts.

Ray Charles’ music crossed a number of genres, together with R&B, Rock, Jazz, and Nation. He acquired 12 Grammys and was inducted into each the Rock and Roll and the Jazz Halls of Fame.

Ray’s childhood home can also be open for excursions. Simply give them a name. 

19. Go to Greenville

Haffye Hayes Park, in Greenville, isn’t simply the house of Ray Charles’ memorial; it is also the house of The Spirit of Greenville fireworks present. Distributors and native church buildings present meals and drinks in addition to home-town fellowship. Simply up the hill, the City Corridor has been restored. Take a stroll and benefit from the view. When you’re there in December, there’s an occasion with craft and meals distributors, a parade, leisure, and a cake public sale. Now they’ve my consideration! Yum!

Park and lake in background, Ray Charles' statue in foreground
Haffye Hayes Park

20. Mild Up Madison

Plan your go to throughout December. You’ll wish to see Madison lit up for the vacations. And that nighttime Christmas Parade—oh my! What a spectacular solution to usher within the holidays. All of the retailers are shining with festive décor, and timber are positioned alongside the city’s most important streets for native companies to brighten, and Santa arrives by horse-drawn wagon. This city will give any Hallmark film a run for its cash.

Santa waving from horse-drawn wagon - in front of the historic Courthouse
Santa Claus has come to city!

21. Spend a Night time—Or a Month!

Among the many locations to remain within the Madison space is Ragan’s Family Campground. Moreover tenting and RV websites, Ragan’s additionally has cabins obtainable. The campground is conveniently positioned. Each month, they’ve particular actions starting from the New 12 months’s Day Polar Bear Plunge (a fundraiser for Relay for Life) to Winterfest (snow, snow slides, and practice rides.)

Beautiful reflections of fall trees on the lake
Lovely reflections on the lake at Madison’s Golf Resort

The Madison RV & Golf Resort is a relaxed spot on 150 acres simply outdoors city. It gives an attractive 9-hole course, golf classes, canine park, catch & launch fishing, pickleball, swimming pool, and bathhouse. When you keep for a month, they’ll even throw in golf cart rental.

22. Hangry? Cease at Grumpy’s!

basket lined with red checked paper, and filled with hot corn nuggets
Corn Nuggets – tempting, proper?

When starvation pangs hit, hit again! Even when it isn’t but dinner time, cease in Grumpy’s Diner for Corn Nuggets and a margarita. All these actions outside make a lady (or man) hungry! And in the event you don’t eat, properly, you understand…you get hangry! Be aware: There’s a warning on the menu—the Corn Nuggets are addicting. Their pies are fairly well-known, too! Simply sayin’!

23. Carpenter Gothic Church

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Madison is an attractive instance of historic Carpenter Gothic structure. The congregation fashioned in 1859, however the constructing’s cornerstone wasn’t laid till 1879, and the completed church was consecrated in 1883. It was positioned on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Beautiful gothic-style white church
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

24. Take a Step Again

Treasures Museum lives as much as its title; it’s a treasure-trove of native historical past. From the proclamation for Colin Kelly Day, April 17, 1942, to the constructing itself, you will see the realm’s wealthy historical past on exhibit. The W. T. Davis constructing was in-built 1892 and is one in all solely three remaining Florida examples of galvanized sheet metallic facades, referred to as Mesker Metallic Entrance.

Metal front store on Main Street
W. T. Davis retailer – now a city museum

25. Annual Occasions

I do consider Madison is engaged on a declare to the title “Pageant City”—simply wait until you see this checklist!

Madison’s Chamber of Commerce holds a giant Martin Luther King Day Pageant on Monday, January 17 this yr. So hurry on all the way down to Madison for distributors, meals, video games, and a parade (wave at my firetruck!)

Then on February 10, the Better of Madison/Style of Madison occasion is held by the Madison Church of God.

Madison’s Chamber of Commerce hosts Down Dwelling Days each April. This occasion attracts distributors, music, dancers, and a implausible parade in downtown Madison.

Founder’s Day is one other annual occasion held on the Hickory Grove United Methodist Church every October. Locals take part in 100-year-old actions outside like cane grinding and syrup-making, sausage-making, a traditional automobile present, a hog calling contest, and Dill Pickle Spitting Contest (I do know, proper?!). There’s a stage for singing old-time songs and a little bit of inspirational preaching. What a good way to maintain the previous days alive for future generations!

Talking of October, the spooks and goblins might be out in power each weekend of the month on the Halloween Haunted Home. And the downtown retailers maintain a trick-or-treat occasion to not be missed!

The annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting are already scheduled for this yr—so plan to be on the town on December 3, 2022!

For data on these occasions and extra, maintain checking Madison’s Events Calendar.

Lady whispering to & kissing Santa on the cheek
Secret Christmas needs and kisses! (Sshhh…don’t inform Marlene’s husband!)

Madison County gives so many issues to do and see outside; you’re going to want greater than a weekend keep. Ms. Linda on the Inn might be blissful to accommodate you for an prolonged keep, and Marlene on the Chamber will provide you with a to-do checklist even longer than this one! Have a terrific go to – and take an image or two for me!

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