Road Trip: Back to Monticello

We’re in Monticello, Florida again.  It’s the small town where I grew up and we return once or twice a year while our oldest son is “doing his politics thing” in Tallahassee.  Last time, I introduced you to famous Johnston’s Meat Market {they’ll make a vegetarian want sausage!} and we popped in to Monticello Pizza Kitchen.  Well, we’re back & I can’t wait to share our latest discoveries!

“If you don’t mind me asking, ma’am, why would you come here {Monticello} if you live in paradise??”

The grandfatherly man at the hardware store was genuinely perplexed why I would consider Monticello, Florida a good vacation destination.  Why “escape” to a town that rolls up the sidewalks at 5:00, can’t make a latte and where my phone drops calls every minute and a half?

I’ve always loved the 30 minute Crepe Myrtle-lined drive on US90 {it’s the road from Tallahassee in to Monticello}, but that canopied drive isn’t enough to hold my attention for a week… It didn’t take me long to recall the reasons I love small town America:

Shady creekbeds, clean water to splash in, woods to explore.
Old friends “pickin'” at the hardware store.
Friendly locals = new doggie friends at the park in town.
Crosses that remain through bridge demolition, new road construction, 25 years of change… respect for memories.
Roads without lines and a whole town with no red light.
A chance for my 11 year old to live out her horse dreams.
Affordable antique shops. Didn’t even know those excited!
Stories of my childhood. “That silver door went to Jackson’s drug store- I bought my first gift for Granny there and loved the ice cream parlor in the back!”
Room to run. And run. And run.
A bubble chair in the library.
Separate children’s room… but visitors can’t check out unless you pay $10.
Family time because there is nothing to distract us.
Funny memories… this bull has been painted every color you can imagine… and in spite of his regularly assaulted pride, he still stands boldly!
“Take a book, leave a book” at Jordan Park by the Women’s Club.  Umm… we owe you a book.

I probably wouldn’t have returned to Monticello for a second visit if I hadn’t grown up there.  But memories of this place run free… clear like the creek through shady woods, refreshing my spirit and love of family.

I love the slower pace of life, no internet {work} to distract me, and exploring the little town with open eyes and open heart.  Monticello taught me to love nature.  To talk to strangers.  To see beauty in the little things- Resurrection Fern, moss growing between bricks, playing in sprinklers with the kids, the dragonfly on my knee as I type.  To trust Jesus and love Him out loud by loving others.  

To be, not to do.  That is why I love Monticello.


  1. says

    Monticello, Fl….one of the best connections to the Real Florida…no lattes, no electronics constantly tugging at you…and crickets, cicadas and whispering pines…where people wave to you.

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