Tallahassee, the State Capital of Florida, is nestled among the rolling hills of northwest Florida and was founded in 1821. The town became Florida’s capital city in 1824. Located in the center of the eight-county “Big Bend” area and between Pensacola and St. Augustine, the capitals of West Florida and East Florida, Tallahassee is only 20 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico and several popular beaches are within a couple of hours’ drive.
But for the lack of beaches (unlike most Florida cities, Tallahassee isn’t generally associated with the beach) Tallahassee makes up in beauty and history and here is where you’ll find one of the most astounding award-winning historic sites in this parts of Florida.
The Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens extends on over 1,176-acres of land and consists of 18 historic buildings, four structures and four objects. The Gardens are also known as the Killearn Plantation Archaeological and Historic District underwent a series of changes. Initially they were a part of the Andalusia Plantation growing cotton, before adding a vineyard on the property in 1882 producing wine until 1904 when Leon County voted to go dry. After that the Gardens turned into a quail-hunting estate called Lac-Cal. Throughout all these alterations, The Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens never lost their charm and beauty drawing visitors from all over the world, admiring the suburb allure of the blooming lush gardens and the two emerald colored lakes surrounding them.
The Award- Wining Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens are best to be visited during their peak blooming season (towards end of March and April), when the Magnolia Trees in the large formal gardens are in bloom, but even if you come in January and February the camellias and azaleas start to open and showcase the beauty of this marvelous place.
Grass and paved paths snake through a rain of blossoms from over-hanging moss trees by the side of the pond that are like soft pink snow falling from the clear blue skies above you. The beautiful benches located all around the garden make for enjoyable sitting under the large shaded trees with the aroma of daylilies and wisteria floating in the air.
The Maclay House build in 1909 has been furnished to appear as during the residence of the former owner. The small but beautiful home has a grand view of the lake. There are several large shade-giving moss trees at the front of the home that are ideal for an afternoon picnic.
Take a step away from the path and onto one of the several small platforms that overlooks the beautiful emerald colored lake.
Alfred B. Maclay State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. Parking is $6 except for the blooming months (Jan. – April) when visitors pay extra for a tour of the gardens. The Maclay House museum is open daily from January through April, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and cost extra to tour.
Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens offers a wide range of events throughout the year. There are opportunities for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking here as well as boating with boats without gas-powered motors. There are plenty of space for picnic at any of the pavilions and grills along the lakeshore.
Two short walking trails wind through the woods overlooking the lake for walking admirers and six miles of shared-use trails and five miles of designated biking trails meander through the woods surrounding Lake Overstreet designated for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.