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Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Food, PLACES AND THINGS, Shopping, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dade City – Why We Visit In Fall

hay bails in Dade City

Dave Clements / Flickr

I love Dade City. Dade City is one of those small towns that loves itself. It doesn’t care that Tampa, St Pete and Clearwater are nearby. Dade City celebrates itself. It does things like the Kumquat Festival and tolerates us crazy city folk cycling all weekend, long blocking their farming roads and blowing in and out of their restaurants and shoppes. All the big city folk dream of owning a little bit of Dade City. (I have had many a long chat about buying a farm/country house in Dade as I cycled the hills.) So, why do I love Dade so much? Dade City has changed over the years, but not much– and in all the right ways. Dade has cashed in on the country lifestyle. Dade City is not known for bars, college frat parties or high-dollar shopping, but instead for B&B’s, quaint high-end shoppes and tea rooms. People go to Dade for relaxing and letting time slow down, for spending quality time with family and enjoying nature-this is the strength of Dade City. My favorite reasons to visit Dade?


pioneer museum dade city florida

Walter / Flickr

Pioneer Florida Museum and Village

Pioneers in Florida? Absolutely. Did you know that Florida has been raising cattle since the 1500’s when Ponce De Leon dropped off cows when he landed and began to colonize Florida? Imagine, if the pilgrims had landed in Florida instead of Massachussets Thanksgiving would have looked very different. Our traditional foods would have been juicy steaks off the grill, pina coladas and caprese salad (How is that for changing history?). You must stop at the Pioneer Florida Museum to see how our forefathers settled our great state and how people survived before central heat and air. The museum and village is appropriate for the entire family. Bring a lunch and spend a great day with your favorite people.

15602 Pioneer Museum Road
Dade City, Florida 33523
352-657-0328

Ivy Cottage Antiques and Wine Merchant

Who likes wine, antiques and books? This girl does. Why not stop off at Ivy Cottage for some wine, then sit a spell and find the perfect book to bring home. See, time moves a little slower in Dade– Ivy Cottage is the perfect place to harness that time warp.

14110 7th Street
Made City, Florida 33525
352-523-0019

Giraffe Ranch Farm

Never fails– a friend or family member will come to visit me in Pinellas county and drive down from the Orlando Airport and stop dead in the middle of the road right on Highway 75. Why? Grazing giraffe and zebra. And before you ask– no, giraffe and zebras are not native to Florida. But, just like a bunch of old New Yorkers, they are here and have made Florida their home. So, we being well-mannered southerners scootch over and make room for them no matter how strange they may be and then stare at them when they are not looking. The Giraffe Ranch is one of the most popular places to visit in central Florida. It is the perfect blend of education and fun. Bring the kids, the friends and a few New Yorkers. It is well worth the trip.

38650 Mickler Road
Dade City, Florida 33523
813-482-3400

Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant

Southern food is called soul food because it is sugary, buttery, salty and reminds you of the food made by your mother, grandma or great aunty. Therefore, it not just feeds your tummy but your soul, too. Steph’s is one of those down home places that makes food so good it will make you slap your momma. Try their fried chicken, mashed taters, real southern mac n cheese and perhaps some collard greens. Do not forget to nab some corn bread and sweet tea. And remember, it is what it is. Good.

14519 5th Street
Dade City, Florida 33523
352-437-5907

top drawer antiques dade city fl

Courtesy of Top Drawer Antiques (Facebook)

Top Drawer Antiques

Top Drawer is set up as a multi-vendor antique store, which always makes for a great place to scout out a new or unusual piece for your home or office. Top Drawer is located in the historic Larkin Building in beautiful downtown Dade and is close to diners, bistros and more antique shoppes. Make Top Drawer a stop on your antiquing weekend.

14130 7th Street
Dade City, Florida 33525
352-437-4838

The Garden Cafe

One of the local treasures– The Garden Cafe serves lunch like no one’s business with the most amazing salads like Cobb, Greek, and Caprese. They have baked potatoes galore with any topping you can imagine and sandwiches that will delight even the most health conscience of patrons.

14227 7th Street
Dade City, Florida 33525
352-567-7277

Dade City’s Wild Things

Want to swim with a gator or tiger? You can at Dade City’s Wild Things. No kidding. Want to get up close and personal with monkeys, zebra and an ape? All possible at Wild Things. You can pet a buffalo, zebra, monkey, tiger, bearded dragon, gator, coyote and more. Anything is possible at this park.

37237 Meridian Avenue
Dade City, Florida 33525
352-567-9453

City Market Bistro

Want great food with shareable portions? You want City Market Bistro. The burgers are amazing, the chips are made to order and the Sangria will knock your socks off. They serve up items like Chicken and Waffles, do not know what that is? Then you better come get some. Known for making really great food in a cool atmosphere, City Market Bistro is the place to eat.

1418 8th Street
Dade City, Florida 33525
352-521-9700

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Audra Christian

Audra M. Christian is an avid writer, and a knower of all things in Tampa Bay. She is a native St Pete saint and lives in St Pete, Florida with her husband, motley crew of daughters and tiny little maltese, Zsazsa Gabor.

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