Way back in January, Guy and I went to Monticello for the day. Our mission was to go antiquing and eat at a renowned cafe.
Monticello is a small town to the east of Tallahassee, FL, and was established in 1827. If you choose to drive to Monticello from Tallahassee, make sure to take Hwy 90. The entire length between the two towns is lined on either side by Pear Trees and makes for a lovely drive any time of day. It only encompasses 3 square miles and contains around 3,000 people. The depression in the 1930s prevented anyone from affording new housing. Thus, citizens had to restore old, original homes. The town is therefore full of original architectural styles which were present in the south prior to the civil war.
This is the Jefferson County Courthouse. Although the area is adapted after Thomas Jefferson, the city is pronounced Mont-i-Sell-o, instead of Mont-i-CHell-o, after Jefferson's estate in Virginia.
Here is a view of the other side - from our car.
Most of the buildings are also original. Some are currently vacant, while other old homes around the town square have been converted into small businesses.
I thought the new smart car was an ironic photo opportunity.
This is the original Opera House of Monticello, which still operates to this day. I wish I had been able to photograph the interior. I would love to have seen the original interior design from the early 19th century.
While the antique shops were pleasant, they did not offer anything unique or special. Also, the most popular antique shop, Baby Bush, was closed. It is only open on Saturdays, so I thought it was strange they were not open for business.
Sadly, since our trip was the first Saturday of January, the cafe, Tupelo's, was not open yet from the holidays. Our trip was thus ended short.
I went back one week later with a girlfriend and we were able to eat at Tupelo's. Wow. I was blown away by the quality and unique variety of the food.
Tupelo's is named after one of the owner's dogs who loved to eat anything. (It is also a type of local honey, but I was not able to confirm a connection.) The owners are Kim Davis and Claire Olson. Both women are lovely people and know what they are doing! What first drew my attention to Tupelo's is the fact that they use as many organic and local ingredients as possible. They are also dog lovers and have 6 large dogs between their two families. They welcome dog owners to come to their cafe with furry friends and enjoy a great meal on the back patio or on the front sidewalk (both have seated areas). Also, on the first Friday of each month, they donate 50% of their profits to the Jefferson County Humane Society. What's not to love about Tupelo's?!
We ordered several items off the menu to ensure we tasted everything this cafe had to offer. I was not disappointed by anything we tasted. The couscous was my favorite by far. The fruit tart was beautifully constructed and not overly sweet. Another favorite was the tomato basil soup. Yum! Tupelo's is also a bakery and had some lovely cakes displayed, although we were too full to try any. I cannot wait to return to experience more of what this cafe and bakery has to offer!
On a side note, is this coffee shop allowed to do this?
(Foot note: Baby Bush was again closed.)