Travel Guide to Florida

Florida’s Natural Side

- BY STEVE WINSTON

You won’t find high-rises, crowds or traffic in Jackson County. Instead, villages such as Marianna, Graceville or Malone are waiting to be discovered. Browse around eclectic boutiques and antique shops. Tour Old Florida homes and undergroun­d caverns. Explore the natural beauty of Merritt’s Mill Pond and along wilderness trails.

Although Jackson County is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, many hotels, restaurant­s, nature trails, campground­s and the

Florida Caverns State Park have re-opened. Rivers like the Chattahooc­hee and the Chipola, along which runs the beautiful Chipola River Greenway, are flowing freely again.

Northwest Florida’s first AgriTouris­m Trail features U-picks, farmers’ markets, fresh produce stands and farm-to-table specialtie­s.

You can almost hear the sounds of battle at the Civil War battlefiel­d in Marianna. Some say nocturnal visitors lurk at the 1914 bridge on the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail.

During winter and spring, the Gene Prough

Center for the Arts at Chipola College stages a variety of performanc­es and the college’s sports teams play to enthusiast­ic crowds.

So, if you’re looking for an Old Florida experience and delightful surprises at every turn, remember Jackson County.

 ??  ?? KAYAK FISHING ON MERRITT’S MILL POND • JACKSON COUNTY TDC/JOHN STARRETT PHOTOGRAPH­Y
KAYAK FISHING ON MERRITT’S MILL POND • JACKSON COUNTY TDC/JOHN STARRETT PHOTOGRAPH­Y

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