The little hamlet of Havana sits 14 miles north of Tallahassee, almost to the Georgia border, and it’s easy to miss. But don’t discount this red-bricked haven.
Havana became a town in the early 1900s, centered around the Florida, Georgia and Alabama railroad system. Its main industry was shade-grown tobacco, which was used to make fine cigars. As the tobacco industry declined, Havana reinvented itself as a destination for antiquing. Today, it’s cultivated a loyal following for its quaint charm. Visitors drive from all over the state searching for the perfect vintage find. Havana is a great stopover on a Florida-Georgia road trip, and there’s enough here to make it a destination unto itself.
Where to Browse
Shops line the town’s main street, each of them with a unique flavor and flair. We love The Planter’s Exchange (204 2nd St. NW, Havana; 850.539.6343; theplantersexchange.com) for its sheer size—14,000 square feet. With more than 40 individual dealers inside the antique mall, there’s enough here to fill a U-Haul.
Wanderings (312 1st St. NW, Havana; 850.539.7711; thewanderings.com) has a lovely mix of new and old, with a well-curated collection of items from around the world, especially Southeast Asia. It offers a fresh take among the old baseball cards and Elvis memorabilia of neighboring shops.
Plan a trip around the fourth Saturday of the month, when Havana hosts an open-air market beside the Shade Tobacco Museum (204 2nd St. NW, Havana; 850.270.7315). The Havana Market features fruits and vegetables, farm-raised meat, fresh eggs and pasta plus woodworking, homemade soaps and jewelry. It runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where to Nosh
Havana isn’t big on fuss, but it does comfort food remarkably well. Stop by Gocki’s at Havana Trading Company (208 1st St. NW, Havana; 850.616.1364; gockis.com). The not-to-be-missed Boom-Boom Bowl is filled with house-made mac and cheese, and it’s just the right amount of cheesy, salty delight. Be sure to order a cold glass of iced tea to go with it. Like most things at Gocki’s, it’s homemade.
Pull Up a Chair
Antiquing can be hard work, and it’s nice to take a pause in the day. Weezie’s Cottage Living (201 1st St. NW, Havana; 850.539.9001) is filled with modern items selected with good taste, many of them coastal-themed. There’s a bar inside the shop that offers beer, wine and sodas, and Weezie’s has a gorgeous wraparound porch with hanging ferns and rocking chairs. If a gentle breeze is blowing, it’s the perfect place to sip a glass of wine and while away the afternoon.
Havana is a long drive from Southwest Florida—about six hours without stopping. For travelers headed south for the winter, it’s an excellent layover point. It also makes a great road trip destination. But for those who don’t have the patience to spend that long in the car, the Tallahassee Regional Airport is just right for private aviation. Naples Jet Center (377 Citation Point, Naples; 239.649.7900; naplesjetcenter.com) offers concierge charters.