Thursday, June 27, 2013

Madison, Florida

Have you ever watched a movie where someone closes their eyes and finds a destination on a map by stabbing at it with their finger? That's pretty much how I chose Madison, Florida as a midway point between DeFuniak Springs and Winter Springs during my automobile trip to Florida in October, 2012.

The Town

As it turned out, Madison is a quintessential small town and the seat of Madison County. Its wide streets, historic buildings and Four Freedoms Park containing several monuments make it attractive. I knew I was in Florida when I saw palm trees and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. 

Madison County Courthouse at dusk

And I knew I was in the South when I saw the commanding Confederate soldier's monument in the center of the park. Since African Americans made up 62.43% of the population in the 2000 census, I thought it fitting that a monument to the former slaves of Madison County was placed on one of the corners of the park in 1996

Four Freedoms Monument

Also prominently displayed in the park is the Four Freedoms Monument, based on the ideals articulated in a speech to Congress in January, 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It's one of four such monuments in the United States, with the others located in Indiana, Ohio and on Roosevelt Island in New York City. 

Four Freedoms Monument. Confederate monument is seen in the right rear

Natural North Florida

Madison is situated in the midst of Natural North Florida, making it a hub for outdoor activities of all types. The water enthusiast can enjoy canoeing, cave diving, fishing, and swimming in the rivers that border the county on three sides and in the nearby Madison Spring Blue State Park

The Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center on the campus of the North Florida Community College was developed to preserve the homes of as many species of plants and animals as possible. It's also a site for the Great Florida Birding Trail, a network of 514 sites covering 2,000 miles in the state.

The cycling enthusiast can enjoy a 100+ mile loop on country roads with some cycling lanes. Billed as the Four Freedoms Trail, it begins and ends at the park in downtown Madison. Additionally, the Adventure Cycling Association of America includes Madison in their Southern Tier, Section 7 map. Linda, the hostess at my B&B told me that she had had some European guests who flew to California with their bicycles and rode cross country to Madison!

Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier, Section 7, map


TripAdvisor lists five motels and two B&Bs for Madison. I stayed at The Unity House B&B because I liked the looks of the colorful, clean and modern rooms on the website. Linda told me how her faith had led her there, even though she'd never stayed in a B&B or been to Madison before. Even so, she was successful in creating a peaceful atmosphere in which I enjoyed a restful sleep and a delicious filling breakfast in the sunny breakfast room the next morning. 

Breakfast at the Unity House 
The dining room - all the furnishings purchased from a Miami resale store

Scenes from Madison

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this fire engine 'vignette'

Fountain in Four Freedoms Park with Courthouse across the street

One of the historic homes near Four Freedoms Park

Museum in the downtown area
Lake Frances

Happy cows. Florida ranks 11th in the nation in total cattle numbers


  1. This post has inspired me to stop off in Madison next January when I go to Florida. Lovely. I really like the cows.

    1. Thanks, Glenda. I'm glad it inspired you. If you go, be sure and drive the highways for the bike loop - that's where the cows are. :-)