In 1856, 11 years after Florida became a state, Taylor became a county. More than 150 years later, it remains a relatively rural area where nature dictates the tempo of life. You’ll see that in the county seat of Perry, which has ties to the Perry of the past – although in the heart of town there are sure signs things are moving forward.

The 1918 railroad depot has been brought up to date as a retail-office space, anchored on one end by Doodads & Delights – a store filled with antiques and country-themed items – and on the other by the Toasted Mug Coffee Shop, which has a hip Greenwich Village vibe along with shakes, homemade soups, and light lunches. Between the two sits the Taylor County Development Authority, which not only made the depot restoration possible, but has created a whole new world just outside its doors.

Reclaiming several acres where boxcars once departed with cargos of timber, land has been transformed into a park of boardwalks, ponds, streams, and pavilions. It’s a picturesque scene and an inviting place to take a walk or enjoy a picnic. The depot and the park can be seen as part of the Historic Trail, a 1.2-mile walking (or driving) tour that connects to the commercial district several blocks away. That’s where you’ll find the historic Perry Bank building, now home of the Taylor County Historical Society. Since 1971 this is where visitors, researchers, and armchair historians have come to study and share documents, photographs, memorabilia, and historical artifacts that chronicle Taylor County’s heritage, including fossils and information on local native tribes. If you miss the museum (open from 1-5 p.m. on Thursdays only) their detailed website is impressive.

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