History buffs, as well as those who appreciate delightful architecture, will love this retro-fabulous old-school village, comparable to Long Island's Old Bethpage Village Restoration or Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg. Bounded by Church, Zaragoza, Jefferson, Tarragona, and Adams streets, this original part of Pensacola resembles a shady English colonial town -- albeit with Spanish street names -- complete with town green and its own Christ Church, built in 1832 and resembling Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, Virginia. Some of Florida's oldest homes, now owned and preserved by the state, are here, and the village is located in the heart of the broader historic district, home to charming boutiques and interesting restaurants as well.
Start your visit by buying tickets at Tivoli High House, 205 E. Zaragoza St., just east of Tarragona Street and one street above the Port of Pensacola, where you can get free maps and brochures. Try to take one of the 90-minute guided walking tours of the village, which will lead you through buildings not otherwise open to the public, the French Creole-style 1805 Charles Lavalle House, the elegant Victorian 1871 Dorr House, Old Christ Church, and the 1890 Lear-Rocheblave House.
Among the landmarks you can self-guide through with your ticket are the Museum of Industry, the Museum of Commerce, and the Manuel Barrios Cottage, all interpreting Pensacola from the late 1800s through the Roaring '20s. The 1805 Julee Cottage displays an African-American heritage exhibit, telling the story of the African-American experience in Pensacola from Spanish exploration to the reconstruction periods.
Don't miss the T. T. Wentworth, Jr., Florida State Museum, 330 S. Jefferson St. (tel. 850/595-5985), a 1907 elaborate Renaissance Revival building originally built on Plaza Ferdinand as the city hall. It is now open to the public for free as a local history museum, displaying exhibits of regional interest and Pensacola history. The third floor houses the Discovery Gallery, a hands-on children's exhibit, appropriate for children of preschool age through second grade.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010