North Central Florida heritage and history will be your constant companion as you travel from Monticello near the Georgia border, to Tallahassee, Gainesville and Cedar Key. This is a rural region with small southern towns and statues of Confederate soldiers in the town squares and ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss.
This region has some of the best college football in the United States with the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and Florida A&M Rattlers.
North Central Florida hugs the Georgia border like a baby hangs onto its mother. In his book "Becalmed In The Mullet Latitudes", Al Burt named this part of the state Florgia. The name Florgia still fits after all of these years - half Florida, half Georgia.
Most of the Florida natives in these counties are descended from early settlers who came down from Georgia and South Carolina after the Civil War. They were confederate veterans and sympathizers. The modern descendants of these early settlers are known for their Southern Hospitality. It's common when your visit is over for your hostess to say "Y'all come see us again, y'hear?".
This land is still Georgia heritage country. Florgia is the home of the famous Florida Cracker. When I moved to Florida almost 50 years ago, this region along with Northwest and Northeast Florida, dominated state politics. A legislator from a lightly populated north Florida county had as much power as one representing millions of people in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
The entire state was controlled by these old-time southern segregationist Democrats. About 20 of these good ole boys always voted together. Florida history refers to these folks as "The Pork Chop Gang". The gang was good at bringing home the bacon to their small north Florida communities. North Central Florida heritage and history still honors the names of these old politicians.
By the 1970's enough Yankees had moved to south Florida that the old system crumbled. The Florida legislature passed laws that apportioned seats according to population. The old days of "one district-one vote" were gone forever. The balance of power shifted toward the population centers of south Florida. That's where the power remains today.
Tallahassee is the state capital and the home of the Florida State University Seminoles and the Florida A&M University Rattlers. Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida Gators. An important part of North Central Florida heritage is pride in their nationally ranked football teams.