When you first drive into Brooksville, Florida, you’ll swear that it’s been there forever. The city has that well-worn look and exudes a comfortable feeling. Since Brooksville is the seat of Hernando County, several government buildings are interspersed among the usual commercial establishments.In a recent visit, I began my short tour of the downtown area at the city hall, which is a great place to park and do some walking. But before starting out, I recommend spending an hour exploring the art gallery housed in the building’s lower two floors.
The downtown art gallery
Surprise! The gallery is a wonder. Crammed with paintings and sculpture, and featuring the work of local artists, no space is wasted as artworks are spread on the walls of hallways and between offices. Don’t worry about bumping into a municipal official or a clerk; they’re busy with their work and will ignore you. After admiring the art collection, step outside to take in the atmosphere of the downtown area.
Little Lady cafe
Lunch was on my mind when I left city hall. After walking a few blocks, I came to the Little Lady cafe and stopped in for a bite. The owner and her assistants greeted me with friendly smiles and suggested an omelette, which turned out to be a great recommendation. After a relaxing lunch, it was time to wander some of the local streets to absorb more of the local flavor.
Brooksville gives the impression of a city that has had its ups and downs and is now on the upswing. Many of the buildings are decorated with colorful murals. Some appear to have been improved and repurposed from their original use.
Across the street from the Little Lady cafe, the Country depot is a rustic store which took over a used-to-be Texaco gas station (and still looks like a gas station minus the pumps). The county court building on Main Street is a stately affair with giant live oak trees spreading their branches out in front.