Updated: Aug 25
This post comes to you in collaboration with my friend and dynamic travel blogger Kristin, creator of the Sipping Gypsy blog. We're both natural born explorers who love to visit historical sites and unearth new places to indulge in mouth-watering eats! I'd say we make the perfect cocktail! Take a seat with a Sippin Gypsy Summer Sour Cocktail while we explore, Cheers!
The Howey Mansion is located on 1001 Citrus Ave, off hwy 19 in Howey-In-The-Hills, FL. Two years ago while researching historic homes in Florida, I stumbled upon an article about the Historic twenty room mansion. Mr. Howey was a jack of many trades but was recognized for his presence in the booming citrus industry. William J. Howey was known as the Gatsby of Florida. Crowds would assemble to attend his extravagant parties and events. The pictures inside the mansion were captivating and I instantly became obsessed with the home and the history. I'd lived in Lake County for over 10 years so I was familiar with Howey-The-Hills and visited many local parks in the area. I was stunned that I'd never heard of the mansion. A few weeks later My mother and I set forth on a journey to find The Howey Mansion.
Our Hearts chattered when we finally located the home and saw that it was boarded up and even vandalized in certain places. We were greeted by layers of caution tape and "Keep Out" signs. Even through the bleak appearance, you could still find peeks of beauty in the architecture. Although the mansion was boarded up it was still such a majestic sight to see. It was hard to believe that the beautiful Mediterranean Revival inspired home was built almost 95 years ago. Our hearts were heavy but we still had a spark in us to find out more about what happen to the mansion. We later discovered The Howey Mansion was held up in a slew of legal disputes. There was a petition on Facebook to one day have the home revived to it's original glory and opened to the public for tours and events. We daydreamed about one day being able to view the mansion. Fast forward two years later and our dreams came to fruition!
Smiling from cheek to cheek my mother and I drove up the drive way to the mansion in total awe! The mansion was completely cleaned up, lawn manicured and not a caution tape in sight! After two years, we were standing on the lawn of William J. Howey's family home. Historic tours of the mansion are usually held Tuesday through Saturday at 11 AM. The mansion offers world class dinner parties, lavish events and makes the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception! You can even stay on property and wake up to a stunning view of the mansion from the guest house located directly behind the home.
Not only does The Howey Mansion make the perfect meeting spot for your private events...Are you ready for this Sippin Gypsy Team Whiskey? You can book an exclusive whiskey tasting in the hidden room located outside his private library. Here's the cool part, the room wall is opened by a masterfully hidden lever in a bookshelf! I felt like I was in a James Bond movie, how cool is that!? The Howeys lived in the home during the prohibition era, I know Kristin...aren't you glad times have changed? lol. Rumor has it somewhere on the property there was a secret tunnel that lead to Hwy 19 where Mr. Howey would smuggle his alcohol into his home. There's no fact to it but I thought that was a cool part of the tour.
Without giving too much away, the tour went above and beyond my expectations! If you live in the central Florida area, The Howey Mansion is a must visit! Our tour guide Alexis was warm, knowledgeable and patient. We never felt rushed and she gave us time to explore before we continued the tour. They are still making minor renovations and currently pursuing to purchase the rest of the family's original property where you can find the Howey's mausoleum. Stay updated on events and progress at the mansion at www.howeymansion.com. All proceeds goes to the renovation of the beautiful historic home.
Keep expanding your roots!
The Sipping Gypsy
Kristin created Sippin Gypsy as a platform to catalog not only her own experiences, but the adventures of her friends around the world. Collectively we are all lovers of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavors. We all enjoy seeking out those quaint spots that resonate with history, quality and innovation and we enjoy “sippin’ along the way’. Join the Sippin Gypsy family as we explore the world sip by sip! Cheers!
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