A Tallahassee hidden gem, Dorothy B. Oven Park is home to over six acres of lush greenery featuring a manor-style home and charming walking trails. The park is a Tallahassee favorite with a local history to match its character. With scenic camellias, azaleas, and other native vegetation, the park’s gardens, walking trails, and manor captivate visitors every day.
Positioned just north of Tallahassee’s downtown, Dorothy B. Oven Park resides on land received from the Lafayette Land Grant awarded to General Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. Before it was established as a city park, the property was home to one of Florida’s first camellia nurseries in the 1920s. Because of its background, the park’s walking and hiking trails are lined with camellias and beautiful foliage.
The main display, though, is the historic manor that sits in the midst of the park’s dense flora. Designed in 1936 by Alfred Maclay, the traditional manor-style home is full of character, from the old wood paneling to the antique furniture. Per the request of Will Oven, the manor was donated in 1985 to the Tallahassee Friends of Our Parks Foundation, Inc. and subsequently developed as a city park.
Inside the Manor
As you approach the exterior of the traditional manor-style home, you’re greeted by a vast porch and attached patio. Upon entering the home, poplar wood floors and magnolia paneling grace the foyer along with a stairway to the second story. To the right of the foyer is the Magnolia Room, and to the left is the Camelia Room, which contains a grand fireplace.
Beyond the stairway are a home office and a large, fully-equipped kitchen. As you exit the kitchen, you are rejoined with the Magnolia Room, which holds the home’s second fireplace jointly shared with the Dogwood Room. Past the Dogwood Room is the Azalea Room, housing an alternative front entry. Throughout the home, you’ll find breathtaking artwork and original finishes that add to the home’s distinctive flare.
The manor’s timeless charm and spacious design make the home the perfect space for large gatherings and events. The manor is a popular venue for weddings, receptions and other events. If you’re holding a large event, the manor accommodates up to 150 guests, including the use of the entire house and park property. The home’s first floor and individual rooms can be rented out as well, depending on the desired amount of space.
Garden & Walking Trails
The manor is surrounded by vast garden areas and heavy foliage. Set in the front of the home is a camellia garden designed by the Camellia and Garden Club of Tallahassee. The orange and pink blooms of the Florida flame and pinxter azalea add color and curb appeal to the manor’s facade. Additional greenery and shrubbery can be found within the park’s walking paths.
A major lure to Dorothy B. Oven Park is the walking trails that weave through the park gardens. Upon entering the garden trail near the manor, you are led downhill towards a quaint, peaceful pond. In the midst of the pond, you may find critters, such as turtles and alligators. Along the trails, fountains and bridges complement the rich foliage. The trail’s full garden loop covering the course of the park is a little less than a mile long. The garden path can also be entered through a back gate that adjoins to a nearby neighborhood.
A popular time to visit Dorothy B. Oven Park is during the holiday season. As November comes to an end, the landscape becomes draped with thousands of glistening lights and colorful holiday exhibits. Interlaced with nature, the holiday lights capture the park’s natural beauty at night.
While the park’s annual Christmas lights and décor are seen over the entirety of the park, the Christmas spirit also extends into the manor’s interior. As you enter inside the manor, additional Christmas displays and holiday music can be found. The park’s extravagant Christmas exhibit can be viewed beginning Thanksgiving Day until January 1st. The price of admission is free, making it a viable option to get into the holiday spirit.
The park is found on Oven Park Dr., off of Thomasville Road near Interstate 10. Parking is limited, but additional parking is located at Thomasville Road Baptist Church daily. Stop by and enjoy the park’s rich flora and quaint charm every day from 7:00 a.m.- 11:00 p.m., or reserve a tour during the hours of operation. It’s an easy way to spend time amongst Tallahassee’s distinctive blooms while exploring the manor’s historic charm.
Home & Yard Magazine