About this listing
Very unique, peaceful artist style retreat just south of Gvlle (it is South of Gainesville and North of Micanopy -- right near Lake Wauburg).
Very unique, peaceful artist style retreat just south of Gvlle (it is South of Gainesville and North of Micanopy -- right near Lake Wauburg).
Unique fully furnished house in Micanopy . . . truly a one of a kind setting that is only 10-15 minutes from Gainesville and 20 minutes to Ocala.
* Bathroom completely renovated May 2013 + brand new jacuzzi tub and rain shower!! And most of inside repainted / wood re-stained.
Located at the end of a dirt road, the property sits on almost three acres of land. Three sides are surrounded by woods.
The fourth side looks out over 5,000 acres of virgin prairie land and a Federal nature preserve (Levy Prairie, right next to Payne's Prairie).
If you like peace and quite, this is perfect (great for writers, artists, and those looking for a little Walden Pond type retreat that is conveniently located to Gainesville and Ocala).
There is a 40-foot sculpture in the yard and murals on the outside walls. Nearly ¼ of the house is glass . . . providing breathtaking views of nature. I frequently see wild turkeys, deer, bald eagles, foxes and all sorts of wildlife in my yard.
The house looks like a little castle, compete with a spiral staircase taking it to three levels. The first level includes a carport and storage areas.
There is a pool and an outdoor shower on this first level, but no real living space.
On the second level, there is a small bedroom, a living room with a high ceiling, a dining area and a galley kitchen. As well, there is a screened in porch that overlooks the prairie.
On the third level, there are two rooms (one is currently used as an office but could convert into another bedroom). As well, there is a bathroom and separate toilet room.
Lake Wauberg is only a quarter mile away (enjoy swimming, skiing, Frisbee golf, etc.) and Payne's Prairie is just as close (observation deck, hiking, etc.).
The place is old and rustic, please do not expect modern construction. Slowly but surely we are fixing up all the different parts of the house but it is a slow project-by-project endeavor. The house is extremely comfortable for those with a bohemian mindset, but fancy-shmancy city-folks might not feel at home.
Please email or call me with a little information about yourself and your approximate dates to rent the house. The property is available for viewing by appointment only.
Other Things to Note
House Tips – Updated December March 24, 2104
Here are some tips / orientations for the house. Let’s discuss any questions or comments you might have … and feel free to call / text me if you have any questions in the future. The house and property are beautiful and peaceful and fun … but the house is old and so there are plenty of nuances to learn to get the most out of living here (but it’s worth it!). You can get me at (phone number hidden) (text is great) or (email hidden)y: I have a key to the house in the lockbox outside of the door. The code is 1248. I like to leave that key there for access.
Internet: The wireless network code is: (phone number hidden) network is named ATT952.
Grocery Shopping: For major shopping, I suggest you go to Gainesville. There is a Publix located about 15 minutes away at 5200 Southwest 34th Street, Gainesville, FL (phone number hidden) and a Trader Joes at 3724 Southwest Archer Road, Gainesville, FL (phone number hidden) minor things there is a Pearl Country Store 106 U.S. 441, Micanopy, FL (phone number hidden) and this is located just 5 minutes away in Micanopy.
Restaurants: In Micanopy, the Pearl has really good BBQ and southern breakfast. Next door is Blue Highway, casual but great pizza and Italian food. In the old town of Micanopy there is a little ice cream shop that makes sandwiches and the Old Florida Café (good Cuban sandwiches). Check out the old city of Micanopy for antique shopping, too. They filmed Doc Hollywood there, it is a quaint little town. Travel to Cross Creek and enjoy authentic southern cuisine at The Yearling. And for even nicer Italian nearby try Antonios 22050 US Hwy 441, Micanopy, FL 32667. In Gainesville I suggest Dragonfly for sushi, Leonardo’s 706 for California Italian fusion. Mark’s for upscale white-table cloth steak. Manuels for amazing gourmet Italian. Amelias for fresh grouper.
Doors / Mosquitoes: They can smell the carbon dioxide in the house, so they sit right by the doors. I would suggest coming in-and-out of doors as quickly as possible or you will be living with (and eaten by) mosquitoes. I mean like lightening fast. Every second the door is open is another 2 mosquitoes that will stalk you! This goes for the porch doors, downstairs door, and roof door. It isn’t as bad in the winter … but in summer months I would suggest that you move quickly!
Roof: It is ok for a couple people to be on the roof, but it is not designed to hold the weight of more than a few. Sunsets are amazing up there. After a rain, water will collect on the roof. To help it flow off more quickly, please clean any leaves / debris from the drain area (near the SE corner, immediately to your back left when you exit the door onto the roof). Also when you walk on the roof, it will track in little granules of material into the house, so wipe your feet on the mat when you come out. Of course, be careful near the edges of the roof (not to fall!) and around the chains that connect the gargoyles and other cords / tubes that are on the rooftop. There is a fan that vents onto the roof. I’ve sealed off the vents of this because mosquitoes were coming in – and the vents were flapping in the wind. So please don’t use this fan. The light for the top of the bird’s nest leading to the roof is in the stairwell at the second level of the house (just before you arrive at the hallway that leads to the bathroom). One switch turns on the fan (don’t use that one / turn it off if you hear a growling noise). The other switch turns on the light.
A/C and Fan: It is an old house and so it is not well insulated. The air-conditioner keeps it relatively cool. For more air circulation, turning on the fan in the living room ceiling and also there is a box fan that you can place for your convenience (it is in the bedroom now). Weather permitting, you can open the kitchen window, bedroom windows, and porch doors for additional ventilation and cooling.
Shower Room: There is no shower curtain; the water just drains from the floor (no need for a floor mat). The water toggles from tub filler / handheld to the showerhead by pulling a little knob near the temperature dial. The drain blocker has to be pushed with a good amount of pressure to open and close if you want to use the bath.
Hot Water: To wash dishes, shower, etc. you will need to turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple of minutes in order for it to make its way to the house, be patient its coming. When you arrive to the house, the breaker for the hot water heater might be flipped off. Please go to the laundry room, open the breaker box. There will just be 2 double breakers going the opposite way of the rest of the breakers on one side of the panel. Switch them over and give it 20 minutes to heat up and you’ll be in business.
Bedroom: The accordion shades can close to give the room some privacy. Please do not put any drinks on the wood dressers / nightstands as it will leave a stain. The dresser drawers and closet are open for your use. Spare sheets are in the lower upper right drawer of the long dressers (and more of them in the dresser in the downstairs guest room). Iron and ironing board are there for you to use, also. I left some towels on the right hand shelves that you can use.
Furniture: Please do not move any furniture without asking first. Please do not drag anything, as it will scratch / damage the floor. Please do not put any drinks or wet towels on the wood furniture in the bedroom, on the wood of the dining room table, on the wet bar, or other wooden surfaces. The butcher-block table in the living room near the couches is ok … but in other places, please use a coaster or set it directly on the dining room table glass.
Storage / boxes: Unfortunately, the downstairs breezeway area is not suitable for much storage as anything left outside will mildew. So all the electronics in the downstairs guest bedroom (and speakers) need to stay inside. Also, the boxes of food / other items under the dining room table should not be moved outside. If you want to move anything outside, please discuss with me first. I did fill some plastic boxes with things and moved them into the downstairs storage area. The boxes don’t make a tight seal, so I put things on top of the boxes to keep them airtight. Please keep this stuff on top of those boxes so my items don’t get mildewed.
Office / Second Bedroom Upstairs: There is an accordion shade that can be pulled for privacy. The closet in the office is filled with my stuff; please do not disturb the contents. To setup the beds, move the tall shelf out of the way, and the file cabinets … then push the two Bahama beds together … and with a bottom sheet connecting them, they form a mattress suitable for two people.
Stairs: Please be careful and warn your guests (children!) to be careful on these stairs so that nobody falls.
Downstairs Guest Bedroom: This downstairs room has doors that slide out for privacy. The couch folds out into a bed. Also, there is an extra mattress in the downstairs storage room in a sealed storage zipper bag – please be very careful not to rip this bag or it will be useless and the mattress will mildew. Extra linens are in the dresser in that room, and there are some blankets / pillows in the closet (also some extra ones in the office / second bedroom closet upstairs.
Living Room: The closet near the stairwell is full of my stuff; please do not disturb the contents. The dining table has a big piece of glass on it. It is cracked a little in one corner, that is why I put the calf-skin rug on it to cover the crack. Please be careful and I don’t suggest moving the table at all. There is a little dresser near the stairs that has blankets / comforters in it. To close this door, position each of the two opposing doors so that the actually overlap a little / butt up to each other as you are closing it. In other words, have the two doors kiss a little as they are closing to create the opposing force needed to keep the doors closed. If you just close each independently, they doors will flip open. Also it helps if the blankets inside are pushed back far enough not to put any pressure on the doors.
Porch: I would suggest keeping the screen door closed all the way or mosquitoes will get in (it has to be pulled closed to actually shut). The sliding glass door does not shut all the way; to save air conditioning and to keep the bugs out, I suggest using the wooden security stick (goes to the left of the door) to firmly close the sliding door. To enable the right hand pair of sliding doors (those to the right when looking out from the living room), remove the security stick to keep the doors closed (please call me if you are confused as improper opening will damage these tabs). The drapes can be drawn to keep out some of the light … this can be done with a stick or you can stand on a chair (wooden chair, not the leather ones, please). They rings of the drapes get a little hung up on the drape pole, so they have to be moved one at a time at those junctures.
CDs / Books: You are welcome to listen to these / scan them into your computer. You can stow these away as needed. Books are welcomed to be read, just please replace / don’t break the spines on the old books.
Piano / Instruments: You are free to use the piano and instruments, just be careful not to put drinks on the piano. The piano is a little out of tune, only because some of the strings are too old to tighten, so if you are tuning it please be careful not to break the strings.
Cigarettes: Please no smoking in the house. Please no butts in the yard. There is an ashtray on the porch.
Light Bulbs: There are some spare ones in the living room closet that you may use. Please be very careful when removing the glass dome light covers (hanging from ceilings in the house). These can be removed by gently pulling down and then gently snapping back into place. These are irreplaceable so please be careful!
Pool: Pool guy comes on Thursday to clean it out / add chemicals but you can clean the top with the skimmer. The water in the pool should always be a little above the lower part of the blue tile. Otherwise, the pool pump pushes air and can burn out, if it’s below that level please add a little water using the hose. Please tell your guests to be careful around the pool deck. It is pretty old and dilapidated so there may be splinters, loose boards, nails, etc. There isn’t usually a problem but people just need to be cautious. Also, please no diving from the steps / balcony into the pool. It is an outside pool so expect some leaves in it … the water is clean, just a few leaves!
Yard: The yardman (Jeff) will be by once or twice a month to mow, trim, and blow out the pool deck and breezeway.
Mail: I have a mail key in case you expect to get any correspondence.
Neighbors: For long-term tenants, you may want to introduce yourself to some of the neighbors, everyone is friendly and helpful … it is a real neighborhood. Two doors down are Nate (retired physics professor) and Angel (current dean at UF, women’s studies): (email hidden), (email hidden), (phone number hidden). Across the way are John (runs a restaurant called Civilization), and Ann (photographer, landscaper) (email hidden), (email hidden) (phone number hidden)dy is across the street (email hidden), (phone number hidden), and Sherrie raises geese: (phone number hidden), (email hidden)rbage: They pick up on Monday morning. The dumpster is out by the street, please put your waste into the outside can by Sunday night. When the current tag expires, we’ll send over the renewal tag for you to put on it so that they continue to service it.
Fuse box: Located in the little room closest to the swimming pool (across from the water heater) and laundry machine.
Laundry: Washer and driers are in fuse room. Sometimes using these will trip the breaker, so just re-set it.
Parties: I’d rather not have any events at the place … just from a liability standpoint.
Kitchen: We usually don’t have much of a bug problem, but that is because we don’t leave any food out or dirty dishes. If you can be diligent about that, you won’t have much of an insect issue with roaches or ants. Running the toaster and the microwave at the same time can trip a fuse; please use them separately. The stovetop burners work just fine, as does the oven. There is also a George Foreman grill in the cabinets that is great for cooking meat, fish, chicken, etc. Feel free to use the spices / condiments. If you use up any of the supplies I left that are staples (salt, pepper, etc.) please replace it so I’m not stranded.
General Country Living Tips: Don’t reach into somewhere you can’t see … there might be a snake or spider in there! Don’t mess with the animals if you see them! Don’t swing at bees or wasps (by the way, you can knock down the mud dabbers and wasp nests as they start to form in the breezeway and under the statue). Use a flashlight if walking through the woods at night to avoid snakes or other critters.
Fire: If you light a fire (in the fire pit in the back yard), please do not leave it unattended, as a single ember could light the prairie on fire! Also, be sure to run the hose to completely drench the fire when done (there is a hose running along the wooded side closest to the road … it goes all the way back towards the street side of the house and plugs into a spicket. And please stir the coals until nothing is smoking any more.
Car Parking: Usually, one car parks in the carport, others can park in the yard. Sometimes the yard is somewhat damp … especially near the prairie, so be careful not to drive too close to the woods down by the sculpture. The septic tank is in between the breezeway and the prairie so please do not park in that area as it compacts the drain field … so either park in the breezeway or on the side of the house, but not in between the garage and the prairie / statue. Also, please be careful not to peal out or accelerate too fast or it uproots the grass. In front of the driveway (outside the gates), some kids have been doing donuts with their ATVs and it created a little pit that holds water. I suggest driving around it or you might get stuck. Out in front of the gates coming into the house, there can sometimes be a little collection of water or mud … so on your way in, be sure to hug the part of the road closest to the house where the ground is higher and firmer.
Power outages: Often with big storms, the power goes out for a little bit. If and when it happens, please call Clay Electric: (phone number hidden).
Accessing the Prairie: At the end of the dirt drive, instead of turning left to head out to the street, turn right and you’ll see some gates to the preserve. If you go left, it’s a cleared trail that surrounds the prairie. If you go left, it is a more wooded walk. It’s a nice nature walk … you may see alligators, snakes, turtles, woodpeckers, all kinds of critters.
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Your front yard ... 5,000 acres of virgin prairie / Federal bird sanctuary preserves (and 40 foot sculpture).
The castle is just as described, a very secluded oasis within a stones throw from gainesville. Mark was an excellent host and i look forward to enjoying this property the next time i travel to gainesville. Bring bug spray if you plan to use the outdoor spaces, the bugs do bite.
We enjoyed a graduation weekend while staying at Marks Castle. The neighborhood and the neighbors were as described and Mark provided several pages of introduction to this unit. It's best described as a rustic castle and it was a wonderful place to relax and forget about the cares of the.big city. It has a definite lived in feeling with eclectic collection of art and sculpture. The grounds are as described and quite spacious. We certainly felt safe at this Home and enjoyed the neighboring Town of Micanopy which was the location used for the movie Doc Hollywood and has not changed in the slightest in the interval.
House was just as described. It was clean & Mark kept in contact to make sure we had no issues. My daughters and I enjoyed the collection of books and the view of the prairie. Would love to return for a longer stay.
Mark and his home were incredible! For more detail please see my other review.
Mark was very responsive and happy to answer any and all questions you had. He even gave you good places to visit nearby or if you had something specific to do in mind he directed you the right way. The castle was exactly as pictured and had tons of character. Me and my family enjoyed every bit of the home from the backyard to the jet tub it was all amazing. Sadly we didn't get a chance to try the pool as we were only there a short time and had much planned in our days, but I am sure that would have been wonderful as well with a nice sunny day. Mark was not kidding about the mosquitoes they are everywhere! So bring some bug repellant in case they are attracted to you as long as you didn't leave the door open though inside the house was fine. There were also a ton of ladybugs but hey they are good luck and we didn't mind! Overall I would recommend his place to anyone and will definitely come to stay back in the future : )
Marc greeted us upon arrival and showed us the property and explained it's charm and unique characteristics. We felt well prepared to take on five days of castle life - even though we didn't pack our tiaras.
We specifically chose this space as a perfect writer's retreat where we could hunker in and finish writing our book. When the printer at the castle wasn't working with our computer, Marc went above and beyond to accommodate our needs by arranging an even better printer for us! He communicated well and never felt more than a text away.
The photos are impressive but being in the actual space is even more enchanting, complete with gargoyles for protection. The neighborhood was peaceful and the nearby preserve made for an outstanding nature experience. We loved walking the 6.5 mile loop around it, complete with sightings of alligators and wildlife - amazing mornings, and incredible sunsets!
We would definitely stay here again - Thanks Marc!
My wife and I (and our 2 dogs) stayed at Marc's castle for 7 nights during xmas week. If you want a quiet and secluded getaway, it's a great choice. Marc is really good at communicating with his guests to make sure that they have lots of good information before and during their stay. He provides a detailed reference guide about the whole property anticipating most of your basic questions. He also gave many recommendations for dining and local experiences. We found him to be very responsive to our texts and emails, with timely replies, and very good follow-through. The neighborhood will have you feeling like you are traveling through a pre-historic forest with dense tropical vegetation, yet you're just a short car ride from dining, shopping, etc. The internet connection speed was very good, however if we tried streaming on multiple devices it would often cause the weaker device to buffer. Cell phones had decent reception, only occasionally switching over to "roaming". There's no dishwasher, so if you use dishes, you'll have to wash by hand. I'd suggest bringing some paper plates and solo cups if you're not a big fan of washing by hand. There's a nice pool on the shaded side of the house, I imagine this gets a lot more use during months other than December. There's access to the rooftop - a great spot to catch sunsets every evening or to stargaze on clear nights. The house is at the end of a private drive, but if you walk down to the entrance, you're right at the access point for a hiking path through a protected wetland area. We enjoyed our stay very much in this unique home situated in a landscape you don't often see up close. It's a nice place where you can get away from your normal routine. Thanks Marc!
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