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Holly Hill, Florida

Holly Hill, FloridaFlanked by its larger neighbors, Ormond Beach to the north and Daytona Beach to the south, and bordered by the Halifax River to the east, Holly Hill’s limits do not quite stretch to the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally landscaped with holly bushes, magnolias, palms and ancient oaks, this central Florida town has overcome what some might see as a disadvantage by providing a pleasant place to live or visit and an array of nearby recreational, cultural and entertainment attractions.

What is now Holly Hill and what was then Palmetto Point got its first post office in 1868, but, with few people willing to put down roots in an area devoid of railroad tracks, the facility was shut down two years later. The town’s present name apparently came from William Samuel Flemming, who owned a large amount of land along the river and who had been born in the Irish town of Holywood.

Today, Holly Hill is a thriving town amid a booming area along Florida’s central Atlantic Coast. The beach is nearby, but there are many other opportunities to occupy the mind and body.

The Casements, the one-time home of John D. Rockefeller, was built in 1910 by the Rev. Harwood Huntington and got its name from its many casement windows. Rockefeller moved in when he was 78 and was visited by The Prince of Wales, Henry Ford and Will Rogers, among others. The building later served as a prep school and as a home for the elderly and eventually was purchased by the city of Ormond Beach and transformed into a cultural and community center. The Casements was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Nearby Daytona Beach is the home of the Southeast Museum of Photography, which offers the works of a wide range of photographers, as well as the Halifax Historical Museum, which delves into local history from 5,000 B.C. to the present. Baseball fans will appreciate Jackie Robinson Ball Park, named for the first African- American to play Major League Baseball in modern times.

And, of course, there’s Daytona International Speedway, home of NASCAR’s Daytona 500.