The Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast Inn and Cottages



ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Innkeepers Joe and Cindy Montalto share the fascinating history of The Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast, their 1885 French Second Empire Inn in Gainesville, Florida. Listen here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on BlogTalkRadio or SoundCloud.


Located minutes from historic downtown Gainesville, Florida, and less than two miles from the University of Florida campus, the Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast Inn and Cottages are the perfect lodgings for a romantic escape, pleasure trip, family getaway with select pet-friendly rooms, and business travel.

The house was constructed in 1885 by Dudley and Melinza Williams. Dudley was a lumberman at the time and the quality of the woodwork throughout the house is a testimony to his profession. The house is known locally as the Baird Mansion, named for the family that owned and lived here for almost 70 years. Emmett Baird was a local businessman who owned and operated the Standard Crate Company and a sawmill at the Hague. During the period from the late 1960s to 1990, the house was occupied by various groups including hippies and college students. It became a mecca for the east coast hippie movement in Gainesville in the late 1960s. The Baird Mansion was purchased by Cindy and Joe Montalto in 1990 and restored into the Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast Inn, Gainesville’s very first bed and breakfast. The restoration has kept the home’s original floor plan including the double parlors, five bedrooms, a dining room, and butler’s pantry.

The three-story French Second Empire Inn is decorated in period furnishings and offers five guest rooms, each with a gas fireplace and a private bath with a claw foot tub. The Inn’s unique architecture is the only example of its kind in Gainesville, and one of the only examples in the entire Southeastern United States.

The Magnolia Plantation Cottages are decorated and furnished in the Country-, Craftsman- and Colonial-style. They provide more space and privacy for guests, and most include a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace. All kitchens are equipped with cooking utensils and are-stocked with the basics.

Guests enjoy a full breakfast, snacks and beverages throughout the day, as well as wine and snacks in the evenings. With nearly 2 acres of land, the beautiful and lush tropical gardens surrounding the Inn and Cottages feature brick walking paths, Charleston-style courtyards, fountains, ponds, and waterfalls. 

The Magnolia Plantation B&B is located at 309 S.E. Seventh Street, Gainesville, Florida 32601. For more information or reservations call (352) 375-6653 or (800) 201-2379, or visit


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