Thursday, May 19, 2011



 By Doc Lawrence

GAINESVILLE, FL-- The Sunshine State never fails to add a new surprise with each visit. Since I have been in and out of Florida for nearly 40 years, you’d think I know every nook by now. But, over the years I learned to peel back the veneer of obvious tourism and start looking for those things more subtle than theme parks, high-rise condos and crowded beaches.


Welcome to Gainesville. Here’s a medium-size city with a major university that can keep you occupied for many days, particularly if you like the live theater, zoos, beautiful homes, great restaurants and nice, luxurious lodging.

And Gainesville is the perfect jump off location to kayak wild rivers like the Santa Fe, hike in totally wild nature preservers like Payne’s Prairie and immerse yourself in the Cracker Culture of Cross Creek, the little paradise made known to the world by Pulitzer Prize winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in her book, “The Yearling.”

The modern and the primitive are juxtaposed in this region, literally Florida’s Eden. Wildlife is near college campuses; classical music is stones throw from rock, country and jazz. An evening of gourmet dining at Leonardo’s 706 featured Mile Davis’ classic jazz music playing in the background. I thought after a glass of a terrific Provencal that the “king of cool” was in the room with my hosts.

Gainesville and environs offers everything from butterflies to fishing and the food ranging from a fried grouper sandwich to Chicken Marsala is fine any time of year.

A trove of vacation information is available at, or you can contact me for more on Facebook, or Look for some major magazine features very soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment