Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, you will receive your arrival packet with information about the time and place of our Orientation session.
Orientation: Cornelia Holbrook, founder and owner of the B&B will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Enjoy a lecture on the History of Water Management in Florida from former St. Johns River Water Management District Land Management Specialist and your tour group leader for the week, Terri Mashour. Terri will project beautiful Florida photos and illustrate how water is linked to every facet of Floridian life from drinking water, to development, to ecology and groundwater and ecosystem services, making water in Florida extremely political. You will quickly see a theme of the importance and presence of water in Florida, a theme that will be linked to each visit on our week long tour.Dinner: Savor a Southern dinner prepared by the Sweetwater Branch Inn’s renowned kitchen.Evening: Take the evening to relax and get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.Lodging: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & BreakfastMeals Included: Dinner
Enjoy a lecture from Dr. Mark Barrow, a leader in Gainesville’s historic preservation movement and founder of the Matheson Historical Museum, who will provide an overview of local history from the early days of Native Americans to the present.
Morning: Walk next door to the Matheson Museum where we will learn about the history of Alachua County and take a guided tour of the city’s second oldest house. Then head to the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) where we will learn about Florida's cultural and natural history and explore the museum with a curator.Lunch: We will have box lunches in the next door Harn Museum of Art and Gardens’ peaceful and sunny Japanese garden.Afternoon: Dr. Thomas Emmel, Director of the McGuire Center at FLMNH and an expert on butterflies, will present an introduction to the Butterfly Rainforest at the FLMNH followed by a guided stroll through this popular exhibit here at the world’s largest research facility devoted to Lepidoptera. Strolling through tropical foliage and flowers to the sound of waterfalls, see exotic free-flying butterflies within a large screened enclosure. Some 60-80 species from all over the world reside here at any given time.
At approximately 3:00pm, we will return to the Sweetwater Branch Inn with time for relaxing and enjoying the gardens, porches, courtyard, and koi pond.Dinner: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
Evening: Take the evening to relax and get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow, explore the Matheson Museum’s Synoptic Garden, or enjoy a DVD showing of, “Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades to Okefenokee-1000 miles in 100 days” on the Cushman Colson front porch.Lodging: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & BreakfastMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Later in the afternoon, you will have an option to walk through the Downtown Farmer's Market or return to the hotel for some down time.Dinner: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.Evening: At leisure.Lodging: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & BreakfastMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We then depart for Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park where you will walk down 120 feet into an ancient sinkhole. Devil's Millhopper is a National Natural Landmark. Researchers have learned a great deal about Florida's natural history by studying fossil shark teeth, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink. The 120-foot deep bowl-shaped cavity leads down to a miniature rain forest. Small streams trickle down the steep slopes of the limestone sinkhole, disappearing through crevices in the ground. Lush vegetation thrives in the shade of the walls even in dry summers.Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at Devil’s Millhopper.Afternoon: Visit Kanapaha Botanical Gardens to meet and talk with with the creator and curator of the gardens, Don Goodman. Enjoy an introduction to Alachua County's unique flora and explore the gardens.
Later in the afternoon, return to the hotel for some relaxation time.Dinner: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
Evening: Attend a performance at the Hippodrome State Theatre. The Hippodrome has grown from a tiny theatre group to the only professional theatre in the region, now occupying the historic Federal Building in the cultural heart of the city.
Please note: Because our program was planned almost a year in advance, and because performance schedules can change on short notice, specific information was not available at the time of publication. The performance information will be included in the onsite materials when you arrive at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.Lodging: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & BreakfastMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We hope you have enjoyed this exploration of Natural North Florida and will join us for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys!Meals Included: Breakfast