Road Scholar : Home
Natural North Florida

Program Number: 20439RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/24/2013 - 3/29/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Price starting at: $899.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

North Florida is a nature lover’s paradise where unique geological and climatic conditions have given rise to a landscape of sinkholes, rivers and lakes amid sub-tropical palms and moss-draped hardwoods. Get outdoors and enjoy the delights of historic Gainesville, the urban base for your wild adventure. Stroll through Kanapaha Botanical Garden and explore the densely wooded, 120-foot-deep Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole. Drive west from Alachua County to the Gulf of Mexico to explore sleepy Cedar Key, and enjoy the traditions of Southern dining throughout.




Highlights

• Enjoy a visit to Cedar Key Island, and learn about the local culture of one of the state's oldest ports.
• Delight in the world’s largest indoor butterfly exhibit at the Butterfly Museum.
• Experience the sights and sounds of Paynes Prairie with its more than 20 distinct biological communities.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile on well-maintained trails; steps into the Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole.




Date Specific Information

3-24-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Gainesville (Florida)

Becoming a prosperous citrus-growing center in the aftermath of the Civil War, today Gainesville is best known as home to the University of Florida. Among its natural claims to fame are its deciduous tree population and rural areas outside the city limits, including the wilderness of Paynes Prairie and several locations known for premier birding.



Accommodations
Sweetwater Branch Inn, a B&B in downtown Gainesville listed on the National Historic Register.
Meals and Lodgings
   Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
  Gainesville, Florida 5 nights
 Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Type: Bed and Breakfast
  Description: The Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast, in historic downtown Gainesville, is part of a Victorian complex which offers all the amenities you'd expect in a world-class bed & breakfast and much more. More History. Featured on PBS's series "Country Inns USA," The Sweetwater Branch Inn is graciously decorated and historically preserved offering its visitors a unique lodging experience. Surrounded by the magnificent McKenzie Gardens, the McKenzie House, dating to 1895, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. **** Almost all rooms have one queen bed. Road Scholar roommate matches and request for two beds are unable to be accommodated with this program. A low single supplement is available.*****
  Contact info: 625 East University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601 USA
phone: 352-373-6760
web: www.sweetwaterinn.com
  Room amenities: The Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast invites you to step back in time in our beautifully restored, historical landmark Victorian homes. At the Sweetwater's Victorian Complex, you'll find a soothing blend of Southern comfort and Victorian elegance. With shiny hardwood floors, antique furnishings, and luxurious amenities, our gracefully proportioned rooms and cottages are designed for your comfort and relaxation. Sweetwater Branch Inn offers accommodations that will capture your heart and ease your mind. Graciously decorated, each room offers the following amenities: Central Air Conditioning/Heat Queen size beds Antique furnishings Writing desks with sitting chairs Private telephone Cable television Wireless High Speed Internet Ironing board and iron Blow dryer Coffee Maker Noise diffusers Free local phone calls Pre-Arranged Shuttle Service runs from 7:00 am- 11:00 pm
  Facility amenities: Two blocks from historic downtown Gainesville On-site Bike Rentals Gift Shop with unique items Romance Packages Koi Pond Courtyard Lush Gardens Library
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Private bath with claw-foot tub, or Jacuzzi tub and shower (with the exception of Julia's room which has a unique 1930's Art Deco walk-in shower)
  Additional nights prior: Please Contact Road Scholar Please Contact Road Scholar Boston at 617-521-5373. Additional nights may be reserved based on availability
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Please Contact Road Scholar Please Contact Road Scholar Boston at 617-521-5373. Additional nights may be reserved based on availability
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM You will be staying at Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 AM You will be staying at Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Yes Free parking on-site
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Gainesville, Florida
  Nearest airport:  Gianesville Regional Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Gainesville, Florida
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

From Gainesville Regional Airport to Sweetwater Branch Inn

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 352-373-6760

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

   

Transportation to and from the airport is a "call when you arrive" We strongly suggest that you have your luggage in hand before you call.

 

From Gainesville Regional Airport to Sweetwater Branch Inn

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

   

Taxi stand at airport Airlines at Airport: American Airlines is operated by American Eagle Delta Connection is operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). US Airways Express is operated by PSA Airlines.

 
Driving Directions
  Directions from 441(Orlando/South) to Sweetwater Branch Inn Take Hwy 441 North into Alachua County. It will become 13th Street. Take 13th Street until intersection of University Avenue and 13th Street. Make right onto University Avenue and follow into Downtown Gainesville. You will pass the Courthouse and Library on your right. Sweetwater Branch Inn is on the right hand side just a little way past the Library.
  From Gainesville Regional Airport to Sweetwater Branch Inn Right out of airport entrance onto NE 39th Ave. After 0.9 miles turn left onto NE Waldo Rd. After 2.6 miles turn right onto E. University Ave (Inn will be on the left)
  From North (I-75/Exit 387) to Sweetwater Branch Inn From North: Take a right onto Newberry Road, follow Newberry Road (University Avenue) past the University of Florida. Follow into Downtown Gainesville. You will pass the Courthouse and Library on your right. Sweetwater Branch Inn is on the right hand side just a little way past the Library.
  From South (I-75/Exit 387) to Sweetwater Branch Inn From South: Take a right onto Newberry Road, follow Newberry Road (University Avenue) past the University of Florida. Follow into Downtown Gainesville. You will pass the Courthouse and Library on your right. Sweetwater Branch Inn is on the right hand side just a little way past the Library.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome to Natural Florida
(Sunday, March 24)
   
 Afternoon: Orientation and introduction to the program and Bed and Breakfast given by Cornelia Holbrook (owner and creator of facility). Enjoy a lecture on the Cushman-Colson front porch given by Dana Rasmussen, professional photographer and resident of the Alachua area since 1982. Dana will introduce the world of nature through the camera's lens, give tips and show his own gallery of nature photos in the Alachua County area through the years.
 Dinner: Southern dinner prepared by the Sweetwater Branch Inn’s famous kitchen
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Florida History Museum/ Butterfly Museum
(Monday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: Sweetwater’s Breakfast: something special!
 Morning: Depart for the Florida Museum of Natural History for a lecture on Florida's cultural and natural history. Then, begin your journey through the museum with a curator.
 Lunch: Meet for boxed lunch
 Afternoon: Lecture from Thomas Emmel: "Introduction to the Butterfly Museum and Its Beginnings," followed by a guided stroll through the world's largest indoor butterfly exhibit. 3:00 pm: Depart for the Sweetwater Branch Inn. Spend free time relaxing and enjoying the gardens, porches, courtyard and koi pond.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Evening: Lecture given by Dr. Barrow on Gainesville’s history.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Paynes Prairie State Park
(Tuesday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: Visit Paynes Prairie State Park: Enjoy a lecture given by a park ranger on the unique features of this park followed by a 1 hour nature walk and visit to the look-out tower.
 Lunch: Boxed Lunch
 Afternoon: La Chua Trail at Northern end of Paynes Prairie State Park: Take in a lecture from a well known local birder, then walk along a unique board-walk with a view of Florida's alligators. Excellent birding and reptile photographic opportunities. **Optional Downtown Farmer's Market Stroll or free time at hotel
 Dinner: Dinner at Sweetwater Branch Inn
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Devil's Millhopper Sinkhole / Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
(Wednesday, March 27)

Note: Please wear closed-toe shoes.



   
 Breakfast: At the Sweetwater Branch Inn
 Morning: Lecture on Alachua County's geology presented on Sweetwater's Cushman-Colson front porch. Depart for Devil's Millhopper Sinkhole where you will walk down 150 ft. into an ancient sinkhole.
 Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at Devil’s Millhopper Sinkhole
 Afternoon: Visit to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: meet and greet with the creator and curator of the gardens, Don Goodman. Enjoy an introduction to Alachua County's unique flora and explore the gardens. Return to the Hotel for some late afternoon relaxation time.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Evening: Performance at the Hippodrome State Theatre
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cedar Key
(Thursday, March 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: Lecture at the Cedar Key Museum followed by a boat trip to near-by island, then visit the Cedar Key Scrub Park.
 Lunch: Boxed Lunch
 Afternoon: Lecture on the Cedar Key area's Indian Cultural History followed by a walk to ancient shell mounds.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at Sweetwater Branch Inn
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Farewell Presentation
(Friday, March 29)
   
 Breakfast: At the Sweetwater Branch Inn
 Morning: Farewell presentation given by Group Leader Vince Lamb with aslide show of the week and events.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Gainesville, Florida Hippodrome Theater
Local cinema showing independent films. Please visit the website for a calendar of upcoming showings and events. For additional information, visit thehipp.org/cinema/current-films
  Morningside Living History Farm
The living history farm at Morningside Nature Center brings Florida cracker family living in the mid 1800's to life again. For additional information, visit www.cityofgainesville.org/GOVERNMENT/CityDepartmentsNZ/NatureOperationsDivision/tabid/83/Default.aspx
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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