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Natural North Florida

Program Number: 20439RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/9/2014 - 2/14/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Price starting at: $979.00 - 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

2-9-2014

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 Sweetwater Branch Inn directly to inquire about extra night accommodations. The Inn's reservation line is 1-800-595-7760.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Please contact Sweetwater Branch Inn directly to inquire about extra night accommodations. The Inn's reservation line is 1-800-595-7760.
  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
Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
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: Arrival and Check-in, Program Registration, Orientation, Introduction to World of Nature, Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, February 9)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in: Available from 3:00pm.

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&Bm 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 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: 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.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Florida Museum of Natural History, Butterfly Rainforest, History of Gainesville
(Monday, February 10)
   
 Breakfast: Sweetwater’s breakfast features a rotating daily menu of hot items as well as home-made granola, yogurt, fresh local fruit, English muffins and toast, preserves, milk, coffee, and tea.
 Morning: Depart for the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) where we will learn about Florida's cultural and natural history. Then, explore the museum with a curator.
 Lunch: We will have box lunches in the pleasant surroundings of the museum grounds.
 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: Dr. Mark Barrow, a leader in Gainesville’s historic preservation movement, will provide an overview of local history from the early days of Native Americans to the present.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Paynes Prairie State Park
(Tuesday, February 11)
   
 Breakfast: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: Visit Paynes Prairie State Park with a talk by a park ranger on the unique features of this park, followed by a 1-hour nature walk including the look-out tower.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch.
 Afternoon: La Chua Trail at the northern end of Paynes Prairie State Park. Hear 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.

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.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Devil's Millhopper Sinkhole, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
(Wednesday, February 12)

Note: Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes. There are 232 steps on a winding wooden staircase to the bottom of the 500-foot-wide, 120-foot-deep sinkhole.



   
 Breakfast: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: On Sweetwater's Cushman-Colson front porch, learn about Alachua County's geology.

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. We will post the information on this website and include it in preparatory materials as soon as confirmed.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cedar Key
(Thursday, February 13)
   
 Breakfast: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: At the Cedar Key Museum, hear a lecture on the Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage followed by a guided walk to ancient shell mounds. Then visit the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Center to learn about marine estuaries and marine life.
 Lunch: Tasty sandwiches at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Take a boat trip around the coastal areas of Ceder Key and stop at an uninhabited island for a guided walk.
 Dinner: Enjoy good food and good company during our farewell Dinner at Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Evening: Enjoy our last evening together with Road Scholar friends and prepare for check-out and depature tomorrow morning.
   
Accommodations: Sweetwater Branch Inn Bed & Breakfast
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap-up Presentation, Program Concludes
(Friday, February 14)

Note: Please note: Check-out is by 11:00am.



   
 Breakfast: At Sweetwater Branch Inn.
 Morning: A presentation by Group Leader Vince Lamb features a slide show of the week and events.

The program concludes with this presentation.

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

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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