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Discover Florida’s Historic Camp Blanding Museum

November 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Camp Blanding Museum  and Memorial ParkCamp Blanding was a major U.S. Army training facility during WWII. Now it is a fascinating military museum right here in Starke – the Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park.

Camp Blanding opened in 1939 as a state-owned, Florida National Guard training facility. When World War II broke out, however, Camp Blanding was enlarged and converted to a federal reserve.

Hundreds of thousands of troops trained at Camp Blanding during WWII. Infantry, Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, Field Artillery, Engineer, Medical, and other specialist troops trained here. Nine full Infantry Divisions trained here, as well, including the 1st ID – more famously referred to as The Big Red One.

Camp Blanding served as an Infantry Replacement Center for most of 1944 and 1945. A large percentage of the soldiers who replenished combat infantry ranks during WWII trained here. The Camp was also home to a 2800-bed hospital and a German POW Compound. Near the end of WWII, it also served as a Separation Center.

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Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History

November 16, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Butterfly Rainforest - Florida Museum of Natural HistoryImagine stepping into a tropical world of lush greenery populated by hundreds of gorgeous and fascinating butterflies and moths. You would either be dreaming … or in the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History!

The Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, is over 120 years old. Their collections contain more than 34 million specimens and artifacts.

Permanent exhibits at the museum include a focus on the ancient Calusa people of South Florida and an extensive and internationally acclaimed fossil collection. The Discovery Zone contains some fascinating collections and hands-on learning experiences.

One of the museum’s most popular attractions, however, is the Butterfly Rainforest.

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2018 Florida Gators Football Schedule – Home Game Lodging

August 17, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

2018 Florida Gators Football ScheduleFootball season is right around the corner and the 2018 Florida Gators football schedule is out. If you’re looking for Gators home game lodging for the 2018 season, look no farther than Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast!

Catching these exciting Southeastern Conference games in person is a great experience and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is a great venue. “The Swamp,” as the stadium is also affectionately known, is Florida’s largest stadium. There isn’t a single bad seat in the state-of-the-art facility, though visiting teams know it as one of the toughest college football environments around.

7 of the 13 games in the 2018 Florida Gators football schedule are home games that will be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. September 1st, 8th, 15th, October 6th, November 3rd, 10th, and 17th are all Gators home games. Add in Gator Growl (November 2-8) and you have a whole host of reasons to visit North Central Florida this fall!

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Take A Hike – at Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

February 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Sweetwater Wetlands ParkSweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, Fl is more than 125 acres of man-made wetland habitat. Designed to improve water quality and act as a wildlife preserve, the park has since become one of North Central Florida’s best birding areas!

Not too long ago, we told you about the amazing wildlife and scenery to be found at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Well, one the reasons Paynes Prairie Preserve is so pristine is due to Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Prior to the creation of Sweetwater Wetlands, the area’s water quality was beginning to suffer. Further, ranchers in the 1930s dug a ditch to drain part of Paynes Prairie in order to expand grazing areas. The ditch they dug fed directly to Alachua Sink and dehydrated more than 1,300 acres of prairie wetlands.

Over the decades, the Alachua Sink, which directly connects to the Floridan Aquifer, built up an excess of nitrogen from all the urban runoff and wastewater. Soon, it was clear something must be done to reverse this damage.

The solution was the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project. The project’s mission was to reinvigorate the natural water filtration via the restoration of wetland habitat along the northern rim of Paynes Prairie. At the same time, they created an environmentally friendly park, filled with plants and animals: Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

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Visit Camp Blanding Museum

November 24, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Camp Blanding MuseumCamp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park, in Starke, FL, is a fascinating military museum complete with monuments, exhibits, and military vehicles from all eras and conflicts.

Camp Blanding is a historic and still active North Florida National Guard installation bustling with activity and troops. Just outside the main gate, however, in a 1940s-era guest barracks, resides Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park.

Camp Blanding Museum traces the history of both Camp Blanding and the Florida National Guard. The two-story building is surrounded by massive armaments from World War II. These include an M3 Half-Track, and an M16 Half-Track, and an M4 Sherman Tank. Wow!

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Living The Wildlife At Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

November 17, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

Living The Wildlife At Paynes Prairie Preserve State ParkPaynes Prairie Preserve State Park is an unusual Florida State park chock full of amazing wildlife like alligators, bison, and some 300 species of birds!

People come to Florida for lots of reasons but one of the top reasons given is our amazing wildlife. The state is home to a colorful array of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and others. Getting out and seeing some of our state’s unique inhabitants up close in their natural habitat is a truly worthwhile experience.

Paynes Prairie Preserve is as interesting as many of our wild neighbors – and a great place to get out and see them! The park is biologically, geologically, and historically unique.

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Stay With Us & Catch the 2017 Florida Gators Home Games!

August 4, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

2017 Florida Gators Home GamesThe 2017 UF football season is just around the corner, so now is the time to reserve your lodging for the Florida Gators home games. Let Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast serve as your Florida lakeside home away from home.

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing Florida Gators home games and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is a great venue. University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, or “The Swamp” as many affectionately call it, is Florida’s largest stadium. Visiting teams consider the state-of-the-art facility one of the toughest college football environments around. Visiting fans, on the other hand, soon discover that there is not a bad seat in the house!

The same could be said for our North Central Florida B&B, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast.

Our contemporary modified A-frame home sits on the shore of natural cypress lake surrounded by 60 acres of open field. Each of our seven rooms has an en suite bathroom and access to the more than 180 feet of waterfront we call home. Relax before or after the game with a swim or some fishing. Take the canoe out or simply enjoy a sunset from the porch rocking chair.

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Explore The Florida Museum of Natural History

April 28, 2017 by Corey A Edwards

The Florida Museum of Natural HistoryThere are always a ton of fun and fresh things to do in Northern Florida. One attraction in the Starke area that seems to have something for everyone is The Florida Museum of Natural History.

The Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the University of Florida campus, treats visitors to a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits. The museum contains more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, including one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths.

In a bit of synchronicity, one of the most popular attractions at the museum is the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit.

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Let Us Be Your Florida Gators Home Game Lodging

September 23, 2016 by Corey A Edwards

Florida Gators Home Game LodgingLooking for home game accommodations for the remaining 2016 UF football season? Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast in Starke, FL is your answer to all your Florida Gators home game lodging needs.

Coming to watch the upcoming Southeastern Conference games at University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium? Great idea! The remaining schedule has 3 such games scheduled and they should be well worth seeing! The Swamp will be rocking when these teams face off against each other on Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. You know you are going to want to be there!

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, also affectionately referred to as “The Swamp,” is the largest stadium in the state of Florida. The state-of-the-art facility is also considered one of the toughest, if not THE toughest, college football environment for a visiting team. There’s not a bad seat in the house, making it one of the best places to catch the Gators in action.

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