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Tour Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park

November 28, 2020 by Corey A Edwards

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State ParkTour the traditional Florida cracker homestead and farm of a Pulitzer Prize winning author at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896 – 1953) was a novelist and short story writer who published 12 books in her lifetime. “The Yearling” is her best known work. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was made into a major motion picture, starring Jane Wyman and Gregory Peck, in 1946. Other popular titles in her catalog include “Cross Creek,” “South Moon Under,” “Golden Apples,” and “The Sojourner.”

Even more exciting, most of those stories and books were written right here on the veranda!

Rawlings, who hated city life, moved to rural North Central Florida from New York with her husband in 1929. She loved old Florida country living and it infused much of her work. Her memoir, “Cross Creek,” for example, details her daily life at the historic farmstead.

Nothing beats visiting the real place, however. Luckily, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park is just a half hour’s drive from Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast!

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O’Leno State Park and River Rise Preserve

May 15, 2020 by Corey A Edwards

O'Leno State Park River Sink

The Santa Fe River Sink at O’Leno State Park

Looking to get out, away from the crowds, and soak up some of Florida’s natural beauty? O’Leno State Park and the nearby River Rise Preserve offer hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, sinkholes, and even an underground river!

O’Leno State Park has the distinction of being one of Florida’s first state parks, developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The park is located along the banks of the Santa Fe River, about 45 minutes west of our north Florida inn, Hampton Lake Bed and Breakfast.

Interestingly, the Santa Fe River disappears underground into the Bellamy Cave system as it passes through the park. The river flows through limestone passages, some 140 feet below ground, before reemerging three miles away in River Rise Preserve State Park.

The River Sink, where the Santa Fe disappears below ground, is located about a half mile downstream from O’Leno State Park’s main parking area. When river levels are low, the sink resembles a simple pond. When water levels are high, however, the sink swirls down and around in a counter clockwise direction.

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Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2020

December 13, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire 2020Visit a magical world of knights, wizards, and fair maidens when the Alachua County Fairgrounds are transformed into Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. Three full weekends at the beginning of the year: ​January 18-19, 25-26, 31 and February 1-2, 2020.

There’s nothing quite like a medieval renaissance fair. Equal parts historical fantasy and fantastic fun, Hoggetowne includes live entertainment, shopping, food, contests, rides, and more.

Vikings at the Gate!

Each year of the festival sees a different theme.

The theme for the 34th annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is “Vikings at the Gate.” Among other things, this means that the Tournament Field’s Living Chess Match will see lots of combat as leaders of the realms band together against the Viking horde.

That’s not all you’ll see at the Faire, however!

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Discover Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary

September 27, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Gainesville FLCritter Creek Farm Sanctuary, in Gainesville, FL, is unlike any other animal preserve you may have ever seen. Instead of exotic animals like chimpanzees or pythons, they rescue and provide a forever home to cows, pigs, donkeys, and other domestic farm animals!

Lions, tigers, and bears may get all the press but they’re not the only animals that find themselves in need of rescue. Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary rescues the animals most of us take for granted, if we think of them at all: domestic farm animals.

Just like their more exciting cousins, domestic “work” and “production” animals like pigs and chickens can get injured or be abused and neglected. This is where Critter Creek’s 200-acre farm sanctuary and wildlife preserve, just north of Gainesville, comes in.

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Visit Santa Fe College Zoo

July 29, 2019 by Corey A Edwards

Santa Fe College ZooGainesville is home to a variety of attractions but, for animal lovers, the Santa Fe College Zoo may be one of the more interesting. It’s the only zoo on a college campus in the country!

Because this is a teaching zoo, you won’t see lions, gorillas, rhinos, or other big animals. The facility is restricted to animals approved for teaching purposes. Luckily, this still means a diverse collection of exotic and beautiful animals to visit.

In fact, Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is home to more than 200 different animals from over 75 different species, including mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and even invertebrates. Visitors can expect to see ocelots, lemurs, armadillos, parrots, eagles, alligators, and tortoises, among others. The zoo is home to many rare and endangered animals.

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