Ocala-Gainesville-Tallahassee Area Travel Guide

Ichetucknee tubing still fun in fall

August 25, 2012

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Ichetucknee tubing still fun in fall

Even though summer unofficially ends on Labor Day, the hot weather almost certainly will continue into the fall in Florida.

Spring prime-time for butterflies at UF museum

February 26, 2011

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Spring prime-time for butterflies at UF museum

When I first began visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History with my kids in the mid-1990s, the buzz was all about dinosaurs and bones, topics of interest for little boys in the era of post-"Jurassic Park" dino fever.

Re-enactors are undeterred as they relive the Battle of Olustee

9:17 AM EST, February 20, 2012

Re-enactors are undeterred as they relive the Battle of Olustee

The annual Battle of Olustee is a carefully choreographed re-enactment of Florida's largest Civil War battle.

Signs all point to enjoyment on a road trip through rural Florida

November 26, 2011

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Signs all point to enjoyment on a road trip through rural Florida

I missed the sign when I first passed it on the stretch of County Road 42 that bridges Lake and Marion counties.

Here's a quiet way to appreciate the 'religion' of college football

September 24, 2011

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Here's a quiet way to appreciate the 'religion' of college football

In Florida, college football almost qualifies as a religion.

December 11, 2010

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Gainesville offers fun for students of all ages

Usually, a fall road trip to Gainesville involves a visit to the Swamp for a football game involving the mighty Florida Gators.

Here's a capital idea for shopping road trip

November 6, 2010

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Here's a capital idea for shopping road trip

Can shopping be a motivation for a road trip?

Florida Shopping Guide: North Florida

July 6, 2010

Florida Shopping Guide: North Florida

From Ocala to Tallahassee, North Florida has a great variety of retail offerings. Small historic downtowns, great shopping malls and more are found along Interstates 75 and 10 in these old Florida towns.

Ocala's Appleton Museum a hidden gem

3:12 PM EDT, March 26, 2010

POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Jim Abbott on Florida Travel: Ocala's Appleton Museum a hidden gem

Ocala is famous for the picturesque horse farms that have made it a world-class equestrian hub, but it was a less heralded gem that inspired my recent Marion County road trip.

August 31, 2009

Prepare to linger at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Moments before the 3:30 p.m. manatee program begins at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, it appears that a staffer is tossing hot dogs into the water. I cringe at the idea of giving meat to manatees and draw in a deep breath, the better for making loud protests on behalf of the gentle herbivores.

Gainesville's Steel Magnolia

October 19, 2003

Gainesville's Steel Magnolia

When innkeepers Cindy and Joe Montaldo purchased what is now known as the Magnolia Plantation, the main building was a kind of "Animal House" hippie hangout, a near derelict in the neighborhood of Gainesville's historic homes. That was in 1990.

Railroad boarding house now a fine B&B in High Springs

July 6, 2003

Railroad boarding house now a fine B&B in High Springs

I missed the 58th Annual Watermelon Festival in Newberry a couple of weeks ago, spending more time than I planned in the neighboring Alachua County town of High Springs.

May 15, 2003

Florida's springs: Weekend getaways that are literally cool

No matter how far you drive in Florida, chances are, you won't go far enough to find a place with cooler temperatures.

Statehood backer built Quincy home

For a fascinating introduction to the rich history of Florida, Quincy is a good place to start. Founded in 1825 and named for U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, it is the administrative center of Gadsden County, which is named for the Charlestonian who was aide-de-camp to General Andy Jackson during his notorious 1818 Florida campaign ending the First Seminole War and the Spanish era in Florida. Adams was the only cabinet member to support Jackson.

April 21, 2002

Azalea house in full bloom in Palatka

Crab lovers unite! Grab your mallets, picks and prepare to paddle your way to the 14th Annual Blue Crab Festival in Palatka on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. Palatka is in Putnam County, about halfway between St. Augustine and Gainesville. The sleepy little town is proud to call itself the Bass Capital of the World.

Cedar Key still has serenity of old times

April 20, 2003

Cedar Key still has serenity of old times

I was delighted to learn that one of my favorite little Florida inns is alive and well in one of my favorite Florida places, Cedar Key.

Tarpon Springs: Gulf Coast town with Greek flavor

Most of Florida is marked by land so flat it would make a pancake seem hilly.

Crystal River: Getting up close with the manatees

They are suspended like spacecraft in the clear water, their deliberate movement made buoyant despite their mass. They look a bit like Wilfred Brimley smiling at you.

Cedar Key: Island retreat holds charming key to past

Cedar Key: Island retreat holds charming key to past

One of my favorite getaways in the state hangs on to the tip of an island that's about halfway between Tampa and Tallahassee -- Cedar Key.

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