The Beginning travel blog

Mill Dam Recreation Area


Nice to know

Even nicer to know

Looks like a fire to me

Devil's Millhopper Sinkhole

They warned us

Part way down the stairs

Further down

Way down

Downtown Gainesville

The Old Courthouse- Now the Hippodrome.. State Theatre of Florida

Upscale shops

I just love this restaurant... I think

At least I love the location

Look at the walls

This is a Law Firm- Sweet huh?

Some of the renovated Shops

Entrance to the U of Florida

I agree

Some of the campus

More campus

The tree in the middle of the road

What a nice place


The Railroad Station

I love this road




My favorite of all

Nice stables

Oh how green

One more ranch

What a beautiful day… Far too nice to stay home and work so we did what was necessary in the morning and them headed out for new sights….Because of our late start, we stuck pretty close to home…. Well not really that close but under 75 miles one way anyway….

Our first destination was toe Mill Dam Recreation Area…. We have driven by the road going into it every time we head east on Hwy 40 but have never turned off to see it…It is one of the most picturesque day use areas in the Ocala National Forest… The area originates from an old Civilian Conservation Camp that was on the site in the 1930’s… Today it has 21 picnic sites, each one with its own grill and surrounded by stately old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. There is 300 feet of sandy beach along a shore of the 170 acre Mill Dam Lake… Swimmers and sunbathers love it and today the schools are out in this area for spring break so we did see teenagers sunbathing and families with children even during the week…. We didn’t stay too long but were able to take some nice pictures and check out the area… We also found a fire in the forest… That is a big problem here and we can only hope that it was put out early or that it was a controlled burn….

I have bought several little books called Mini Day Trips and this time we consulted the NE Florida Day trips and found several things to see and do in Gainesville.… Gainesville is only about 35 miles north of us and is home to the University of Gainesville and the champion Gator football team and the Gator Bowl…. We just love collage towns… There is always so much activity their and young people that will soon be running our country…. It is rejuvenating just to be around them…

Devil’s Millhopper Sink is a State Geologic Site… It is a gigantic SINKHOLE which began forming 20,000,000 years ago (give or take a few million) according to the people that study this… Sinkholes are a very big problem in Central Florida and you never know when another hole will turn up… This Sinkhole has special significance because it contains plants found nowhere else in Florida…. The upper layers still contain fossilized remains of extinct land animals…. There are 197 wood steps down to the bottom of the sinkhole and you know what that means… It is at least 300 steps to get back up… I went about 1/3 of the way down and was completely covered with mosquito’s… A nice young gal sprayed me with some of her repellent but they still loved me….. Bill went down about ½ way until he could at least see the bottom but it was pretty bad for him too so we left as soon a possible…I did the best I could with pictures but there is no way you can see the real depth…

Downtown Gainesville has several museums that are all free… We would have love to go inside them but each one had a recommendation of at least 2 hours to go through them so we passed for another time…. It was already well after 3:00 and they closed at 5:00 pm… Instead, we followed the book on finding an upscale place where the merchants of Gainesville have renovated old-timey stores into a popular DOWNTOWN shopping attraction…We parked near the courthouse and walked the brick paths and explored the quaint restaurants, outdoor cafes, specialty shops and of course STARBUCKS…

We overheard a young girl that was taking her parents (we assume) on a walking tour.. She was pointing out a Sushi Bar and said that on Friday and Saturday nights, the line was so long that it almost went around the block… Clearly, Sushi is in with the collage crowd… That doesn’t work for either Bill or me… We do not eat any fish or meat that isn’t fully cooked…We just can’t, that’s all… No matter how good it might be…

One of my favorite places though was a neat restaurant called Far East… You got to it by going down a narrow little passageway with gas lights in the ceiling and pictures on the wall …. All surrounded by black rot iron… The menu looked delicious but the place didn’t open until 5:00 so we didn’t get inside….

We left Gainesville vowing to return again many times… There is still so much to see…

Our trip home took us along a scenic route and the neat little historic town of Mackintosh…. One of the roads that we explored had a huge tree right in the middle of the road so they split the road around it and left the tree there… Nice huh? There were some really cool old houses and some very beautiful new ones too…

We found and old Carriage House and an old Train Station… We must go back there again and stop at the visitors center so we can get all of the info on the city….

We went through some of the most beautiful horse country we have ever seen… This area is full of ranches and champion horses….. The fields are so plush with green grass and the stables are awesome… We never get tired of watching the countryside… It is so beautiful.

We will take advantage of every nice day and see as much as we can before we leave here this spring……………..Later…………..

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