Hawthorne State Trail

Whether you want to take your bike and go cycling, you want to go for a long, enduring jog, or you even want to go for a relaxing hike, the Gainesville- Hawthorne State trial is a scenic trail that will give you the beautiful sites and fresh air that we all need every once in a while.  Located at 3400 SE 15 Street, the trail can be accessed through four different entrances, so you can look up the website to see which entrance is closest to you. The trail goes on for 16 miles, from Gainesville’s Boulware Springs Park through Payne’s Prairie State Park. You can enjoy the day getting exercise by yourself, or even hiking with friends while taking pictures of the beautiful, lush scenery. Hours vary according to month, but the trail is open 365 days a year, so check out the website to find out when you will be going on your walk in nature.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/gainesville-hawthorne/

The Coop

As some of you may know, Kay Bros, one of Gainesville’s most beloved BBQ restaurants, recently closed down. However, a new restaurant has opened in its place that will be sure to satisfy the stomachs of chicken lovers all over Gainesville. The Coop, located at 1620 W. University, offers some of the freshest, juiciest chicken in town. From chicken tenders, to wings, to quesadillas and chicken biscuit bites, you will not be let down. Sides include cheesy macaroni, onion rings, coleslaw, and crinkle cut fries. The Coop also offers delicious desserts like classic ice cream shakes, cookies, funnel cake fries and even fried oreos. Reasonably priced and open daily from 11 am to 10 pm, you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, so go on by and visit the Coop today.

http://www.cooprestaurant.net/

For the animal lovers

Have you ever wanted to go on an African safari to hang out with exotic and wild animals, but you just don’t have the kind of money to travel thousands of miles to do so? Well, right here in Gainesville is the next best thing with the Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation. Located at 8528 E. County Road 225, Gainesville, FL, this conservation rescues exotic animals while also offering visitors the opportunity of a lifetime by offering tours and activities to interact with the animals. The animals that you will have the chance to see include, but are not limited to, African lions, pumas, lemurs, owls, cheetahs, bobcats, tigers, giraffes and tortoises. The conservation runs completely on donations, so to help these animals and to help their caretakers continue to be able to give them a place to live, donate today while getting to experience a one in a lifetime opportunity. Call today to schedule a tour and experience these beautiful animals.

http://carsonspringswildlife.org/index.html

BurgerFi

For those of you who have cravings for a big juicy burger, but don’t want to feel guilty about it, you may want to give BurgerFi a try. The BurgerFi that will open soon will be located at 3518 Southwest Archer Road.  BurgerFi promises you burgers that are “never frozen, never cooked in a microwave oven and are guaranteed fresh, juicy and delicious”. Not only are their burgers delicious, but the restaurant also does all it can to have less of a carbon footprint on the world by using chairs made from recycled Coke bottles, tables made from recycled wood, fans that use less electricity, and strict recycling policies. With their natural Angus beef and no antibiotics or hormones, BurgerFi’s deliciously natural menu includes a classic cheeseburger, VegeFi burger, breakfast burger, Chicago style hot dog, New York style hot dog, or Kobe beef hot dog, with your choice of fries or onion rings. To top it all off, desserts include shakes, floats, ice cream cones, and custards. For the older crowd, you even have your choice of wines and beers to go with your meal. So be sure to be first in line when Gainesville’s own BurgerFi opens.

http://burgerfi.com/

BBQ in Gainesville

Located at 2111 NW 13th St, when you see Adam’s Rib Co, don’t be fooled. The restaurant may look small, but they offer a large variety of some of the most delicious bar-be-que in Gainesville. Their breakfast is served until 10:45 am on weekdays and 11:45 am on weekends and includes different omelets from Western style, to Spanish style, to meat lovers filled with sausage, bacon, and ham, regular pancakes as well as banana pancakes and french toast, biscuits and gravy and breakfast sandwiches. The lunch and dinner menus include their slowed cooked turkey, chicken, ribs, pulled pork, burgers and hot dogs and sides that will make your mouth water. Not only can you enjoy their delicious food in the restaurant, but you can also call ahead to pick up your favorite dish or have them cater events as well. Adams Rib Co recently opened a second location at 1515 SW 13th Street that is open the same time as the original store, Monday through Saturday 7am to 9pm and Sundays from 9am to 9pm so go get your fill of delicious bar-be-que today!

http://adamsribco.com/

 

A bit of Island taste

If you are in the mood for some Caribbean cuisine, then Reggae Shack Cafe at 619 W University Ave may have just what you are looking for.  The Reggae Shack is known for its delicious oxtail, but there are also a variety of other dishes such as their coconut shrimp, jerk burger, jerk chicken salad, and Down by de beach mahi mahi. On top of that, there is also a delicious vegetarian selection including vegan steak, brown stew tofu, and curry palm hearts that will leave you just as satisfied. Don’t think that they forgot about dessert! Desserts include, but are not limited to, a mango swirl cheesecake, rum cake, and vegan carrot cake with the option of adding ice cream for only 99 cents. Everything on the menu is under $15 and the Reggae Shack is open 11 am to 10 pm every single day, so check it out today! Their savory and exotic island flavors will be sure to please you and make you feel like you are right at your very own Jamaican vacation.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/reggae-shack-cafe-gainesville?nb=1

Gainesville Ecotours

It is well known that Gainesville is full of nature and outdoor activities to take part in and help inform the public about the beauty and importance of the environment around us. Gainesville Ecotours allows you truly be enveloped by Gainesville’s nature by offering guided environmental hikes, wilderness hikes, and urban ecotour hikes in different locations around Gainesville and Northeast Florida. Tours are followed by cupcakes, lunch and/or beer/wine tastings, fitness hiking, nature photography workshops or events with families or for work. These tours are designed to help you exercise, find a moment of peace, and educate you about the variety of nature and wildlife in the area. As well as hikes, Gainesville Ecotours also holds the Gainesville Ecotours Family Nature Club, which aims to get children into nature with their families and learn more about the environment. Events will be held at different conservation areas every 3rd Thursday of the month where you can explore the area. To arrange a tour today or find out about upcoming events, check the website calendar or feel free to contact the Gainesville Ecotours founder, Terri Mashour.

http://www.gainesvilleecotours.com/

Art Classes

Gainesville Art Classes located at 717 NW 1st Street, are taught by Alison LeBaron, who is an award winning Florida landscape painter and has been painting since 1992.  Classes at her studio include pottery, beginning oil painting, intermediate oil painting, and beginning watercolor. Classes meet weekly to help you develop and further your skills in art from forming different functional pottery pieces, to abstract portraits, and landscape pieces. If you are interested in art, these classes can help you learn and practice new techniques that you may not have heard of before. Fees vary according to what class you take but not only does the fee cover the class, it covers the different materials that come with the class, including clay and glazes for the pottery classes and brushes, paints, sketchbooks and much more. Check out the website today to see if you would be interested in furthering your art skills.

http://www.allisonlebaron.com/Home_Page.html

For the adventure seeker

There is not much quite like being outdoors and enjoying all that nature has to offer. One place in Gainesville that allows you to truly experience nature is Canopy Climbers. Using eco-friendly saddles and ropes, you and a group of friends as well as tree climbing professionals, such as the Canopy Climbers founder Danny Lyons, get to climb trees in select nature parks around Gainesville.  You can choose between a group climb (which requires a minimum of 10 climbers and is great for small events, parties, or reunions) or a guided climb (which requires a minimum of 2 climbers and a maximum of four climbers which is great for a small family event, a day with a few close friends or even a double date).  After you chose what kind of climb you would like, you then email Danny Lyons to reserve your event. The group climbs are $25 per climber plus an additional (required) 10%  City of Gainesville Recreation Fee for tree-climbing events in city parks and guided climbs are $75 per climber with the same 10% fee.  If you enjoy the experience, there is also a class that you can take to become even more experienced in tree climbing. Check out the website to read more about what each climb has to offer and the different add-ons you can choose from to add to your day of outdoor fun.

http://www.canopyclimbers.com/index.html

Wine Tasting

For an elegant afternoon of fine wine and friends, a beautiful place to visit is Bluefield Estate Winery at 22 NE CR 234, Gainesville, FL. You do not need to set an appointment to have a wine tasting, but if you have a large group, you can reserve a private tasting.  It is only $4 to taste four of their delicious wines and $8 to taste eight of their wines.  What started out as a small family business operating from a kitchen is now a full blown winery that consists of over 2 acres of blueberries, grapes, and pears and they will soon include peaches and citrus.  If tasting is not enough and you would like to purchase a full bottle, their flavorful, all natural wines are as low as $11.99 per bottle or you even have the chance to join one of their wine clubs in which you can receive up to 3 bottles of wine per month depending on which membership you pay for, which is no more than $30 per month. Open from noon to 6 pm from Wednesday through Sunday, please be sure to come by soon.

http://www.bluefieldestatewinery.com/