Gainesville, Florida ended up being our last stop on our 1,200 mile road trip from New Orleans to Miami. I know, I know. I’m a ‘Cane grad and Gainesville is one of our sworn enemies. But I also have fond memories of passing through Gainesville on overnight road trips from Charleston to Tampa. El Hombre lived there for a few years, and more importantly, we also have friends there.
So we spent a few nights, exploring the downtown and some of the surrounding parks. El Hombre took me to Devil’s Millhopper – a state park who’s main feature is a limestone sinkhole. Since I’m a bit of a geek about these things, I loved it. The 200ish stairs going back up? Maybe not so much.
One of the things I noticed from my last time in G-ville is the uptick in murals scattered across the city. Our friends have thrown up a few murals as well. You see, they run a Crossfit and art studio. An interesting combo for sure, but it works. They regularly host art events and are actively involved in the arts community. They explained that the city of Gainesville is trying to up their game in terms of arts and business. Right now the city is basically built around the university – which makes it a prime location (in my opinion) for incubators and start-ups.
On our last night, our friends threw a gallery closing show. We sat outside around a fire pit and talked arts and life with people. One guy brought a real-deal telescope for people to stargaze. Fun fact, apparently there’s a stargazing community in North Florida.
Despite being generally exhausted the whole time, I liked Gainesville. It’s laid back, nature-oriented and overall very pretty. After we left we headed straight back to Miami (with stops for food along the way.) We had a great roadtrip. It was laid back and chill – exactly what I could handle while growing these babies. But I was definitely happy to sleep in my own bed again once we got home.