Dr. Catherine Atria, Principal-in-Residence, UF College of Education
Came to Gainesville in 1978 as an 18-year-old freshman at UF
What is something you wish you knew before moving here?
I wish I knew a little more about the climate, for example: that the heat of summer lasts well into October, and that even if it doesn’t look like rain, always close your car windows. I also wish I knew more about all the wonderful parks that surround the city of Gainesville.
What is your favorite local food? While not local to Gainesville, it is certainly local to Florida: shrimp! Actually, all seafood I literally could eat seafood every day of the week. The best clam chowder can be had at Tony’s in Cedar Key. The best calamari can be found at Blue Gill Quality Foods on south 13th street. The best greens and fried chicken Celebrity’s Soul Food downtown. The best quick Asian food Bento’s on Archer Road for chicken with ginger and scallions. The best pizza? Villagios in Newberry, either Blue Highway location, or Satchel’s. My husband is the steak eater. He raves about the cuts of meat at Embers and I love their blue crab bisque. A favorite meal at the Great Outdoors Restaurant is the Chicken Oscar.
Where do you go to escape into nature?
Locally, I will enjoy the natural flora and fauna of our area by visiting the many state parks: Paynes Prairie; Devil’s Millhopper; Manatee Springs; O’Leno; Fanning Springs; and Manatee Springs. Spending time kayaking down the Santa Fe River from the Canoe Outpost in High Springs, tubing down the Ichetucknee River, and wandering through Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are favorites, too. The beaches in St. Augustine and the waterfront in Cedar Key call my name frequently, as well. We also enjoy going to Depot Park for some family time. Once we are done there, we’d stop by Sweet Dreams for a late afternoon treat.