CSEE, Executive Director at Gainesville Sports Commission
Came to Greater Gainesville in the summer of 2006
What is something you wish you knew before moving here?
I wish I knew more about the North Central Florida area. I was only familiar with Gainesville from visiting the University of Florida campus, I had no idea how much character Gainesville and the surrounding cities and towns had. Each surrounding city is so unique, with different downtowns like Micanopy or their nature attractions like High Springs. It took me a while to find all the hidden local restaurants and springs.
What is your favorite local food?
My favorite local dish is from Gainesville’s downtown restaurant Manuel’s Vintage Room; the Lobster Ravioli served in a truffle cream sauce. Delicious!
Where do you go to escape into nature?
When I want to take a break and escape out of Gainesville, first on my list is O’leno State Park. I have not tried them all yet but visitors can hike, bike, swim, canoe, fish and camp along the Santa Fe River. The Santa Fe River and its associated springs are truly unique to this area. Mostly when I visit O’Leno I enjoy hiking the different trails. I have hiked the River Trail, Limestone Trail and Parener’s Branch. There must be over 10 miles of trails! The trails take you through shaded pine forest, natural sink holes and the Santa Fe River. Turtles and Birds are easy to spot along the way.
If I want to take a quick break in town, then I go to Alfred A. Ring Park and walk the Hogtown Creek Trail. It is over a mile of trails that trace the course of Hogtown Creek. While you are on the trail you forgot you are in the heart of the city with the scenic views and wildlife.