On Tuesday 2/21 we needed some of Chooey’s special diet Rabbit and Venison based food so took a ride up to Gainesville to a Petco store there. For breakfast we stopped at the Peach Valley Cafe also in Gainsville which was very friendly with good food at decent prices – we think this is a local chain.
Gainesville is about 18mi or 30 minutes easy drive up SR121 from Williston and seems to be a laid back town with a pleasant appearance and is easy to get around. There is some traffic around the I-75 exits but nothing like Bradenton, Fort Meyers or Port Saint Lucie in terms of congestion. Everything retail seems to be here plus there seem to be more than the normal allotment of restaurants including all the chains as well as some local joints. Maybe that’s because this is a college town?
In terms of proximity to “stuff” closer to the campground, Williston has two supermarkets, a Winn-Dixie and a Hitchcock’s, both of which seem nice (we only went into the Hitchcock’s). There is a CVS, Walgreens and other assorted stuff like that here, plus a good breakfast dive nearby as well – the Driftwood Restaurant (photos left and right) that we went to this morning 2/22 .
The Driftwood and Hitchcock’s are within easy walking distance (about a half mile each way) of the campground. There is another breakfast place (Pyper Kub Cafe) up at the airport about 3 miles away too that we didn’t get to. To see Williston on the map above zoom out and you will find it west of I-75 about halfway between Ocala and Gainesville.
I was interested to learn that Williston is home to the manufacturing plant for Monterey Boats and their planned expansion is providing a healthy boost to the local economy. Also you will find all things equestrian here and the local crop apparently is peanuts.
Back at the campground we talked to the office about the resort expansion and the addition of 300 new sites that are supposed to be completed by Aug this year – they seem quite excited about it. In August when the new area opens, the check-in will move to the new office on the new side of the park up on SR121, but they will still maintain the current gate too which is near SR27. The minimum lot size will be 40 x 80 but many are supposed to be much bigger. Rental pricing will be the same for the new lots as I quoted in the previous blog post. Some of these lots will be for sale too (pre-construction pricing $40k) and the park models, Class-A and 5th wheels are planned to have separate sections.
In the aerial image below, you can see the campground and to the left is the quarry.
Here are some shots of the “grass sites” here at Williston Crossing, even these are fairly nice but best I can tell they only have 30A electric although they do appear to have sewer – these are even cheaper than the paved sites.
Up the road an exit or two there is a place called “The Canyons” that has a Zip Line and Canopy Tour – we didn’t get to go there but this will be on my list for next time. Gainsville has botanical gardens and Florida Natural History Museum that sound good. This area is tagged as the gateway to the Nature Coast (like Homosassa, etc.).
It is slightly cooler up here than Sarasota or Fort Meyers but that will likely be a good thing in March! (and no Spring Break crowds I bet).
Today I took a bike ride into the quarry which is now defunct but once was a producer of limestone. There is some decent dirt riding and a challenging hill coming in or out. Also there is a collection of un-restored antique vehicles down there. From what we hear the previous owner was an avid antique car (and fire truck) collector as can be seen in the adjacent photos (more below) – we also heard that most of his collection has already been sold off so these are just the remnants.
We are going to the all you can eat “Larry’s Buffalo Wing” thing tonight here at the campground, it will be at the pavilion. It is raining…