Gainesville/Melrose area


Yay!!!!!   I think I’ve got the adding pictures thing now.  Thank you Rose!  I’ll catch up with travels a bit then maybe do a whole post of pictures.  This one just shows the whole rig, camper and tow vehicle, at the farm before leaving.  First things first.  The camper is hitched up in it’s popped up position for camping, but you don’t travel with it up, it folds down to the middle line you can see under the windows.  I didn’t get a picture of it in travel position.

So to catch up with traveling, we’re now in the Gainsville area, actually camped at my friend Karen’s little house in Hawthorne.  Karen lived in Durham years ago, then more recently was in Goldston, Chatham Co., where she beautifully restored a fantastic Victorian house. A few years ago she bought this little cabin on a lake in Hawthorne to join a thriving women’s/lesbian/artist/music community.   I have many friends in this area, especially Melrose, so lots of time being spent here visiting and catching up.

When I first got here and plugged the camper in, had a bit of camper drama.  Something went wrong with the electrical system.  Luckily I found a little local trailer/camper repair place just down the road (so lucky not to have to go to a big camper store in or near a big city!!).  They were able to figure it out and fix it.  They also found the house battery was about dead so got a new one (expensive deep cell battery, but it was the original 5 y.o. one in there), they fixed the wiring harness so it would lock in which I’d already known was a problem, and fixed whatever to make all lights on trailer come on, the running lights and back up lights hadn’t been working.  So there were some good benefits, the silver lining, to having the other problem in the first place.  Especially since we’re planning to be in Ocala National Forest without hookups, really need that battery.

Thursday after taking the camper in and leaving it Karen and I went into Melrose to what’s called “coffee talk”.  Thursdays from 11 – 1 there are local musicians who play.  Melrose is full of musicians and artists and galleries, this is just such a nice little touch.  I’d been to it before when I was here and heard a great environmental/naturalist type of singer/songwriter who I liked so much I bought his CD.  This time was a very good woman singer/songwriter singing mostly bluesy style.  Some other friends, Wini and Barb, joined us there and then we went to lunch with Shan who met us there.  In the afternoon I went to pick up my camper, drove it to where I could get the propane filled then out to the “North 40”, a 40 yr. old women’s community/land trust, to visit another old friend.  We had a wonderful walk around the land and simple salad supper and good catching up talk.  Drove back in the dark, first time towing the camper.  Very busy, and tiring, day.

Friday was also busy running around.  After a nice leisurely morning catching up more with Karen over coffee, and taking a walk down the road and visiting with other friends, Jenna and Quay who is visiting there, I went back into Melrose to meet some more friends for an early lunch.  Including Rose, who does a blog and who showed me how to post pictures here.  Thank you again, Rose.  Also met her friend Rena, a long time resident of The Pagoda in St. Augustine, another old women’s community.  Rose is writing a book about the Pagoda and it’s history.  After a delicious lunch of salmon artichoke dip with crusty bread, an appetizer we shared, (so good!!) and a great salad, we drove out to a friend of theirs Chestnut farm in Alachua, on the NW side of Gainsville.  What fun, a Chestnut farm!!  A beautiful piece of land and a really nice woman named Mary, a new friend.  I left and rushed back because we had a pot luck to go to, but was so tired by that time decided I just couldn’t go.  Hope to get up with those women on another day.

Yesterday Karen and I went to an organic farm,  conservation preserve and retreat space called Crones Cradle Conserve in the community around Citra.  Started by 2 “conservation addicted” women in 1986 with 80 acres, now 756 acres!  The name:  Crones – honoring elder folks who are often ignored, neglected, and forgotten; Cradle – commitment to nurture the earth, it’s wildlife, and the people in physical, emotional and spiritual need and recovery;  Conserve – because the land is conserved, as are the foods and values.   We went for their Saturday morning “coffee and toast” gather and sit on the porch.  There is a sweet little store where they sell their veggies, their canned goods (pickles, jams, honey, etc.) as well as local crafts and products, and have these and other gatherings.  Very nice chat with one of the long time workers there about the history and the farm.  “Sustainability, conservation, prudence and frugality is practiced and preached.  The ultimate priority of the Conserve is protecting and respecting the earth.  We work to enable people to become aware and committed to their earth through our farming, conservation, restoration, activities and philosophy.”   Well, if you know me, you know how I feel about a place such as this.


From there we went to nearby Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park where we walked around the grounds and did a guided tour of the house.  Fascinating history of the woman, the house and orchard, the area, the people and the times.  If you can’t call up who she is, she’s an author from the 30s-40s who wrote most famously “The Yearling”, and “Cross Creek” about the life of the people in this community of Cross Creek.  I’ve only read the Yearling as far as I can remember, and I can’t really remember it.  🙂  Now I have to read them all and watch the movies made of The Yearling and Cross Creek.  I am so glad we did this, so interesting and informative.  Most of the furnishings, books, pictures and what-nots are Rawlings, including first editions of her books.  We also picked and ate kumquats right off the tree.  Yum, soooo good.  Don’t think I’ve had any since childhood.  Then we went for a late afternoon lunch at a restaurant just down the road called, yep you got it, “The Yearling”.  Had fried catfish and cheese grits!!!  Another really really going day and came home really tired.


Her sleeping porch!!  The other side is a writing table and chairs.


Karen picking kumquats.


So, today . . . A beautiful quiet morning, sitting outside in Karen’s yard, near the lake, Xena by my side, catching up on writing, finances and other computer stuff.  Shan for lunch, then more of the same.


Florida Sandhill Cranes in Karen’s yard by the lake, right where I was sitting.  They are huge and have a red crown.

Thanks for traveling and sitting by the lake with us.

Lynn and Xena


5 thoughts on “Gainesville/Melrose area

  1. Yea on the pictures! A wonderful post too. It’s raining here this morning so seeing all the sunny pictures was a real spirit lifter. I am struggling with the timing of putting Bo down. He can barely get up without assistance one day and the next he comes to beg for a treat. He has not missed a meal but I think food is the only thing that gives him any pleasure. This is the worst part about fur babies!. Needless to say it also stirs up the grief pot around Wendy and Nan. Enough sad. Your new car ! I really like the color too. How is it performing? It’s on my list to consider.



    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Barb, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this with Bo. I know you know they say as long as they show any pleasure, especially in food, it’s not time. But such a hard thing to deal with, especially for you with all your losses. Remember to breathe, and take care of yourself. My heart and thoughts are with you and Bo. Wish I were there to give you both a hug, and a treat. Much love, big hugs. Lynn


  2. I love the picture of your beautiful rig — aren’t Aliners just adorable! (Hope you and Xena are adjusting to the space.) Cool how they are smaller than an SUV and can be so comfortable, especially when you can store stuff in the SUV.
    I am pouring over my FLA map looking for all the cool towns you mention, many of which are too small to appear. It is indeed necessary to leave the impersonal highway (especially in FLA!) to find all these riches. Crones Cradle Conserve sounds amazing, so I just visited their website. Wonder if these hard working women (and all your local friends) go north in the summer like we go south in the winter?
    This was a good winter for me to stay home it turns out. Have had to deal with numerous maintenance issues, the most major of which was having to replace EVERYTHING about my well except the hole. Got a second pressure tank while I was at it. Speaking of tanks, even switching out the two propane tanks (cuz of going with a different company) was an ordeal. Then had to replace renter’s stove (gas company found a leak they hadn’t discovered — oy!) and, separately, had to find an electrician to do some repairs on the breaker box. Anyway, lots of activity and monster trucks down my little driveway. So now I am scheduling driveway rehab, which was long overdue anyway. THEN I will happily turn my attention to getting my Aliner ready for a small excursion, March 20 — April 2. I think the biggest chore will be getting my battery out of my bathroom closet and into car to take for a recharge, then into my camper. It weighs a ton! I usually try to recruit a big brute to do the heavy lifting, but none of my brutes are around. So mine is described as a marine battery, probably same as your new deep cell one? Anyway, I’m glad my funds are holding out!😀 Looking forward to more pictures!💞

    Liked by 1 person

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