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Beat the Winter Cold with a Trip to the Old Florida Heritage Highway

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On: Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 1:29PM | By: Bill Wilson

Beat the Winter Cold with a Trip to the Old Florida Heritage Highway

There’s nothing quite so satisfying as an old-fashioned road trip. However, with cold weather setting in across the country, many of the traditional motoring destinations are off-limits until next spring.  

Fortunately, the Sunshine State comes into full bloom from November through March. Its mild winter weather and eye-catching scenic beauty make it the perfect place to enjoy a driving adventure. And you’ll be able to explore all of its charm and grandeur on the Old Florida Heritage Highway.

Florida, the Way it Once Was
Have you ever heard the term “Old Florida?” It refers to what the state used to be like, back in the days before interstates and giant theme parks. You can still enjoy much of that bygone era on this 48-mile stretch of backroads that joins with Route 441 near Gainesville. You won’t find any waterfront condos or people running around in mouse costumes. What you will discover, though, are delights like these:

• Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, a 21,000-acre nature sanctuary that’s home to more than 20 distinct wildlife communities. Here you’ll find wild bison and horses roaming free, miles and miles of nature trails, and endless opportunities for bird watching. You’ll also find full-service campgrounds and lakes well-stocked with fish. You’re welcome to set up a tent or RV, toss your hook into the sparkling water, and lounge the day away in the warm winter sun.

• The picture-perfect small town of Micanopy, Florida, the state’s oldest inland community. Wander through the antique galleries and crafts store, visit the ice cream shoppe for a taste of your favorite frosted delight, and enjoy a fine meal at one of the many outstanding restaurants. If you like, you’ll also find world-class accommodations at the bed and breakfast inns nearby.

• Visit the Wood & Swink Country Store in Evinston. Opened in 1882, the store contains the town’s first and still-operating post office, complete with antique mailboxes and many of the original furnishings. You can buy seasonal produce, browse the many items for sale, then head across the street to Pearl Country Store for some of the best barbecue found anywhere.

• Drive casually along the route’s gently curving roads, which are draped by overhanging Spanish moss. This is an amazing chance to see Florida’s natural scenery at its finest. If you thought that the only attractions in the Sunshine State are its beaches and theme parks, then it’s time for you to discover its other side.

For more information on the Old Florida Heritage Highway, visit this site. Then get ready for a winter adventure you’ll never forget.

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