Since its earliest days as an agricultural community, Alachua has remained true to its roots. Farmers grow beans, corn, squash, peppers and cucumbers on farms that are still very much part of the community. The new Alachua Towne Centre stands proudly beside a historic downtown area. Progress Corporate Park is home to several high tech research and manufacturing firms. These companies are part of a diverse and thriving economic base, giving Alachua residents stability and the ability to maintain the charm of their small city. This family-friendly community also offers a number of recreational programs to residents including soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball and flag football.
Newberry, too, remains a quiet, rural, family-oriented community. Historic downtown Newberry is the gathering place for neighbors to share the news of the day as well as to shop and dine. The cost of living is low in Newberry because the city is free of debt.
High Springs started as a railroad town. History is preserved in century-old homes and buildings throughout the city. High Springs’ Civic Center is the hub of city activities. Outdoor recreation is everywhere, from canoeing on the rivers and swimming in the cool clear springs to hiking and biking.
Alachua, Newberry and High Springs benefit tremendously from their proximity to nearby Gainesville. Gainesville is home to the Hippodrome State Theater, the Gainesville Raceway, the award-winning Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and the intriguing Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site. Colleges and universities in the area include Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. Gainesville is also home to Shands HealthCare, one of the premier health-care institutions in the entire Southeast. Affiliated with the University of Florida, Shands HealthCare encompasses nine non-profit hospitals and more than 80 primary and specialty medical practices.
Other small towns in the Gainesville area include Hague, LaCrosse and Santa Fe. Hague was established by Florida Southern Railroad in July 1883. The rural community is an agricultural center. It is large shipping point for fruits and vegetables, and farmers raise cattle and various crops. LaCrosse, incorporated in 1897, is in the potato district of Alachua County. Because the railroad never came to LaCrosse, the town remains quiet and low profile with scenic drives. Farms raise potatoes, vegetables, tobacco and cattle. History runs deep in LaCrosse where descendants of the original families still live. Santa Fe is a railroad town and an agricultural center, established in 1900. Farms dot the area and rural serenity is everywhere.
Alachua County is in cave country. There is an abundance of places to dive, swim, snorkel and fish. Poe Springs, Blue Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, Ginnie Springs and O’Leno State Park offer caves, springs, sinkholes, river access, camping and picnic areas. Canoeing is popular on the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers. The Ichetucknee River is a favorite for tube floating. The rural roads are perfect for cycling and the county parks are excellent places to hike, fish, swim, camp, picnic and ride horses. San Felasco Park offers hiking trails, nature study areas, a playground and picnic areas. Jonesville Park has trails, soccer fields, courts, and picnic and events areas. Monteocha Park provides areas for basketball, baseball, and volleyball as well as a playground and picnic areas.
Alachua County events include the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, the Gatornationals, the Alachua County Youth Fair, Rail Road Days, Alachua County Fair, Festival of Trees, and Pioneer Days. Cultural events are held at the Center for the Performing Arts, Constans Theater and the University of Florida Music Department. Museums include the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. Shopping areas range from modern malls to the historic downtown areas found in many cities. Restaurants in the county serve a variety of fare, including barbecue, "Southern" home cooking, and ethnic specialties.
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