A Family Canoe Trip

Dave and I had been bouncing ideas around of what we wanted to do for Memorial Day weekend; however, nothing seemed to come of it.  On Saturday afternoon though, Dave called me and said, let’s just go to High Springs – a supposedly cool, laid-back, (very) small town with numerous springs. 


I quickly went into road trip planning mode and started to make something happen. 


We decided that Sunday we would head up to Gainesville and stay at the Magnolia Plantation Inn.  They not only allowed Lucky to come as well, but our room, The Nutmeg, was exactly what we were looking for – a craftsman-style cottage with a restored kitchen, front porch, sunroom, and fantastic views of the surrounding gardens and fountains. 


In essence, this is my dream home. 

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We spent the afternoon at the B&B relaxing, reading, hanging on the front porch, strolling the gardens on the grounds, taking Lucky on walks downtown…you get the idea. 


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Sunday night we headed to dinner at The Jones, a vegan friendly restaurant committed to providing sustainable, local and organic food.   I’m drooling over here thinking about it.  Tampa’s dining scene totally needs more of these types of establishments. 

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I went light on dinner knowing I was going to go big with dessert.  I had the Jones Salad – veganized – with tofu and avocado add-ons.   It was delicious, but I would have wanted more if I hadn’t already plotted the gigantic sundae I wanted for dessert.  Dave had a black bean burrito with home fries.  Judging by the fact that not even a crumb remained on either of our plates, I’d say we really enjoyed our dinner.

karma cream 
Thankfully, I had lots of room left in my belly, so we headed to our next stop, Karma Cream, an organic ice cream cafe that serves a huge selection of vegan ice creams and baked goods. 

I had a Sundae Special which was a a vegans’ dream come true.  A warm chocolate chip cookie topped with a scoop of chocolate-mint (r)ice cream, coconut whipped cream, and dark chocolate drizzle.  I don’t remember what type of ice cream Dave had, since I was basically only paying attention to my calorie bomb. 

ice cream Worth every bite (and a little longer run on Monday morning!)

After I came down from sugar heaven, we took a stroll around downtown listening to street musicians and absorbing the atmosphere.  We sat on the steps of the Hippodrome and joked how Lucky could pass for a beggar as she stood right at the exit of the theatre with puppy eyes. 

the hipp (source)

We settled in for the night at our cottage, and I curled up with The Glass Castle while Dave got some work done.  Day 1 of our last minute road trip a success. 

Having stayed up quite late Sunday, we slept in on Memorial Day.  This was only made possible by the dark shades in our bedroom that allowed for zero daylight to enter.  Lucky was fooled to thinking it was still night time, or else getting a few extra hours of zzz’s would never have been possible. 

After a run (yay! I have been slowly been introducing running back into the scene), breakfast on the porch, and more lounging, we parted ways with my dream home at The Magnolia Plantation Inn and headed to High Springs. 


High Springs, voted “Friendliest Small Town” in Florida, is located in north Florida between Gainesville and Lake City.  High Springs is home to the Santa Fe River and numerous crystal clear, fresh water springs – Poe Springs, Lily Springs, Ginnie Springs, Dogwood Springs, Twin Springs, and Deer Springs. 

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Since none of the springs allowed for dogs, we couldn’t actually go see them (bummer!), but we did get to spend the afternoon paddling on the Santa Fe River.  We rented a canoe from Santa Fe Canoe Outpost and paddled east of 441 to the end of the river. 


After soaking up the sun, we headed back to Gainesville so I could meet up with one of my best Peace Corps friends who just arrived back from Liberia.  She is still saving the world and was a Crisis Corps volunteer there (a program for RPCVs to undertake short-term, high impact assignments).  Due to some civil unrest in the neighboring Ivory Coast, Lindsey got evacuated.  I was happy to see her, even if just for a short time!  She is about to head back to Asia for a fellowship in July. 


After coffee and smoothies, Dave and I hit the road back to Tampa.  A long two hour drive later, and we were home-sweet-home. 

What a relaxing Memorial Day we had!  Thank you to all those who gave their life so I could live free and go on a last minute road trip with my amazing husband and the coolest dog in the whole wide world.  Does your dog speak Thai? Maybe I should get that on a bumper sticker. 

Be well,



Filed under Travel

7 responses to “A Family Canoe Trip

  1. I totally have that striped dress in an oatmeal color–Target, right? Love it!

  2. MaryRose

    Your weekend sounds wonderful and something I would love to do in the near future especially if I could get your mamma and papa to join us! Can and will your mom canoe? Always love finding those “old timey” towns in Florida. Can’t wait to hear how you liked Glass Castle. It is one of my favorite books.

    • Hi Mary Rose –
      I’m pretty sure Momma McGee will not set foot in a canoe, especially with the possibility of gators in the water. Although the Santa Fe river is clear water so there aren’t many around. We can drop her off at the spa and we can head to the river. As for The Glass Castle – I’m loving it so far.

  3. Your impromtu weekend trip sounds awesome, Carolyn. I kind of miss getting to be spontaneous and just take off on a whim (although, it is worth it). Glad you guys- and Lucky had such a nice time!

  4. lifeisbeachykeen

    Looks like a fun trip! That B&B looks totally relaxing, but I’m quite positive we would last less than 24hrs with our devilish dogs. I’m jealous of Lucky’s good-behavior. 😉

  5. That sounds like a fabulous weekend! That inn looks gorgeous, and so nice that you could take your dog!

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