When I found the Gainesville Retreat Center on Airbnb, it seemed like the right spot for cool February weather in North Florida and for my state-of-mind. I'd actually enjoyed a week in this college town 7 years ago, but the Retreat Center idea was appealing for a place to read, write, plot the year's travel, enjoy the outdoors, and perhaps bring my daily meditation practice back. Built on over 140 acres of forest near Newnans Lake, the Center also provided easy access to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail and the Paynes Prairie Preserve. While I didn't register for a program, I did have an invitation to "masked" drop-in sessions. All of this interested me and it was affordable at a monthly rate.
As you can see from the photos, I was enjoying the outdoor experience at the Center and in the area. However, my immediate surroundings were not the peaceful existence that I'd hoped for as I had one permanent housemate who was absolutely overbearing and not the person she wanted me to believe she was (eating organic food & meditating while secretly smoking cigarettes out her back door). After extricating myself from her needy clutches, a couple arrived to park their RV right outside my window and take not only the view but my peace & quiet till near midnight. It appears the Center is doing everything possible to stay afloat post-Covid so rentals are available regardless of purpose.
After much debate, I left 10 days early and they were kind enough to agree to a refund. While I was shaking my head at departure, I'm still feeling positive about my time here. It also brought me just 65 miles east of Cedar Key and yes, I had to go.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover