Why Gainesville, Why a Bed and Breakfast, Why the Laurel Oak Inn?

So, you’re ready for that weekend escape. Maybe you’re in Florida already or only a few hours away.

This state is a tourist mecca. But why does that mini-vacation always have to be the beach or the theme parks? The answer is it doesn’t have to be.

It’s time to point the car in a different direction and see some real Florida.

The answer may very well be Gainesville and North Central Florida. We have just the right mix of culture, nightlife and history. More about that in a minute. But first think about where you’re going to stay. That makes all the difference.

There are plenty of hotels in Gainesville if all you’re looking for is a room. But you may want more than four walls and a bed. That means it’s time to consider a bed and breakfast.

But not just any bed and breakfast – you should consider the Laurel Oak Inn.

If you’re looking for history, we have it. The Laurel Oak Inn Bed & Breakfast is located in the historic Lassiter House built in 1885. When you think of Gainesville history, you’re thinking of the Laurel Oak Inn.

It was at one time the home of William Reuben Thomas, a former Florida senator, and Gainesville mayor, who was one of the key leaders in getting the University of Florida located in Gainesville. He also opened the Hotel Thomas in northeast Gainesville in 1926. That property, now known as the Thomas Center, houses city offices.

Another famous Gainesville resident lived in what is now the Laurel Oak Inn. Back in 1969, it was home to Tom Petty. When you’re in the kitchen, you are standing in what used to be his apartment.

But the Laurel Oak Inn is about much more than history.

There are five stylish bedroom suites, each personally themed for our owners, Dave and Nan Charland. And we offer a delicious breakfast daily. If you make sure your stay includes Saturday night, you get an additional treat – our special breakfast known as Sweetness on Sunday.

And the Laurel Oak Inn is a five-star destination in Select Registry, an industry association that has, for 50 years, has been offering information about a network of properties offering unique experiences for visitors.

We can be your destination for a variety of events. Look at our website for some ideas.

As far as lunch or dinner, that’s your opportunity to explore the culinary specialties of Gainesville. Located within walking distance are some great restaurants, including Dragonfly Sushi & Sake, Amelia’s, Liquid Ginger, The Top, Mark’s Prime Steakhouse and more. We encourage you to venture a little farther to experience the full range of dining opportunities in the area. Among the other great restaurants in Gainesville and the surrounding small towns are Embers, the Great Outdoors, New Deal Café. The Keys, the Yearling and so many others.

As far as exploring what the area has to offer, we run the gamut.

Gainesville, FL, USA - September 12, 2016: Entrance Sign at the University of Florida on September 12, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.

On the nature side, you can consider Boulware Springs, the Butterfly Rainforest, Devil’s Millhopper, Payne’s Prairie, Poe Springs and San Felasco Hammock for starters.

For culture, try the Matheson History Museum, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park, the Harn Museum of Art, Dudley Farm Historic State Park, the Cade Museum, the Florida Museum of Natural History and much more.

And, of course, there’s the University of Florida, great shopping and some of the nicest small towns you will ever find. Some of them will give you the opportunity for outstanding antique shopping.

There’s so much more. Just ask us when you arrive!

So, if you are looking for the memory of a lifetime, step away from the traditional vacation. Instead, try Gainesville, try a bed and breakfast and try the Laurel Oak Inn. You will be thrilled that you did.

  • July 25, 2021 Reply
    Karen Beattie

    Our fav getaway place!

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