University of Florida

Back to School

If you look at a calendar, the first day of fall is Sept. 22. Unofficially, many people consider Labor Day the first day of fall.

But parents and families know better. For them, fall starts when the kids go back to school.

For public schools in Florida and most of the south, that means the kids are back in school already. As far as the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, they are counting down the days until classes start.

So, whether you are looking at Sept. 22 or the start of school, one thing is certain. The luxury of free time that goes with the summer has either ended or will end shortly. And that means free time is about to get harder to find.

That also creates the challenge of making the most of the limited free time you will see over the next few months.

One way to do that is to consider shorter trips – maybe over a long weekend. And that’s where the Laurel Oak Inn comes in.

We can be the perfect destination for that weekend getaway.

We’re a relatively short drive away from anywhere in Florida and Georgia. And when you arrive here, you get two terrific things.

First, you get the height of hospitality. With only five guestrooms, we have plenty of time, ability and the amenities to treat you like royalty. You also get a delicious breakfast. What a great way to start your day!

Second, you get everything Gainesville and North Central Florida have to offer.

While there is certainly a lot to do here, the biggest draw is, of course, the University of Florida. Along with Santa Fe College, UF draws students from all over the state. That means there may be multiple times during the next several months when parents and other family members will be coming to Gainesville to visit their students attending UF or Santa Fe.

Those visits started with the beginning of the school year. With classes beginning this week at UF and Santa Fe, as parents, you’ve likely already experienced the first visit of the year.

And in all likelihood, you stayed at one of the local hotels to accomplish move in with your kids. In hindsight, wouldn’t it have been nicer to stay in a more private, unique setting at the Laurel Oak Inn.

Here’s the good news. There will be plenty of other opportunities to come to Gainesville during the course of the semester and experience life at the Inn.

Before you turn around, it will be Family Weekend – this year on Sept. 23-26.

During the semester, there may be cultural events, performances or concerts on campus that could serve as a backdrop for a family visit. Maybe it will be fraternity or sorority weekend that will attract the family.

Off course, there’s football. We have six home games coming up, starting with Florida Atlantic on Sept. 4 and ending with Florida State on Nov. 27.

And before you know it, we will be looking at Fall graduation or moving out for the winter break.

While you are here, take time to check out the nightlife and restaurants. That would include the newest entry in restaurants – Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille in Celebration Pointe. Prime and Pearl provides a perfect ambience for date night. Try The Leaning Pig for lunch. For Thai food and sushi, consider If It Is Kitchen & Café. If it’s dinner and cocktails, consider Cry Baby’s. If you’re looking for a nightcap and some music, the answer might be The Bull. And if it’s something completely different, there’s plenty from which to choose. Take a look at the restaurant options on our website for some ideas.

So, it’s true. The end of summer means less free time. But, if for any of these reasons, you are planning an upcoming trip to Gainesville, consider staying with us at the Laurel Oak Inn. For all the reasons, just described, we’re a great alternative to the same-old hotels. If you plan right, the end of summer doesn’t mean the end of fun and relaxation. See you soon!

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