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Thanks to our friends in Lexington for providing this blog to help our Traveling Tigers – be sure to add a few of these activities to your weekend itinerary!

You’ll be traveling East on I-64, but you’re definitely headed in a Southern direction to get to Lexington. Our hospitality and cuisine is distinctly Southern, and our history is truly American with the influences of Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and the Great Compromiser Henry Clay.

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Horses at Donamire Farm – Jeff Rogers

Missouri has Clydesdales and the King of Beers, but Lexington also has something to offer when it comes to horses and cold beverages. Come early and stay late because SEC football isn’t the only event on the books during the last weekend of September.

From historic horse farm and distillery tours to culinary programming and libations, Lexington serves up hospitality at its finest. You’ll understand why people say “Southern Starts Here.”

Historic Horse Farm Tours: Lexington is known as Horse Capital of the World. And although you may not be able to decide whether the rolling landscapes or majestic horses are more beautiful, there’s no question that scheduling a horse farm tour should be on your list of places to visit. There are about 150 horse farms in Lexington alone, many with grand estates dating back to the 1800s.

Keeneland Race Course, with its tranquil setting and lovely stone fences and buildings, is one of the most genteel and beautiful racetracks in the world. The next Live Thoroughbred racing meet won’t start until October and will culminate with the Breeders’ Cup featuring Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah, but visitors are welcome year-round to this National Historic Landmark. You can hang out with jockeys and owners as they eat breakfast in the track kitchen, which is open to the public. Or get an up-close view of horses as they go through their early-morning workouts.

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Kids love horses – Lee Thomas

And the Kentucky Horse Park is home to more than 50 different horse breeds at work and play. The horse is showcased through daily equine presentations, horse-drawn tours, riding, museums and special events.

Bourbon Distillery and Brew Tours: Heritage and history is bottled in the region’s bourbon distilleries. From the large household name bourbons to the hidden gems of small batch distilleries, you’ll have an opportunity to see how they have blended time-honored methods, added a dash of science and restored spirits to an art form. And you just might have time for a sample – or two.

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Craft Beer Flight – Lee Thomas

Or, be one of the first to travel the newly created Brewgrass Trail, where craft brewers are infusing a local variation on the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage.

Beyond Grits: Lexington’s artisan chefs are constantly exploring and redefining Southern cuisine by adding a local flair — a dash of irreverence, paired with a passion for the land and the hand-crafted, time-tested traditions of past generations. But they also embrace innovation and twists that enliven in all things culinary in Lexington. Sure, they do all the Southern staples, and do them well. But in Lexington, Southern goes way beyond grits! More than 100 independent restaurants will help you sample the local flavor.

Check out more things to do at Or ask a local. There are no shortages of opinions on where to get the tastiest breakfast, best burger or finest filet.

Welcome to all my fellow alums. I hope you love my adopted home of Lexington as much as I do.
Carla Blanton
BJ ‘91

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Are you traveling to Florida to watch the Tigers take on the Gators? Check out these 8 “don’t miss” activities from Visit Gainesville!


 (Mizzou visits The Swamp)

1. Discover the largest collection of bamboo in the southeast at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.
Twenty five major collections make up Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The collections include the largest herb garden in the Southeast and Florida’s largest display of bamboos. During warm months visitors can see giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. June – September offer the most color. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is very user friendly, with benches and gazebos – you may come across a wedding, reception or conference as you stroll. Kanapaha offers a gift shop that offers original art and treasures from the natural world. Kanapaha hosts the Annual Spring Garden Festival, the region’s premier horticultural event featuring more than 200 booths offering landscape displays, arts and crafts, plants, educational materials, and food. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. The name is derived from the Timucua Indian words for “palmetto leaf” and “house” referring to thatched dwellings of the village on the shore of nearby Lake Kanapaha.

2. Tour the historic campus of the University of Florida
The atmosphere inside The Swamp is electric, especially on game day. Enjoy walking around the stadium and checking out statues of UF’s Heisman winners. You can also wander through campus to discover beautiful architecture and centuries old Live Oak trees.

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 (Butterfly Rainforest)

3. Visit the UF Cultural Plaza and see the Butterfly Rainforest and Harn Museum of Art.
At the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Rainforest exhibit, you’ll come face-to-face with exotic free-flying butterflies within a large screened enclosure. Visitors can stroll through tropical foliage and flowers to the sound of waterfalls. Between 60-80 species from all over the world reside here at any given time. The Wall of Wings exhibit inside the museum showcases thousands of preserved and photographed butterfly and moth specimens. Visitors can get a close-up view of scientists working in the world’s largest butterfly research facility. The butterflies in the exhibit become active when temperatures are 60 degrees or higher. The Harn Museum of Art opened in 1990, dedicated to promoting the power of the arts to inspire and educate people and enrich their lives. More than 8,300 works are represented in the museum’s various collections, which include photography and Asian, African, modern and contemporary art. The museum also displays numerous traveling exhibitions throughout the year.

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(Harn Museum of Art)

4. Watch a show at The Hippodrome.
A slice of Broadway in downtown Gainesville, the Hippodrome presents musicals, comedies, dramas, and holiday productions. The Hipp is the region’s only professional theatre and has been Gainesville’s most celebrated performing arts institution, celebrating 40 years of artistic excellence. The Hippodrome presents the highest quality theatrical programming with Broadway, off-Broadway and regional titles. For over 40 years, the Hippodrome has been a “must-see” destination in downtown Gainesville.

5. Check out Greathouse Butterfly Farm.
Started by a former elementary school teacher, Greathouse Butterfly Farm offers tours of their butterfly gardens seven days a week. They also raise butterflies and caterpillars for television and film. They are the only USDA certified organic butterfly farm in the country.

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 (Greathouse Butterfly Farm)

6. Go antiquing in Micanopy.
Many Floridians consider Micanopy to be the top antique shopping destination in the state. “The little town that time forgot” presents shoppers with antique shops housed in historic buildings framed by massive old live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Not trendy boutiques, but the warmth, charm, and friendliness of the people, in the tradition of Southern hospitality, are what make shopping in Micanopy a unique experience. Micanopy’s vast array of antique shopping is set in unique historic buildings downtown and in Smiley’s Antique Mall, just off of I-75, which offers another 24,000 square feet of shopping. Cholokka Boulevard, the main street through downtown, is lined with antique shops. Other attractions include The Shop, located in Dr. Daily’s old drugstore building. The Shop has 3500 square feet lined with home furnishings, folk art, seasonal decor, and other eclectic treasures. O. Brisky Books, also located on Cholokka Boulevard, is one of Florida’s largest sources of used and rare books, drawing bibliophiles from all over the state. At Mosswood Farm Store, which bills itself as offering “organic, earth-friendly stuff we need,” you’ll find clothing, soaps, kitchenware and, well, stuff we need – all from years ago. Native plants are for sale out back. Mosswood Farm Store also hosts a Farmers’ Market every Sunday afternoon next to the Historical Museum. Downtown Micanopy offers shoppers a number of options for lunch or ice cream. One favorite is the Old Florida Cafe, known for its Cuban sandwiches and homemade orange pie. Just outside of downtown, you will find The Blue Highway, some of the best pizza in North Central Florida.

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7. Try a Pint at First Magnitude Brewery.
The newest brewery in town just opened this fall, and you don’t want to miss it. Named after our proximity to the largest concentration of freshwater, high magnitude springs in the world, First Magnitude Brewery is located close to downtown and the UF Campus. There’s a different food truck on site every day, so you’ll get a taste of local eats while you’re there too!

8. Enjoy a slice at Satchel’s
Every college town has their share of pizza joints and so do we. Only in Gainesville you can enjoy an amazing slice of deep dish inside a 1960’s Ford Van, or at one of the other unique tables in the restaurant. Visiting Satchel’s is as much about the experience as it is the pizza. The entire restaurant is decorated in art and found objects, and you can enjoy live music or play bocce ball while you wait for your table. It’s cash only, but they have an ATM and all the fees go to local charities.

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 (Satchel’s deep dish)

If you have any questions, be sure to contact VisitGainesville at (866) 778-5002 or (352) 374-5260.


Thanks to Anna Mikell with VisitGainesville for sharing these great activities with us!

All photos courtesy of VisitGainesville

Also check out opens in a new window25 Things to do Outdoors in Gainesville, FL

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