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My friend who lives in Haile Plantation in Gainesville  had a wonderful afternoon with me in Alachua. She had recently returned to the area after being away for 12 years and had not been to Alachua in years.   We ate at the Main Street Pie Company and enjoyed seeing the place packed with locals,  friendly service and delicious Chicken BLT salads.  We strolled down the street to the new Sprout Learning Center and as discerning grandmothers found several wonderful treasures to share with our grandchildren.  They have an excellent selection  of books and educational toys instead of junk stuff that kids tire of so easily.  Then a stop at Garden Gallery where I found some lovely small hostess gifts to take to my niece when we visit her in Canada next week.  My friend found some beautiful decorative wreathes she wanted for her dining table.  Then on to Valerie’s Loft where we both found bargains and something cool to wear during this hot and sultry summer.  She had wanted to go to the darling pink house up Main Street called The Pink Porch Bookstore,  but time ran out.  My friend was charmed by the well kept store fronts, the new  renovated downtown garden park, the variety of shops, the pleasant views up and down Main Street, and the overall friendliness of the merchants.  Three hours of our time,  a good meal, and a variety of shopping made for a very  pleasant experience in Alachua.  My friend says she will spread the word about such a treasure so close to Gainesville.

Reprinted with permission of (JE)the author.