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    Newberry, Florida Get to know your local farmers and get a good deal on real estate

    Photo credit: Flickr @anoldent

    Welcome to Newberry

    Newberry is a growing town in Alachua County’s southwest corner, about eight miles west of I-75. Historically a watermelon farming town, Newberry is better known these days for its world-class sports facilities like the Easton Newberry Archery Center, which attracts Olympic hopefuls from around the country. And with the addition of the shopping and dining options at the Town of Tioga, a mixed use planned community, Newberry is evolving into a modern suburb that retains its leafy rural charms.

    Location

    Drive west from Gainesville along Newberry Road until the traffic thins out, the strip malls yield to wide open pasturelands dotted with longleaf pines, and you’ve reached Newberry. A 25 minute commute to the University of Florida and Shands hospitals, Newberry is close to all the shops and restaurants of Tioga Town. The Publix at Steeplechase is conveniently located on Newberry Road and stays open late. Summer fun at High Springs is also a stone’s throw away.

    What’s It Like to Live in Newberry?

    In Newberry you get a little more space and privacy for your real estate dollar. Gainesville’s country cousin has a rural feel, and much of the land is still used for agricultural purposes. That means incredibly fresh local produce, meat, handicrafts and more at the Newberry Farmer’s Market, which takes place on Main Street in the historic town center every Saturday morning.

    Athletics is a big part of the culture in Newberry. The protagonist of Once a Runner, John L. Parker, Jr’s classic novel about running, goes to Newberry to train to be a competitive runner. The town boasts a number of world-class sports complexes, including the Easton Newberry Archery Center, an Olympics training site.

    Newberry is a green town that takes habitat restoration seriously. There are plenty of parks and nature preserves where you can hike through lush forests and wetlands that stretch out as far as the eye can see.

    For all its outdoors attractions, Newberry doesn’t lack for the kinds of amenities you’d find in a more urban setting. Much of your retail and dining options are concentrated in the Town of Tioga, a popular mixed-use development on the loose boundary where northwest Newberry and southwest Gainesville meet. Tioga’s town center features a Starbucks, restaurants, bars, boutiques, a gym, a preschool, and healthcare offices, all within walking distance of one another.

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    Things to Do In Newberry

    1. Around Town

    Since breaking ground in 1996, the Town of Tioga’s walkable town center has become a destination for residents of Newberry and Southwest Gainesville to shop, stroll, have a meal or take in a free event at the town square. Bring lawn chairs to watch a movie under the stars, or enjoy a flight of international beers at World of Beer. Casual dining options include Cilantro Tacos and Blue Highway Pizzeria. Local Provisions, a new restaurant from the people behind the The Swamp Restaurant, is set to open soon. Tioga has been recognized by Southern Living for exemplary traditional town planning and awarded Best Neighborhood by Keep Alachua County Beautiful.

    Keep going west on Newberry and you go back in time 100 years. Dudley Farm Historic State Park, located right off Newberry Road, is a living museum of a Florida farmstead circa 1900. It sits on about 400 acres that was donated to state by the Dudley family. The working farm hosts a great harvest festival the first weekend of December. Horse-drawn wagons transport visitors from the parking fields to the farmhouse. Stop in to buy their stone ground grits and talk to the old-timers about making cane syrup, for which the farm is famous.

    Making cane syrup at Dudley Farms in Newberry, Florida

    Photo credit: Flickr @anoldent

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Newberry’s Main Street, which features a collection of charming shops housed in buildings on the National Historic Register. While you’re taking in the quaint charms of the historic district, make sure to stop into one of the authentic Mexican and Venezuelans restaurants that have sprung up to cater to the town’s growing Latinx community and long-time locals alike.

    2. Wildlife Spotting

    The Watermelon Wildlife Environmental Area offers relaxing trails that wind through more than 4,000 acres of pastures, long leaf pine forests, and shady hammock habitats overlooking glittering ponds ringed with marsh grasses. The folks at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who manage the park have done a great job of restoring the habitat to what it was before cattle grazing and logging put the gopher tortoise – a linchpin of the ecosystem – on the endangered species list.

    Watermelon WEA’s designation as a wildlife preserve also helps protects groundwater sources and the underlying aquifer. Prescribed burns are used to create the conditions that allow wildlife to flourish here, from the ground-dwelling tortoises and eastern indigo snakes to the soaring American kestrels and bald eagles.

    3. All the Pretty Horses

    Celebrate the tradition, athleticism, and grace of equestrian culture in a beautiful natural setting at the Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center. The recently upgraded center hosts some of the highest-rated horse shows in the Southeast, featuring top-ranked riders and trainers from around the world.

    The Gala of the Royal Horses brings horses from the famous riding schools of Vienna and Spain to Alachua County. The event is dedicated to showing off the amazing beauty and maneuvers for which these horses (and their riders!) are renowned.

    Many events are free and fun for the entire family. When renovations are complete, the Equestrian Center will be the future site of the County Fair. Check their Facebook for upcoming events.

    4. Different Sports for Different Folks

    Easton Newberry Archery Center

    The Easton Newberry Archery Center is one of the region’s best kept secrets in athletics. The world-class training venue was selected by the United States Olympic Committee as a Community Olympic Development Program, one of ten programs nationwide to receive such a designation in the world of archery.

    The Archery Center also offers youth and adult development classes designed to foster self-discipline, focus, and concentration. Archers of all ages, genders, and levels of athleticism can go and learn a fun new skill under the guidance of some of the best practitioners in the field.

    Champions Park of Newberry

    This state-of-the art baseball and softball complex attracts more than 30,000 visitors annually for games and tournaments. There’s ample on-site parking and lots of food and drink vendors on hand for game days.

    Not For the Faint of Heart

    Newberry provides ample terrain for mountain biking enthusiasts to test their reflexes. Haile’s Trails, a private property open just a few times a year to the public, just hosted a big regional race. Then there’s Gatorback Cycle Park, an off-road motorcycle park located northeast of the town. As you can imagine, it gets loud, rowdy, and muddy. It’s not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart.

    Newberry Public School Zones

    Newberry’s public schools are within the Alachua County School District and rank fairly well.

    • Newberry Elementary School
    • Oakview Middle School
    • Newberry High School

    It’s worth noting that the school district just bought land in Jonesville (an informal name for the cross-town area between Gainesville and Newberry) for use as a future school site.

    Final Thoughts

    There’s a lot to love about Newberry. For a town that’s so close to a major university, Newberry retains much of its leafy rural charms and natural beauty. It’s the kind of place where Muddy Waters felt at home (he name-checks Newberry in his song “Deep Down in Florida”), where local farmers rub elbows with the folks they feed every Saturday morning, and where your real estate dollar stretches farther than it does in neighboring Gainesville.

    There’s no better time than now to buy a house in Newberry. Home values have been rising steadily in recent years, with the median home price at around $210,000. Looking to put down roots in Newberry? Talk to your real estate agent at Rabell to find out what options are available.