Add Some History to Your Summer Bucket List
Bucket lists are essential for summer adventures. With three months of freedom, there are endless experiences waiting for you to check off your list.
Go to the beach and soak in the sun until you’re fried. Check!
Treat yo’self and finally attend a concert. Check!
Pick up yoga… And then quit because who really has time for that. Check and check!
But if you’re looking to spruce up your list and experience something out of the ordinary for summer adventures, consider visiting a historic district!
Historic districts are buildings or small neighborhoods that are registered as historically significant with the National Park Service, a.k.a. places that are perfectly vintage for the ultimate history junkie or artsy hipster looking for a great photo opp.
They are found literally everywhere, with five right here in Gainesville. One of these districts preserves the history of its’ African American settlers post-Civil War era in Pleasant Street Historic District. The streets are lined with historical houses and buildings and there’s even a museum in the works.
If you want to venture out of Gainesville this summer, they are perfect spots for a day trip or a quick stop along your road trip. Here’s why.
1. Go back in time.
Historic cities and neighborhoods are lined with antique shops filled with the remnants of past residents. (And I don’t mean your typical thrift store with racks of heavily shoulder-padded clothes and overused furniture.) These antique shops are basically a time-traveling portal. Anything vintage you can think of, they’ve got it. Typewriters, dial up phones, war memorabilia, porcelain (and very creepy) dolls… You get the idea. You’ll even find old photographs of people who lived there dating back to the ’40s or preserved furniture from the ’70s. Think of these antique shops as mini museums where you can buy as many souvenirs for your thrifty enjoyment.
2. Visit a mom ‘n’ pop.
If you’re going to visit a historic city and expect a warm welcoming from McDonalds, this is me popping your bubble. Historic districts are meant to be preserved, so that means all of the typical, commercialized food places are nonexistent here. True to that small town charm, you’ll find plenty of unique cafés and restaurants waiting to seduce your taste buds instead. The food options are not limited either. In just one small city, you can find food places from around the world; French, Spanish, Italian, etc. Also depending on where you visit, you’ll be introduced to plates common for that area. So if you find yourself in a Southern city (Savannah, Georgia’s historic district is a popular one), get ready for some good ol’ Southern style food.
3. Take a break from reality.
When summer rolls around, the vibe in the atmosphere changes. Everything just seems a lot less hectic. You finally have time to relax, but sometimes it’s not that simple. You may have a job or internship, be back at home dealing with over-bearing parents or taking a couple summer classes. Sometimes venturing away to an unknown place is exactly the disconnect you need from your everyday routine. Once you step foot in a historic city, you will sense the peace and tranquility through each street you walk through. There are no drunk college students yelling “turn up!” every second or reckless drivers honking up and down the streets. Everyone around you is just taking in the historical beauty of the town just like you.
So next time you want a nice summer getaway just locate the closest historic districts near you and get lost in the small cities that link the past to the present.