If you’re driving south along Interstate 75 in North Florida, at about mile marker 410, you’ll cross the Santa Fe River and enter Alachua County. The name of the county is pronounced “Alachu-Wuh”, derived from the Timucua word for “sinkhole” or “spring” which pepper the geography of the region. There’s also a town, at the junction of US441 and I-75, that shares the same name, with the same spelling–but with a different pronunciation. Locals know it by “Alachu-WAY—and it’s a great place to stop as you travel through our Natural North Florida region!
Once you leave the relatively busy highways at Alachua, head into “town” on Main Street, where you’ll see some stately homes, specialty shops and plenty of places to eat. The town of Alachua has become well known for lots of great restaurants. Atop my list is Conestoga’s, where you’ll be well fed on excellent steaks and American food. Another option is ˚Tony and Al’s”, an Italian-themed bar and grill with great food and service. And if you’re just in town and want a hamburger and fries, use the drive-thru at Bev’s Better Burgers, or order at the window and eat on a picnic table. Finally, some of the best Cuban food south of Miami can be found at Mi Apá Latin Cafe, just around the corner on US441.
Despite the modern growth of Alachua’s highway frontage on US441, Main Street is quiet and is a good example of historic preservation, with shops in historic buildings and urban parks.