I just returned from an excursion to the Rainbow River outside Ocala, a few hours north of Sarasota. Billed as “alligator free,” the river offers all sorts of activities not always suitable for big waters. My husband and I, along with another couple, rented a rustic cabin right on the river bank.
We found the Blue Run Cabin through VRBO and were pleased when we arrived. It was tricked out with anything you might need for cooking, relaxing, or exercising: a smoker, grill, hammock, fire place, hot tub, kayaks, canoes, tubes, and snorkeling gear.
The grounds were breath-taking: towering trees with Spanish moss bobbed in the breeze. The mist in the morning was straight off an English moor; the sunset glimmering on tree bark threw brilliant red bars across the water. And the grounds chittered with squirrels, birds, cormorants, egrits, and even three otters sailing by.
Our pup went with us and took great pride in sounding the alarm when kayakers were on the move. On our second day, my husband and a friend decided to give it a try. Within five minutes of dipping his paddle in the water, Randy spotted a small alligator and nearly fell apoplectic. In his best John Wayne voice, however, he claimed it was nothin’. 😉 See ya later, alligator!
When we weren’t reading in the hammock, napping, swimming, or cooking, we explored the town, Dunellon, a small place with an historic block of shops. There’s no fine dining in Dunellon, but we found a watering hole that we returned to twice — The Blue Alligator — where the deck hangs over the Withlacoochee River which joins up with the Rainbow River. The river was home to boaters, kayakers, fishermen, and canoes. Airboat rides were available at the restaurant dock, too.
For an escape from the city hustle, The Rainbow River offers an idyllic locale in which to unplug and unwind. Although we did have a satellite dish and wi-fi, we left giving a thumb’s up to the good old outdoors.
The Sarasota Spectator