Monday, August 26, 2013

Local Author Captivates Life to North Central Florida

Local Author Captivates Life to North Central Florida

Local author, Jeanette Pekala, is a resident of north central Florida. "I went to UF and fell in love with the area and never left". Her debut series, Culture Shock, has been receiving excellent reviews since its released in March 2013. She's put NC Florida on the map in her Young Adult Paranormal novel.

Culture Shock is a series with the first book being titled just that. It takes place in a small country town, very fitting to the towns surrounding the area's main hub, Gainesville and the University of Florida. Pekala is now a resident of High Springs and says that the area has inspired her to write.

"The nature is just so pure. From the majestic old homes, the springs, the prairie, and the locals all fuel my writing." Bougainvillea is the name of the city she created which is located between Micanopy and McIntosh on Highway 441.

"Bougainvillea is not modeled after just one town is a mixture of the different flavors of NC Florida. There are some scenes that take place around Gainesville as well because as all locals know, sometimes you just have to go to Gainesville."

Images from North Central Florida that have inspired Jeanette Pekala:

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...

After finishing her degree in Sociology from the University of Florida, Jeanette Pekala had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.

While her husband was deployed overseas, she focused on what she loved to do, write, where she has finally found an outlet for her overactive imagination.

 She lives a not so normal life just a wee bit north of Bougainvillea where she resides with her husband and two children working on Shock Wave, book 2 in the Culture Shock Series.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Station Bakery" Not Just Baked Goods

The "Station Bakery" in downtown High Springs is one of our favorite places. It's an actual train station. It was moved down the tracks after its original use as an actual train station and has taken on a new face. It's a restaurant and bakery now! It's been in business for many years and owned by a local family.

They make delectable desserts and the most amazing apple pie I've ever tasted. Fresh made bread, eclairs, hand-scooped ice cream, Board's Head meat sandwiches, and much more.

My kids and I love going there for a quick bite to eat. The place is covered with train-themed decor, even a train that circles the dining room and the pass-through window that your food is passed through from kitchen to customer is the actual ticket window of the station. It's so neat to sit there in the quaint dining room and know that decades ago, folks in fancy dress who arrived in horse-drawn carriages were once standing were you are.

I always get the Board's Head Italian sub and the kids get this cute little meal they serve for kiddos. It's served on Zoo Pals plates (if you're a parent of a young child, you know what those are) with sliced up meat, cheese, and pickles. My kids love it. Then after and only after do they get some yummy ice cream (large heaping scoops) there at the Station Bakery. I usually get some apple pie or whatever looks good in their case that day. The pumpkin cheesecake caught my eye the other day. Yum!

The Station Bakery is less than a block off of Main St. Turn the corner at the bike shop and it's right across the road from the railroad tracks. They even serve dinner. It's awesome and we keep going back time after time. It's that good!

I love North Central Florida so much that it is the setting for my debut novel, Culture Shock, a young adult urban fantasy novel. If you want to read the first chapter of Culture Shock, follow the link on the home page of my website:

Follow me on FaceBook:!/pages/Its-Always-Sunny-in-High-Springs/150024801742301

Follow me on Twitter: @jeanettepekala

Or Jeanette Pekala

And Remember, It's Always Sunny In High Springs!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Holiday House Restaurant"

I love this! My hubby and I were trying to find some old pics of High Springs, FL (the town we love so much) and found this old postcard. Today, the building is still standing and holds a dive shop and a pawn shop, but this is truly remarkable. The fifties-shaped signs and the those beautiful cars are no longer parked out front by the original building still stands on Hwy 441.

We never knew that the building that houses the Cave Country Dive Shop or the Old Irishman's Pawn Shop was actually a restaurant at one time. We were able to place the location of the Holiday House Restaurant by the building next to it in the photograph. It says on the back of the postcard that there are 5 motels within walking distance and that is still true today, though only 3 are opened for business, one is for sale, and one houses apartments.

This is truly charming to see and I've a new love for my town. So much history in one place it's overwhelming, infused with the beauty of the springs and rivers, High Springs really is a great place to be since 1883.

Check out my reading/writer blog:

See my Author profile website:

Follow me on Twitter: @jeanettepekala

or on Facebook: It's Always Sunny in High Springs

Happy Travels,

Jeanette Pekala

Friday, July 13, 2012

Springs Diner...Yum!

Springs Diner is a great, family-friendly restaurant on 441 (615 NW Santa Fe Blvd) in High Springs, FL. It's your all-American 1950s-style diner.

From cool, nostaglic memorabilia on the walls and a menu full of variety it's the place to be. My kids and I love going there. It's one of our favs. When in town going to the springs, diving, kayaking...whatever, definitely make a stop off at Springs Diner.

The staff is friendly and service is fast. The reuben sandwiches are to die for. The best I've ever had. Plus, save room for dessert. Their dessert menu is fashioned with old soda fountain type of desserts with ice cream being the main focus. They've got it all.

Check out their website:

While you're browsing the web, stop by my author profile website for my new series. Culture Shock will be released in 2013. Stop by now to get a sneak peek:

Don't forget to check out my book/writer blog: Adventures of Life and Literature

Find me on Twitter: @JeanettePekala
Find me on Facebook: It's Always Sunny in High Springs

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pictures of Downtown Main Street & Springs in High Springs

 Beautiful Downtown Main Street in High Springs, FL with its quaint friendly atmosphere. Little shops and restaurants. Perfect weekend getaway or shopping after the springs.
A nice place to be since 1883
 The gorgeous crystal clear springs waters of Ginnie Springs. It's a private park and it costs $14/person. 5 and under free. They give Military discounts! Camping is wonderful there too! Great sites, plus tubing all day and night. Just ask my brother-in-laws who have gone tubing at 2 in the morning. Sorry boys, dusk is where I draw the line.
 Train Station in downtown High Springs, FL
 Ginnie again!
Blue Springs has got to be my favorite park. It has a beach walk-in so it's great if you have little ones, since most of the other springs in the area are deep. Campsites. An awesome diving platform, which mama loves more than the kiddos. You can rent tubes, kayaks, or canoes and float down the Santa Fe River. You can visit Rum Island Springs across the river. They have snacks and refreshments. Oh, and they give Military discounts too! Otherwise, it's $10/person. 5 and under free.

Meet Jeanette:

I'm also an urban fantasy writer for young adults, check out my website:

I also have a book blog:

Oh, and don't forget to follow me on:

Twitter: @jeanettepekala

Facebook: It's Always Sunny in High Springs

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' on the River!



Those pictures are of the exact same boat ramp with only a week gap between pictures. Thanks Debby!

The top picture is in High Springs off of Boat Ramp Rd, off Hwy 441. You can walk across the entire river without ever getting wet. Crazy!

The bottom picture is off of Boat Ramp Rd as well, but after the TS hit the area.
Last weekend we had not one, but two visits from our dear friend Debby. I know, I know, we needed the water really bad, but I think we prayed a little too hard for rain, 'cause we got a little too  much.

My neighbors went out on the river yesterday to enjoy the 4th of July holiday. They launched at US 27 and flew down the Santa Fe River (due to the rapid current from the abundance of water) down to the 47 bridge.

That is always a great ride. My husband and I went canoeing not too long ago down that same way, but at points, we had to get out and pull the boat, or maneuver around rocks and earth. We were hitting the river bottom which is now hidden by tons of water.

I'd like to take a trip down it now in a canoe. I'm sure the scenery is much different.

Don't forget to check out my other blog:

AND introducing my new website:

Happy Travels and remember...It's Always Sunny in High Springs!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pioneer Days 2012 is coming up: April 28-29

I've lived in High Springs almost seven years now and every year, usually the last weekend in April, my family and I take a stroll to downtown and enjoy the Pioneer Days festival.

This year it's on April 28 and 29. This year they are having the first ever parade to kick things off. I'm super excited about that. My kids will love it. I don't have a roster or run-down of what the parade will entail but what they are trying to acheive is to have floats or vehicles of days passed when the High Springs area was being settled. Old tractors, old time cars and trucks, wagons, buggies... It should be pretty neat. The parade will take place on April 28 in the morning. I believe 9am. The festival lasts all day after that and the next day.

It takes place in the nicely shaded area behind city hall around the sink hole. It's spread throughout that area. In years passed it was along Main St., but as of last year they moved it around the sink hole in the center of town.

There is always a old west cowboy-style shoot out, at least twice a day. They have a whole skit they have concocted with characters in full period custome shooting blanks. It's really fun. You get to see glimpses of what life really was like during pioneer days.

There is also an area of the festival where they demonstrate crafts and machinery and some food items the way they were made in the 1800s and early 1900s. The kids love getting a root beer and kettle corn from the vendors in that section.

Speaking of food. There is tons of it. All different kinds. There are also tons of craft vendors selling just about everything.

The farmer's market vendors will be there as well. If you've never experienced High Springs' farmer's market, now is the time to check it out. They have fresh local produce and local artesian items and crafts, plants, flowers, and even seafood.

Come join us celebrate Pioneer Days on April 28th and 29th in Florida's voted "Friendliest Small Town" of High Springs!!!!

See you there!