About 25 minutes southeast of Gainesville is the community of Cross Creek.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. This is the place Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings called home during some of her most prolific years as a writer in the early 1900s.

Rawlings used the tiny community, the rugged central Florida landscape and her backcountry neighbors as inspiration for her most famous work, The Yearling.

The 72-acre orange grove Rawlings purchased with inheritance money in 1928 is now owned by the state of Florida and operated as a historic site.

Between October and July, guided tours of the cracker-style house in which Rawlings did much of her writing are available for a nominal fee. The rest of the grounds include a garden, a tenant house, a large barn and several outbuildings. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and to learn more about “old Florida” through the eyes of one of its most famous residents.