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Just a quick spurt of fast pedaling over the nearby bridge and then right into Swampy’s parking lot is all it takes!
I think I’m noticing a trend in my posts on food – but at least I bike to the restaurants I mention! One of my favorite restaurants north of Inverness is Swampy’s Bar & Grill in Dunnellon. The open air restaurant sits adjacent to the Rainbow River, so it’s fun to watch the kayakers, paddleboarders, tubers and boaters come down the clear waters. If you’re lucky, you may even spot otters cavorting on the opposite shore.
Getting there from the Withlacoochee State Trail is a bit dicey right now, but there are plans (and funding!) in place to connect the Withlacoochee Trail to the beautiful 2.4 mile Dunnellon Trail with an overpass over busy US 41. The safest way I’ve found is to turn right (east) off the Trail onto the divided N Citrus Springs Blvd, crossing US 41 at the traffic light. N Citrus Springs Blvd ends at a street named the Withlacoochee Trail where I turn left (west). Just before I reach US 41 again, the entrance to the Dunnellon Trail is on the right. It’s so beautiful that I always stop on the bridge crossing the Withlacoochee River and usually ride to the end and start back, picking up a paved turnoff which ends at a parking lot for putting watercraft into the river. Just a quick spurt of fast pedaling over the nearby bridge and then right into Swampy’s parking lot is all it takes! (From Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness to Swampy’s in Dunnellon is about 40 miles roundtrip.)
The last time I biked this route I worked hard to keep up with the two friends who are faster riders than I. I huffed and puffed to keep them in sight and got ahead of them on the downhill coming off the Dunnellon Trail bridge. I stopped at the turnoff and waited and waited and waited. Surely they weren’t taking that long to admire the river! I finally turned around and found them changing a flat. In my personal opinion the guys were talking more than they were working, but it was probably just my rumbling tummy talking!