Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Tourist View of Jacksonville, Florida #LivingtheSaltLife

Warning this one is loaded with pics.  I hope you enjoy them.

The summer solstice is here and you may have noticed I don't seem to posting here as much as usual.  It's hard to focus and stay inside with all that great weather calling from just outside my door.  With summer comes lots of events around town.

Jacksonville, Florida.  My town.  The bold new city of the south. The First Coast.  Like the map above shows in red, The First Coast, is a region of Florida, located on the Atlantic coast of North Florida.  It roughly comprises the five counties surrounding Jacksonville: Duval, Baker, Clay Nassau and St. Johns, largely corresponding to the Jacksonville metropolitan area where I live.  We have 75 miles of Atlantic coastline and over 400 miles of river, waterways, creeks, ponds and lakes.

Why is it called The First Coast

St. Augustine's Fort Castillo de San Marcos at Sunset - source: http://myflacoast.com/first_coast/

This area was the first area of Florida colonized by Europeans and it's steeped in history. We have a whole different vibe than Orlando and Miami.  You'll find a slower pace here, a more southern feel, and definitely more of a southern drawl. It drips out of our mouths like the Spanish moss drips from our trees.

Do you ever look at your town through a tourist eyes? That's what we're trying to do more of this summer. We ride up and down these streets so often that we forget to really see what's there.  We forget to take advantage of the events our towns have to offer.  Well not this year.  I've vowed to get out and make the most of all there is.

Of course that includes a few visits a week to the beach.  You know you're at the beach when the restaurants advertise like this.  Btw - Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q is delicious and pretty famous in Jax.

We've been having lots of stormy weather lately, which is evident by all the seaweed that's been washing up.

The water's getting close to 80 degrees now and I could have stayed in it forever.

While I lay soaking up the sun Neil enjoys making friends.

He walks slow looking for sharks teeth and talking.  I love how the beach makes everyone friends, more so than towny folk.

I love living the salt life.  It's in my blood.

The day started out beautiful and then the winds came rolling in like a mini nor'easter.  We didn't even let the thunder run us off until the lightning started.  That did it!  We were outta there.  That's something you don't play around with in Florida, better known as The Lightning Capital of the world. For real - Yikes!  But heck, it was after 7:30 pm and time for us to hit the road anyway.

You can see how many people were caught off guard.  The unfavorable weather started moving in fast.

Still a cloudy day at the beach is better than any other day!

Neil with the amazing Zoltar, beautiful palms at The Jacksonville Landing and moi.

The First Wednesday Art Walk is held on the first Wednesday of every month, rain or shine from 6-9pm.  So in celebration of our new get-out attitude, out the door Neil & I went to do a walkabout.

This event has been going on since 2003.  It's been a few years since we've been so we thought we'd check it out again. The Art Walk boasts of more than 15 blocks that includes more than 40 galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus dozens of artists in Hemming Plaza, street performers and live music.

What did I think

I'm sorry to say...not much.  I was pretty disappointed and believe me, I hate having to say that.  Our downtown area is sorely in need of revitalization but somehow the powers that be just can't meld it all together.  The art walk was lack-luster to say the least. Other than a handful of true artists and of course the MOCA, it looked like street vendors in a bad neighborhood.  True street musicians were few and far between.  We mostly heard "artists" (and I use the term loosely) who plugged in their DJ equipment and cranked it up so loud that the real artists, a half a block away, couldn't be heard when you stood in front of them. Like I said disappointing.

We're not giving up

I think we'll have better luck going to the Beaches Art Walk or the Riverside Arts Festival. I think the upcoming Springing The Blues Fest at the Seawalk Pavillion in Jacksonville Beach, is the place to be this weekend.  Hot blues and fresh salt air is the perfect combination for a good time.

Back to our trip downtown

I enjoyed seeing the historical landmarks and architecture in the evening light more than anything else. I actually love busy city streets in the evening, where everyone's out walking. There's so much energy in places like San Francisco and Seattle after dark.

Andrew Jackson the namesake of our city is immortalized by this statue in front of The Jacksonville Landing.

The historic Elks Building with it's gorgeous Italianate facade.

I love this wise book owl that graces the Jacksonville Public Library.  She knows the key to knowledge is reading.

To know just how big this wise old owl is you have to see it the building.

And who doesn't love the beautiful architecture of an old historic church like Snyder Memorial, whether by the natural light of day or the spotlights at night.

I know there's lots to see wherever you live.  Take time to check it out.  Show things like this to your kids now so that they'll have an appreciation for them when they grow up. You might not think they're paying attention, but I guarantee you they will still be talking about it when their own kids come along.

The landing a long established landmark at the core of Jacksonville's urban area.

The views of the St. Johns river and our beautifully lit bridges just can't be beat. Look to the right and you see the Acosta bridge (above) or to the left and you see the Main Street bridge (below) with the Hart Bridge behind it.  You have to go to The Jacksonville Landing for this reason if no other.

You can catch a ride from the Northbank Riverwalk to the Southbank Riverwalk on the River Taxi.

So that's just a couple of things we did to make our week feel more like a vacation.

Back to everyday life, here's a few of the more mundane things that kept me busy.

Beautifying the yard - more to come on that. Pressure washing the house, adding mulch, fertilizing flowers, watching my sunflower seeds sprout.  Stop it!  You're not going to be laughing when I have beautiful sunflowers.

  • Doggie bath time

  • Lots of eating meals like steak & shrimp, grilled chicken salad, hamburger & corn on the cob, baked ham with baked beans & potato salad, cherry jubilee trifle - YUM!

  • Snapping photos, writing reviews

  • Enjoying the spoils of good neighbors who generously share their bountiful magazines (Drs office = lots!!)

  • Going junkin'

A photo of me working out - not!
  • Working out all week - I really did!

  • Dinner at Carrabba's
  • Shopping for 4th of July diy items

  • Sewing beach shell collecting bags to list and sell (let me know if you'd like to buy one). Since Neil likes to pick up sharks teeth, I added a pocket just for them, not that he'll ever tote it.  hahaha.
  • Watching my mailman in a King James rap video.
Sometimes life is just a mishmash of unexpected fun.

One last thing.  A very serious problem and a great way to get the point across.  Way to go Volkswagon.

A friend shared this video with me and I wanted to pass it along.  On the way to the beach the other day, there was a young girl in a car with both hands on her phone texting, I'm assuming driving with her knee.  She was going at least 40-45 mph in traffic and hand looking down at her phone, more than at the road.  This wasn't a short time either, she passed us twice doing this and I cringed.  We turned before I could beg her to stop.  So many lives in danger. :(

Have fun - stay safe y'all...

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  None has been lost except the one doomed to the destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
~John 17:12


  1. Enjoyed looking at your pictures. So crazy...I live only about 50 miles from Jax. beach and never go. Have counted the times on one hand I have been to the Landing. CRAZY I know! But they say that is how it is with most folks. Live close to places and never go but will drive 10 hours to go somewhere else! Did enjoy your pics. Happy Weekend. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Thank you Cindy. I know just what you mean. We feel like we have to leave the state for a vacation - never do that either, yet I haven't been past Boca Raton & the Sarasota/Bradenton area. I still want to see Miami & the Keys. I know y'all we be enjoying a big Father's Day event the weekend. Enjoy it sweetie!!

  2. Hi Tracy,

    I enjoyed your tour of the city. I hope to come and visit real soon. I was in Florida but never made it there.

    I'm glad you liked my It Cosmetics reviews. Just for the record, I will be having a BIG #ItCosmetics ($120) #Giveaway with four of their new products VERY SOON--so pop over and make sure to enter. Their stuff is honestly awesome!

    1. Thank you Mary. It would be wonderful to have you visit Jacksonville so we could spend some real time together, I'm sure you'd like it. The giveaway sounds great. I'll have to head over and enter. Thanks for sharing it with me and thanks for the comment love. OOO's