Jacksonville's official Christmas Tree
Each year the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend is reserved for the first lighting of Jacksonville's official Christmas tree. You''ll find it rising 60 feet from the center court of the Jacksonville Landing along the river. The first official lighting is accompanied by live holiday music and fireworks.
On the very next night the glow of the tree is also accompanied by the creative twinkling decorations of numerous watercraft as the annual Jacksonville Light Parade brings thousands of spectators back out to both Riverwalks. More fireworks are launched at the conclusion of the parade.
In the daytime the Acosta Bridge looks like a typical causeway bridge; however, at a closer glance, it actually boasts two unique features. First of all, the bridge, which replaced a previous bridge by the same name, was built in conjunction with the city's Skyway. The center median of the bridge is actually a Skyway track, which allows the system to operate on both sides of the river. The bridge's second unique feature becomes very obvious at night when its center Skyway median is illuminated in a brilliant purplish arc. When viewed from the interstate, this purple neon arc stretches at an angle across the base of the Northbank skyline, adding to the city's slick, ultramodern appearance. Like the Main Street Bridge, it too has sidewalks that are popular with joggers.
Jacksonville's legendary local pizza chain
Consistently voted best pizza in Jax by readers of various local publications, Al's Pizza is a Jacksonville legend. Each of the local chain's four locations has a unique, somewhat funky, somewhat trendy decor that gives it an ambience worthy of the pizzas, calzones and other favorites they create. Order a pizza. You know you want one.
Fort Caroline: French settlement goes back to 1564
Tucked on high sand dune bluffs overlooking the St. Johns River in a wooded residential area half way between the beaches and downtown is Fort Caroline. The original French settlement was founded in 1564 -- one year before the Spanish founded Saint Augustine, which today has prevailed as the nation's oldest city.
Today, Fort Caroline boasts scenic nature trails, a visitor center, and a boat dock, in addition to serving as a visitor center for Jacksonville's vast Timucuan National Historic & Ecological Preserve.
Why is Fort Caroline important? Here is the fort's and region's earliest history in a nut shell:
1513: the Spaniard Ponce de Leon landed in what is today called Guana River State Park, half -way between present-day Jacksonville and Saint Augustine. Although he laid claim to "La Florida," Spain still failed to establish an actual settlement for decades.
1564: French Huguenots sailed into the mouth of the St. Johns River and established Fort Caroline in present day Jacksonville. Thanks to Fort Caroline, the first ever official trade transaction in North America occurred in what is now Jacksonville, a fact that the Port Authority likes to trumpet today.
1565: The French settlement in "Spain's" Florida angered the Spanish king, prompting him to send his best admiral, Pedro Menendez, to the area to eradicate the Huguenots and finally establish a successful Spanish colony. He founded Saint Augustine at another natural harbor about 40 miles south of Fort Caroline. His men defeated the French and Saint Augustine went on to withstand numerous invasions and politcal exchanges to become what still exists today as the oldest city in the United States.
Had Menendez lost, Florida's history may have been decidedly more French than Spanish and Jacksonville, not Saint Augustine, would be the nation's oldest city today.
allyborwick's Jacksonville Home Page
OK - so I just moved there - but I am now officially a Floridian - I mean I married a Florida resident... although he still clings to the illusion that he is Texan - but that is another story!!
So... beaches... sun... churches... and lots of rain! Well, not as much as Scotland, but hey - Scots should have webbed feet!
As soon as I have pics they will be up