Old buildings coming back to life Downtown
After a 1901 fire leveled much of downtown, word of the devestation spread across the country and Jacksonville suddenly became a magnet for many of the most famous architects of that era. They arrived interested in the unique opportunity to recreate a city.
Henry Klutho and other prominent architects of the early 1900s built a brand new city with buildings designed in the "Prarie" style that was popular at the time. This building boom saw the rise of Jacksonville's very first "skyscrapers," several of which still stand today, infused with new life. Today, many have been completely restored and renovated to house a mix of fashionable condos, stylish apartments, trendy loft units, first class corporate digs and soon, even boutique hotels.
Mayport's hidden lighthouses
Many visitors and newcomers may not know it but Jacksonville actually has two lighthouses -- one historic and one active -- both of which are located on the grounds of Mayport N.A.S. Despite being located on a military base, the historic, orange colored lighthouse can be seen up close and in its entirety from a small side street in Mayport Village. The top part of it can also be seen from the Mayport Ferry and from the Sandollar Restaurant on Fort George Island. A movement is underway to make the historic lighthouse, which is no longer in use, accessible to the public.
Meanwhile, the old lighthouse's replacement is also located on base property. While the lighthouse is not really visible during the daytime, its bright, flashing light beam can be seen at night for several miles down the sands of Jacksonville's main beaches.
In addition to the two lighthouses in Mayport, two other operational lighthouses are located in the metro area -- one in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island and one in Saint Augustine on Anastasia Island.
"The Grape" refers to...you guessed it: wine. This contemporary wine bar attracts wine-o's alike with a huge selection of wines and host of weekly wine tasting events. The only draw back of this place is it gets pretty loud when it's crowded and you may have to speak loud to hear. Dip a coconut macaroon or PB blondie in a chocolate fondue for 2 over a glass of port dessert wine.
Centerpiece of the nation's largest park system
Through the cooperation of the National Park Service, Florida Park Service and Jacksonville Department of Parks, the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve includes tens of thousands of acres of protected wetlands and ecotourism playgrounds that stretch throughout much of Jacksonville's ecologically sensitive northeast side and down, across the river, to include the coastal hammocks, bluffs and trails of the scenic Ft. Caroline area. Unlike most parks, which have somewhat clearly defined boundaries, fingers of the Timucuan Preserve permeate right into scenic residential neighborhoods, skirt major commercial areas and even edge up to the busy port and surrounding industrial sector.
The Timucuan Preserve's primary visitor center is located at Fort Caroline National Memorial. Tucked on high sand dune bluffs overlooking the river in a residential area between the beaches and downtown, Fort Caroline is a replica of the original French settlement established n 1564. For more about the history and significance of Fort Caroline, see my separate entry).
A second visitor center is located north of the river on Fort George Island at the Kingsley Plantation Historic Site. The centerpiece of Ft. George Island State Historic Site (one of several parks encompassed by the Timucuan Preserve) and part of Northeast Florida's Black Heritage Trail, Kingsley Plantation is a historic old plantation house left over from the era of slavery. The plantation grounds include remnants of old coquina slave huts and Indian mounds, as well as expansive views of marshland vistas.
CaffineFreak's new Jacksonville Page
Jacksonville is one of the largest Cities (in size) in the US however has a very small population, 1.5million. Jacksonville as a destination offers a great deal for the traveler, but is often overlooked for the near by St Augustine and Daytona Beach areas to the south or Panama City in the north west of the state. The Locals are alway very friendly and always willing to give advise of places of local intrest.