Visit an impressive re-creation of Bethlehem
For about a week in December an 8,000 square foot city comes alive at night in the woods behind Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church. Here, visitors stroll down the streets of Bethlehem, with artisans and shopkeepers selling their wares, soldiers keeping order, actual livestock (roaming in a controlled petting zoo arrangement) and, yes, even beggars to add authenticity. Of course, in the midst of this ancient town you will find the manger with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The event has swelled in size and popularity since its humble beginnings 13 years ago. Today, the event is so huge that cars are first directed from Palm Valley Road to a well-lit, huge, open field. Here you leave your car and board one of many continuously circulating shuttle buses that take you to the church. After a brief presentation you are directed down a path lined with luminaries that takes you into the woods and to Bethlehem village. After exploring the town be sure to pick up a cup of complimentary hot cocoa before leaving.
Elaborate as this event may be, it is actually free (of course, donations are accepted and, might I add, well deserved). You can make a donation by purchasing something from one of the shopkeepers or simply by giving it to one of the roaming beggars.
This is a unique holiday event that will certainly leave a lasting impression!
The Matthews Bridge (a.k.a. the "red bridge") is one of the high bridges that connect Downtown to the city's booming southeastern neighborhoods and beaches.
Once you've crested the top, the view heading westbound into Downtown unfolds in an aerial panorama of the skyline fronted by ALLTEL Stadium and the Sports Complex. Heading eastbound, the horizon is dotted with a sprinkling of office buildings in the Deerwood/Tinseltown area and in the Regency area as well as the Dames Point Bridge and cargo cranes from the port. Occasionally, if you time it right, you can also see the top of a Carnival or Celebrity cruise ship in port just to the left of the Dames Point Bridge.
Southend - Great Brewery and Restaurant
Southend is in Downtown Jacksonville right on the river at the Jacksonville Landing.
Southend is part of a chain of breweries that offers a nice selection of beers brewed on site at the Restaurant.
The Jacksonville Southend is a large restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. Try to get outdoors if the weather is nice and watch the river traffic. Aside from their beers (all of which I liked), they make the most fantastic double boned smoked pork chop I've ever tasted. It's thick and juicy with a real smokey flavor.
Sometimes it's not on the menu but if you can catch it, be sure to give it a try. I make a special trip for this Chop when I'm in Jacksonville.
The rest of the menu is good as well but I would call it about average. The Pork Chop just grabbed me and hasn't let go!
See top Broadway performances in Jacksonville
The nationally and internationally touring counterparts to New York's most popular Broadway shows take the stage in Jacksonville at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Shows that have come to Jacksonville in recent years include Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Chicago, Fosse, Riverdance, Stomp, Cats, Beauty and the Beast and many others. The peak theatre season runs from October through May. At the time of this writing, the next three productions scheduled to take the stage are 42nd Street, Cats and Mamma Mia!. For information on what shows are playing when during the current season, visit the FCCJ Artist Series web site (listed below).
welcome to bonio's Jacksonville Page
Well a short but memorable visit.
We drove to Jacksonville from St Augustine, maybe a journey of around 2 hours, and the temperature dropped by 15C at least. The previous day I wore shorts, so same again, when we arrived in Jax it was snowing! ouch!! The reason for our visit was to see the Browns play at Alltel stadium, part of my 40th birthday present. Well it was freezing and the Browns were beaten out of sight 48-0 I think, never mind , still enjoyed myself and it's a great stadium. Also we had planned to meet friends there for a night out -we lost their phone number *1&** it!!