Modis: Jacksonville's "disappearing" skyscraper
For years the Modis Building bore the name "Independent Life" across its top. It was the city's tallest skyscraper until eclipsed by the Bank of America Tower over a decade ago. Today, the oversized letters of its new primary tenant "Modis" make for a very eye grabbing and attractive corporate signature.
The coolest phenomenon of the Modis Building occurs on a bright blue sunny day with a few puffy white clouds. The blue glass of the building's walls actually reflect the same color blue as the sky around them. In addition, the reflection of passing clouds appear in the glass. Together, these reflections create an illusion that causes the glassy walls of the building to disappear, leaving only a white, rectangular arch with the "Modis" letters left standing.
pictured is a restored slave house on the plantation. these houses were built out of "tabby" tabby is a building material made out of oyster shells and sand. this material formed a type of concrete which was popular in the coastal south in the 1700 and 1800's. the kingsley plantation is a very interesting place to visit when in the jacksonville area.
Barbara Jean's - Great Seafood and Ambiance
Barbara Jeans has a couple of restaurants in the South Georgia/North Florida Area. This one is situated on the Intracoastal and offers a relaxed enviroment and great seafood. The She Crab Soup is awesome and they will ship it to you from their online store if you like.
Their Chicken Fingers sampler is excellent as well. The Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers are unique.
Also try their Crab Cakes while you are there. The emphasis is on the crab, not the fillers!
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)
Located in a historic multi-level building on Hemming Plaza, right in the middle of Downtown, MOCA is a flashy New York calibur museum proving to be a worthy modern art complement to the city's reknown Cummer Museum & Gardens. The museum, which was formerly located in the city's Southside, moved into the renovated historic structure with much hoopla and fanfare. Large projections cast on the building's exterior facade and a titilating exhibit concentrating on the human body were just two of the grand opening highlights.
~ Jacksonville ~
Big City, Big Beaches, Big Beauty
Imagine wide beaches of fine white powder sand highlighting a distinctive natural scenery where colorful, sub-tropical flowering plants and palm trees intermingle with magnolias and shady water oaks dressed in Spanish moss. Imagine a major, curvaceous river slices through these lush coastal hardwood hammocks, flowing into numerous finger tributaries and watering acres of expansive wetlands teeming with nature.
Now, imagine you're staying or living right in the middle of it, in a vibrant, cosmopolitan hotbed of culture, entertainment, recreation, commerce, and relaxation. Yes, you've just imagined many of the reasons why visiting or living in Jacksonville can be a special and unusual big city experience.
Where all the action is
Downtown Jacksonville, located 12 miles from the sea, is bisected by the St. Johns River. Both the Northbank and Southbank business districts boast spectacular modern skyscrapers, pedestrian riverwalks, and museums. Water taxis and a futuristic skyway transport pedestrians from one side of the river to the other, along with the city's seven iconic bridges. Friendship Fountain, on the Southbank, is one of the largest fountains of its kind, and is brilliantly illuminated at night.
Lining the river south and east of downtown are numerous tree-covered neigborhoods including the stately "old money" wealthly neighborhoods of Ortega, Avondale, Riverside, Epping Forest and San Marco. Jacksonville's chic artsy types and yuppies come together in this part of town at the sidewalk cafes and bistros of San Marco Square, Five Points and the Shoppes of Avondale, close to downtown.
Jacksonville's beach communities include three laid-back beach towns popular with surfers, families, tourists and yuppies -- Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach -- each of which offers a lively "Town Center" shopping, dining and nightlife district in addition to sharing the same wide strand of soft, white powder sand. Jacksonville Beach also boasts an ocean pier and a water park. In addition, Jacksonville's beaches are bookended by two exclusive playgrounds of the rich and famous -- Ponte Vedra Beach and Amelia Island -- known for their world-renowned 4 and 5 star oceanfront resorts as well as their top-notch golf courses and tennis facilities. Amelia Island also boasts the historic pirate town of Fernandina Beach and a beachfront Civil War fort, Fort Clinch. Intermingled with these diverse coastal communities are several stretches of pristine natural beaches including Hanna Park, Huguenot Park, the Talbot Islands Geoparks, and Guana River State Park. Mayport, located at the mouth of the St. Johns River just north of Hanna Park, has a dual identity as both a weathered, rustic fishing village with a fleet of shrimp boats and a major navy base. Part of famous route A1A, the only public auto ferry in Florida shuttles drivers across the river every half hour between Mayport and Ft. George Island on Jacksonville's Northside.
Like any big city, Jacksonville has numerous cultural and sporting options highlighted by the renown Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Florida Ballet, the Museum of Science & History, and, of course, the city's beloved Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. Other cool attractions include the Jacksonville Zoo, with its nationally acclaimed "Range of the Jaguar" exhibit complex; the amusrements and chutes of Adventure Landing & Shipwreck Island Waterpark; and the World Golf Hall of Fame, which features exhibits, challenging courses and an IMAX Theater among its offerings.
As you might expect, the best restaurants and nightlife are found along the downtown riverfront and throughout the beaches, as well as in the booming Deerwood/Tinseltown area of the city's south side. Of course, all the standard chains are also plentiful throughout the city, especially around the Regency Square, Avenues and Orange Park malls. St. Johns Town Center in the Deerwood/Tinseltown area is an outdoor "Main Street" style mall that mixes upscale retailers (e.g.: Sephora, Louis Vitton, Brighton, etc.) with upscale "destination" restaurants (e.g.: The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Maggiano's Little Italy, Mitchel's Fish Market, etc.).
Historically and naturally preserved
If you think of Florida as a fake, Disney-fied playland then you might be surprised to find that Jacksonville is rich with authentic history. In fact, the first Europeans to reach North America are believed to have set foot on the shores of what is now Guana River State Park, half way between Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, in the year 1513. (By the way, St. Augustine, located 40 miles south of downtown, is the oldest city in North America!) For centuries, the area that now consists of the Jacksonville metropolitan area (from Amelia Island south to just past St. Augustine) saw many conflicts between the Spanish, French, British and Native Americans before it ever became part of what we now know as the United States. The Eastern Jacksonville neighborhood area of Fort Caroline, located half-way between downtown and the beach, is home to Fort Caroline National Memorial, a replica of a French encampment on a high bluff overlooking the river. The fort's visitor center also serves as the entrance to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, acres of protected land suitable for kayaking, hiking and other outdoor pursuits, which serves as a centerpiece for the largest urban park system in the country. This park system also includes 2 oceanfront city parks and the unique Talbot Islands State Parks. The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is an awesome natural area that straddles the meandering Jones Creek, with trails that take visitors over small bridges, up ravines, through dense foliage and past babbling brooks. Other great nature walks can be had at Howell Park in Atlantic Beach, Walter Jones Historical Park in the Mandarin section of the city, and at the University of North Florida, which boasts its own nature preserve.
An active sports city
Many know that Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, but many do not know the city's full sports spectrum. Annual football events include the Gator Bowl and the Florida-Georgia game. Of course, the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars also play their home games at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium every fall. In addition, the Jacksonville University Dolphins play football on campus and the Jacksonville Sharks play arena football in the Veterans Memorial Arena . In other sports, the Tournament Players Championship draws top pro golfers to Ponte Vedra Beach and the MPS Group Championship draws the top stars in womens' tennis to the area every spring. Like many cities, Jacksonville is home to a minor league baseball team. The Suns, AA affiliate of the Florida Marlins, play at the Baseball Grounds. In addition, the city is home to two NCAA baseball and basketball teams at the aforementioned JU and at the U. of North Florida (home of the Ospreys).
The 12th largest city in the U.S.
Jacksonville is the 12th most populous city in the US with an estimated 805,605 residents (according to 2007 Census). It is also the most populous city in the Southeast. Despite these facts, the city isn't nearly as crowded as most because it covers more land than any other in the contiguous 48 states.
Most of the city's development in the past few decades has occurred along the river and between downtown and the beaches. This area covers much of Jacksonville's eastern half, a unique mix of neighborhoods that range from tranquil to bustling, scenic to commercial, and eco-sensitive to cosmopolitan. In addition, towns like Orange Park and Fruit Cove, are also experiencing rapid growth. Of course, there are still places in the fringes of the five-county metropolitan area that remain quite rural, like Callahan.
VISIT MY JACKSONVILLE METRO PAGES
Jacksonville ~~ Atlantic Beach ~~ Neptune Beach ~~ Jacksonville Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach ~~ St. Augustine ~~ Amelia Island ~~ Orange Park
Fernandina Beach ~~ Fruit Cove ~~ World Golf Village ~~ Callahan
Vilano Beach ~~ St. Augustine Beach ~~ Crescent Beach
Jax Beaches Overview
Ft. Caroline ~~ Talbot Islands ~~ Mayport
(Others Coming Soon)
Visit my Jacksonville Photo Gallery on Flickr.
Visit my FLORIDA page.