July 1, 2013 by Last Star blog
Our first full day in Jacksonville and we decided to go into downtown and do our DDM there. What a change from a quiet isolated beach to the hub-bub of a bustling city. Of course, it is not big like Houston but it is a very pretty city. The dinghy ride is about 15 minutes and the water was like glass so we were treated with some really pretty views of the city. We pulled into the Jacksonville Landing with it’s harbor location with restaurants and shopping area. It was very odd to see the dinghy ‘beached’ at a city dock. Not exactly what the floppy is used to. As we walked around the city we noticed a really nice mix of old and new architecture. Of course, by now it was becoming close to Africa hot and Hank was beginning to melt so we saw this library and since it said: Open to All, we hoped it meant even stanky sweaty sailors. It was an awesome library: GREAT a/c, bathrooms, and cold water fountains. Hey, doesn’t take a lot to thrill a cruiser. An added bonus was some gorgeous photography hanging in a small gallery downstairs. When we finally cooled off, we got the feet moving again on the pavement. Jacksonville has a vibrant down town. It wasn’t packed with people but the buildings are being renovated, art is everywhere, and there were plenty of green spaces.
I saw this shop and think it is really supposed to say, “Alek” and the owner must just be dyslexic.
We ran into this statue of Andrew Jackson, the first governor of Florida under the United States Flag, hence the name Jacksonville. We had wanted to go to lunch but it was still too early so we wandered around some more until we discovered the JTA has public transportation here. As we were trying to find a station we ran into the bus station. I love the greyhound logo. We kept seeing the tram tracks and followed it to a station. Yippee-it was free, yes, cruisers are notoriously thrifty, as well as easy to please. We climbed the stairs and hopped on. MORE A/C!!! We rode it to the end of the line and back to our stop, ok it was only 3 stops long but we got to cross the river and see what was over there without a ride in the dinghy. When it arrived Hank was a little surprised at the length of the train.
At one of our stops we could see ourselves in the hi-rise across the street. By this time it was time for lunch. We asked some local Jacksonville finest for a recommendation and they all agreed the Landing, so off we went. A place we thought about but skipped, we ended up at American Grille above our dinghy because we still love looking at the water. I think I finally stopped sweating about half way through lunch. It was our first excursion into a big city, tomorrow we may take the trolley and see how far that goes and what’s out there.