Northside

Finding Florida: Thomas Creek Preserve

Location: 17198 Ethel Road, Jacksonville, Florida, 32218 Hours: Sunrise to sunset Entrance Fee: None For more information: www.timucuantrailparksfoundation.org or www.jaxparks.com The , located in upper northwestern Jacksonville, is a special place that shows off 1,450 acres of Old Florida landscape, from a slow moving creek and floodplain marsh to woods dense with canopies under expansive skies. Thomas Creek itself marks the border of Duval and Nassau counties in this area and is the largest tributary of the Nassau River. This area is also known for a Revolutionary encounter more than two hundred years ago: the southernmost battle of the American Revolutionary …

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Grow Your Own: URBAN GARDENS

Short of ideas for your Grow Your Own Garden? Recently moved into a condo with no available garden area? Living in your van? You might want to drive or stroll over to the located on Superior Street near the IFAS center. Started decades ago, the IFAS garden provides a limited number of plots for folks who are sans soil. For folks who have both soil and sunlight, but might lack ideas, the garden is a creativity incubator. At a recent open house, Master Gardeners, under the leadership of , Veggie Gardener Wizard, informed novices and pros alike about bowl gardens, …

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Celebrate Mother’s Day on the St. Johns River, Kingsley Plantation

Sunday, May 10, 9am–Noon Ft. Caroline National Memorial 12713 Fort Caroline Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225 Register online:  www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/events; Cost $35 Unless your mother has a specific request for , you may find yourself tasked with coming up with a fun and unique way to celebrate “Mom” on this special day. While brunch or a nice meal is always a great way to spend time with mom, exploring the  and the historic  may be just the thing to make it a more exciting and memorable experience. St. Johns Riverkeeper offers monthly boat trips on various sections and tributaries of the St. …

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Fort George: Island Time and the Scent of Saltmarsh

Ft. George

BY KATE MATTHEWS I arrived on  near midnight on an early summer’s eve under a bright half-moon. There was a feeling of being submerged in the hot, liquid air while the narrow, sharply curving road pulled me through tunnels of oak hammocks draped with thick Spanish moss. A glimpse of coquina ruins shimmered on my left, followed by silhouettes of palm trees to the right, framing marshland and the Fort George River. I have since learned that every islander I have met had a similar, often nearly mystical, moment of falling in love with Fort George. I found myself living …

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Neighborhood: Ft. George – Napoleon Bonaparte Broward House

The is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Located at 9953 Hecksher Drive on the North side of the St. Johns River, near the entrance to , the House is the former summer residence of Florida governor Napoleon B. Broward (1857-1910). Now part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, the house is home to the  (TTPF). They have a great map you can download at http://timucuantrailparksfoundation.org/Parks/explore-the-parks.html. Keep it in your car during the spring and summer, so you can visit the many parks under its nonprofit helm. Parks include Alimacani, Betz Tiger Point Preserve, Big Talbot …

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Neighborhood: Little Talbot Island

Little Talbot, Black Rock Beach, Naked Label, Jacksonville, FL

Discover Little & Big Talbot Islands, Two of Seven Reasons to Pack a Lunch As an undeveloped barrier island, offers maritime forests, desert-like dunes, and undisturbed salt marshes teeming with a symphony of natural sounds and Florida creatures, such as river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats, and migratory birds taking a break from their flyways. Discovering Little Talbot is like taking a walk through nature’s cathedral and learning how to breathe again. Bring a fishing pole (and license) and hook redfish, striped bass, and flounder in a tidal puddle or shoreline. Bring a picnic in your backpack and take a rest …

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Neighborhood: Ft. George – Sisters Creek

is one of the many waterways in northeast Jacksonville worth exploring by boat or kayak. Sisters Creek, , and are all tributaries to the St. Johns River located in the final stretch of the river’s 310-mile journey. These tidally-influenced, marshy creeks are part of one of the most ecologically-productive sections of our river. The creeks and their surrounding wetlands are home to unique plant and animal communities that thrive in the brackish water, a mixture of fresh and salty seawater, of the estuary. Many fish and animals rely on the estuary section of the St. Johns for food, places to …

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Neighborhood: Ft. George – Roll or Float Along with Kayak Amelia

Have you ever thought, “man, I would love to go off-road on a Segway but I just don’t know where to do that”? If so, I have some great news for you. Going on an off-road Segway tour is totally a thing you can do in Jacksonville! offers tours of Fort George Island two to three times a day, six to seven days a week (depending on the season and demand). We took a tour with them, and it was not only fun but informative. We met our guide, Nick, at their Segway shed just across the road from the …

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Neighborhood: Ft. George Eats & Drinks

The Sandollar and Barz Near the dock on Heckscher Drive there is a great bar and package place called . I spoke with Elaine whose parents opened Barz in 1972 and were involved in the Jacksonville liquor business from 1955 until their deaths in 2011. She tends the bar most days, chats with regulars, and welcomes new customers with a smile. On Sunday, a bloody mary will set you back just $2.50, and you can watch the boats and barges cruise down the river from the comfort of the bar. Whether you want to drink there or grab a bottle …

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Kingsley Plantation – Ft. George

Originally built in 1798 by enslaved craftsmen under plantation owner , this plantation house is the oldest planter’s residence still standing in Florida. Many changes have taken place through the years, but a tour still evokes what it must have been like long ago. In the early 1800s, plantation-owner brought a Senegalese wife he purchased, Anna Madgigine Jai, and three children to his Fort George Island plantation. A fourth child was soon born. Anna managed the plantation’s daily operations, including 60 slaves, while Zephaniah was away on business. They grew many cash crops: Sea Island cotton, whose long fibers and …

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