Saturday, May 23, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 6 - Jacksonville, Florida

Just over two hours on the train from Savannah on day six of our adventure brought us to Jacksonville, Florida where my sister’s son and his wife live. This two night stop-over was more a family reunion than a pressing desire to see the city itself. It was also a chance to slow down, from now on there would be no more one night only stays in any of the next cities on our itinerary.

After an urgent trip to Best Buy to replace my broken camera we headed to Jacksonville Beach for a late breakfast (well, okay, a huge ice cream sundae in my case, but what are vacations for?) on the terrace at Joe’s Crab Shack followed by a walk on an almost deserted pristine beach and a paddle in the Atlantic Ocean. While we had enjoyed hot weather in the earlier part of our trip, there was a noticeable increase in temperature in Florida so it wasn’t long before we craved the cool indoors.

The day passed quickly, as days tend to do when spent in the company of family members you haven’t seen for a while, but at least we did manage to do a load of laundry while we chatted, a matter of great importance when you only have a weekend case full of clothes for a five week trip!

It was only after we got there that I discovered that Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida (and also the largest city by area in the contiguous United States!) so for our first day we settled for exploring the area where we were staying.

Riverside, which is listed on the National Register Historic District, has a small town feel of its own with an attractive downtown area offering local shops and restaurants including one business we couldn’t resist - the Cozy Tea Cafe.

The stunning decoration with shelves full of gorgeous fine china, and the menu of delicious scones with cream and jam and an impressive selection of teas, made for a delightful experience. (You may have figured that at his point I'd given up thinking about healthy eating - at least for the day.)

With a lack of space in my nephew’s apartment for ladies of a certain age we had managed to find a room at St John’s House Bed andBreakfast just a few minute walk away.

 It proved to be an excellent choice. Innkeepers Joan Moore and Dan Schafer offer three guest rooms in their elegant home, each uniquely furnished with antique furniture, quilted window coverings and Sweetgrass baskets. 

With their warm welcome on arrival and the hearty (and healthy!) cooked breakfasts they provided I doubt we could have found anywhere more delightful to stay. Thank you Joan and Dan. 

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