Amelia and Cumberland Islands - St Augustine - Jacksonville

Touring the beautiful coastal areas north and south of Ponte Vedra.

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On the return trip to Ponte Vedra from St. Augustine, we took Interstate 95 back towards Jacksonville, which is located on the St. Johns River and is the most populous city in Florida and the center of a thriving metropolitan area. Aside from all the amenities of a major urban center (including the NFL Jaguars), Jacksonville is known for its military bases, its outpost of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, and its great beaches that stretch all along its eastern edge.

One particularly interesting neighborhood is called Mandarin (after the orange), and is located in the southernmost portion of Jacksonville, which offers a wide variety of excellent water views. In the nineteenth century, Mandarin was a separate farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, and lemons to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, whom most of us associate with her native New England, liked this tropical paradise so much that in 1867 she bought a cottage in Mandarin. For the next seventeen winters she welcomed tourists to her home, and in 1873 published a series of sketches of the land and the people of the area under the title Palmetto Leaves. Now, how about that for interesting?  


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