For the AJC
As uncertain economic times continue, many people are holding back on making grand travel plans that may hit the pocketbook too hard and looking for cheaper options closer to home. For Atlantans, Jacksonville, 35 miles south of the Georgia border, contains a surprising array of affordable attractions. Set on the banks of the northward-flowing St. Johns River near the Atlantic Ocean, many of the Jacksonville area’s best attractions are either free or dirt cheap.
Jacksonville Landing and the Riverwalk
The Jacksonville Landing is the recreational heart of downtown for tourists and locals. This waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex sits beneath skyscrapers on the north bank of the St. Johns River and contains a mix of chains and locally owned shops and restaurants. The large courtyard area facing the water is the site of many holiday celebrations and special events, such as the before-and-after parties for the annual Georgia-Florida football game played in the city each fall (this year’s game is Oct. 29). After getting your fill at the Landing, take the Riverwalk — which runs along both sides of the river — across the Main Street bridge to the Southbank Riverwalk for the best view of the city skyline, where the skyscrapers can be seen reflected in the water of the wide river. At sunset, stroll the wooden walkway with other walkers, joggers, hand-holders and people-watching bench-sitters to Friendship Fountain, a 200-foot-diameter fountain with shooting jets of water that are spectacularly lit in the evening.
From downtown Jacksonville, it’s less than a half-hour drive to miles of sandy shoreline. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach all run together from the north to south into Ponte Vedra Beach, an upscale golf resort area that likely wouldn’t interest those on a budget. The other three communities are cheaper to visit and each has its own identity, but they don’t really differ much when it comes to the beach, as it’s all the same easily accessible stretch of Atlantic coast. At Jacksonville Beach, you’ll find a pier stretching nearly a quarter mile into the ocean ($ 1 admission, $ 4 to fish from the pier, no license required). Also in Jacksonville Beach is the Beaches Museum and History Center ($ 5 and under), where you can explore exhibits that relive the rich history of tourism along the strand, including a replica boardwalk from the Gilded Age.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
This large park, named after a Native American tribe that inhabited the area centuries ago, comprises 46,000 acres on the north and south banks of the St. Johns River. It is managed by different public and private entities for the purposes of preservation and enjoyment. The National Park Service (www.nps.gov/foca) owns 9,000 acres of the park and doesn’t charge for admission, parking or even guided tours of the sites under its jurisdiction. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy a hike through the 600-acre hardwood forest and marshland of the Theodore Roosevelt Area, where the bird-watching is supreme. History buffs will not want to miss the Kingsley Plantation on the north side of the river that features one of Florida’s oldest existing plantation homes, well-preserved and open for tours. Also on the grounds are 23 slave quarters made out of tabby (a mixture of sand, water, oyster shells and lime). The Kingsley Plantation has a long history that includes the story of Anna Kingsley, a slave who ended up becoming a free woman and managing the plantation. A guided tour by a park ranger is highly recommended to learn more about this fascinating story.
If you have kids in tow, the Museum of Science and History, or the MOSH ($ 8-$ 10; $ 5 on Fridays), next to the Southbank Riverwalk is a must-see attraction offering many hands-on, interactive exhibits that explore general science as well as the history and ecology of the region. Think Fernbank, but more geared toward children (it used to be known as the Jacksonville Children’s Museum, after all). For fine arts and formal gardens, visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens ($ 6-$ 10, free on Tuesdays between 4 and 9 p.m.) on the north bank of the river near downtown. The highly manicured gardens and exquisite landscape architecture are as much of a draw to this museum as its art collection featuring works from 2000 B.C. to the present that includes plenty of American impressionist paintings and 18th-century Japanese woodblock prints.
The Riverdale Inn. Ten-room inn in a historic house near the riverfront, the Cummer Museum and downtown. Rates start at $ 110. 1521 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville. 1-866-808-3400, www.riverdaleinn.com.
The Palms Retro. Old-school Florida motel converted into a boutique property within easy walking distance to the beach. Each room has a different showbiz/retro theme. Rates start at $ 119. 28 Sherry Drive, Atlantic Beach. 904-241-7776, www.palmsretro.com.
River City Brewing Company. Waterfront brewpub and restaurant on a scenic urban portion of the St. Johns River across from downtown. You can take the water taxi from the Jacksonville Landing. Entrees start at $ 9.95. 835 Museum Circle, Jacksonville. 904-398-2299, www.rivercitybrew.com.
Salt Life Food Shack. Despite the name, it’s not a shack. The decor at this restaurant three blocks from the beach is modern beach-casual, and the prices are surprisingly affordable, a refreshing contrast to the coastal upscale vibe. Sandwiches start at $ 6.49, entrees at $ 8.99. 1018 Third St. N., Jacksonville Beach. 904-372-4456, www.saltlifefoodshack.com.
Visitor Center at the Jacksonville Landing. 2 Independent Drive, Jacksonville. 904-791-4305, www.visitjacksonville.com.
The rift highlights the dilemma President Satoru Iwata faces as consumers shun Nintendo devices to play games on iPhones, iPads and Facebook Inc.’s website. The flop of the 3DS debut prompted the company to slash prices 40 percent in Japan starting today, the first time the games developer has resorted to such a move within six months of a product’s debut.
Nintendo has seen very poor initial sales of its new 3DS platform in the face of slumping DS and Wii sales, resulting in the announcement of a quarterly loss of $ 328 million late last month. In reaction, Nintendo has slashed prices of its 3DS in order to promote sales, but Bloomberg reports that investors want a more dramatic shift in strategy.
Nintendo’s stock, which is currently near a 6 year low, saw a big boost after news last month that an affiliated company of their’s, Pokemon Company, announced plans to release a Pokemon-themed iPhone game. Nintendo was quick to deny that they had any involvement and that Nintendo had no plans to bring titles to external platforms. Their stock subsequently saw a corresponding drop. Alternatively, some have suggested that Nintendo should “buy its way into” the smartphone platforms by acquiring companies and technology or developing their own.
Mobile applications and gaming have seen huge growth over the past few years, clearly impacting both Nintendo’s and Sony’s portable gaming systems. In line with that interest, a number of major acquisitions have taken place with iOS-related companies such as Ngmoco, Open Feint and Chillingo. Despite these trends, according to Bloomberg, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has said that Nintendo will only make titles for its own products as long as he’s in charge.
A painting in house walls and little renovation can increase its selling value. And when you are residing in any of the metropolitan city of India your little effort of renovation can bring you lot of profit from selling the house. For instance just consider decorators in Noida and you will find many professional painters who are ready to work for you. You need to give a good search and clear all terms in order to give the best to your house.
The only thing needed is a concrete plan. You should all starts with considering a repainting job for your house and rest of the work will be done by these painters. Real estate is turning to be a very profitable business but it to attract lot of improvement in order to give the best value. And investing a little on advancing your home with a new coat will never be a bad idea. This can really impress your potential buyers.
Shopping can mean different things to different people at different times, but one thing is sure most women love shopping, whatever the occasion may be. You would hardly come across any woman who doesn’t enjoy it. She takes immense pleasure in shopping, whether it is for her kids, boyfriend, husband, friends and especially for herself. There are some women who do not like to waste money on buying little unwanted things, just because they fancy it. However, I am sure they enjoy window shopping and end up buying something that is really important (which is good). While, for some shopping is an addiction and for most a habit. If you are also amongst one, who shops till you drop and is always being scolded for the same, well… I have some good news here… you would want to thank me after you read what follows.
Shopping is good for health and it is official! True it is! Other than torturing men (who miserably stand behind their girlfriends or wives until she is done with her shopping) and affecting the bank balance, it goes way beyond to boost your mental and physical health. And not to forget even gives your relationship a boost. Try it! Out of the blue just ask your girl to go out shopping with you, she would not just agree willingly but love you all the more for this gesture (wink). Jokes apart, an umpteen number of studies have brought researchers to the conclusion that shopping is really good for health and most importantly women enjoy it with a surge in positive emotions. Find elaborate details about the same below in this Buzzle article.
Is Shopping Really Good for Health?
The next time you go to a mall, just observe the ladies there, you will see all of them in the best of their moods. This is not something I am telling you out of my own experience, but true it is. Studies affirm it, as a form of therapy. Come on! Let’s face it when we go shopping, we feel good about ourselves and more about the place. It is the simplest way to elevate our self-worth. It literally is a stress buster for most women. Shopping releases hormones called endorphins which are responsible for lifting your moods and good for your mental health. During a survey an old lady in the mall said, she loved to buy stuff for her grand kids and children, as that keeps her going and helps her fight loneliness, giving her opportunities to socialize. Not only does it boost your mental well-being but also gives you a fantastic workout, find out how…
Cancel all your gym enrollments, your diet plans and all those intense exercise regimes. I am not joking! Scientists have found that women on an average spend around 3-4 hours of shopping (most of the time more than this) during a week. They walk more than 70 miles per week, using up nearly 200 calories per trip. Whoa! Although most women do not realize or look at it as a formal form of exercise, but it is definitely a valid form of exercise and that which requires less motivation (wink). Shopping in groups with friends or spouse is even more beneficial says a study. As you tend to spend more time selecting stuff for each other, which in turn leads to covering more distance at the mall. What better excuse do you want to hit the winter sales this season?
Some studies have led to a conclusion that shopping is one of the ways to combat depression. A woman tends to get so engrossed in shopping, that she can shop for hours together without eating or getting tired. That is exactly the reason, why gals indulge in shopping or grooming themselves after a terrible break-up. It is something that makes them happy and helps them forget their worries and problems. Hence, helps overcome depression. And moreover it is good to reward yourself occasionally with all those things you fancy. So, the next time you are depressed about something, you know what to do.
Men would want to hide this article from their wives, for this article will affect their wallets immensely and they will be soon dragged to the local mall. Thankfully most of the shopping malls have a coffee shop, where men can enjoy sipping their expresso while women enjoy a stress free experience! Happy shopping ladies!!!
Oh, how I wanted to play with them but I was so afraid of the embarrassment I would have to endure for being so old, out of shape, and not that good a player to begin with. It wasn’t like I was some legendary old basketball player who had withered with age but still knew what I was doing. I had only ever been just ok when I was their age. Well, I finally summoned the courage to join in the pick up games which took place several days a week. I signed the sheet and my name was called with 4 other guys to play full court against the opposing pick up team. I absolutely stunk for the first 2 months I played and was a defecit to whatever team I was on. Everyone talked to everyone else but almost no one talked to me. No high fives, no ataboys. Nothing.