Referred to as “the working son in the family of rich Florida playboys,” Jacksonville is retooling itself for the 21st century. With a strong technology core and its first black major, Jacksonville is remaking its image. Founded by the French and named for Pres. Andrew Jackson, Jacksonville still proudly retains parts of its French heritage and Southern roots.

West side High School

Westside High School was formerly Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Klu Klux Klan.

Jacksonville is a city with a history of paradoxes. The Kingsley Plantation on nearby Fort George Island was home to Zephaniah Kingsley, who was a slave owner and the husband of a Black woman. Fort Caroline also on Fort George Island stands guard over the city’s most precious natural resources. Fort Caroline according to Art & Cultural Scene, is also the site of the first Thanksgiving in 1564

Jacksonville guardian of the past and heir to the future.

Fort George Island.

My favorite place to paint is at Fort George Island.

While Tourists on I-95 bypass the Jacksonville for warmer climates, attractions and faster lifestyles, Jacksonville outranks many Florida cities. It was recognized in the 2014 list of Money Magazine’s “More Big-City Values.” The amenities and ambiance of the downtown neighborhood, Avondale, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places brought attention to the city.

In addition to its stellar rating, Jacksonville has stellar golf courses. The Player’s Championship and the World Golf Village are home to the area. In addition to great golf, the city has pristine beaches, outstanding fishing and numerous out-door recreational opportunities. The jewel of the city however, is the Cummer Museum and Gardens.

The Cummer Museum holds one of the finest art collections in the Southeast, with nearly 5,000 objects in its Permanent Collection. The Museum’s 2.5 acres of historic gardens are unique examples of early 20th century garden design, featuring reflecting pools, fountains, arbors, antique ornaments, and sculptures. Art Connections, the Museum’s nationally recognized interactive education center, enhances the cultural learning of visitors of all ages by offering educational programs and interactive opportunities, both in and out of the Museum, allowing visitors to gain a better understanding of works in the Collection. (


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