Travel the St. Johns River southward from downtown Jacksonville and you will pass corporate row, which is home to Fidelity National Financial and the St. Joe Co. But, keep moving and you’ll soon enter a magical community offering tranquility with a dash of modern-day charm. You are now in historic Riverside/Avondale. Known for elegant homes in a multitude of styles, Riverside/Avondale Shopping District Riverside/Avondale is closely watched by Riverside Avondale Preservation, or RAP, to maintain the historic integrity of this charming community. This community offers a mix of riverfront condos, upscale retirement living, and apartments. There are also parks where you’ll see families with kids laughing and playing. The Riverside/Avondale Shopping District is neatly planted in the middle of this community and offers a multitude of quaint eateries. This community becomes a bustling destination during the holidays as RAP members work to line the city streets with Luminaria in celebration of the season.
Jacksonville residents from all over can be seen driving by absorbing the somber, beauty and charm of the spectacle. Riverside/Avondale, while home to the largest National Historic District in the Southeastern U.S., is experiencing a re-development. Riverfront condos are going up near St. Vincent’s Medical Center, in an area just east of the Five Points Shopping District. This area is slated for a huge mixed-use development near Memorial Park. Drive south along the St. Johns River in Riverside/Avondale and, as the river curves, you will eventually get to one of the oldest, most charming neighborhoods in Jacksonville — Ortega.
Recently named the 46th wealthiest neighborhood in the U.S. by Worth magazine, Ortega is home to the Florida Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the state. Like Riverside/Avondale, Ortega boasts quiet, charming tree-lined streets and beautiful homes ranging from quaint to breathtaking. The community’s shopping district is the staging area for Ortega’s annual Fall Festival where you’re sure to see horse-drawn carriages offering rides, lots of families having plain, simple fun. Not far from Ortega is the waterfront area known as Venetia and the home to the Timuquana Country Club. Venetia offers quiet neighborhoods with well-manicured lawns and award-winning public schools. Living in Venetia was once considered to be country living.
Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach
From trendy condos to historic homes, Nassau County’s Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach offer the warmth and charm of small town living while being just close enough to the action of the city. This barrier island, referred to as “The Isle of Eight Flags” because it has been under the rule of eight different nations throughout history, is part of a growing community that is also a popular year-round tourist rendezvous.
Amelia Island’s charm and allure have grown immenselyAmelia Island Golf as the past decade experienced a boom in the number of charming bed and breakfast inns. The Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island is also quite a draw, attracting prestigious conventions to the oceanfront hotel.
But, the true gem on Amelia Island lies along and around historic Centre Street in the city of Fernandina Beach. Stroll down the brick-covered streets and you can’t help but get a feeling of excitement while also feeling a real sense of community. Centre Street is not only home to the Palace Saloon, one of the oldest restaurants in Florida, it also has a balanced mix of commercial businesses and shops that cater to the tourist traffic the island lures. This community is also home to one of the largest developments in Nassau County, Amelia Island Plantation, which offers fantastic oceanfront living.