When we think about travel or sightseeing,

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We normally think of jumping on a plane or envision some far-off land. But in the months that I was forced to stay close to home for health issues, I realized that I had not seen many sites right here in my hometown of Jacksonville.

I actually was born in a small lil offshoot town just south of Jacksonville; Orange Park. It will always hold a place in my heart for that reason as well as the many memories held there.

We lived in Jacksonville most of my childhood. Although our residency bounced back and forth across the county line through the years. Looking back, I can’t imagine why. But in my teens, I had an overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t wait to leave. Like most hometowns though, it has a way of pulling you back. Be it family or familiarity, we always seem to find our way home. I came back, settled in, had kids and built a life.

But that feeling of something better out there never left me.

That is until recently. I had returned once again in 2013 to take care of my sister that was terminal. My girls who had stayed here seemed to love Jacksonville and kept telling me about an ArtWalk and a gallery downtown that I should go to. So first chance I had,  I did, (Artwalk is held in downtown Jacksonville on the first Wednesday of each month) and it was a game-changer for me. Jacksonville was new and exciting. Art was popping up everywhere. Downtown was changing, was cleaner, brighter, and just fun.

I still have that overwhelming feeling of wanting to see what is “out there” but I also have one to see what is happening right here too.

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