Daily Archives: July 22, 2012

Jacksonville Bucket List

My husband and I have been settled into our new home in Jacksonville, Florida for almost 2 years now. However, we still have not seen nor experience everything there is to love about Jax. So with that thought in mind we compiled a bucket list of things that we wanted to see and do in this beautiful place we call home.

1. Go to a Jacksonville Jaguars game

2. Go to a Jacksonville Sharks game

3. Go to a Jacksonville Suns game


4. Go to a Jacksonville Giants game

5. Visit the Jacksonville Zoo

6. Visit the MOCA museum

7. Go Parasailing

8. Rent a Jet Ski

9. Fish Jax

10. Ride the skyway tram

11. Take a sunset cruise

12. Spend the night at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront

13. See the Blue Angels Air Show

14. Go to the Greater Jacksonville Fair

15. Go to JazzFest

16. Play with the dolphins & manatees

17. Go snorkeling

18. Explore Huguenot Memorial Park

19. Ride the St Johns Ferry

20. Attend some of the local festivals

21. Take a tour of the Budweiser Brewery

22. Visit the MOSH museum

23. ????

I know that there is so much more to this great city that I am over looking some things. So if anyone have any great ideas on what to do and/or see in Jacksonville, FL drop me a comment. We would love to hear from you. Thanks!


One Tank Trip From Jacksonville – Graham Swamp Mountain Bike Trail

Destination: Graham Swamp Mountain Bike Trail

Directions from Jacksonville: Take I-95 South; The trail is located on Colbert Lane at Flagler Beach in the Graham Swamp Preservation Area, about half-way between SR100 and Palm Coast Parkway

Details: Just a few short miles from beautiful Flagler Beach lies one of Florida’s premier mountain biking destinations, Graham Swamp. Situated on The Graham Swamp Preservation Area, it provides nearly 7 miles of intermediate singletrack littered with advanced features including everything from sweet drops, nasty climbs, and double jumps to tight switchbacks, log rides, and gnarly rock gardens.

Family Friendly: Yes

Cost: Free

When you think of mountain biking, you probably don’t think of Florida. But we found a place that’s a hidden gem on this one tank trip. Before hitting the trail. Who better to talk to then local bike shop about the best place to ride.

“Palm Coast has gone in the direction of make it the cycling capital of Florida,” said Tony Libretti of the Bicycle Doctor. “It’s become a place to bring your bike, ride the trails, see the scenery, stay the night. We actually have rolling hills, tough decents, and everything out here.”

Flagler county offers miles and miles of trails. The one that came highly recomended was the Graham Swamp Trail. The best thing about it is it’s free. Just bring your bike and your helmet. Volunteers carved out this challenging single track out of the landscape.

One Tank Trips From Jacksonville – iFLY Orlando

Destination: IFLY Orlando

Address: 6805 Visitors Circle • Orlando, Florida 32819

Directions from Jacksonville: Take I-95 South to I-4 west. Turn right on International Blvd. Exit at Visitors Circle.

Details: You can experience human body flight! Indoor Skydiving at iFLY Orlando is safe for kids, challenging for adults, exciting for teens and realistic for skydivers. No experience is necessary, great fun for all ages, three and up.

Family Friendly: Yes

Cost: Contact the center at (800) 759-3861 or visit iflyorlando.com
Located off of Interstate 4 near International Boulevard, IFLY Orlando is one of only 24 facilities in the world where adventurers can skydive indoors. The facility is a vertical wind tunnel that looks like a spaceship from the outside. From the inside, the adrenaline starts racing as you hear the roar of the engines.

The attraction uses five airplane engines that suck air into the tunnel, which creates the lift for your sky diving adventure. Starting at $54.99, an experienced instructor, like our guy striker, will walk you through instructions

Thrill-seekers receive two flights for 1 minute each. And while that may not seem like a lot on paper, it actually feels a lot longer while inside the wind tunnel. No experience is necessary and the only age restriction is that participants be at least 3 years old and in decent physical shape.

Judging from the experience recently by several kids who were at the center, the experience is a blast. As for the ride itself: One word, thrilling.

One Tank Trips from Jacksonville – Kayak Amelia

Destination: Kayak Amelia

Address: 13030 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32226

Directions from Jacksonville: Take I-295 north towards the airport; Take the SR-105 N exit, EXIT 41, toward Blount Island; Merge onto Heckscher Dr.

Details: Northeast Florida offers thousands of acres of tranquil inland marshes that can be explored via a variety of tours offered by Kayak Amelia.

Family Friendly: Yes

Cost: Ranges from $32-64 and daily hours are from 9am-5 pm.

Contact: 904-251-0016

One Tank Trip to Amelia Island, a peaceful resort that offers an urban getaway. “People can’t believe this is here in Jacksonville,” said Ray Hetchka, owner of Kayak Amelia. “We are actually in the city limits. It’s peaceful.”

Kayak Amelia is an easy 30-40 minute ride from downtown Jacksonville. Located in Talbot State Park, it’s close to a major city and feels like another world — especially on the miles of tranquil inland marshes. Adventure seekers can go by themselves or take family and friends.

Prices range from $32-64 and the attraction is open from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. daily. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, bug repellent and a zip lock bag for phone and valuables. Supplies can also be purchased at Kayak Amelia. There is plenty of wildlife but not alligators — they don’t like the salt water. Kayak Amelia is a good place to experience northeast Florida.

One Tank Trips From Jacksonville – St. Augustine Winery

Destination: San Sebastian Winery

Address: 157 King Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Directions from Jacksonville: Take I-95 south towards Daytona Beach; Take the SR-16 exit towards St. Augustine/Green Cove Springs; turn left on SR-16E; Turn right on N Ponce de Leon Blvd.; Turn left on W King St.

Details: San Sebastian Winery was founded in 1996 and is in a part of the state considered to be the birthplace of the American wine industry, dating back to 1562.

Family Friendly: Yes, for winery tours.

Cost: Complimentary winery tours and wine tasting are offered 7 days a week from 10 am-6 pm with Sunday tours starting at 11 am.

Contact: 904-826-1594

According to historians, St. Augustine is the birthplace of American wine, an industry that dates back to 1562. 

The San Sebastian Winery is keeping that tradition alive. Company officials consider themselves pioneers in the development of table, sparkling and dessert wine. Their facility has over 18,000 square feet of space inside, 40,000 gallons of wine storage capacity and houses an automated bottling line that allows them to bottle 1,250 cases of wine per day.

The wine is all made from hybrid and muscadine grapes. In addition to producing wine, the facility offers tours and wine tasting.

Don’t want to do the tour? Check out the cellar upstairs for music and drinks on the rooftop deck. The location provides beautiful views of the city with appetizers. And the best thing about the winery is that it’s free. It’s open 7 days a week, followed by a tasting. Visitors who want to avoid driving can catch a trolley that has convenient stops right in front of the winery.

Lemon Blossoms

I am always expanding my recipe box. So when I made these lemon blossoms for the first time awhile back I knew that I had a sure keeper. My husband loved them  so much so; he requested them for his birthday. For a little something extra give these babies a double dip. YUM!

4 large eggs
3 1/2 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
18 1/2 ounce package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel.

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they’re still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips.

Let the glaze set thoroughly, about one hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Our Daily Bread – Surrounded By Prayer

READ: Romans 15:22-33

Now I beg you, brethren, . . . that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me. — Romans 15:30

My friend Melissa’s 9-year-old daughter Sydnie was in the hospital for chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant when I had a dream about her. I dreamed she was staying in a central room at the hospital with her parents. Surrounding her room was a block of other rooms where family and friends were staying and continually praying for her during her times of treatment.

In real life, Sydnie wasn’t physically surrounded by family and friends in adjacent rooms. But spiritually speaking, she was and is surrounded by prayer and love.

The apostle Paul seemed to have a desire to be surrounded by prayer. In most of his letters to churches, he requested to be remembered in prayer to the Lord (2 Cor. 1:11; Eph. 6:18-20; Col. 4:2-4; Philem. 1:22). To the believers in Rome, he wrote, “Now I beg you, brethren, . . . that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me” (Rom. 15:30). He knew that he could not be effective in his service for God without His power.

The Bible tells us that Jesus also prays for us (John 17:20; Heb. 7:25), as does the Holy Spirit, whose prayers are according to the will of God (Rom. 8:27). What a comfort to be surrounded by prayer! —Anne Cetas

We give to those we hold most dear
No greater help and care
Than when we give them to the Lord,
Surrounding them with prayer. —D. De Haan

Prayer prompted by the Holy Spirit is powerful.

Copyright © 2012, RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA