Neighborhoods We Love: Atlantic Beach

Neighborhoods We Love (2)

One Ocean

If you are looking for a relaxing vacation spot or the perfect staycation getaway you must plan a visit to Atlantic Beach’s One Ocean Resort and Spa. This luxurious resort holds a prime location with it being close to the heart of the quaint Atlantic Beach town center.  One Ocean provides its guests with extravagant suites and amenities for the whole family all while taking in the views of the picturesque Atlantic Ocean. Relax in your private beach getaway with floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean with private white sandy beaches in the foreground. A special feature that One Ocean offers their guests includes the choice to personalize your amenities. This gives guests the option to request any favorite snacks or beverages that will be ready and waiting for you upon your arrival. Once you’re settled in your personalized suite, guests are welcome to utilize the relaxing spa area. The spa features a wide variety of different types of packages including massages and facials among other revitalizing and relaxing amenities. One Ocean holds a prime location with it being close to the heart of the picturesque Atlantic Beach town center. You will not be disappointed with your choice to stay here with One Ocean offering something for everyone whether it be a vacation, staycation, or even a wedding, this resort has the perfect services for you.

 

Neighborhoods We Love (10)

The Hotel Palms

You’ll find a private getaway at the Hotel Palms nestled in a quiet part of Atlantic Beach. The Hotel Palms aims to make you feel like an Atlantic Beach local throughout the duration of your stay. One of the features that makes this hotel particularly unique is its wide variety of rooms tailored to fit any type of guest’s desire. Some of these types of rooms include quaint bunk rooms to private beach bungalows and luxurious cabanas. The Hotel Palms specializes in unique amenities for guests to enjoy such as the beer and wine lounge, private courtyard, outdoor courtyard, and beach cruiser rentals just to name a few. Once you’ve gotten acquainted with the hotel, you’ll find that you are within walking distance to the beach and the Beaches Town Center where you can find many different types of local stores. This hotel is perfect for those who want a boutique hotel experience where you are encouraged to explore and participate in the activities just like a local.

Neighborhoods We Love (1)

Next, we wanted to highlight a local designer that calls Atlantic Beach home. Elizabeth Sarah works to create unique jewelry for women that acts as an extension of the unique person that they are. Elizabeth Sarah designs all of her pieces with the intention for them to carry on luck, celebration, and love onto its wearer. Elizabeth Sarah has been creating one of a kind jewelry for thirteen years. With each and every piece she works to make her jewelry in the spirit of casual sophistication and products that are high quality with an individual design. The Atlantic Beach inspiration for her jewelry definitely shines through with many of her pieces paying homage to her home with different shades of blues and statement pieces from shells to sharks teeth are incorporated within. This jewelry makes a great gift to take back home, or a perfect present for yourself to remember your visit to this quaint oceanside town.

Neighborhoods We Love (2)

Royal Palm village wine and tapas

The Royal Palm Village and Wine Tapas Bar is the perfect place to stop for an intimate wine tasting paired with delicious tapas. This local wine bar offers over 1,200 different types of wine for you to sample, along with fourteen local rotating drafts and over 200 types of craft beer. The motto used by Royal Palm Village is to keep their food and wine as authentic as possible, pouring their heart into the “farm to table” meaning. Their tapas are equally fresh sourcing their ingredients from local vendors and seasonal vegetables. A unique feature of this wine bar is that it offers its vast wine collection at retail prices to their customers, so you will be able to stock up on your own private wine collection! You can find this wine and tapas bar located in a quiet plaza  just a short drive from gorgeous Atlantic Beach.

Local Atlantic Beach expert, Julie Childers, REALTOR® with EXIT 1 Stop Realty, explains the neighborhood and real estate market.

4C3A8520_pp[7531]

Atlantic Beach is a quaint beach town on the northeast part of the Jacksonville beaches areas. This highly desired beach is in demand for a number of reasons: the small beach town, the mature trees and friendly neighborhood feel, the fabulous restaurants (some of the best in Jax) and shops, the wide open beach, and the 24 hrs a day dog friendly beach. While these are just a few reasons why families and singles want to live in AB, there are many more and it shows in the real estate market numbers. In fact, people love it so that the amount of homes on the market for sale are down 23% from last year. With an already low inventory market, this drives the competition for homes up in the area. The average sales price in 2019 of an Atlantic Beach home is $577,657. This is a 6% increase over the sale price of homes in 2018. Thus, more people are choosing to stay put in Atlantic Beach…with all the great perks, who wouldn’t!?

Neighborhoods We Love (5)

JAX Cooking Studio

The JAX Cooking Studio is here to provide you with the tools to spice up your home kitchen while serving a fun and creative experience to their guests. JAX Cooking Studio offers its guests cooking classes that are open to all levels of cooks. The classes will teach you how to prepare delicious meals without breaking your budget. The classes offer cooking lessons with a wide variety of healthy foods designed to give you the nutrients your body needs without sacrificing taste! Find this Atlantic Beach gem located just minutes from the Jacksonville Beach area.

Johansen Park

Neighborhoods We Love (7).png

Johansen Park is a beautiful twelve-acre park located in the Selva Marina neighborhood, just blocks from the ocean. This gorgeous area is perfect for a family picnic or a pick-up game of Frisbee or soccer. In the spring you’ll be able to find the local Spring Arts in the Park festival featuring food, music, and art from local vendors. Make sure to mark your calendars in the spring for this family friendly event that occurs on the last Saturday in April from 10am – 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Neighborhoods We Love (8)

 

 

Advertisements

Neighborhoods We Love: Riverside/Avondale

Neighborhoods We Love: Riverside/Avondale

Here at TOTC we have a passion for exploring the beautiful and eclectic neighborhoods that makeup the Northeast Florida area. We wanted to showcase the uniqueness of the areas in our “Neighborhoods We Love” feature series and we’re especially thrilled about the next neighborhood we’re featuring: Riverside/Avondale. We’ve highlighted some great areas in art, food, shopping and culture below.

My Post Copy (26)

Nestled underneath one of downtown Jacksonville’s busy bridges you’ll find a wealth of local activity, the Riverside Arts Market. The Riverside Arts Market overlooks the beautiful St. John’s River with lovely parks and gardens surrounding the market space. Every Saturday from 10am – 3pm, you’ll be able to find almost any local treasure your heart desires. RAM has a variety of different vendors which range from local farmers selling fresh produce to artists selling homemade jewelry and bath products. Not to be outdone by the unique knick-knacks and gifts, RAM also hosts a collection of different local food vendors. Here you’ll be able to sample foods from all the wonderful cultures represented in Jacksonville. There are quite a few vegan and gluten free options available as well. This event is family friendly, with live music and performances almost every Saturday. It’s a must see if you are a new-comer to the area or a seasoned resident!

 

My Post Copy 2 (20)

The Cummer Museum is a vital source for the celebration of the arts and education in Riverside. This quaint museum located on the banks of the St. John features a host of different artists’ works. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful gardens the city has to offer. The mission behind the Cummer Museum is to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. There is an array of programs to explore at this museum, all with inspired by art, nature and culture. Not only can you check out their gallery and gardens during business hours, but classes are available to the public for their enjoyment. Classes include interactive Art for Tots, Art for Two, and Art Adventures for children and adults alike. The Cummer Museum is also available to rent for private events like weddings and other celebrations.

My Post Copy 2 (21)

Historic 5 Points, named for its iconic 5-pointed traffic circle, is in the eclectic Riverside neighborhood just on the border of Avondale. Here the live music, art and food scene thrive. This neighborhood is overflowing with character. Here you can catch a movie at the vintage Sun-Ray Cinema or explore the treasures found at Fans & Stoves Antique Mall. 5 Points gives you that familiar “Main Street” feeling as you peruse its energetic streets. It’s a unique must-see in this neighborhood.

My Post Copy 2 (19)

Memorial Park is one of the local treasures of the Riverside/Avondale area. This 6 acre park includes a sprawling green field that’s perfect for a small soccer game or frisbee match. The space overlooks the St. Johns River and is bordered by sweeping oak trees. This park holds a lot of historical significance for the neighborhood. Unveiled in 1924, this park was created to commemorate the lives of Floridians killed in World War I. Names of more than 1,200 veterans were written on a piece of paper and placed in a box inside of the majestic sculpture that resides in the park’s fountain. Enjoy local musicians, set up a spot to fish, or relax in the sun. You can’t go wrong with visiting this beauty!

My Post Copy 2 (22)

We can’t mention all of these wonderful places without talking about the food, right? Black Sheep is a modern American restaurant located in the historic 5 Points district. They feature delicious food with most of it being sourced from local and regional farmers and purveyors. They choose to keep it simple with their philosophy by using fresh, local ingredients to create handcrafted food and cocktails for their customers to enjoy. Black Sheep offers a full bar, signature cocktails and an extensive wine list. They are open 7 days a week with casual brunch, lunch and dinner dining options. If you choose to dine here, make sure to check out their rooftop bar and lounge with an amazing view of the 5 Points and Riverside area.

My Post Copy 2 (23)

River and Post is one of the more upscale dining options available in the Riverside neighborhood. You’ll find this gem located at the top of one of the downtown skyrises. The view is comparable to none other in Jacksonville. Here you’ll see a gorgeous view of the downtown skyline along the St. John’s river; it’s exceptionally beautiful at sunset. Their mission is to create a warm and modern environment for guests where they can expand their culinary horizons. River and Post is available for reservations or private events.

My Post Copy 2 (24)

To close out your visit to this unique neighborhood, you’ll have to pay Biscotti’s a visit. Whether it’s a post-dinner indulgence or just a snack during your afternoon stroll, Biscotti’s offers a taste of locally made sweets that are sure to fill anyone’s sweet tooth. While they do offer a few café bites and cocktails during their happy hour, the desserts are what really make this place stand out. Biscotti’s strives to source locally and enhance the growth of the neighborhood’s charm. Enjoy your sweet treat and a coffee here while tucked snuggly away in the historical Klutho building that Biscotti’s calls home.

My Post Copy 2 (25)

Riverside Avondale Preservation was founded in 1974 when concerned residents saw their beautiful homes and businesses being demolished and decided to take action to protect their neighborhood. It has become their mission to advocate and support their historic buildings, vibrant local businesses, and nearby parks. This means so much more than just saving old buildings; RAP’s preservation efforts are about saving the heart of their community. This is no easy task. RAP works tirelessly alongside the residents, business owners, the city, and other groups to ensure that their history does not disappear.

Living in the Riverside Avondale historic district is a dream come true for many people. Every historic home in Riverside Avondale has a story to tell and showcases details that can be found nowhere else. Each home becomes a canvas for owners to create something new out of something classic.

April 27th and 28th marks the 45th Riverside Avondale Preservation Annual Spring Home Tour. This tour shows off the beauty and culture of this neighborhood with open houses of many of the homes, local eateries, and eclectic shops.

For tickets or more information, visit http://www.raphometour.com.

My Post Copy 2 (26)

Local real estate agent Brooke Mida specializes in the area and summed up what the market trends are in the neighborhood.

“As one of my absolute favorite areas of Jacksonville, our beautiful booming city, the historic Riverside/Avondale area never fails to impress with its economic resilience and strength. During the first quarter of this year, median home prices were up 7% compared to last year. Last month, 6.3% of homes were even selling over list price!

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has spent time enjoying this artistic, creative, and vibrant community. Any resident will attest that there is nothing that they feel they are missing. It’s convenient location to downtown, endless beautiful parks near the water, countless local non-chain stores, bars and restaurants, historic landmarks, and museums give residents everything they could wish for at their fingertips.  Therefore, homes in the Riverside and Avondale are only projected to continue to grow in value,” Mida says.

 

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Most photos featured here are from the Instagram accounts of the places mentioned. 

 

TOTC’s Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

Here at Top of the Coast we love to #shoplocal and we wanted to compile a gift guide of some of our favorite local stores to find gifts for anyone on your list. We’ve narrowed our guide down to a handful of categories and crafted our guide to reflect some of our favorite stores and businesses in the area! Happy holidays and happy shopping!

My Post Copy 3 (21)

Congaree and Penn

IMG_5847

#iamamodernfarmer

I know, you didn’t think they still existed, especially in Jacksonville. Well, they do at Congaree and Penn on Old Kings Rd. Do the following statements ring true in your heart?

  • You are moved by the Slow Food -food that is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients – movement.
  • You enjoy an evening out, away from the city lights, and out in nature. One that features other like minded people with great food and great conversation.
  • You are a person who appreciates the time, skill and creativity that goes into products that you use?
  • You appreciate #shoplocal and would prefer to spend your resources supporting local businesses verses large box stores.
  • You enjoy history and have a deep respect for those who take the time, energy and passion for the preservation of culture and tradition.

If any or all of these statements found you shaking your head YES – then take every opportunity to go and visit the farm, or their website. I promise you will not be disappointed. The owners live on the farm and are great to interact with and learn from.

Congaree and Penn is a farm located 20 minutes outside of Downtown Jacksonville and offers wonderful events and goodies for foodies. They have events year round and they also offer a unique assortment of gifts on their website that feature gourmet fresh flavors that any foodie will appreciate such as creole tomato jelly, pecan oil, a variety of rices from their farm and other unique and flavorful items.

Manifest Distillery

citrus-small-bottle
credit: Manifest website

Manifest is downtown Jacksonville’s only full-scale distillery that opened up in the fall of 2016. They make craft spirits and offer a selection of vodkas, gins and whiskeys. They also have distillery tours where you  can go learn about what goes into making their craft spirits. The food and wine lover may enjoy making a cocktail with a bottle of their Florida Citrus Vodka, which is crafted with Florida grown oranges, grapefruit and lemon. You can check out more on their website here.

A Chef’s Studio

A Chef’s Studio is a local cooking studio for those looking to learn, share, discover and develop their cooking skills. If your gifting for a foodie who has got a passion for cuisine, give them this fun-filled and thoughtful gift where they’ll be able to sharpen their skills or learn a new technique. Choose from their popular guest chef taught, Home Chef Series, a group class, or their relaxed wine club! Check out the calendar here for upcoming classes!

Intuition Ale Works

intuitsamplerBIG
Photo Credit: Intuition Ale Works

Intuition Ale Works is a local brewery, located in the entertainment area of downtown, established by native Jacksonville resident Ben Davis.Intuition works to create quality, flavorful beers for you to enjoy at their tap room and across Northeast Florida. Pick up a pack for your food and wine lover or take them downtown for a drink where they’ll be able to enjoy a cold one while overlooking the St. Johns River. Intuition also has tours available for free when you visit their downtown location. Tours include a walk through the brewery, the brew process explained, and any questions you might have!

Green Room Brewing

Green Room Brewing is the first microbrewery located in Jacksonville Beach. They cater to the casual drinker and beer aficionado that call Northeast Florida home.This brewery does not serve food, but with it’s convenient location it is near all the staple restaurants of Jax Beach. Feel free to bring your own food while you kick back and relax at The Green Room.

Bold Bean Coffee Roasters

For the foodie that enjoys a good cup of Joe, a gift from Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is for them! Treat them to a latte decorated with unique latte art and a pastry at three of their convenient locations. Bold Bean hosts stores in Jacksonville Beach, Riverside and San Marco neighborhoods. What makes these coffee shops so unique is that they feature a variety of different type of coffee drinks all served by baristas that are courteous and welcoming. If your foodie loves coffee, this is the perfect gift!

My Post Copy 3 (14)

Snacks and a Show at the Sunray Cinema

img_2238

The art lover will enjoy heading to the five points area in Riverside to check out a film and have a snack. You two can catch indie classics and mainstream movies at Sunray and enjoy popcorn with the fixins bar or something more substantial like a Caesar salad, pizza, beer and wine or even a vegan (or regular) milkshake. Their website has their showtimes.

MOCA

The art lover will enjoy a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in downtown Jacksonville where they can attend one of their events, artist q & A’s or exhibitions. Afterwards you guys can head to their restaurant NOLA MOCA for a truly unique and delicious meal. The restaurant offers an eclectic menu and has a full bar that serves hand crafted cocktails. They are open late on Thursdays and Wednesday nights during Art Walk if you two want to make a night of it and have dinner there. You can check out the latest schedule of events and exhibitions on their website here.

Theater tickets from the FSCJ Artist Series

1819-slideshow__slideshow

According to their website, “The FSCJ Artist Series is Northeast Florida’s major presenter of national and international touring attractions and is the presenting arm of the Florida State College at Jacksonville. The FSCJ Artist Series presents Broadway musicals and plays, as well as concerts, at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown and at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts on Beach Blvd.” Their next season has some great shows lined up including Hamilton. Get tickets here.

Classes at the Art League of Jacksonville

timthumb

The Art League of Jacksonville offers affordable art classes for children and adults. Get them tickets to an art class at their website here.

The Write Touch

The Write Touch is an adorable store in San Macro that has an assortment of stationary, gifts and accessories that they’re sure to love. You can pick up a gift at their San Marco store or online here.

Chamblin’s Bookmine

img_2219

Chamblin’s Bookmine is a local favorite and is located in Jacksonville’s downtown area-right across from Hemming Park. It offers a wide selection of books from all sorts of niche genres. You can spend hours browsing their large collection of books. The art lover will love anything from Chamblin’s or go together, treat them to coffee and let them choose their gift!

My Post Copy 3 (16)

St. Augustine Amphitheatre

581620_10151866758256996_643487533_n.png

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is a great place to catch live national acts and local music events. There are also several bars and restaurants that feature live music every night in downtown St. Augustine. You can also sometimes catch a few street musicians performing depending on the night.

Florida Theatre

18301898_10155295819508188_5882077154927573467_n

Is a great place to catch a show with your music lover. You can see all the upcoming shows on their website and plan your event.

Other Great Live Music Venues

You can take your music lover to see a show at other excellent venues for live music like the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall , Jack Rabbits , Murray Hill Theatre and 1904 Music Hall just make sure to check online for upcoming shows and events.

My Post Copy 3 (18)

Rethreaded  

Rethreaded was started by Jacksonville native Kristin Keen. According to the company’s website, “Rethreaded renews hope, reignites dreams and releases potential for survivors of human trafficking locally and globally through business.” Rethreaded has products that are made in Jacksonville and benefit their cause which make great gifts. Items like their Threads for Hope bracelets and Grace Scarves available here.

Liv-N-Grace bracelets

Liv-N-Grace bracelets are the perfect gift for those who like to give back. They are gorgeous and come in a variety of colors and styles. The bracelets can be purchasedhere. Proceeds from the bracelets benefit The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation which goes to two charities. According to their website, they are MARC centers, which serves over 300 at-risk youth in two Jacksonville communities. McKenzie’s Academic Resource Center’s offer academic tutoring, mentoring and developmental programs for students of all ages. And “McKenzie’s Home” The Foundation built three homes at the Okoa Refuge Orphanage in Uganda, Africa and in partnership with Okoa Refuge, provides medical care, food, shelter, education and love to over 75 girls, boys and infants.

A Gift from BEAM thrift

BEAM is a great place to find fantastic pieces at a great price. It also offers an eclectic mix of vintage clothes, accessories and art-all at a discounted price. The best part about BEAM is that all of the proceeds go to a great cause: the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry.

My Post Copy 3 (20)

Ellie Bing
Ellie Bing is a great local boutique that has beautiful one of a kind vintage and modern jewelry and accessories.  There are two locations one in Avondale and one in Jax Beach and there is a new store opening in Ponte Vedra Beach. You can also shop online.

Rosie True

Rosie True is a local clothing boutique with a variety of designs. The boutique features smaller brands with local flare. Browse their collection online or in store of flowing dresses, tunic tops and vivid prints. Conveniently located with a store in San Marco and Jacksonville Beach, it is the perfect place to find a cute dress or fun piece of jewelry to make for a fantastic gift.

Pineapple Post

The Pineapple Post is another great local shop that has almost every gift imaginable for the stylish person in your life. They are probably best known for their stationary and invitations. What makes them unique is that they have an awesome selection of “print it yourself” items. Most shoppers would describe the style as preppy meets beachy. From home décor to accessories to stationary, you can’t go wrong here.

Pearl Home 


Located in the heart of Jacksonville Beach Pearl Home offers hip, modern high-end designs. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for your stylish loved one to display at home. It has several great interior design gifts like chic bedding and small artisan furniture pieces.

My Post Copy 3 (17)

The Bark Boutique

Is a pet store in the 5 Points area in Riverside which offers treats, toys and more your pet!  They have baked treats and cakes for dogs, training classes and more! Check them out at their store or online here.

My Post Copy 3 (19)

The Green Alligator

The Green Alligator is a wonderful gem located in the heart of Jacksonville’s Avondale neighborhood where you can find unique and educational children’s toys and specialty gift items for all the kids on your list. 

The Cummer Museum Children’s Museum

The Cummer Museum located in the heart of Riverside’s five points also houses a unique interactive and educational children’s area. A section is set up especially for tots with all sorts of art-related installations, interactive games and educational displays. The museum brings history alive with various special children’s exhibits of art and art history.Two of note are Art Connections, which brings art to life with things such as video installations and life-sized cutouts of impressionist paintings and Creativity Timeline, a vibrant three-dimensional mural depicting the entirety of art history, which spans an entire wall. In addition, the Cummer offers seasonal art classes as well as educational tours for children. A gift of a visit to the Cummer museum will be both fun and educational for the kids-and their shop has unique gifts as well!

Lucy’s Sweet Shop Cookie Decorating Party

Lucy’s Sweet Shop offers handcrafted cookies, cupcakes and cakes in a variety of flavors. The shop offers cookie, cake and cupcake decorating parties and fun for kids of all ages. Their party packages  have a 6 person minimum and 14 person limit. 

Sweet Pete’s Candy

Sweet Pete’s is a unique gem that features a variety of different kinds of candy. They are available for sampling and purchase in a beautifully decorated and whimsical shop. Upon entering Sweet Pete’s you’ll find their assorted chocolates and truffle bar to the right. Head to the back of the home and you’ll find a flight of stairs that will lead you to the second floor which houses the ice cream parlor, candy shop and fully functioning candy factory where you can oversee the creations from the glass observatory. You can purchase gift baskets or create your own in the store or online. 

Top of the Coast Wedding Series: Part 1

Are you planning on tying the knot on the First Coast? We are happy to share with you a carefully researched and lovingly crafted list of excellent local venues and vendors for your big day! Whether you are looking for inspiration or to hire some of the best local wedding vendors, you are not going to want to miss the first installment of
Top of the Coast’s Wedding Series!

Venues

The Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island

First up on our list of top wedding venues on the First Coast is the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. The Ritz-Carlton provides an atmosphere of elegance, sophistication and beauty, perfect for a luxury Southern wedding. You can choose from a selection of three venues for your ceremony, the beach, the oceanfront lawn, or the courtyard. Reception choices include, the plaza ballroom, the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, or oceanfront lawn. These venues can accommodate anywhere from 100-800 guests. The Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island also has catering and conference professionals available for you to use for assistance in planning your dream wedding. Check out their site here for more details.

The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club

The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is an elegant beach side venue that has the potential to host the wedding of your dreams. With the beach as your backdrop and the early 20th century styled venues as your reception, your wedding will be one of elegance and sophistication. Choose from the spacious Grand Ballroom or slightly smaller Junior Ballroom to host your reception. Whether you are having your ceremony beach side or nestled among the immaculate grounds, you’ll appreciate the top notch service that the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club staff offers. Check out their site here for more wedding details.

The Treasury on the Plaza

Looking for a wedding with a more historical feel? The Treasury on the Plaza offers an elegant and luxurious wedding venue. This venue offers a gorgeous ceremony and reception space with high ceilings, elaborate architecture and the historic Vault Bar. The Grand Ballroom holds anywhere from 50-250 guests, giving it the versatility to a be a big celebration or more intimate affair. Some of the added perks of this venue are the option to add fun effects like a fog machine, choreographed lights, or live video streaming. Make sure to check out their events page here for all of the details and pricing. Special discounts can be applied to those who book a year or further in advance!

Plantation Oaks Farms

Experience the farm wedding of your dreams at the quaint Plantation Oaks Farms in Callahan, Florida. This venue can accommodate small or large gatherings. Couples may choose from three ceremony spaces as well as a 5,000 sq. foot event barn for their reception. Enjoy towering oaks and luscious Spanish moss as the back drop of your picturesque ranch wedding. Take advantage of the elegant and customized bride and groom suites to get ready for your big day. You will not want to miss the wonderful opportunity to make lifelong memories at this gorgeous Florida plantation. For more details on the venues and services visit their site here.

Gowns

Love: A Bridal Boutique is a Jacksonville Beach boutique that specializes in wedding gowns from unique high end designers. It is a local store that caters to brides on the First Coast. You can go to their website here to book an appointment and check out some of the designers they feature. They also host  events at their store like their annual  sample sale which is taking place July 20th and 21st and a Robert Bullock Bride Trunk Show from July 27th to August 11th.

Catering

Hire a Food Truck

 

Go the untraditional route and hire a food truck to cater your wedding. Hire a food truck to do the catering- it is a new trend at weddings and a less expensive way to serve delicious food to your guests. A food truck usually costs less than a traditional caterer because the set up is easier. In fact, the quality of the food may even be better due to the fact that everything is cooked to order on site. Food trucks come in a variety of styles and types of cuisines and you can tailor the menu to your taste and wedding theme.

Food truck finder USA has a service where you can find food trucks in the Jacksonville area that are available for weddings here. The website Roaming Hunger also schedules food trucks for events in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas and it has a section devoted to weddings. Go here to check out the various food trucks and to schedule one for your wedding or events surrounding your big day.

Invitations and Printed Items

Color Fusion Printing

 

Color Fusion Printing is a local printing service located in the Southside area in Jacksonville. They offer additional services such as creative and graphic design help as well. In addition to wedding invitations, they offer engagement announcements, save the dates, placemats and coasters, bridal shower invitations. You can see the various styles and order online here. There are also a wide variety of additional items available that you can purchase with custom printing and embroidery for your wedding festivities. You can see all the printing services they offer on their website here. 

Photography 

Sarah Hedden

2015logo-web01

Sarah Hedden is a Jacksonville photographer and weddings are one of her specialties.  I have worked with her in the past and can say that she comes highly recommended. Sarah has a vast portfolio online and books up quickly so make sure to make her one of your first contacts when booking services for your big day. Check out her website here for more information and check out a portfolio of her work on her Instagram and Facebook or online here.

Bakeries

Cinotti’s Bakery

Jacksonville Beach locals favorite, Cinotti’s Bakery  is a bakery that never disappoints! Cinotti’s offers hand decorated cookies, cakes, cupcakes and donuts. The variety of flavors, colors and sizes of the goodies displayed in their bake cases when you walk into the shop is enough to send those with a sweet tooth into seventh heaven! Cinotti’s also creates gorgeous wedding cakes, tailored to fit your ideal wedding theme. In addition to your wedding cake, you can also choose to have their yummy cupcakes, cookies, or donuts catered for your guests on the big day!

Alley Cakes

Alley Cakes is another local favorite that also creates beautiful wedding cakes to celebrate your big day. They have three selections available to fit every bride and groom’s vision and budget. Each type of cake includes a phone consultation and voucher for their indulgent cake flavor samplings. By choosing Alley cakes, you’ll receive Alley’s personal touch and attention.

Sweet by Holly

Sweet by Holly is a cupcake store with locations in Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida. Owner Holly Wilder, winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, creates gorgeous cupcakes and cakes with fun flavors and beautiful decorations perfect for celebrating any occasion. Their wedding cakes can be ordered in sizes 4” to 12” and come in square and round sizes. They can also be single stacked or tiered to your preference. Rest assured that all cakes are made from scratch, decorated with their famous buttercream frosting. You can also go with the more recent trend of having cupcakes as your dessert of choice for your big day. This can allow the flexibility for guests to try different flavors with Ms. Holly’s famous 2.5 bite cupcakes. You can’t go wrong in choosing Sweet by Holly where you’re sure to get a dessert that fits your vision, tastes great, and impresses your guests.


Florist

Rose of Sharon Wedding

Since 1986, Rose of Sharon Florist has been providing gorgeous floral arrangements for the residents of Northeast Florida. They pride themselves in their attention to detail and truly being able to listen and share in the creation of the wedding couple’s vision for their big day. When getting started with Rose Sharon Florist, they encourage clients to share pictures and Pinterest pages to serve as a guide for creating the arrangements on your big day. Plan to sit down for your complimentary consultation 6 – 12 months in advance to begin planning and prepping for the floral arrangements on your big day. On your wedding day, Rose Sharon Florist will flawlessly execute the delivery, set up and breakdown of your arrangements, giving you the freedom to focus on what is most important. For more details on their services please visit their site here.

Featured Places:

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
4750 Amelia Island Pkwy, Amelia Island, FL 32034
(904) 277-1100
Ponte Vedra Inn and Club
200 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
(866) 748-8083
Treasury on the Plaza
24 Cathedral Pl Ste 111, St Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 217-0077
Plantation Oaks Farms
45460 Hodges Rd, Callahan, FL 32011
(904) 524-3004
Rose of Sharon European Florist
2319 University Blvd W. Jacksonville, FL 32217
(904) 737-8655
Cinotti’s Bakery
1523 Penman Rd
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 246-1728
Alleycakes Bakery
1517 Atlantic Blvd Neptune Beach, FL 32266
(904) 372-7081
Sweet by Holly
4624 Town Crossing Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 564-2711
Love: A Bridal Boutique
434 3rd St N
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
(904) 242-9800
Color Fusion Printing & Custom Apparel
3653 Regent Blvd. Suite 303
Jacksonville, Florida 32224
(904) 994-9040
Sarah Hedden Photography
sarah@sarahheddenphotography.com
(904) 504-1759

Roaming Hunger 
http://www.roaminghunger.com

Food Truck Finder USA 
http://www.foodtruckfinderusa.com

Host a Winter Beach Bonfire Party

If you’re looking for a unique gathering to host this winter what could be more festive than a winter bonfire on the beach? Atlantic Beach is one of the Jacksonville area’s most festive beaches and during the winter months the city of Atlantic Beach allows for the public to apply for permits to have beach fires after sundown.

img_2141

Apply for a permit with the city of Atlantic Beach here the permit costs $26.75 for one fire pit which can host up to 20 guests.

img_2146

This is the perfect time to host a beach bonfire party because according to the city’s website, no open fires are allowed on the beach during sea turtle nesting season which is March 1 through Oct. 31 by Florida State law.
There are multiple pits available near several beach access areas once the city issues you a permit when they approve your application.

img_2228

Once you submit your application the city usually issues you a permit within 24 hours. After you have your permit you’re ready to host your winter bonfire!

To stock up for the night head around the corner to Lucky’s Market in Neptune Beach to get all your bonfire essentials.

img_2237img_2238

The Menu

S’mores (obviously) but there are several ways to get creative with the food you serve at your bonfire.

Lucky’s has a great unique selection of candy in bulk as well as chocolate and yogurt covered pretzels which can help you get creative with your s’mores toppings. Lucky’s also has a great selection of gourmet chocolate in a variety of exotic flavors such as chili, quinoa, brown butter and bacon.

img_2245

The city of Atlantic Beach states that alcoholic beverages are not allowed during the beach fires but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve wonderful non-alcoholic drink options like hot chocolate, which is perfect for a winter bonfire. In addition to hot chocolate there are several ways to get creative with your party beverages when shopping at Lucky’s. The store has fresh in house squeezed juice and an assortment of uncommon beverages like cane cola, birch beer, butterscotch beer and organic green apple soda.

Party Set Up

img_2212

The permits allow for beach fires near certain areas on the beach near public beach access. One area we would suggest applying for a permit in would be the 7th street beach access because it is near a lot of public parking areas and public restrooms.

Allow yourself a little time before sunset to set up and start the fire. Make sure you bring things like folding tables and beach chairs along with any other additional items like blankets and party favors to set up for your guests. We would suggest getting cheap party favors like glow necklaces or glow sticks which can be bought at Walmart or any craft store like Michael’s and sparklers- and remember to be safe with the sparklers!

One of the best things about living on the first coast is the access to the area’s beautiful beaches and this winter season is the perfect time to make use of that by hosting a bonfire party- and we found out this past weekend that it’s a fact that s’mores taste better cooked over an open flame on the beach! Hope you’re bonfire is as fun as ours!

 

Our favorite Jacksonville DIY Couple

Any HGTV addict will tell you that there is something about couples who DIY and flip homes that is particularly charming. Just try to sit and watch one episode of Fixer Upper With Chip and Joanna Gaines or Flip or Flopped (and the multiple spin offs) during a marathon without wanting to binge watch!

One of the things Top of the Coast is particularly passionate about is DIY home projects and we found a young Jacksonville couple who have turned their love of DIY and real estate into an exciting new business.

After they were married two and a half years ago, Dror and Brooke Mida decided they wanted to start saving up to start a business flipping houses. At the time Mida was a 5th grade teacher and her husband was in flight school. They began saving up and planning ahead for their business which they have now turned into a reality.

“One of the things we’ve always been passionate about together is the real estate industry,” Brooke says. “We had to really kind of pinch our money together really tight and we had to be really committed to our financial goals so we could have that cash to invest in a property. We were very goal oriented and two years into our marriage we finally felt comfortable investing in our first property. We moved back to Jacksonville and Jacksonville has a great market for investors my Dad’s currently an investor in the city and he has a bunch of properties so we leaned on him for his knowledge of the areas as well,” she continues.

Today Dror is a commercial pilot and Brooke sells real estate full time. Brooke explains the process of how her and Dror chose the property they have recently flipped in Murray Hill.

“We chose an area and got a property that literally needed everything…I mean we kind of went in full force…it needed plumbing, electrical…you name it. We are currently working on it together. We do a lot of the work ourselves…the work that’s safe for us to do,” she says.

According to Brooke, Murray Hill is one of the hottest areas in Jacksonville for investors looking to flip houses.

“Our house is in the Murray Hill area close to Riverside. I personally have a passion for that whole area so Riverside, Murray Hill and Avondale… and I think that has been a hot market for a few years and it’s continuing to be and now that trend from Avondale to Riverside over to Murray Hill is kind of pushing that direction. Murray Hill is one of those areas where it’s still a little rough but I think investors are really starting to see the potential there because of its vicinity around those historic districts,” Brooke says.

Brooke has been able to develop an expert knowledge of the market in Jacksonville for real estate investors.

“Where we chose to invest and where our property is lies right on that line [historic Jacksonville districts]…and you have a lot of investors that are pouring into that area and starting to put money into the older properties,” she says.

Brooke says Murray Hill and the surrounding areas is transforming into a hot location in Jacksonville for young professionals and local businesses. This is due in part to investors like Dror and Brooke who are putting time and money into restoring the homes in the area.

“I think  what they are trying to accomplish is to follow in the footsteps of Riverside and kind of become that artistic, young neighborhood where people feel like they can invest in a lot of businesses and we’ve seen some of the restaurants and businesses that are going in there kind of mirror the same vibe as Riverside…so you’ve got local bakeries and bars going in and hip local businesses…so now a lot of people are investing in those historic homes and making them really nice,’ she says.

Brooke has some advice for people interested in flipping homes:

“First of all if somebody wants to get into an investment property that’s something you really have to plan for financially and you really have to be committed to saving for it because you’re not just talking about purchasing the property you have to know what money you need in reserve to fix it,” she says.

Brooke also gives some advice about how to search for the right property to flip,“When you’re looking for a property it’s important to remember you’re going to see something that is very distressed, it needs some love and you have to be able to see past the flaws and have the creativity and ability to say ‘Wow! What can I do?’ and ‘how can i make this my own?’ and you have to love it because you’re going to get down and dirty, you’re going to rip things apart and you’re going to come across things that you didn’t expect,” she says.

Brooke says that it’s also important to be prepared for surprises-her and Dror found this out during their last project.

“When we pulled up some of our laminate floors we found that some of the sub-floors were just rotted and that was something that we didn’t expect but you know that’s why it’s important to have that cash…so you’re ready to say ‘OK. I know that this house needs this, this and this so I have that money saved but then I actually have an additional 25% so if I run into a bump it’s there for me,” she says.

When it comes to how her and Dror split up their DIY duties Brooke says there are certain roles taken on by each of them.

“I’ve leaned on him more for knowledge when it comes to the construction end of things and he’s really leaned on me more for the artistic end of things such as picking out paint colors and putting up back splash against counter tops and knowing they’re good together. I would say that we’re a good team in the sense that we trust one another and kind of lean on each other’s skills,” she says.

 

Brooke explains that her Mom is the inspiration behind many of her home design ideas and that to stay on trend she usually goes online. “My parents have a bunch of properties in Jacksonville and they kind of work the same way as Dror and I. My Mom is really the eye for design. She really inspires me because she can just walk into a space and be like ‘boom! I know what I’m going to do!’ and she can have all the colors picked out and they all go together perfectly and it’s flawless so she really inspired me. There are also so many resources online that I go to stay current on modern design trends,” she says.

One of her favorite modern home design trends is a big, open kitchen. “I know that in the past kitchens weren’t really a focal point- you can see that in older homes, they were kind of a blocked off space…but now people really love having a kitchen as a social space and it opens up into the living area. So one of the things we did in our home is that we knocked down walls to make the kitchen as open as possible and we really incorporated the kitchen into the living space so it’s just a free, open floor plan” she says.

Brooke says she was able to incorporate two of her favorite modern design trends into their Murray Hill project. “As far as color trends are concerned: one of the things that we saw and I fell in love with it because it is very elegant is the color scheme of having light grays on the wall, like a blueish gray with white trim and then gray hues on the flooring. So our flooring is something that is really popular right now- a cooler toned, grayish-brown hardwood that has hints of blue in it as opposed to a more golden hued hardwood floor,” she says.
The Midas are preparing their Murray Hill home to be put on the market and are ready to move on to their next investment property soon in the Murray Hill area. Brooke also focuses on helping other buyers find the right investment property in the city through her real estate business, “Jacksonville is huge and there are so many different neighborhoods that are hot for investors there are other areas like near the airport that are starting to come up too but Murray Hill is where our heart is right now but down the road we may start to move into other areas, too,” she says. 

If you have any questions for the Midas on any of their projects or are looking for more advice about investment properties you can reach Brooke on her Facebook page or shoot her an email at Brooke@thebillsharpteam.com.

IKEA: A Beginner’s Guide

img_4076-1Believe it or not I’ve never been to an IKEA before this past weekend. The new Jacksonville store has been drawing huge crowds ever since it opened last month and I have been waiting for a chance to check it out.

It turns out IKEA can be very overwhelming for a first time visitor! After my adventure I feel as if I have developed some helpful tips to store in my “IKEA tool belt” which may help fellow newbie shoppers. Checkout my top 10 essential tips and suggestions below. Enjoy!

shopping list ikeaMake your shopping list online.

One of the great things about the IKEA website is that you can make your own shopping list online. Head to ikea.com and click the little paper and pen icon at the top right of the screen. From here you’ll be able to search the site and pick out exactly what you are looking for.

img_4095Check IKEA’s stock online before you go.

That’s why I love IKEA’s online stock feature. This feature allows you to look up any item on their website, select your store and then just like magic, it will tell you if the store has it in stock. If they don’t, no sweat! Just order online and you’re good to go!

img_4084Bring a friend!

For this trip I travelled with my trusted friend and sweet roommate, Megan. She is a seasoned IKEA shopper and has a special eye for interior design. Plus she’s a ton of fun to shop with. I highly recommend bringing an IKEA buddy with you on your first trip. They can help you navigate the craziness, keep you focused, and two more hands, eyes, and opinions are always better than one!

img_4093Try to avoid a Saturday if you can.

Saturday? Check. Gloomy weather? Check. Smack dab in the middle of the holiday shopping season? Check. IKEA store less than a month old? Check! This was the day that I entered the blue and yellow doors of my local IKEA. The perfect makings for an overwhelming, loud, and crazy shopping trip. Now this is not to say I didn’t enjoy it, it was just a little much for a first timer. With that being said, think carefully about going on a Saturday! If you can go during a weekday, you will have a much less crowded experience.

img_4094Eat at the IKEA Restaurant.

Home shopping can really work up and appetite! What’s great about this European shopping model is that they have incorporated a food court into their store so that shoppers can stop for a quick meal after a long period of shopping. You can check out the menu before hand online…and seriously those Swedish meatballs are no joke, TRY THEM!

img_4086Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the IKEA kitchen sale.

So, the IKEA kitchen sale is a bit elusive in that there are no specific dates released in advance on when their kitchen sale is happening. The sale happens roughly 3 times a year in early spring, mid-summer, and late fall/early winter. Why is it so great? There are great discounts! Check out the Modern Kitchen Pros article on more detailed tips and dates for scoring big at the kitchen sale.

img_4085.jpgLook into becoming part of the IKEA Family.

If you are always finding yourself wandering through the show and stock rooms of IKEA you may want to think about joining the IKEA Family rewards program. This loyalty program offers exclusive product discounts, special offers, and lots of ideas and inspiration. The best part? It’s FREE. Read more about it here.

img_4087IKEA’s moving program.

Moving to a new home or city? Looking to stock it with tasteful and affordable furniture? Check out IKEA’s moving program. Not only will you save $25 on a purchase of $250, the moving program offers reminder emails, checklists to help you stay organized, and lots of moving advice. Sign up here.

img_4077Shop IKEA for cute and affordable decorations.

If you are planning a wedding, hosting a shower or throwing a party check out IKEA for great decorations like candles and flowers that can add a little extra bit of style to any gathering. These items are really affordable and you can mix and match with a variety of different decor items.

img_4088Make your returns in the mornings.

If you aren’t happy with any of your items, you are more than welcome to return them. My tip here is to return them in the mornings, weekday mornings if possible. This is when IKEA is least crowded. IKEA returns run on a “take a ticket and wait” system (kind of like the DMV or your local deli) so save yourself some time and frustration and get there early!


I hope you have enjoyed this beginner’s guide to navigating through the aisles of an IKEA superstore. If you have any of your own helpful tips make sure to leave them in the comments section below. Now get out there and go shop!

-Adriana