Haunted Savannah

 

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The time is upon us! October is here and that means it’s time for the ghosts and ghouls to come out haunting. Where are we exploring this week? Where else but one of the most haunted cities in America — Savannah, GA. We compiled a list of some of the spookiest places for you to venture.

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5 of our favorite haunted places in Savannah

The Marshall House 

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If you are looking for a place to stay, and don’t mind sharing a room with spirited guests, then look no further than the Marshall House at 123 E Broughton St. The Marshall house originally built in 1851 is now a nice hotel, but back in its early days, it was anything but. In its history, the Marshall house was used as a civil war hospital, where some of the most brutal amputations on wounded soldiers were done without anesthetic. Today the screams of these former patients can be heard all throughout the building. There have also been reported sightings of the bones of these amputated limbs found under the floorboards of the building. Guests have reported voices and screams, apparitions appearing in the hallways, as well as flickering lights and faucets turning themselves off and on.  Check out their website to book your stay on your haunted Savannah trip.

Moon River Brewing Co.

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Once featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, Moon River Brewing Co. has an exceptionally violent history. Originally built in 1821, the building was Savannah’s first hotel and post office. Once an upscale establishment, it became notorious for violent crime from many locals defending their southern honor from those from the north passing through. When Gen. Sherman passed through in 1864, the hotel closed, and remained unused until the 1990’s when Moon River Brewing took over. If you’re up for a drink with some of the ghostly residents, be prepared for the possibility of bottles being thrown, or maybe even being touched, slapped, or pushed by the spirits—and I’m not just talking about the drinks!

Bonaventure

Bonaventure Cemetery 

Bonaventure cemetery spans 100 acres which makes this Savannah’s largest cemetery-and it’s also rumored to be the most haunted. A dedicated group of local volunteers host their Visitors Center every weekend and give free, guided tours each month.  The cemetery also has a smartphone app with a map and written content included for visitors. Bonaventure Cemetery also hosts Bonaventure Cemetery After Hours this month where the cemetery will be open for a late-night tour. Bonaventure Cemetery After Hours takes place on  Oct 27th.

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The Olde Pink House 

The Olde Pink House was originally the home of Revolutionary war hero James Habersham, Jr. It is now a five-star restaurant and rumored to be haunted by Habersham and other spirits. Many patrons and staff have reported sightings of ghostly figures and sounds inside the restaurant and downstairs at the bar. If you decide to visit The Olde Pink House you can dine on some delicious five star Southern cuisine and perhaps encounter some of the city’s most notorious ghosts.

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Madison Square 

Madison Square is known to be one of Savannah’s most haunted outdoor areas. The bodies of British soldiers have been found underneath the elegant homes that line the square. If you venture through the square at night don’t be surprised if the flicker of the streetlight or the howl of the wind through the streets is really the angry spirit of one of these men-looking to take revenge on a tourist who disrupts his resting place.

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Here’s a list of some great things going on in the city this month to check out on your haunted Savannah trip:

Ghost Trolley Tour with Pirates House Tour & Dinner – All October

Hauntings Walking Tour – All October

Ghosts and Gravestones of Savannah – All October

Masquerade in the Mansion – October 26th

Savannah Haunted Pubs & Taverns Walking Tour – October 5-28th

SOCA Wine and Music Festival – October 13, 2018 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM EDT

 

 

 

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Savannah: Swept with the Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day

Every year over 300,000 people flock to Savannah to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day making it one of the largest celebrations in the world. St. Patrick’s Day is a few days away and Savannah is only a short drive from Jacksonville.

Earlier this month we headed there for a night’s stay to check out some great local spots. Upon our arrival it was evident that the St. Patrick’s Day spirit had already begun to sweep through the city.

St. Patrick’s Day events begin in early March in Savannah, which makes it one of the best times of year to visit. Savannah hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades, this site  has all of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities listed including a parade schedule.

In addition to the parade the city hosts the St. Patrick’s Day Festival which will take place this year on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17. The festival invites guests to enjoy a variety of live music, unique goods from different vendors and drinks on the Savannah River. The city also has “The Greening of the Fountain” in Forsyth Park on March 10th, where all the fountains are dyed green to kick of a week of celebrations.

Upon arriving in Savannah, the luck of the Irish was already in the air as the wind danced through the Spanish moss that dripped from the Live oak trees. We stayed at the Cotton Sail Hotel which is situated in the heart of Savannah’s Historic Downtown district.

This beautiful hotel is located in a restored historic building (in the 1800’s it was a cotton warehouse, hence the name) and it faces River Street, a location which gives guests access everything the Hostess City has to offer.

Their rooftop allows for breathtaking views of the city and it has Top Deck , a wonderful rooftop bar. One of the most memorable parts of our trip was when we were able to take in fireworks Friday night on the rooftop of the hotel.

After checking in we decided to explore the city and grab lunch. We headed towards the area that encompasses the campus of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The college is surrounded by eclectic restaurants and shops which cater to the hip, artistic taste of their student body. We saw some unique shops which featured a variety of SCAD alumni craftsmanship.

It was difficult to choose from the multitude of delicious restaurants in the area- which  offered everything from Thai to noodles to quick Southern fried fare. We chose Tequila’s Town Mexican Restaurant and enjoyed some delicious fish tacos and chicken flautas. The food was incredibly fresh and perfectly seasoned. The atmosphere was lively and laid back.

Friday night the city comes alive and we saw several local shops and restaurants which caught our eye as we wandered around the squares of Historic Downtown Savannah. Here are a few of note:

In Reynolds Square we recommend the The Olde Pink House, which is housed in a beautiful historic mansion and offers delicious traditional elevated Southern fare. It is the perfect place to enjoy a nice dinner out in the city.

Around the corner from Reynolds Square is a local favorite, The Lucas Theatre which showcases live performances and SCAD events. Another great spot in this area is Leopold’s Ice Cream which has award-winning, homemade ice cream in a variety of flavors.

On our walk through the squares there were a multitude of places that caught our eye- since we only had 24 hours to try everything ourselves here are just a few we’d like to mention:

The Foley House Inn is a lovely B&B that I had stayed in years before. They offer a wine and cheese hour, dessert and coffee as well as a delicious breakfast- all included. I would highly recommend the Foley House Inn to anyone looking to have an authentic and unique stay in Savannah.

The restaurant the Public Kitchen and Bar which had gorgeous decor and was already packed with patrons in the early evening hours when we walked by. Their menu features an eclectic mix of American cuisine and they serve hand crafted cocktails.

Later that evening we headed towards Madison Square which was lined with several enchanting shops and restaurants. A beautiful hotel located on the square is the Desoto which is one I made note to check out on my next stay. Madison Square is also where E. Shaver, Bookseller is located. We fell in love with this shop because of it’s wonderful selection of books, novelty items and quaint tea shop.

River Street is where visitors can take in some of the best of Savannah’s nightlife. Friday night on River Street did not disappoint- musicians played live music along the street and the bars, shops and restaurants were packed with merrymakers.

We decided to have dinner at Rocks on the River Restaurant , which is located inside the Bohemian hotel. We were greeted with lots of Southern hospitality and freshly baked bread. The service was excellent- the staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The restaurant offered an eclectic menu filled with a variety of southern specialties. We ordered the fried green tomatoes (a staple on most menus in restaurants in Savannah) and the pulled chicken. We finished our meal with the chocolate lava cake.

Here are some other places to check out on River Street:

You can smell the freshly made pecan pralines the minute you walk into River Street Sweets and there is no way you can say no to indulging in your sweet tooth when you are faced with options like their decadent chocolate covered strawberries and caramel apples.

River Street has a variety of lively bars and pubs that are a must stop for anyone interested in the Savannah night life. Bars like Wet Willies which has over a dozen different flavors of frozen daiquiris and pubs like Kevin Barry’s  (which is sure to be packed to the brim during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities) line River Street and city laws allow for patrons to enjoy their drinks outside along the Savannah river.

Saturday morning we decided to head to one of the most gorgeous churches in Savannah, the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. This historic church is stunning with it’s hand painted high arched ceilings and elaborate stained glass windows. We spent some time admiring the beauty and taking in the serene atmosphere.

After our visit to the church we headed across the street for brunch at the quaint Mirabelle Cafe. They serve homemade waffles with a variety of toppings that are absolutely delicious. They also have delicious coffee and specialty drinks- I recommend trying their uniquely flavored lavender latte. They also serve paninis with house made chips and savory quiches. We tried one of each, which was the perfect cap to our 24 hours in Savannah!

Every time I go to Savannah I always leave with plans for my next trip back because the enchanting city has so much to offer it’s hard to take it all in at once. March is the perfect time of year to visit the Hostess City of the South and with their epic St. Patrick’s Day festivities already underway I’m sure thousands more visitors will leave Savannah feeling the same way after the week’s end.

Featured Places:

Tequila’s Town Mexican Restaurant
109 Whitaker St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 236-3222

Leopold’s Ice Cream
212 E Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 234-4442

The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront
102 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 721-3800

Rocks on the River Restaurant
102 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 721-3800

River Street Sweets
13 E River St
(912) 234-4608

Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub
117 W River St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-9626

Wet Willie’s
101 E River St
(912) 233-5650

Foley House Inn
14 Hull St
(912) 232-6622

The Public Kitchen and Bar
1 W Liberty St
(912) 200-4045

Mirabelle Cafe
313 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 335-7255

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
222 E Harris St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-4709

The Cotton Sail Hotel
126 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 200-3700

The Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn St
(912) 232-4286

Lucas Theatre For the Arts
32 Abercorn St
(912) 525-5040

The DeSoto Savannah
15 E Liberty, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-9000

E Shaver Booksellers Book store in Savannah, Georgia
326 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 234-7257

Valentine’s Day Date Series Part 2: Southside and the Town Center

Looking for a weeknight date idea with Valentine’s day just around the corner? Read on for the scoop on some great date ideas in the Southside area.

Up next in our date series we’re featuring another local neighborhood in Jacksonville, the Southside area. Southside is somewhat centrally located in Jacksonville. It’s very close to the St. John’s Town Center and the highway, so it’s just a short drive away from downtown.

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This week we headed to a local brewery, Bottlenose Brewing, for dinner and a trivia night.  Bottlenose Brewing is in the Tinseltown plaza. Formerly World of Beer, this brewery is located near Moe’s Southwestern Grill and Mellow Mushroom. Bottlenose holds their 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s trivia night every Tuesday night at 7:30pm. They also have other events and specials happening every week including Happy Hour, $1 off drafts and wine, Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm and Ladies Night – $1 Wine, Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm.

Since this date was on a Tuesday night we decided to double date with a great couple that we’re close friends with. It was fun to team up together and pull our collective knowledge of pop culture going back a few decades.

We loved the atmosphere at Bootlenose. They’ve got a great menu that features traditional pub fare and an extensive beer menu. I highly recommend the pretzel sticks with beer cheese sauce- delicious!

Bottlenose Brewing features local beers brewed in the city and beers from other breweries in the state. Service is at the bar only, so when you’re ready to order make sure you go to the bar, a waiter or waitress will not take your order. Bottlenose also has a variety of board games you can play while you wait for trivia to start and your food to arrive. We loved playing games like Jenga, Sorry!, and Trouble.

img_4597The Tinseltown movie theater is within walking distance from Bottlenose, so if you’re looking to end your night with a romantic trip to the movies, it’s only a short walk away. The Tinseltown movie theater has some of the most comfortable movie theater seats I have ever encountered. It truly makes for a relaxing experience with your very own recliner and footrest.

If you’re looking for some other date ideas in the Southside area head to the St. Johns Town Center. The Town Center area has grown like wildfire in recent years and features a wide variety of shops and restaurants all showcased in an outdoor setting, which is perfect for a stroll with your date on a moonlit night.

Here are a few places to check out:

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

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This restaurant is located inside the Markets at the Town Center and serves contemporary cuisine and craft cocktails in a modern, romantic atmosphere. Moxie has two stories and each one is equipped with a full bar and outdoor patio seating. The decor and mood lighting will add to the ambiance of your date.

Their menu is eclectic with dinner entrees that include items like gourmet burgers, filet mignon and chicken and waffles. The creative decor and menu is sure to satisfy any couple looking for a unique date.

Blackfinn Ameripub

The restaurant is also located inside the Markets at the Town Center and features a diverse menu of classic American pub fare like fish tacos, fried chicken and burgers. They serve craft beer and cocktails in a lively atmosphere.

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Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

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The elegant and upscale restaurant serves up authentic Brazilian cuisine with menu items that include a variety of meats served in the traditional Southern Brazilian style and a variety of seafood, sauces and sides. They also have Brazilian style cocktails like the caipirinha, which is the national cocktail of Brazil.

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These are just a few places but the St. John’s Town center area has countless restaurants in all prices ranges and genres, so every couple is sure to find something! See their site here for a full list of stores and businesses.

 

Featured Places:

Bottlenose Brewing  
9700 Deer Lake Ct #1, Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 551-7570

Cinemark Tinseltown and XD  
4535 Southside Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216
(904) 998-2122

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails  
4972 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 998-9744

Blackfinn Ameripub – Jacksonville  
4840 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 345-3466

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse  
4784 Town Center Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 512-7300

 

The Perfect Day in Palm Beach: A Local’s Guide

I recently spent a week in South Florida for the holidays. If you’re travelling south soon or would like to plan a visit, read on to discover the treasures of South Florida! 

As a native South Floridian, Jacksonville was the first major city move I had made in my life. I found North Florida to be very different-almost like another state compared to my home in South Florida. If you decide to come down for a visit check out my local’s guide to a perfect day in Palm Beach.
In this particular visit, I spent a day on Palm Beach Island and the CityPlace area of West Palm Beach. We began the day by driving to Palm Beach and renting bikes from the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop, this shop has been in business for decades and they have an extremely welcoming and helpful staff.

The Bike shop is nestled in a small shopping and dining area on palm beach, we had a little trouble finding the shop since they had moved recently. They are located just off Coconaut Row for reference. The cost to rent a bike is $15/hr per person, if you’re planning on spending more than four hours on the trail check out their website pricing here. Once you’ve rented the bikes you can begin your adventure! The official trail is 10 miles long, but you are more than welcome to do as little or as much as you’d like! Our family has always ridden north on the trail and stopped at the Palm Beach Inlet. This all-encompassing view gives you a look at Peanut Island, Singer Island, and a peek of the Atlantic Ocean! There is a dock that you can stop and take pictures on and even take a quick dip in the ocean if you are feeling brave enough!

Once we’ve had our fill of the gorgeous ocean and island views we head back to the shop to return the bikes. While biking this trail you’ll see gorgeous mansions that border the intracoastal waterway. I always enjoy cruising along and imagining what it would be like to live in a house as big and magnificent as those!

When you have returned the bikes, you can walk around Palm Beach where you’ll find all sorts of unique local shops and restaurants.

Other enticing activities on Palm Beach include a visit to the historic Flagler Museum and a stroll down Worth Avenue. Once you’ve had your fill of Palm Beach, hop back in your car and take the bridge back over to West Palm Beach’s CityPlace! This little downtown area hosts a plethora of activity. Take a stroll down the main strip and you’ll recognize many popular stores. Here you can check out a free concert at the stage across from the Il Bellagio Restaurant. If you’re looking for a snack you must try Sloan’s Ice Cream!img_4351

This dessert wonderland is brightly colored, filled with homemade ice cream, truffles, chocolates and silly themed gifts for all! If you have more time to spend here in CityPlace, you can see a movie at the AMC Theater just across the way, catch a comedy show at the Palm Beach Improv, or enjoy a dinner and live music at BB King’s Blues Club. If you would like to enjoy food and drinks with more of a water view of the trac, take the free trolley at one of the many trolley stops in CityPlace and you’ll arrive on Clematis Street.
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Clematis has a variety of one of a kind restaurants and bars and is the perfect place to sample more of what the region has to offer. After dining there you can take a short walk to the dock on the intracoastal and watch the boats go by as the sun sets.

clematis

So there you have it, your guide to the perfect day in Palm Beach! The next time you’re looking for an affordable place to plan a quick getaway come down to South Florida and check out my hometown…and now you can experience it like a local!

Christmas at Walt Disney World

img_4147Christmas at Disney is one of the most magical times of year. I recently spent a weekend at the happiest place on earth during the full blown Christmas season. If you’re planningimg_3882 on visiting Walt Disney World anytime soon or planning a visit for next year, read on for some helpful tips on navigating your way through the hustle and bustle of the parks.

The day that I visited Magic Kingdom there was an estimated 80,000 people at the park. This trip included a lot of happiness, magic and crowds. The trick to planning your trip during this time of year is to PLAN AHEAD. If you want to ride some of your favorite rides- like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, try to arrange fast passes about a month in advance. img_4158It is unlikely to score any fast passes on the day of your visit during this time due to the increased amount of visitors. Once you have purchased your tickets, made your hotel reservations (see our post on Epcot here for hotel recommendations), and obtained your fast passes, it’s time for park day! If you’re looking to save a little, like many of us are this time of year, I suggest eating breakfast at a fast food place, nearby restaurant, or even your hotel’s continental breakfast. This will save you money and time. Yes, Disney food is delicious and awesome, but who really wants to stand in a 30-minute line for an overpriced meal when you’ve got the whole park to explore!? Our go-to is always a Chick-fil-A just before I-4, which is quick and convenient. If you’re not a fast food person, Disney allows you to bring your own snacks and food into the parks. Make sure to check out their rules and regulations before packing your bag.

img_4151If you’ve decided to visit Magic Kingdom during your trip, you will not be disappointed by the sheer amount of Christmas decorations and cheer. After catching the ferry or monorail, you’ll arrive at Main Street USA. Main Street looks beautiful at this time of year- check out those fun holiday decorations! img_4171Magic Kingdom is the most popular park, so it will see the highest crowds. Once you’ve meandered through Main Street and if you’ve got some time before your first fast pass, I recommend starting the day in Adventureland. A lot of people will veer to the right and start in Tomorrowland. Starting out in a less crowded section will save you some time waiting in lines. Speaking of lines, expect to wait at least an hour sometimes two without a fast pass in the stand-by lines for the popular rides like the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and The Jingle Cruise.

If you’ve got some time or just want a break from standing, hop on the People Mover or the Walt Disney World Railroad. You’ll be able to sit back and relax as you cruise throughout the park.

Another tip that I was very appreciative to learn of is that you can get free water cups at any Disney quick service restaurant. Walking all around the park in the Florida heat can be exhausting. If you need a quick water break, walk into any quick service restaurant and politely ask for cups of water, a cast member will happily oblige. Make sure to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade that happens at 2:00pm in December. You’ll be able to see all your favorite characters aboard their colorful parade floats. I love this parade because it’s a great place to see all your favorite princesses and characters in one place.

As you end your day make sure to stick around and watch the castle light up with it’s festive Christmas lights. They also have a fireworks show that begins at 9:00pm.

Other exciting extra features that are available at this time of year include Extended Park Hours or Magic Hours. Magic Kingdom is open until 11:00pm during the month of December. Make sure to consult Disney’s calendar since Magic Hours vary for certain days of the week. If you would like a little extra fun, check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This exclusive event is an additional ticketed event where you’ll get to see Mickey and Friends in their holiday best. Visit the official site here.

Happy Holidays and enjoy your trip at the Happiest Place on Earth!

-Adriana

A Magical Holiday Night Out in Downtown Jacksonville

The glittering lights, the vibrant costumes and the rich magic of Tchaikovsky’s music all conjure up a classic holiday experience: the Nutcracker ballet.

It is interesting to note that the original 1892 performance of the Nutcracker in Saint Petersburg was not entirely a success, only a 20 minute suite taken from the ballet. However the entire ballet has gained wide popularity since the 1960’s and now performances of the ballet, especially around the Christmas season, account for 40% of total revenue for most major American ballet companies.

Every year the Jacksonville Symphony puts on the First Coast Nutcracker and it has been part of the holiday season on the First Coast for 40 years. This year the performances are being held from December 15-17th and tickets are still available.

Friday night my sister and I dressed up in our finest holiday attire and headed to the Moran Theater at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown for an enchanting evening at the ballet.

Before attending the 8:00 performance we had dinner at The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails.

It is located at 400 N. Hogan Street in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. It’s proximity to the Moran theater made it the ideal place to dine before the performance which is why I picked it but I didn’t realize it would quickly become such a star in the tale of this holiday night out.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect place to dine before a Christmas event. The restaurant, which is located inside Sweet Pete’s Candy store, features small plates and craft cocktails in a whimsical atmosphere. The twinkling lights and vibrant Christmas decorations illuminated the restaurant from down the block. Inviting and festive, it conjured up images of a Christmas party at the North Pole.

Inside the Christmas spirit was even more vibrant. The candy store and small shop displayed all sorts of sweet holiday treats.

The magic of Christmas fills every corner of the building. A visit to Sweet Pete’s is a must for any parent looking to take their kids on a special holiday outing.

After browsing the candy store upstairs we entered the restaurant which was packed with patrons. The atmosphere was warm and inviting.

They had a diverse menu which noted their brunch as a special feature. After debating about whether or not to order sweet potato fries, we finally decided to order the Adult Grilled Cheese, which came with a cup of their Candy Apple Bisque and the Croque Monsieur, a French inspired ham and Swiss sandwich on a baguette.

Their bar echoed the candy theme with decor that featured imagery and quotes from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

My sister ordered the candy infused cocktail Pop Rockadopolis which had pop rock candy, vodka, orange liqueur, lime and cranberry juice.

The cocktail came in a small pitcher which allowed her to pour her drink into a martini glass filled with pop rocks. The candy crackled as my sister poured in her cocktail. It was a playful way for her to enjoy her drink.

We left the Candy Apple Cafe filled with excellent food and the holiday spirit and headed to the ballet.

The theater was packed with patrons dressed in their holiday finest. The lobby was filled with the sent of cinnamon roasted nuts that were being offered along with various drinks and snacks at the concession areas. The lobby also displayed a giant Christmas tree that reflected the Nutcracker theme.

We had excellent seats close to the center of the stage. The lights dimmed, the orchestra began and the magic began to happen.

Snow fell upon the patrons during one part of the performance. The dancers, choreography and costumes were excellent. This year the show was directed by choreographer and artistic director, Rhonda Stampalia.

The First Coast Nutcracker did not disappoint. It was a wonderful performance that conjured up all the whimsical magic of the classic tale.

Tickets are still available and performances are being held Saturday December 16th at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM and Sunday December 17th at 2:00 PM.

My sister and I ended our evening filled with the joy of the season. If you wish to experience a little of this Christmas magic yourself I encourage you to head downtown to the Jacksonville Symphony and the Candy Apple Café & Cocktails.

– Ashton