"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 4, 2014

May 3 - Green Cove Springs

Green Cove Springs City Dock

We could choose to sit in the rain in Palatka again today or travel north in the rain and hope to move out of this weather system. We chose to travel, it was misty rain most of the day with temperatures in the mid to upper 50s and a pretty stead breeze...amazing how the weather can change in just a day. The MugRace started in Palatka this morning, 70+ sailboats of all sizes were heading to Jacksonville. I'm really glad I wasn't on one of them this morning, they looked very cold, at least we had our flybridge to keep us dry and a little warmer. We'd hoped the weather would clear as we moved north, but it was still wet and grey when we arrived at Green Cove Springs. After we docked we wandered around the pretty waterfront park and checked out a few places we'd read about for dinner. This part of town is beautiful with large homes on the water and a great park and pier so the community can enjoy the spring and river.

The spring, locally known as the “Original Fountain of Youth", attracted guests in the 19th Century; there were more than a dozen hotels near the spring. Today the sulfur-scented spring water feeds an adjacent public swimming pool before flowing the short distance to the St. John’s River.

As other towns we visited along the St. John's, agriculture and tourism were the primary economic ventures until the end of the century, when Henry Flagler's railroad began taking tourist further south into Florida. In 1895, the Great Freeze destroyed the areas citrus crops, and tourism all but ended. Each town has struggled to find its place, but all have done a great job in restoring their historic areas by the river. I don't think many people take the time to do this cruise and even fewer do it slow, taking in the little creeks and spending time just soaking in the sights. The river is an amazing place with beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife, neat little towns and wonderful friendly, helpful locals.

By early evening the clouds had disappeared and the sun was out...yeah! We enjoyed a BBQ dinner at a place called The Brickyard and spent the evening visiting with people on the dock. Life on the river is wonderful.

A few pictures of the sailboats we passed
Spring Park
This is were the spring comes up from the ground and flows into the pool. The depth of the spring is 28 feet, it has a flow of 3000 gallons a minute and is a constant 78ยบ.

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