It’s the season of giving, and what better gift could there be for the Jaxsons in your life than sweet, sweet Duval knowledge? Secret Jacksonville, the first book by Jaxson cofounder Bill Delaney, is a guide dedicated to telling the stories behind forgotten, mysterious and just plain interesting spots across Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, and the whole First Coast. For anyone willing to dig beneath the surface, there’s no shortage of incredible sights, hidden histories and unusual relics just waiting to be discovered all over the city.
In Secret Jacksonville you’ll learn where you can see the North America’s largest Native American woodcarving, chart the roots of Southern rock, and eat curly fries at the barbecue joint that claims to have invented them. You’ll discover where you can visit a forgotten Florida waterfall with connections to Jacksonville’s founder and why there’s a tombstone in the middle of a neighborhood sidewalk. You’ll hear the stories behind local delicacies like Jacksonville-style garlic crabs, datil peppers, Mayport shrimp and camel rider sandwiches. And of course, you’ll learn what exactly is up with strange orange dinosaur people keep talking about.. From folklore to history and everything in between, explore a side of the Bold City you can only find by leaving the well-trodden path.
Bill Delaney. Photo by Erik Hamilton.
Secret Jacksonville is available at the Jax area’s independent booksellers, including The Bookmark, San Marco Books and More, Chamblin Book Mine, Chamblin’s Uptown, Cultivate Jax and more. You can also order an author-signed at thejaxsonmag.com/books.
Tickets to Secret Jacksonville guided walking tours also make great holiday gifts. Each month, author Bill Delaney hosts tours of Downtown featuring a few of the places featured in the book. Hear the stories of Jacksonville’s underground tunnels, the locomotive buried beneath a skyscraper, a lost (and fictitious) Native American city, a long destroyed sculptural masterpiece that will soon be reborn in Jacksonville, underknown Jax music history and much more lying just off the beaten path. The tours begin at James Weldon Johnson Park and tickets are $20 (kids 12 and under are free). To sign up for an upcoming tour, go here.