Coastal NC

VOL14ISS1 2018

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24 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 14—ISSUE 1 JACKSONVILLE Jacksonville BY SERENA STEVENS The 14th largest city in North Carolina, Jacksonville is the commercial hub of Onslow County and favorably situated near the "Crystal Coast" between North Topsail Beach and Swansboro. The once sleepy farming town has evolved into the business, retail, medical, banking, and cultural center for the county. Natural beauty and outdoor recreation is part of life here as the water, which flows from river to bay to Atlantic Ocean, is seemingly always in view and plays a major role in both the culture and the community. History, patriotism and pride are also on prominent display as the city shares the land with Camp Lejeune, "The World's Largest and Most Complete Amphibious Training Base," and the Marine Corps New River Air Station. In fact, Jacksonville is the youngest city in the United States with an average age of 22.8 years old, which can be attributed to the large military presence. However, people from all walks of life call Jacksonville home and the diverse culture is evident as you stroll through the city. Dotted with quaint neighborhoods centered on a vibrant downtown, Jacksonville has something for everyone, including singles, new families and retirees. Often, residents that were stationed here end up retiring here because of the peaceful, welcoming environment and an easy pace of life. The New River, which flows from the heart of the city on to Wilson Bay and then to the nearby ocean, provides natural beauty and peaceful, refreshing breezes for residents. In the springtime, vibrant azaleas and dogwoods in bloom line the scenic gateway to downtown Jacksonville, which is itself undergoing a rebirth. There are several shops, restaurants and parks that offer lots of variety and things to do for patrons. Places to check out include the Organic Market, Bicycle Shop, Paint Your Own Pottery, Coffee Bistro and the Court House Café. Three downtown parks — Wilson Bay, Willingham and Riverwalk — lie along the New River providing natural beauty and recreation options for patrons. Home to several seasonal festivals, Riverwalk Park plays host to Onslow Oktoberfest, National Night Out, Jacksonville Winterfest, Riverwalk Palooza, and the Jacksonville Jamboree. Recently, construction began on a new amphitheater at Richard Ray All-American Park. Scheduled to be complete by the Fall 2017, the new addition will include a 400-seat amphitheater, stage area and a water feature. The New River features some of the best paddling and fishing in eastern North Carolina. Jacksonville Landing is located between the two bridges at Marine Boulevard and Old Bridge Street in downtown Jacksonville. This new facility features three boat launches and a beach area for launching canoes and kayaks. A great fishing pier stands at the ready for those who want to throw a hook in the water. The Freedom Fountain, located at the gateway to downtown Jacksonville, honors those who served and continue to serve our country. Throughout the year, the city's heritage is featured prominently at the Jacksonville Lejeune Memorial Gardens where the Montford Pointe Memorial, Beirut Memorial, 9/11 Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial pay tribute to military heroes. Visitors can read the names of 273 Marines etched in granite who sacrificed the ultimate in Lebanon and Grenada. The 9/11 World Trade Center Beam is also on display at the garden. You should also stop along the waterfront to see the historic 1904 Onslow County Courthouse. In the same vicinity is the historic Pelletier House and Wantland Spring (National Register of Historic Places). The Greek revival home is the oldest standing structure in Jacksonville and is operated by the Onslow County Museum. The city of Jacksonville has an impressive "Clean and Green" program that works to improve the appearance and cleanliness of the city. As part of this initiative, the city established the Memorials and Honors Programs where anyone can plant a tree, help landscape a park, or donate an etched brick to honor a loved one. No matter your age or stage of life, the quaint city of Jacksonville is a great place to call home. [] historic, military, recreation

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