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Smart Art and Sweet Candy

Some cities are known for their outdoor public art (Boston, Seattle, New York) but Jacksonville doesn't make that list. However, our city is not without some representatives of the genre. So, for one Mystery Tour I decided we should seek some out. It made for a nice walking tour of downtown with a reward afterwards of lunch at Hemming Plaza—right downtown.

We rode our skyway system down to Hemming Plaza and started walking. The Plaza sports a venerable, if controversial, statue in its center - a memorial to a Confederate Soldier. It is pretty conventional in style but it is on a particularly tall pedestal. And no one has yet called for its removal even in these "PC" times.

We wanted to see a new mosaic glass installation created by Rouh Arts on the Southbank Riverwalk under the Main Street Bridge. It is 64 feet long and 7 feet high and made of mirrored glass pieces of many colors. The light playing on the glass tiles at different times of day creates a splendid impression of our own St. Johns River.

Rouh Arts had produced a couple of smaller installations in Riverside and along the low walls around an inner city park on Adam and Main Streets. Different themes were produced by the glass mosaic but with similar brilliance.

After walking around these different "public art" projects, we were hungry and visited the newly opened Sweet Pete's Restaurant & Candy Shoppe. It is housed in the building which used to be called The Seminole Men's Social Club (no women allowed).

The building was constructed in 1910 and was famously visited by Teddy Roosevelt and other presidents right up to JFK. Before Sweet Pete's owners bought it, the building had been dormant for many years so considerable renovation was necessary!

It's very attractive now and invites folks of all genders to come and sit in air-conditioned comfort within or on the wide comfortably breezy front porch to eat some delicious southern cooking and top it off with a scrumptious sweet dessert. Then go across the hall from the restaurant to pick out a bag-full of mouth-watering candies.

A successful mystery tour as we enjoyed our walk with views of the lovely mosaic murals and the delicious treats at Sweet Pete's.

Look for some outdoor public art in your own area and try a new restaurant afterwards.

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