A Day in the Neighborhood: Hale & Hearty + RANightTrolley

Friday, I returned from Washington, DC to a hot, humid hell that is also called Florida. After experiencing absolutely gorgeous weather in the Mid-Atlantic, I felt like I got hit with a wave of humidity as soon as I stepped foot off the plane. So I was in need of a reminder of why I actually do enjoy living in the Sunshine State, or at least in Jacksonville.

Luckily, Saturday had a few tricks up its sleeve.

Few things will get me out of bed early on a Saturday morning, but only about 12 or so hours after returning from DC, I awoke and got ready for a go around my neighborhood, Riverside, Jacksonville.

I ran the Community First Hale & Hearty 7k with husband Joel and friend Sara. We walked from our house to the start at Unity Plaza, which was a nice warm up and included no worrying about parking (Parking for races always stresses me out for some reason. Parking in general stresses me out. I blame growing up in a house without a driveway and having to find a place to park when I came home late from work — often several blocks away in a tight space that I had to parallel park in). We ran under the team name “Pale & Hearty,” a play on the race name and an homage to our undeniable, blinding paleness among a see of tanned Floridians (Joel is technically a Floridian, but his Anglo heritage prevents him from properly tanning. We are going to have some pale children).

The race ended up being a delight, even though I was dead tired from traveling. I personally felt amazing — this was my first run since hurting my foot in early February and actually one of my best ever. Rest does a body well? Or something like that. The weather cooperated somewhat. It was humid, but at least the sun wasn’t out. A big bonus of this run was that it was my normal stomping ground. Nothing beats running through your usual routes. Definite positive: living in one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city.

After the run, we headed over to the Riverside Arts Market to pick up some veggies and Fresh spices and bars, before walking back home.

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Above: Team Pale & Hearty pre-race and ready to go.

Below: Team Pale & Hearty decidedly more tired but with beer in hand and done with the run so decidedly happier. (Also, why am I so short. I look like a child. #shortpeopleproblems #imnoteventhatshort)

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Saturday night, we got to experience another bonus of living in a thriving neighborhood — the Riverside Avondale Night Trolley. There’s plenty to experience in Riverside and Avondale, as long as you can find parking. Not gonna lie, we often ignored restaurants in Avondale because because we didn’t want to have to deal with parking (see earlier rant re: parking stresses me out).  The Trolley Night has been a great opportunity to experience public transportation in Riverside. This was the last weekend of a six-month trial period and I was quite impressed with the turnout. We first rode the trolley during the initial trial weekend in September 2013. Then we hopped on again in January, the first month in the six-month trial period. Both of those times, we headed out early (because we’re old-at-heart homebodies) and were really the only ones of the trolley for awhile. Later in the night, it seemed to pick up steam as people bar- and club-hopped their way around the historic district. We rode again in April and it seemed like the Trolley traffic had picked up but MAN were we in for a surprise this weekend.

I tried to perfectly time our walk to the Trolley stop with the GPS location of the nearest one (thank you to whoever created trolley.jaxmob.com) but of course that Trolley decided to hang out at the corner of Roselle and Stockton for awhile a break (which is totally fine). So by the time it got to us, it was empty. Ok, just the usual, I figured. We took a Trolley selfie (it took several tries because we are not cool) and checked our phones to make sure we would get to our reservation on time. Then, we pulled up to a stop where there were AT LEAST 20-30 people. It was intense. Then we get to the next stop, which has at least 15 more people at it. Next thing we know, the Trolley is packed SOLID with quite the boisterous crowd. Who would have expected this? It was great to see so many people utilizing the service and the growth over time. JTA, please bring it back!

Anyway, we took the Trolley to Avondale to try out Biscottis for the first time. The food was pretty good. We had the cheese plate and then shared the grouper and beef medallions, washed down with some Intuition beers.

So thank you, Riverside, for stepping up to the plate to remind me how awesome you are.

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