In the morning, visit the mangrove forest. The back canals are used as local highways, transporting cars, goods and people on small flat-bed boats, but a large area is off-limits to commercial transportation and is a designated a bird sanctuary. Tour it by canoe and spot herons, eagles and even flying fish. An excellent guide can be found at the turtle sanctuary next door to Pez — our guide, Noy, was extremely knowledgeable, although his English was not the best.
7 Mile Drive
It was like paradise for me. The roads and bridges go over and under with vast blue oceans with a slight tinge of green here and there, that makes you look back twice just to check if the water is actually green there or if it is just the sun playing games with your eyes.The 7-mile drive was just the cherry on top of an already very well iced, decorated cake. The stretch where you drive up the bridge almost feels like the end of the world. The bridge just stopping mid-way touching the skies with pristine blue ocean waters joining from all sides to the contrast of the clear sky blue skies with white clouds. It almost felt like nature coming in from all sides and engulfing the concrete and all man-made inflictions on earth in one swooping breath. That moment right there I felt would have been the perfect place for the world as we know it to end.The names they kept for the key shaped islands will always intrigue me. I mean Florida Key, Fleming Key, Upper Key all that is still fine, but as we go further inside we actually found one that said “No Name Key” I mean seriously?! It was like they gave up.
Jacksonville Historical Cemetery
While I was visiting Jacksonville, Oregon, I was told by several of the locals that I should check out the “cemetery.” The first time I heard this I thought “a cemetery…what kind of tourist attraction is that?” After hearing the cemetery endorsement a couple more times, I figured I should saunter up the hill above town to see what all the fuss was about. As soon as I reached the top of the hill, the entrance to the historic cemetery, you could tell it was no ordinary resting place. First, the thirty acre cemetery was segmented into religious and fraternal clusters…denominations include: Jewish, Masonic, Catholic and Independent just to name a few. The largest section is the “City,” and within this cluster you’ll find a “Potter’s Field,” which is where they buried, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Chinese, African Americans and others who were probably considered “less desirable” at the time. The first burial took place in 1859, with many of the gravestones being quite opulent and ornate. As you walk the cemetery grounds you may notice a few headstones that date earlier than 1859, those were from remains that were removed from other locations and reburied in the Jacksonville Cemetery. Many of the pioneers buried in the cemetery are quite familiar today as they bear the names of streets and area communities. Others are recognized on historic homes or businesses, such as the McCully House, which is where I stayed. The Jacksonville Historic Cemetery remains an active cemetery and is still very much a part of the city as it was back in the mid 19th century. The cemetery is registered as part of Jacksonville’s National Historic District status, as well as with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries.