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Experience Light, Peace and Beauty at The Jenks House B&B

February 29, 2016

In my opinion, Jacksonville, Florida is one of the best kept secrets in this country. It has just about everything you could possibly imagine…without the huge crowds you’ll find at that place with the mouse about a couple hours south. Whether you’re in the mood for relaxing on stretches of stunning beaches, paddling through nature-filled waterways, or experiencing great food and nightlife downtown, there’s plenty to do for families, couples, nature-lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Beyond the majestic skyline of downtown you’ll find quaint riverfront streets, lined with boutiques, live music venues, Bed & Breakfasts and sidewalk cafes. The beauty of being in Jacksonville, is that within minutes you can travel to a new and exciting area! Along with hip urban spots, Jacksonville boasts acres of breathtaking, totally undeveloped natural landscape – a true paradise for hiking, camping, and water activities.

We were lucky enough to stay in the Jenks House Bed & Breakfast in a quiet neighborhood minutes from downtown. Built in 1925 in the Prairie School style for the Marjorie and Thomas Jenks family, The Jenks House is a taste of old Florida. In 32 years of residence and restoration, Ila Rae and Tom Merten have preserved original features of the Jenks home including some of the Jenks family furniture. Additional furnishings include mission and early art deco pieces.

Upon entering Jenks House you immediately feel like you’ve come home. With only two rooms, it is quaint and intimate and a perfect place for a romantic getaway. If you’ve never stayed at a B&B before because you’re hesitant about wanting to “commune” – this would be the place to test the waters to see if you might like it.

The Mission Room was absolutely lovely. From the handmade cedar chest that graced Grandma’s dressing room, to the lovely pastel on the north wall and luxury sheets and bedding, it felt like the room was lovingly prepared just for us. We loved the barley twist gate-leg table and cane back, queen size bed and the large, attached private bath with shower even had the original porcelain plumbing fixtures.

Or you can stay in the Live Oak Room with a hand-carved Italian Art Deco queen bed made up with luxury linen and topped with seventy-year-old homespun French linen. There is a beautiful tiger oak armoire to hang your clothes in and an Art Deco slant-front desk. The room also has an attached private bath with a bathtub and shower with original porcelain plumbing fixtures.

Breakfast at the Jenks House is an experience not to be missed! We enjoyed grilled fresh pineapple with locally grown papaya or you might be delighted to have local grapefruit that is grown only 7 blocks away! Next was a Baked Omelette with spinach and cheddar and herbs grown in the backyard. They also offered just squeezed Florida orange juice and home roasted, Fair-trade Organic Coffee. If the season is right, the juice may have come from the organically grown citrus trees right outside the kitchen door. And fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden are served as often as possible. You can’t get more local and fresh than that!

The Jenks House Bed and Breakfast was one of the first establishments to earn the Florida Green Lodging certification, although they have been “green” for more than thirty years. The Merten’s have a solar hot water heater from 1978 and a cistern of 5 tanks to collect over 1300 gallons of rainwater runoff.

While you’re in Jacksonville, don’t miss the opportunity to dine at Black Sheep and the Blind Rabbit. Black Sheep has an incredible rooftop dining and bar area that is amazing for views.

Visit and and

Dr. Diane Hayden is the owner and publisher of Natural Nutmeg Magazine, Essential Living Maine Magazine and Nutmeg Creative Media. She is a speaker, writer and workshop facilitator. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland and is an Empowerment Life Coach. For 20 years, her work has focused on inspiring individuals to learn about the power of thought and emotion and how it shapes their lives. Her passion centers on helping even just one person navigate the dating scene and find the perfect partner with whom they can share their life.

You can learn more about her online at:

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