Evelyn C. McDonald
May 18, 2017 3:02 p.m.
I thought I’d explore the east end of Centre Street. At times it seems as though the downtown begins at Centre and 4th and runs down to the water. In reality, there are some interesting new places east of 4th.
It’s worth starting at 4th and Centre at Pelindaba Lavender. I was pleased to see it open up here. I used to visit a friend who lived in the Seattle area, and for two years we went to the Olympic Peninsula to see the Sequim Lavender Festival. Sequim is ideal for lavender as it lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. And as the locals say, lavender doesn’t like to its feet wet.
Moving through the store I remembered what it felt like to walk through fields of lavender. After awhile, you find that you are very mellow. The store has all sorts of lavender items. Their lavender comes from the San Juan Islands and the variety of products is wonderful.
Walking the south side of Centre Street, there’s Twisted Sister and our vintage courthouse, whose balcony once held William Jennings Bryant. Something new may be emerging next to Pepper’s restaurant. The last two blocks have two antique marts, Eight Flags Antiques and Trailer Park Collectibles. The goods on display take you through all sorts of time warps. Home décor, vintage clothing, pottery, paintings, jewelry, and furniture are among the items on display. Luca’s Restaurant, Jack & Diane’s, and Tastee’s share these two blocks with the antique marts.
Crossing Centre and going back in the direction of 4th Street, there are two relatively new establishments. Art on Centre is an airy gallery housing paintings, sculpture, and jewelry that opened in 2015. Next door to it is The Picnic Basket, a preserve of tasty foods and drinks to pack for an outdoor lunch or just avoid having to do your own cooking for one night. And next a retail shop, Pearl, offers clothing.
Rounding out the tour is the block between 5th and 4th. The Lesessne House is a lovely reminder of past lives in Fernandina, and almost always features a cat or two enjoying leisure on the porch. This time I was amused by the bunny sculptures in the front yard. And it’s gratifying to see the old Post Office finally getting a face lift.
There’s a lot to see and the mix of art and retail is a change from the west end of Centre Street. Suitable for a walking tour, it’s worth giving it a shot to see how the East End is developing.
Evelyn McDonald moved to Fernandina Beach from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. in 2006. She is a chair of Arts & Culture Nassau, a city commission charged with support of the arts in Nassau County. She serves on FSCJ’s Curriculum Committee for the Center for Lifelong Learning. She is also the chair of the Dean’s Council for the Carpenter Library at the UNF. Ms. McDonald has MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland’s University College and a BA in Spanish from the University of Michigan.