Author Topic: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists  (Read 994 times)

jaxlongtimer

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South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« on: May 28, 2020, 10:59:26 PM »
Southern Living has their annual South's Best picked by 50,000 of their readers for their April, 2020, issue.

Of 18 lists ranging from top 10 to top 20, Jacksonville is not represented on a single one.  I did see St. Augustine, St. Mary's, Fernandina Beach, Jekyll Island, St. Simons and Cumberland Island make appearances.  Most represented were "historic" cities such as Charleston, Savannah, Asheville, New Orleans, Nashville, Richmond, etc. showing the value of saving historic buildings/structures.

Here are the lists and select appearances:

Food cities (New Orleans #1; Savannah at #3 was closest to Jax)
New restaurants
Local restaurants (#1 and closest to Jax:  The Grey in Savannah)
Classic restaurants
Cities: Charleston #1 for the 4th year in a row; followed, in order, by Savannah, Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, Asheville, Alexandria (VA), Atlanta, Richmond, Tallahassee, Greenville (SC), Wilmington (NC), Chattanooga, Birmingham, Charlotte, St. Petersburg, Memphis, Lexington (KY), Raleigh, and Orlando
Small Towns:  Williamsburg (VA) #1, followed, in order, by Beaufort (SC), Fairhope (AL), Franklin (TN), Fredericksburg (VA), Fredericksburg (TX), Beaufort (NC), Thomasville (GA), Bluffton (SC), Aiken (SC), Mount Dora (FL), Paducah (KY), Eureka Springs (AR), Natchitoches (LA), Isle of Hope (GA), Opelika (AL), Florence (AL), Manteo (NC), St. Marys (GA), and Deland (FL)
Mountain Towns (Gatlinburg, TN is #1)
College Towns (Athens, GA is #1; Savannah is #5;  Tallahassee is #9)
Beach Towns (Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL is #1; St. Augustine is #10)
Bookstores (E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah is #1)
Garden shops (Tallahassee Nurseries is #1; The Vine in St. Simons is #2)
Boutiques (Savannah had 3 of the top 10)
BBQ Joints (4 Rivers Smokehouse out of Winter Park, FL and its 13 stores are #1 - this is closest Jax gets to being associated with any list; #2 is Wiley's Championship BBQ, Savannah and #3 is Southern Soul BBQ, St. Simons)
Bars (Alley Cat Lounge, Savannah is #1 and Best Dive Bar #1 is Green Parrot Bar, Key West)
Catfish
New hotels (Amelia Schoolhouse Inn, Fernandina Beach, is #7)
Resorts (Asheville dominates with Biltmore #1 and Omni Grove Park #2;  The Cloister, Sea Island, GA is #3)
Historic hotels (Peabody, Memphis is #1: Jekyll Island (GA) Club is #2; Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island, GA is #9)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 02:05:05 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Charles Hunter

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 11:29:45 PM »
If they had a category for "Weed infested vacant lots" I bet Downtown Jacksonville would have been a contender!
Or, "Most historic buildings destroyed"

thelakelander

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 07:55:49 AM »
Haha, I wouldn't put too much to such a list. Anything that doesn't have one mention of South Florida or Houston but does include Atlanta, Charlotte and Orlando I'll view as suspect.
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acme54321

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 08:27:35 AM »
Southern Living?  They should change the title of the list to 'Snooty Bored Housewives of the South's Best."

CG7

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 01:03:28 PM »
I stopped reading when they didn't include Chamblin's in the best book store category.

Captain Zissou

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 01:10:47 PM »
The biggest shock to me is how well Tallahassee did in these lists.  Despite my hatred for the terrible school and football team that hails from there, I do enjoy the town of Tallahassee.  That said, it's very sprawled out with giant highways and the points of interest are isolated from each other.  I know this could be said about Jax, but Jax is not on those lists.

High Springs is also a great small town for an overnight visit or a stop on the way to or from the springs.

vicupstate

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2020, 01:41:03 PM »
I have long said JAX doesn't have a good reputation or a bad one. It has none at all. It is no surprise that JAX isn't on those lists because it spends almost nothing on marketing and has no 'brand' to speak of.     
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 01:49:33 PM »
Any lists like these are going to be subjective and few will agree fully with them.  However, they do represent what 50,000 "Southern" travelers like and you can bet Visit Jacksonville and other tourist bureaus pay attention to them.  Plus, these lists may influence others to look at visits to places they didn't have on their radar.  We all know Jacksonville does little to promote or preserve its history, uniqueness or walkability so we shouldn't expect to make many tourists' favorite lists compared to other cities.

FYI, the issue did have "side bars" on just Texas BBQ's and Big Bend National Park.  Given that much of Texas and South Florida are on the fringes of "old South" character and history it's not surprising that they get less play.  Washington, DC, also in their territory didn't get much play either.  Those fringe areas are of such a magnitude that they get plenty of play on their own and it appears that the readers seemed to be more interested in exposing lesser profile subjects.

Southern Living does run plenty of special feature issues that ultimately highlight every corner of their version of the South so, in the end, no one gets overlooked.  But those highlights are by the editors and these lists are from their readers.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 02:04:20 PM by jaxlongtimer »

thelakelander

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 02:23:45 PM »
Any lists like these are going to be subjective and few will agree fully with them.  However, they do represent what 50,000 "Southern" travelers like and you can bet Visit Jacksonville and other tourist bureaus pay attention to them.  Plus, these lists may influence others to look at visits to places they didn't have on their radar.  We all know Jacksonville does little to promote or preserve its history, uniqueness or walkability so we shouldn't expect to make many tourists' favorite lists compared to other cities.

FYI, the issue did have "side bars" on just Texas BBQ's and Big Bend National Park.  Given that much of Texas and South Florida are on the fringes of "old South" character and history it's not surprising that they get less play.  Washington, DC, also in their territory didn't get much play either.  Those fringe areas are of such a magnitude that they get plenty of play on their own and it appears that the readers seemed to be more interested in exposing lesser profile subjects.

I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt on South Florida and Texas until I saw Austin, Key West on the list and 4 Rivers on the BBQ list. Don't get me wrong, I love 4 Rivers but calling it authentic Southern or best in the South is a stretch. It's only been around since 2009 or so. If you want some authentic good bbq, there are a ton of old school hole-in-the-walls still well and alive all over the place.

Quote
Southern Living does run plenty of special feature issues that ultimately highlight every corner of their version of the South so, in the end, no one gets overlooked.  But those highlights are by the editors and these lists are from their readers.

With that said, I've always never put too much seriousness with these types of list. It's just a random magazine with a list likely catering to its advertisers and readership base. If The Bitter Southerner did a list, it would likely be completely different, despite covering the same geographic area. In other words, I can't knock Jax or any other city for not being on this list.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 03:52:12 PM by thelakelander »
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vicupstate

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2020, 03:12:33 PM »
Quote
If you want some authentic good bbq, there are a ton of old school hole-in-the-walls still well and alive all over the place.

That is the thing. There are great places, many of which are 'hole-in-the-walls'. The thing is unless you are a local, you never hear about them. The SC Tourism Dept created a 'BBQ Trail' initiative that highlighted places just like that, almost all of them in small and medium size towns/cities. It was a big focus of the annual Tourism guide, and also other publications. It must have been pretty successful because it has been underway for a few years now. If all you ever rely on is word of mouth, you won't bring in that additional source of business.

Also, people aren't going to make a trip somewhere just for one restaurant, but they will make a point to go to that restaurant ,when they were already going to that city to see other attractions.     

Jacksonville just doesn't field a team in that sport. 
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thelakelander

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2020, 03:48:30 PM »
For all of Jax's faults, in this particular case, I don't see not being listed in Southern Living (although Amelia Island and St. Augustine are in the MSA) as a local indictment. All that goes out of the window when places like Tampa, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Galveston, Mobile, Pensacola, etc. aren't listed either. Pull up another magazine and you'll find completely different lists tailored to their specific readership demographics.

 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 03:51:13 PM by thelakelander »
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Tacachale

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 04:24:35 PM »
For all of Jax's faults, in this particular case, I don't see not being listed in Southern Living (although Amelia Island and St. Augustine are in the MSA) as a local indictment. All that goes out of the window when places like Tampa, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Galveston, Mobile, Pensacola, etc. aren't listed either. Pull up another magazine and you'll find completely different lists tailored to their specific readership demographics.

Here here.
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vicupstate

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2020, 04:48:59 PM »
20-25 years ago Greenville had a DT not that much different from most cities. There was almost no leisure tourism to speak of. The national chains were the primary restaurants people went to, with very few notable exceptions.  Today DT is a national example of success, we are considered a 'foodie' town, there is dramatically more leisure tourism, triple (or more) hotel rooms DT,  and the permanent DT population has exploded. There have been countless lists that we are on that we never use to be on.  It all feeds off of each other.

You can downplay it, but I saw exactly the same dynamic turn a sleepy, decrepit, southern port town into an internationally recognized city, that being Charleston.   
   
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2020, 06:24:14 PM »
Pull up another magazine and you'll find completely different lists tailored to their specific readership demographics.

Lake, sounds good.  Get us some lists from other publications and let's roll them around for fun  8).

I note that Jax fares ok on lists related to climate, business, economic factors etc. but not so much in the tourism or quality of life sectors (unless you consider the international attention our beaches got when Curry reopened them in the midst of the epidemic  ;D ).  The few times I have seen Jax spotlighted, other than advertorials, have been in airline mags (promoting their destinations selfishly so everyone gets a turn no matter what) or, on a blue moon, in connection with our beaches.  Otherwise, not so much.

thelakelander

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Re: South's Best: Jax NOT on Any of 18 Lists
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2020, 06:33:47 PM »
20-25 years ago Greenville had a DT not that much different from most cities. There was almost no leisure tourism to speak of. The national chains were the primary restaurants people went to, with very few notable exceptions.  Today DT is a national example of success, we are considered a 'foodie' town, there is dramatically more leisure tourism, triple (or more) hotel rooms DT,  and the permanent DT population has exploded. There have been countless lists that we are on that we never use to be on.  It all feeds off of each other.

You can downplay it, but I saw exactly the same dynamic turn a sleepy, decrepit, southern port town into an internationally recognized city, that being Charleston.   
   

I saw South Beach go from crime, blight and 1980s abandonment into an international tourist destination. In Tampa, I witnessed SoHo coming out of nowhere and Ybor emerging from the hood into a major entertainment district that's larger than most small and midsized southern towns during the 1990s. Over the last 10-15 years, I've seen both Houston and Pensacola completely transform themselves. I work in Downtown DeLand and have an active rails-to-trails project I'm managing in Mount Dora (both of which are on the list). Great places, but in reality they aren't any more impressive than most small Central Florida towns with Main Street Programs. After the two economic booms this century, it's easier to identify the places that didn't take full advantage of the good times. DT Jax is certainly one of those places that missed the boat.

So when I downplay the list, it's not an indictment on the towns included in the list. It's an acknowledgement that the list is subjective and not based on any type of credible analysis. It really is no different from these below......

https://stories.forbestravelguide.com/5-surprising-foodie-cities-to-visit-right-now

https://www.foodandwine.com/travel/united-states/we-cant-believe-how-cool-jacksonville-being-right-now

https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/visiting-jacksonville-florida

https://www.ediblecommunities.com/edible-stories/food-town-usa-jacksonville-florida/

Pull up another magazine and you'll find completely different lists tailored to their specific readership demographics.

Lake, sounds good.  Get us some lists from other publications and let's roll them around for fun  8).

I note that Jax fares ok on lists related to climate, business, economic factors etc. but not so much in the tourism or quality of life sectors (unless you consider the international attention our beaches got when Curry reopened them in the midst of the epidemic  ;D ).  The few times I have seen Jax spotlighted, other than advertorials, have been in airline mags (promoting their destinations selfishly so everyone gets a turn no matter what) or, on a blue moon, in connection with our beaches.  Otherwise, not so much.

Check out the four links above for starters.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 06:38:48 PM by thelakelander »
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