Home of the St. John’s River Blues Festival
As I was heading west on 100 out of Bunnell in search of the Putnam County line I was surprised to see a highway marker that read “Welcome to Bike Friendly Putnam County”. This is a great weekend destination for those of you who enjoy riding open country roads. And no better weekend to do that than Nov. 11-13th during their Annual St. Johns River Blues Festival. We had a great time at this event last year held in the downtown historic area of Palatka. We really enjoyed Billy Ennis from Downtown Blues Club and the wonderful music in his club, and on the outdoor stages. Vendors lined the street and made a carnival atmosphere for the 3 day event. Historic Palatka is known as the City of Murals with over 20 murals depicting Putnam. They have some beautiful old homes and still have many brick roads off S. 18th St. Their Welcome Center on St. John’s Ave. has maps for the historic homes and mural locations.
While in Putnam County I visited the Ravine Garden State Park with its beautiful rock walls, a suspension bridge; and the walk through the trails was very enjoyable. The price is $5 a carload if you drive in and park in the park, or $2 pp if you walk back; and I felt the place was well worth it.
There is also a small vineyard out in Welaka on CR 309, Log Cabin Winery. Although the growing season has just passed they do have a small gift shop and if you are a wine connoisseur you may appreciate the local wines from Putnam County. On the same road is one of my favorite spots to wet my whistle Annie’s at Andersen’s Lodge. It is a rustic bar perched out over the St. John’s River. They also have cabins to rent if you want to spend the weekend.
Favorite watering holes mentioned by the locals are the infamous Cheyenne Saloon in East Palatka, a definite biker friendly establishment. Annie’s at Anderson’s Lodge in Welaka and Fat Boys in Satsuma. Restaurants are 3 Bananas in Crescent City with a pretty lake out back, Cheyenne Saloon East Palatka (known for their oysters) and Corky Bells on the St. John’s River.
Pretty roads to ride are Hwy. 19 going west, Hwy. 17 S toward Hastings and Hwy 20 toward Interlachen. Although I also think the ride down to Anderson’s and through Crescent City toward Fat Boys is great too.
I hope you let your two wheels find their way to Palatka for their Blues Festival this November, I think you will be glad you did.