I lived beachside for three years before I discovered the “other” New Smyrna Beach. I was reminded by this the other day when a couple who recently bought a condo Beachside said they were vaguely aware of its existence. It is a few blocks north of FL 44 and one normally doesn’t take the route through downtown on the way to the beach.
Canal Downtown is where most of the businesses that do not cater to the tourism trade are located, such as Attorneys, title companies, service proprietors, etc. There is Canal Street lined with many shops and restaurants, – and then there are the outlying tree lined streets like Magnolia, Faulkner, Live Oak and Palmetto to name a few.
Starting on Canal you will find several excellent places to eat like Yellow Dog Eats, The Corkscrew, City Market Bistro and the General Public House. For a real blast from the past, go to Little Drug Co. at the corner of Palmetto and Canal where you can get old fashioned fountain drinks like an Egg Cream and Malted Milkshakes and sit at the original counter. They also offer a good variety of breakfast and lunch menu items as well as daily lunch specials. After your root beer float stroll up and down Canal Street where you will find several fun gift shops and fine clothing stores.
Head north from Canal on Sams Avenue and you will pass notable eateries like Jason’s Corner and the popular Prima Pizza Cucina. Continue past the small development of the chic Tabby Houses and you will come to Julia Street where just across the street the New Smyrna Beach City Hall is located. Every Saturday from 7:00 AM until Noon Sams Avenue is blocked off for the Farmer’s Market featuring many local vendors including farmers, craftspeople and others. Buy some of the Yaupon Tea – it’s a local business which makes their product from the only species of plant in North America which is caffeinated.
If you head East from Canal down Magnolia you will find several art galleries which feature work from local artists. Start at the Hub on the corner, then make your way down to Jane’s Art Center then on to Arts on Douglas. Every first Saturday of the month, the city holds an Art Stroll on Canal from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM featuring open galleries and sidewalk craft vendors.
There is always something going on in New Smyrna and you have two distinct locations to explore. A good resource with updated events and ideas is the New Smyrna Beach Visitor website visitnsbfl.com. Enjoy our lovely town!