You probably arenâ€™t very familiar with the Acura ZDX. After all, it only debuted three years ago at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. I know I wasnâ€™t. One look at it up close and you will definitely be intrigued. The mid-size luxury crossoverâ€™s dynamic, futuristic design practically screams â€œtest drive me.â€ And thatâ€™s exactly what I did.
Iâ€™ve been meaning to visit Jacksonville, Florida for a long time now so the five-hour drive from Atlanta seemed like perfect ZDX bonding time. Okay, I was just a little crazy to just go for one night. Luckily, a friend said sheâ€™d tag along and so, just as the sun inched up, we hit the road.
Any road trip requires comfortable seating and the sports seats in premium leather trim proved more than able. Seriously, I canâ€™t remember when I was more relaxed. Normally, I donâ€™t fuss around with car navigation systems. But my friend insisted and, to my surprise, I enjoyed it. The display was attention-holding and the voice wasnâ€™t annoying.
Instead of the normal, majority highway route, we went scenic! Going from highway through small towns is always eye-opening. Â Well, at least in the daylight. The sound system was great as satellite radio kept us plenty occupied, although we did have to read the display to catch which artist was playing. Â But overall, â€œcomfort, comfortâ€ was the theme of the ride.
Since Iâ€™m a history buff, we checked into the Kingsley Plantation, the one-time home of Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley, a rare Black female slaveholder. Interestingly, Anna was sold into slavery from her native Senegal and purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley, who fell in love with her and made her his legal wife. For much of her slaveholding stint, Florida was Spanish territory. Still, though she was a slaveholder, she supported the Union during the Civil War, when Florida was American territory. Johnnetta B. Cole, former president of Spelman and Bennett, is one of Annaâ€™s descendants.
Home for the night was Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park. Tapestry Park is a relatively new, upscale area in Jacksonville and so is Aloft, which just opened in January 2011. In keeping with the Starwood brand, Aloft is posh and modern. Â On Saturday nights, the w xyz bar is an especially popular spot. Extremely affordable (pre-paid rooms can get as low as $79 a night) plus parking is free and the location is excellent. Business travelers are the main target but it works well for those just vacationing too, especially since it has a pool. It definitely is â€œstyle at a steal.â€
Only a stoneâ€™s throw from St. Johns Town Center, which has everything a heart or stomach can desire. We dined at Seasons 52, the luscious, healthy, casual fine-dining restaurant, which opened in October 2011. They have the best flatbreads and the dessert is always yum and low-cal.
Before hitting the road the next day, we returned for some retail therapy. The general layout in the main area is that of a small village, but itâ€™s far from small-time. Louis Vuitton, Micheal Kors and Tiffany & Co. are among the many selections.
Back in Atlanta, there was no doubt that the ZDX, which has a mpg of 23 on the highway and 16 in the city and dialed in at $56,570, had performed well. The ride was smooth and luxurious. Just the way I like it.