Sunday, June 28, 2015

10 year (finally!!!) getaway

When we first started talking about getting away for our 10 year anniversary .....we knew it needed to be pretty close, as we just had a weekend to make it work.  Some place that we hadn't been and would like to explore together....after some advice on the old FB, we thought St. Augustine would be fun!  I started planning and researching months in advance, as I just love to see what is out there.
I was pretty bummed when we had to postpone and also knew a month later would mean that we would be facing some serious summer heat....but pumped none the less to finally get going!  Cheers to free juice to welcome us to the Sunshine State!
I'm all about a good deal...and a good deal in a nice restaurant for a special occasion...score. is a fun site to try (although they have had some sketchy places as well mixed in - it can be a grab bag).  I chose a place for dinner that night that did not have a website (also something you should look at) but did have over 100 great I thought we could try it.  Best Decision!  The chef/owner sat down next to me, explained how they changed their menu each week, describing each dish and where they got the food from, nothing was "from a box", perfect.  Huge portions of real food!  He, also, explained that it is a BYO drink (didn't know those existed) but for those who did know they just had a drink that you could have.  Homemade Sangria!  Score!
We were so close to the beach I just couldn't stand it any more.  We drove our stuffed selves east until we hit water.
Sent a little message to my girls to let them know that I was thinking about them.
We had a fun time being silly (ok I was the only silly one), enjoying quite (a rarity these days), taking in the view and walking with the sand in our toes while people watching (you know the usually engagement sessions and then the women sitting in the ocean in her jeans?).
It was a lovely sunset of a night.
Enjoying God's work and power.

The next morning I was ready to explore the city of St. Augustine!
We had a walk from our hotel and on the way explored this Catholic church and monument.
This huge cross!  I tried to get a perspective shot with Beach (below) but it my iphone doesn't do such things in the time that I had to make it work.
At the Ripley's Museum, they had this Mustang made out of the bumpers of old man and his cars.
They, also, had this replicate of David, hidden around some bushes.  How's that for an awkward pic!  (PS don't let you 5-year-old see this picture or you have some fun explaining to do on why you would take a picture of someone's "privates").

After going through the city, where apparently everyone was still sleeping at 9:30am, we made it to our breakfast shop for quality coffee and crepes (thank you Living Social).

Then off to Castillo De San Marcos for some adventure.

It's fun for Beach to get to pick up on a hobby he has not had time for in years.
They had a cannon ball firing demonstration!  Pretty fascinating.

And nice gents to pose for photo opts!

 Some look out spot!
I just can't imagine living such a life!
My awkward posing next to this soldier!
We walked around the Flagler college (hotel) next.  How fun would it be to go to college there! 
Flager sure did like to create beautiful buildings.
And around some beautiful churches (I may or may not have checked to see if all the doors were locked in order to try to get a peek inside).

A highlight was visiting the St. Augustine Distillery (bonus: free tours and tastings).
Much of their profit....tied up in barrels for the future!
Can you tell that Beach is way over me taking his pictures!
A class act!
One of the favorite activities (and long anticipated) was a food tour.  It was awesome, as I love variety and trying different things.  We ate at the oldest B&B...
A German restaurant with something I can't pronounce and waffles.
Had some amazing Cubans (they were even on PBS) and Cuban coffee (not sure why they put them in such large cups though).
A flaming goat cheese appetizer and gyro.
And some handmade chocolate and ice cream!
It was a lot of fun, we enjoyed getting to know those that we were with and it was very filling.

Then we attempted to make it to the winery but ended up on just a self guided tour, as it was late.

Exploring the streets you come across some interesting sites.
Including the couple of places I recalled taking a picture at when I was 10 years old....I will have to dig those up one day and compare!
After grabbing a quick bite to eat we rested our tired feet and enjoyed the sun setting at the fort.
As we walked back to our hotel, we stopped in some fun shops along the way meeting some friendly locals.
The next morning we hit up a local coffee house for some more quality's always fun to see what other people are up too and how they run things!
Then we were off to Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth
A bit cheesy, this was a fond memory I had of visiting when I was a child with my grandparents.

What really made me want to go was learning that they still had over 30 peacocks roaming the property.

And yes I did chase them around totally excited!

Will you go I will follow!

It is hard to imagine landing at that site back then.
And it makes us even more thankful for what we have!

 Some of the precious water....yep, I think I'm younger already!
They had some interesting exhibits and a planetarium....made me feel a little better about the steep price to get in.
But the peacock were, by far, my favorite thing!  I brought the girls home a feather (just as I had gotten one when I was little).
A little drive brought us to a state park to see the Fort Matanzas.
We walked the nature trail as we waited for our ferry ride to the fort.
It was beautiful.  The soldiers spent a month here at a time.
Maybe only if I was with my love.

He is a good lookout!
The complete living quarters.
A short drive south for a last stop to see some botanical gardens.
Spanish moss trees are so magnificent.  Did you know that the French wanted to insult the Spanish, and thus, the name.  The Spaniards called it French beard and the Native Indians: Hairy trees.
I wanted to do more and more....but reality hit and we did need to head home.  Such an awesome fun packed trip and hoping to get away again in the future!

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