Saturday, July 27, 2013

Anniversary Trip! Palm Coast and St. Augustine, Florida.

Eddie and I left on Wednesday headed to Palm Coast, Florida. This is typically where we go to the beach, so if you've been reading the blog long enough you'll have seen me mention it before. Palm Coast is just south of St. Augustine. {I'm including links in case you're ever headed down that way, but let me know if you have questions about anything. I'm not an expert on the area by any stretch of the imagination but Mom and Sonny go often enough that they probably can answer questions about where to eat and what to do if I can't!}

We left Will with Mom and Sonny and James with Mrs. Bobby and Mr. Tommy and after we got everyone situated we left around 7pm. After a stop for supper and gas in Valdosta, we carried on. We got to the condo a little before 11pm.

We expected rain the whole time we were there (and it did rain a fair amount!) but we were pleasantly surprised when it was overcast with no rain on Thursday morning. After a quick trip to Publix for some groceries, we headed out to the pool where we spent about two hours sitting by a pool facing the ocean and reading books!!! Can you feel my excitement? I haven't sat beside a pool in about three-and-a-half years.

After we went in to eat lunch we decided to head to the beach. We definitely planned our day backwards because at our stretch of the beach there are lots of coquina rocks and coquina rocks mean that  unless it's low tide, you don't get much beach. The plus side was that there was NO ONE on the beach. Eddie and I sat there all by ourselves for over two hours. It was fabulous. Again, we read and read and read and it was just delightful!

Because we sat and sat and sat on the beach all afternoon, we decided when we walked in at 6pm to just order dinner to-go so Eddie drove down to JT's to pick it up for us. We had 1/2 a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp (delicious), I had crab cakes with fries, and he had blackend mahi-mahi with mashed sweet potatoes. It was really, really good and I was full from eating it all but JT's has gone way, way up on their prices. We paid almost $60 for the entire meal and that's a LOT more than it has been in the past. {It's still great food, but we were disappointed with that. When we go back later this summer my suggestion to my family will be to pick up peel-and-eat shrimp from Publix - because they'll steam them for you! - and make our own sides at the condo. That would be just as easy and far cheaper!}

Because Eddie got sunburned from all of our pool and beach sitting (if you know my husband, I'll give you a minute to let that sink in - EDDIE got sunburned...not me! Eddie NEVER sunburns) we chose to play tourists on Friday. Typically when we head to Florida we spend the whole time flipping between pool, beach, and couch. Not this time! We headed into St. Augustine to do some touristy stuff.

First stop, Caps on the Water for lunch. I LOVE this restaurant but it's a hike from the condo. It takes a sweet forever to get there, but if you don't have hungry children with you it's completely worth it. Normally there's a bit of a wait (especially at night!) but we got there right when they opened for lunch. We had the perfect table overlooking the intercoastal and with the breeze I am SURE it wasn't more than 72* there. It was glorious! I could have sat there all day. I ordered crab cake sandwich and fries again (I typically make it my mission to taste as many different crab cakes and shrimp dishes as I can at the beach) and Eddie got the fried shrimp and fries. Both were delicious. I loved my crab cake sandwich, but I'll admit that I had a little food envy after I tasted one of Eddie's shrimp. They were perfect.

After lunch we drove back into old town St. Augustine and visited Castillo de San Marcos, better known as "the fort." If you've been to St. Augustine, you've seen "the fort," as it's right on the edge of town overlooking the intercoastal. We arrived just in time to see the costumed guides fire one of the cannons. It was really interesting to hear the history behind the fort and then watch the cannon being fired. The whole thing was done in Spanish (they reenact it - except to yell "Cover your ears!" in English). After watching that we walked around and looked, listened to several guides, and read the brochure on a sort of self-guided tour. We weren't in there long - maybe an hour and a half - but we throughly enjoyed the tour. (If you go in the summer, it is HOT. Not much breeze inside the fort. Take water with you! We forgot!)

After leaving Castillo de San Marcos, we headed into old town St. Augustine just to window shop. We had ice cream at Fudge Buckets - I had Blue Bell Chocolate Peanut Butter and Eddie got chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick {I recommend the key lime pie!} and we sat a minute to cool off. We also tasted some of their fudge. They have really unique flavors! We left there and continued just wandering around. We walked down to the square and read the different monuments and statues. It was interesting to really take in the city we usually just drive through to get from place to place.

We noticed that the sky looked as though it might just POUR any minute so we headed back to the car around 4pm and headed back to the condo. It did indeed pour, but since we'd eaten a big lunch out we were content to spend the evening at the condo playing SkipBo and snacking for supper.

Saturday morning we got up and headed straight to the beach where we sat for about two hours. It was mostly overcast and even sprinkled on us a little bit, but we were quite content to sit and read and people watch. It was low-tide this time while we were there so there were quite a few families out enjoying the morning.

Saturday afternoon it rained so we were stuck inside but we did decide to go out to eat. We called Harry's in downtown St. Augustine, but the wait was approximately two hours (they seat mostly outside and it was pouring buckets), so we scrapped that idea and went to Saltwater Cowboys instead. I need to pause here and say that while their food is delicious, this is not our favorite restaurant. We've had many instances of bad service and I'd sworn it off last summer, but their one hour wait sounded better than Harry's two hour wait so we went with it. Fortunately, we lucked up with a very attentive server. I ordered the stuffed shrimp with grits and grits (I always do this and they always look at me like I'm crazy, but they have the BEST grits). Eddie ordered the grilled grouper and grilled shrimp with grits and a baked potato. Both meals were delicious. We also had bread while we waited. The table next to us ordered crawfish and they looked yummy! I wasn't brave enough (or hungry enough!) to order a bucket.

Sunday morning we got up, packed up, and headed to the outlets. For the past few years we've gotten James a new pair of tennis shoes while on vacation. We normally go at Labor Day but we won't be there this year, so Eddie and I went ahead and picked out a pair this trip. Thankfully, we were spared a ridiculous price and found some that are perfect and very reasonable. Thanks, Nike outlet! I also scored big time with a cute cardigan for 40% off and three shirts for under $7 each. Eddie needed a few pairs of khakis so we got those as well. And then we headed home to see our babies!

We had a fabulous time of relaxing and being lazy at the beach. It was so nice to be able to do whatever we wanted! That was the theme of the week - We can if we want to! We are so used to having to work around our children (and eat certain things and avoid other things!) that I'll admit it was nice to have a break from that. We were lazy, lazy, lazy and it was so nice! Maybe we'll get to do this on our next anniversary, too!

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