Toward the end of May I contracted a nasty respiratory virus that kicked my butt for 2 full weeks. By June 4, we were headed on vacation and I was still keeping NyQuil close by. I felt much better while on vacay but since returning, there has been so much to do I feel like a dog whose owner just threw every single ball in the house out at once and screamed “FETCH” OMG- which way do I go, which way do I go??
I’ll catch up on workout stuff but 3 things we did for exercise while on vacation: Riding mountain bikes on the beach at low tide. Those knobby tires, despite being somewhat fat, did not like the sand, even packed sand. We did about 8 miles of tough riding one morning with hardly a soul out but us. And that one crab that had both his beady eyes on us, a lot of birds. I thought I saw a sea serpent but it turned out to be a dead sea snake.
Kayaking the intercoastal waterway. Unfortunately we thought a tour group would be a better way to do this. We were oh so wrong. None of the other participants had ever even been in a kayak before so that was interesting. Then, we knew more about the history of the city than our guide. That disappointed. I wanted to learn.
Paddle Boards. Oh my gravy! I wish I had discovered this the first day. I would have done it every single day we were there. Every day. Did I say every day? Maybe twice a day. : )
For our vacation this summer we tent camped at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida. It is a lovely park and our campsite stayed surprisingly shady most of the day. Big Palms and Live Oaks helped with that. We were within walking distance of the beach but we usually rode bikes. The night we arrived we went down to the beach to walk in the waning sunshine. Lovely.
St. Augustine is touted as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S. There are buildings from the Spanish colonial period and the British “occupation” period that have been wonderfully restore as well as modern wonders like the Ponce de Leon Hotel, that served as a Coast Guard training center in WWII and is now Flagler College.
One of the first historically significant places we visited was Ft. Matanzas, built in 1740-42 to protect the Southern entry route to St. Augustine. We learned that Matanzas is translated as slaughter. Matanzas River and the fort were named for a skirmish between the Spanish soldiers at the fort and some French soldiers sailing down from Ft. Caroline, the French being the slaughtered ones of course. We saw pictures of what the remains of the fort looked like when the NPS took it over, we are so lucky that there are people interested enough to maintain these historical beauties for us. I can only imagine how beautiful this was with white stucco and red trim.
Later in the evening we went into the old city of St. Augustine and walked around. A lot. It was hot. In the evening we took a walking tour of the city that started at the old city gate where parts of the city wall remain and you can see the impressive Castillo de San Marcos standing guard at the water.
Another morning at the beach then led to another visit downtown to an area of boutiques, junktique stores and a shop with the yummiest cupcakes on the planet. Shout out to Luli’s and their Key Lime cupcakes. While in the area we toured around the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. So pretty! One of the items of interest here is a 208 foot steel cross. We caught the sun right overhead, giving the cross a corona.
As it should be. Somehow after the beauty of this church, we still managed to Tourism Cheeseball our way to the Ripley’s Museum. Always a treat but I think we’ve seen them all now. Luckily the small one is not as enamored with Ripley as she once was.
The next morning had us on an early morning bike ride to the local farmer’s market. Oddly enough, our purchases were in order: coffee for the big ones, rice milk for the small one. Turned out the kids running the coffee shop had lived in Fayetteville. Small world. 3 giant juicy breakfast burritos. Oh good gravy! A skirt of recycled Tshirts for me and a collage for the small one. What we don’t know about art, we make up for in enthusiasm. We biked back to camp, even though it was only 9 a.m, it was already terribly hot. We headed straight to the city for a guided kayak tour. See above. Disappointing. After lunch we walked up to the Castillo. We had passed by it, sometimes several times a day but had yet to enter. It was a magnificent structure but I wish we had a live guide or at least a recorded guide. There was too much there and not enough printed info for my taste. Lovely views. Interesting history. A good day. I hope people weren’t too offended by our smell having been active outside the entire day.
We had to make a quick trip to the grocery for supplies then went “home” to have beanie weenies and a game of National Park Monopoly that we bought at the Castillo. Our camp neighbors invited us for S’mores…no one can resist the S’mores!
Next day it was back to the beach with a plan to hit the oldest part of the city for the afternoon. We hit the Alligator Farm first. Driving into St. Augustine the first night, the small one said “Is it like Joe Dirt? Will they wrestle alligators? I don’t want to go there.” But it wasn’t. It was beautiful. One of the highlights of the trip! Besides the lovely reptilians, the birds were incredible. Incredible.
By late lunchtime we were in town searching for sustenance. We happened upon Gaufre’s Goods where they advertised a mash of Mediterranean foods mixed with Polish delicacies. Odd. And intriguing. Of course we had to eat there. Man was it yummy. I’ve forgotten to upload the food pictures the small one snapped throughout our trip, I must get them from her. I had the best Greek salad, a slice of spanikopita and some coconut soup that was deee- licious. The small one ate a cabbage roll the size of her head and the big one had pierogies. Meat ones. Fried with bacon. Lordy. We took dessert of baklava, a wedding cookie, and a canoli? with us as we walked to The Oldest House Museum. Then we walked over to the Cathedral. So beautiful.
Afterward, we had very nice meal at The Conch House Restaurant and tiki bar and we were oh so ready for those camp cots. That was a LONG day.
Last full day in the park so instead of the beach, we went to the Salt Run Marsh between the beach and the camp ground to rent paddle boards. I’ve already had my say on this activity. This was the highlight of MY trip.