Thursday, May 15, 2014

Inpromtu Spring Trip to Florida

St. Augustine, Flaggler College on the left.
Still not sewing.  I continue thinking of things I'd love to do, but all the sewing I'm doing is in my mind. You know, you just can't sew while driving a car....but despite what it may sound like, I'm really not complaining. 

We've been traveling over the last couple of months.  It all started last March 28th.  The weatherpeople predicted another snow for Newport News, sigh.  We just couldn't bear it anymore....so we took off on the spur of the moment for Florida.....St. Augustine, Florida.

We both had visited with our parents when we were kids, but had never gone back.  We decided to check it out, again.  What a wonderful trip.  I always enjoy doing trips on a whim, but it makes Lee terribly nervous.  I'm glad this one turned out so well....maybe he'll be more receptive to the next whim I get -- well, maybe -- Ha!

We found a condo available for 6 days that had great reviews and a great rate, so we said "Book It", packed quickly, and then we took off.  It was a 12-hour drive, so we got there late and it was dark and somewhat deserted.  Of course, we couldn't see the street numbers on the buildings and became quite nervous about what we had gotten ourselves into on this April 1st (fools day); but with a call to the owner, and the help of a few teens walking down the street, we finally found it.  I must say, the owner was very nice, even though we called her around midnight.  By this time we were expecting the worse, but here's what we found.....It was terrific!

Porch door to kitchen, end unit overlooks lake

Small but lovely kitchen with high ceiling and new cabinets, granite counters.

Sofa, club chair, TV/receiver, so prettily decorated Old World style. Sunroom thru door on left
It was a 1-bedroom lower-level unit with a sunroom overlooking a small lake in a residential area two blocks from the sound.  Such a quiet location, with the occasional horse and buggy strolling by along the lake....Charming.

The bump-out on the side houses the sunrooms for lower and upper units.
It turns out this building was built to house the workers of the sugar fields back when the sugar mill was working.  The building looks like its been well renovated, and all the units appear to be in good repair from all outward appearances.  St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in the US, and the history and architecture is amazing....from the very old to the newer buildings, there's so much to love about the city.

Our host had a basket full of brochures and maps of the area, and we found the Ripley's Museum brochure of their trolley tours.  We chose to get a three day ticket to ride (only $5 more) since the morning sky looked a little like rain, and we could take the tour and jump off and on at any time.  This proved to be the wisest thing we've ever done.  After placing that reservation, we drove out to the main drag to find a grocery and a place to grab some breakfast.  After unloading our groceries, we took off for a little walk....which lasted about 3 hours....okay, not so little (so happy to be rid of the plantar faciitis).   Almost everything touristy seemed to be within a block or two of our place. 

We had glorious weather every day except one, and we did laundry and did cooking-for-the-week that day.....yep, the condo had laundry facilities in addition to the well-stocked kitchen.  There was even an assortment of teas and coffee in the cupboard for us which was truly a comfort upon our arrival.  A nice cup of tea, and a quick check of email before falling into bed.

Here are some pictures....just a small sampling.  They're from my cell, so please excuse the quality.  I was shooting blind most of the time due to the bright sunshine reflecting off my screen.

View of Fort's wall along the Sound

View of Hilton Hotel (limits on bldg heights)

Someone's house

Barracks still in use by National Guarad

Gonzalez House and where we jumped onto our trolley

Architecture and a walled garden


View of the Sound from the National Guard site

Moss-covered tree-line street, near Fountain of Youth site

Tovar House

Another walled garden and home, most walls are of cocina

A view from atop Fort Monroe

Sign for the Fountain of Youth site

Church built by industrialist, Flaggler
A peek inside a courtyard

Another courtyard
Let me encourage you to spend a few days in this lovely town if you find yourself in northern Florida sometime.  Its really quite nice, and it you want the beach, there's plenty of beach on the island across the sound...Anastasia Island.   We'll definitely be back.  Onto Lakeland, Florida.

We can't go to Florida without visiting my old long-time friend, Terri and her hubby, Joe.  They live in Lakeland (near Orlando) which is another pretty city.  We've been friends since 6th grade and grew up in smalltown Ohio...we can reminisce for hours and hours.  We stayed a few days (not enough time) and had a great time.  They are such good hosts, and good folks!  We all went on an airboat ride on Kissimmee River.  Gotta do that again, for sure.  Fun!  On the day we left, Terri stayed home from work to fix us breakfast and see us off.  Such a sweetheart.  I miss her, but she blogs everyday, so it's like she's right next door....kinda.

After leaving Terry's and Joe's, we headed toward the Gulf side of Florida.  We were going to swing by Lee's nephew's place and kick around the Tampa area a little, but our daughter, Julie called before we even got onto the freeway.  She and Ben had to both work on the same day and needed a baby-sitter, could we help out?  Could we!!!  Well, of course!  Good thing we didn't tell the nephew we were in the area yet....so we headed for I-77 North for Charlotte, NC.  The next morning, we were cooing and cuddling our little Wrenn.  It was the icing on the cake for us.  (Warning, more Grandbaby pictures follow)

Wrenn's eyelashes April 2014

Wrenn, Grandpa, and Mommy

We stayed with them a couple extra days, but felt so guilty about leaving our kitties cooped up alone at home, so we headed back to Virginia.  It was a wonderful trip, but it felt so good to sleep in our own bed again.  The bad news....one very overgrown lawn and tufts of fur EVERYWHERE in the house, not to mention the 8 poo-pans to empty.  Whew!  The kitty-girls were happy to romp around outside a bit, too.  I'd love to have a baby-cam set up in the house to see what they do while we're gone on our journeys.  If the walls could talk....

You may think the traveling stopped, but there has been another trip since then, too.  But that's another story.  

Until next time, peace and love .....  Karen



1 comment:

  1. We had such a good time when you were visiting with us! And I don't mind being called your "old" friend at all!! Joe and I love St. Augustine too! So glad you could spend a few days with us, in Lakeland. Can't wait for your next visit!! Love & hugs!

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