Home Away From Home

Another Day in St. Augustine

Got up and had our usual slow morning with spark, coffee and for breakfast I had sausage balls. Apparently I wasn’t thinking when I set the microwave on 2 minutes and it suddenly dawned on me when 28 seconds were left – yikes. They were hard as rocks. Since no one else is eating them I threw them away and started again. Got dressed in my turtle necks and boots, went outside, came back in and took my turtle neck off. What a difference a day makes. It was sunny and much warmer. I decided to just take my raincoat and not a heavier jacket but I still wore my boots.

We parked at the Sebastian Winery and then walked to the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. Along the way I was bemoaning the fact that I had on hot boots and warm socks instead of my flats. The church was erected in memory of his daughter and granddaughter. The church is amazing. Although supposedly one of the nine most beautiful churches in the US it still doesn’t compare to the Bascilia in Montreal but it is indeed beautiful. The stain glass windows each portray a fragment of the Apostles Creed. Henry Flagler built the church for the Presbyterians so he could have the property that the original church was on and amazingly enough this church was built in less than a year, 351 days I think. 500 people worked on it. The floors are small tiles and they were laid one at a time, not in sheet form. The chandeliers are in the form of gold crosses and are lovely. The ceiling looks like tiles but since the architect advised against using tiles due to their weigh the ceiling is faux painting. Interestingly enough Flagler’s third wife is from and is buried in Kenansville, not far from our home. I never knew the connection between Kenansville and Carolina (UNC) before. Kenan and Flagler were good friends.

Next we headed downtown and took a picture with the statue of Flagler. We walked over to the Trolley stop and waited for the next one to arrive. Since we didn’t have our stickers to indicate that we were trolley riders we stopped in the booth to get some. They were remodeling today so they told us to get one from the driver when we got on. He didn’t have any either! We took a ride all the way around the corner and then got off! Went into another store that was at the trolley stop to get a sticker. They didn’t have any either and told us we could only get them at stop one – no way we were walking there or spending that much time on the trolley.

We wandered on down the street and Donna and I went in the Filthy Rich store. Don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t replicas of Hollywood stars’ jewelry. Rodeo Drive this wasn’t! The prices were great but I’m quite sure my finger would be black by the end of the day if I bought one of their rings. LOL

We finally located the oils store that we had been on the lookout for. They had many different oils along with lots of samples. I sampled a balsamic vinegar with tangerine and it was really good. I almost bought it but decided that since we rarely eat bread we really didn’t need any more balsamic vinegar. I’m sure I’ll regret not buying some.

We then went to the Lightner Museum and wandered around the lobby. We decided against going in since it was an extra charge and it consists mainly of sets of collections obtained during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Lunch was next on the agenda. Donna and I checked out the cafe at the museum. It is located in what used to be the huge swimming pool. It is obviously very slanted as you head to the deep end. It was very picturesque with tables mainly for two set toward the deep end but it was extremely cool in there. I guess on an extremely hot day it would prove to be a respite from the heat. We decided against eating there though and the menu just didn’t seem too appetizing.

Then we started the hunt for somewhere else. Using Yelp Donna and Ken located a restaurant and we headed for it only to end up on the waterfront at the White House. I had a Crab BLT (crab salad with lettuce and bacon), crab bisque and FF’s. One could look at my plate and know it was delicious. Jerry had a Cuban sandwich on Cuban bread, a new treat and he said it was very good.

What a shock when we walked out. The weather had changed dramatically. I was mighty glad I had on my boots and warm socks! Flats would have been very wet and cold. Not only was it raining but it was pretty chilly. The tour guide told us Monday that if we didn’t like the weather in Florida to just hold on, it would change. I thought that was a NC thing! Guess it’s pretty much everywhere! We lingered around waiting for the next trolley. We went in the alpaca shop and Ken bought some gloves he can use as liners with his motorcycle gloves. The rugs in there were oh so soft and oh so warm and oh so expensive! We also wandered around an art gallery. Jerry maybe has found a new hobby, oil painting. The paintings were quite good, some very large and all very expensive, one over $100,000. I don’t quite understand why you would want a painting of someone you don’t know but there were several paintings of various women and people are obviously purchasing them.

As we were waiting for the trolley Ken discovered that is we took the trolley we were going to be on for a long ride going places we’d already been so we said heck we wouldn’t melt so off we went. It was raining pretty hard but Donna and I got the wettest when a car went by pretty fast and hit a puddle and splashed us pretty good. I’d only seen that in movies!

Our next stop was the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. We had about 45 minutes to wait for the next tour so Donna and Ken shopped. I went to the bathroom where I set my purse on the trash can. Yep, it fell in and then I couldn’t get it out! Hopefully it was just full of used hand towels! After a brief video we donned our lovely sanitation hats and trekked through the rain next door to the factory. We sampled about seven pieces of chocolate and I definitely was on a sugar high. I did worry about Jerry’s sugar level although the printed information stated that the dark chocolate was good for diabetes. Um… the candy was delicious but we didn’t buy any.

Running through the rain again we made it to the San Sebastian Winery. We slipped in just in time and watched a video, took a brief tour and then went to the wine tasting. The tour guide started off with the dry wines, not good to me, and ended up with the sweeter wines. I don’t think I have ever had sherry before but that was delicious and again, I’ll probably be sorry that I didn’t get it.

Our next visit was the St. Augustine Distillery. Another trip through their small museum, another video and a tour. They had finished for the day (as had the chocolate and winery) but we were still able to go through. It reminded me a lot of the brewery and reminded me that I really need to go on a tour of the brewery. Then we sampled vodka and gin. The vodka was some kind of kicking mule concoction and was OK. The gin was – well piney! One sip was quite enough for me. A short trip through the shop and we were finally on our way “home” after a long day of sightseeing. There is a lot to see in St. Augustine and you can’t see it in two and half days but we gave it our best shot.

A brief stop at Camping World for Ken to get something he needed and then we were home and guess what – it had quit raining. Since the Oregon-Ohio State game was at 8:30 we planned for dinner at 7:00. I had the spaghetti and Donna brought a salad. After dinner we had pound cake with amaretto drizzled on the plate topped by ice cream. I have to say – it was absolutely delicious!

Donna and Ken stayed to watch a bit of the game and then I worked on the computer for a while and what a memory that brought back. I sat at the dining table to work and when I got up my shoulder was hurting just like it used to when I worked at Parrott and in Craven County.

I got ready to bed, turned on Castle and have no idea how it turned out. I never even heard Jerry come to bed and I don’t know who won the game! Good night all!

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Home Away From Home

Touring St. Augustine

We got up this morning about 6:15 and for once Jerry had forgotten to fix the coffee the night before so we had to wait a few minutes to really wake up! We puttered around reading e-mail, showering and were ready by 9:00. We were supposed to meet Donna and Ken at 9:30. I couldn’t decide what to wear – didn’t want to be too hot but surely didn’t want to be as cold as I was yesterday. Fortunately I wore a turtle neck along with warm pants and my boots. With my Patagonia coat and raincoat I was warm most of the day.

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Jerry and Donna selecting their gems
We went directly to the first stop on the trolley tour where we had free parking. First we went into Gator Bob’s Trading Post. Donna bought a scarf with mittens on each end and Ken brought a cap. Then both Jerry and Donna got very interested in the “gems”. $5 for a bag full so we all spent considerable time selecting just the right stones. Jerry is going to take up a new hobby and start making jewelry!

We got on the trolley then and enjoyed a tour of St. Augustine. It began to rain and unfortunately we were seated in the second section so we were getting rain in the face. Glad I wore my waterproof mascara! Ken said there was coffee at the 15th stop so we anxiously awaited that destination. When we found the coffee shop, the Bunnery, they were still serving breakfast so we had an early lunch – breakfast with a couple of cups of warm coffee!

We got back on the trolley and finished the tour. When we arrived back at the starting point we took a tour of the Historical Museum and the general store. The guide said that if it wasn’t in the store it wasn’t anything that had been needed. Two ladies posed as period actors and explained the various things in the store. It was quite interesting. Some of the things I remember Mom having or perhaps I remember seeing pictures of them. After that we went on a tour of the jail. The harsh conditions in which the inmates lived was unbelievable. Some cells which were so small you couldn’t turn around in would house up to eight inmates and the temperature could get up to 110 degrees in the summer. Needless to say there were many deaths.

We got back on the trolley and rode some more. We had a very good guide, Poppy and we were close enough that we could hear everything he said. We wanted to tour the Presbyterian Church but it wasn’t open for tours so we rode on to the distillery where we were told we wouldn’t have a ride back if we went on that tour so we decided to put both of them off until tomorrow.

Sitting in front of the jail with the sheriff
Sitting in front of the jail with the sheriff
By the time we got back to the Gator Bob’s Trading Post it was raining again and it was nearly 5:00. A day full of interesting things but time to end the sight-seeing.

Donna and Ken came over for dinner again. We had meatballs and I fixed some mashed potatoes – mashed, not creamed as Jerry had to chop them up with the chopper and then mash them with a spoon! Necessity is the mother of invention. Donna had brought over some green beans and I cooked them and then when they came for dinner she brought salad. We discussed what we were going to do tomorrow. Looks like the church, the distillery, the winery, the chocolate factory, Lightner Museum are all on the agenda. Two days is not enough to see all of St. Augustine especially when it’s cold and rainy but it’ll have to do for this trip!

Got to FaceTime with Trent and Eva tonight – love my children! Off to bed now. It’s nearly 10:00, the latest I’ve been up since we left home!

Home Away From Home

Arriving in St. Augustine

Day Four – Moving on to the Tampa Super Show

Jerry got up around 6 and I stayed in bed until 6:15 but I was cold and knew I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got on up. We both weighed and darn it we continue to gain weight. Although I have admittedly gained weight I don’t think the scales are correct. I weighed several times today with heavy clothes and without and weighed the same. Oh well.

Jerry hooked the car up on the dolly and now within 15 minutes we could pull out except we have another hour to wait. Nope – by the time we got ready Donna had knocked on the door and they were ready. They are really good traveling companions. We pulled out around 9:15 headed for St. Augustine. Neither Ken nor I could find the address in our GPS but we knew it was off of I95 and he said we turned on Route 16 so we headed on. We traveled about 3 hours until Ken needed to stop for gas. We got a snack at Wendy’s (French fries) and headed on.

Our home in St. Augustine
Our home in St. Augustine
In the meantime I had gotten the Good Sam’s Camping Book out and located our campground with a more detailed address. I put that in the GPS and we got the correct directions. I also put in the name of the campground and got the same directions so I knew we were good to go.

We arrived about 1:00 and got settled and then left a little before 3:00 and rode into St. Augustine. We found a parking place and then spent some time just wandering around the streets. It was so cold and we were not dressed for it! The streets were crowded and we did see some strange sights. We went in the trolley information booth to see what tours they had to offer. While Donna, Ken and I listened to the guide Jerry stood outside. We all bought tickets to ride the trolley for three days – actually only two since we’ll be leaving Tuesday. When we stepped outside of the booth Jerry’s response was that he didn’t have to pay $66 to see strange sights – he had been seeing them the entire time we were in there. The one he talked about the most was the young girl who had dyed her hair gray. With half the world his wife included trying to cover gray there was a young girl dyeing hers gray. What makes the world go around I guess. We wandered in and out of the shops for a while and then went to the Columbia for dinner. It was a Spanish restaurant and we had no idea what to order. We all ended up ordering tapas. Before they were served we each had a “hunk” of bread. When they gave us our individually wrapped bread I knew that I wouldn’t eat it all. Wrong. Good butter and good bread and yes, we ate it all! Jerry and I had shrimp, crab cakes and pork ribs – what a combination and I was afraid my stomach might revolt but it was good and we enjoyed it.

Afterward we returned to the car and headed back to the campground. Goodnights were said and shortly afterward I was in bed. I really have slept well on this trip and I surely hope it continues!