Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weekend in Florida

Over President's Day weekend, Craig and I jetted down to Florida to visit his brother, sister-in-law, and new nephew. Maybe it was because we were seeing family or perhaps it was due to the weather being surprisingly pleasant, but during this trip, I saw a different side of Florida. I was charmed by the cute little towns we visited and felt refreshed to see a change of scenery outside.

First up on the trip, Craig and I took a quick jaunt over to New Smyrna Beach while David and Sarah were at work. Although I wish Florida didn't build so many large hotels right on the beach (they're such an eyesore), it was pretty nice to be around a part of the ocean that can be used without a wetsuit!

sand pipers piping

The following day, we went to Blue Springs State Park to go for a short walk and see local manatees that vacation in the springs for the winter. Craig and I had backseat baby-entertaining duty, which makes car rides even more fun!

      Backseat entertainment

Going for a stroll at Blue Spring State Park

Hunting for manatees at Blue Springs. Baby Sam thinks manatees are boring.

 Manatee blowhole!


Afterward, we dropped Sam off with his grandparents and went to St. Augustine for the evening.  This city was such a treat! We arrived late in the afternoon, but I still felt that we saw a lot of this cute colonial-influenced town. One of the highlights was visiting the Ice Plant Bar. Although I don't have any photos, in the 1920s it was an ice manufacturing facility that has since been restored and turned into a vintage-style bar and restaurant. Many of their drinks, such as the Florida Mule I was sipping on, feature heirloom sugarcane and locally distilled alcohols.

We also walked down George Street, which had a touristy feel, but was still super fun! We finished the night off with a delicious dinner at the Floridian, which features farm-to-table southern cuisine, and a sunset walk to the fort at Castillo De San Marcos.

Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine

Sunset at Matanzas Bay

Our last full day in Florida was mostly spent hiking along the St. John's River. As much as I love the jagged skyline from the pines and mountains in the Pacific Northwest, I have to admit, I was pretty elated to be surrounded by the palms and drooping Spanish moss. 

Hiking in the Black Bear Wilderness Area

So many fronds!

Cyprus swamp. No alligator sightings on this trip!

We find a friend!

Cyprus knees

Clearing the path of rattlesnakes for me.

Air plants

Gonna be a mighty king

Our final morning of the trip was spent lounging at the house, hanging out with baby Sam and talking about how we weren't ready to return to the cold and gray, rainy skies. Craig and David took an early afternoon spin in the Triumph, a sports car dating from 1958-1962 that was passed down from their cousin. Meanwhile, Sarah and I relaxed in the living room being silly and creating dialog for Sam and the dog.

Afterward, we said our goodbyes and returned on the long flight home to Seattle. This trip to Florida definitely made me take a second glance at this state and I'm looking forward to getting to know it better soon!

How cute is this little hedgehog?!

The boys posing in the Triumph.


Barefoot in the backyard. Right before heading to the airport.