Monday, August 14, 2017

St. Augustine Adventures: Day 5 The Alligator Farm

While I could write a thousand words about our second trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, I think pictures are so much better then words. It's an amazing place! For those that have another zoo or science center membership, OR AAA (among other discounts) make sure you ask! Our family was able to go for under 30 dollars and it was an amazing experience! 

So, when we left, I got a sweets craving. I was told by multiple people to try Dessert First Bistro. It didn't disappoint, although more pricey then I expected it to me. Needless to say, Landree enjoyed it!

Hopefully we will have day 6 posted before the end of the year!  :-p

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

St. Augustine Adventures: Day 4

You can tell the lull of having a toddler has set in. It's been several weeks since I've updated.

This day was a little different. There wasn't supposed to be rain. And somehow.. the unforecasted rain ended up being the biggest surprise of the day.

Of course... we had to do a sunrise adventure. Is there anything else? These were honestly some of my favorite sunrises of the entire trip. My favorite moments are taking a step back and watching Erick and Landree together. It reminds me so much of my relationship as a child with my own dad. 

Erick came with us this time and it turned into an adventure in itself. He loves to take photos as a hobby. As he was getting set up, he ended up dropping his camera lens cover in the area marked "stay out, poisonous snake habitat." In true Hartley fashion, can he obey of course not. So, over the side he goes and comes out unscathed but it made for some some good laughs. And yes, those are painted nails. Our three year old daughter Landree insisted that Daddy needed painted nails just like hers. He was such a good daddy and left them on the rest of the trip. 

Once I recovered from not losing my husband to the snake pit, it started to cloud over. We didn't expect rain, but decided to go for a little car ride. Some of our favorite memories are going on random road trips with no real intention of where we were stopping, so off we went. We were bound for the Flager Beach area. We hit some rain on the way, but nothing abnormal for Florida. As we were approaching Fort Matanzas, we came across the most incredible rainbow. I have never seen anything so vivid! This is filterless!

Hit and miss showers came through and we made it as far as the bridge near Paltaska I believe it was, then it was time to turn around and find some seafood for supper. 

I had heard about A1A Fisheries from a local that I know so we made that our first stop. I will start out by saying this place is immaculate! Literally, the cleanest public bathroom I have ever been in in my entire life! The sweetest people work there and we got some amazing LOCAL wahoo and grouper. Everything that they have there is local to the area and fresh caught. The cost was around thirty dollars for one pound portions of each, sliced and ready for the grill. We highly, highly recommend it!

On our way there we passed a place called Fresh2You Seafood Market so we figured what the heck. We are this far lets check it out. It was the cutest place! They had a smaller, but wonderful seafood selection, a great outside dining area, wine and cheese selection and they offer entertainment on certain days. We were there at 10am so there wasn't much going on but it will definitely be a stop next year!

Our day ended up with some swimming with fabulous new goggles and sunset beach runs. It was simple, but fun filled day exploring where the locals go. 

Tomorrow's adventures... The Alligator Farm.

Monday, July 10, 2017

St. Augustine Adventures: Day 3

Day Three is here. Our sweet daughter came barreling in the room and asked if we could go see the sunrise. I looked at the clock and bolted out of bed. I told her, throw on clothes quick!!! In under 8 minutes, we were out of bed, changed and at the beach... and thank God we did!

It's amazing to see your child in the shadows of the ocean that is so deep and wide. It's amazing to see the colors reflecting off her face in the awe of this big, beautiful world. 
I caught her singing a Christian/VBS Song. She was singing "Drops in the Ocean." My heart was so full. To see your child grow in their faith and truly "get it"... it's priceless. 

I took a couple more pictures and we headed up to the condo to make some breakfast. Today, we decided to go with a Pioneer Woman recipe that I recently saw on her show. Paige's Quiche is a great recipe, but probably not my absolute favorite. Thankfully, it made enough for two so we were able to bless a family in a small way for all the blessings they have given us. 

The past couple days and the gorgeous Florida sunshine fried us! Including the fellow Floridians! We wanted to spend a couple hours at the pool, the head out and just explore. Landree couldn't miss daddy tossing her in the water a time or 12. She is such a daredevil!! A couple bolts of lightning and it was time to bail. 

Showered up, and we were ready to head out. Our first stop (and don't worry, we had a cooler packed with ice!) was the seafood stand. We have tried several in the time we were there, but the The Seafood Shoppe is one is the closest to our condo.I honestly have no clue of her name, but there is a pregnant lady that works in there that is just the sweetest. She was WONDERFUL to Landree! Shout out to her and her patience to answer our seafood questions.

Our next stop was Broudy's. Y'all are going to think I'm crazy but we literally drove there to get one kind of beer. The JDubs Passion Wheat Beer is my absolute favorite beer on the planet. It is so balanced, light, but my husband also loves it that enjoys IPA's and other craft beers. I would give anything for this beer to be in NC! But, I may have also cheered.... loudly... when I found some clearance Shipyard there. Five dollars for my favorite pumpkin beer -- sold. 

Storms were popping up so we decided to venture across the beautiful Bridge of Lions and head to Vilano Beach. Somehow, they filled in all around us (including our condo!) but managed to miss us there. The renovated pier had opened and Erick wanted to check out how the fishing was. I didn't know it needed repairs, but it seemed nice! For travelers, it's a great, FREE pier you can walk out on. And, some awesome information from our friend Mikey, it was the original road across to Vilano!

As the skies darkened, we ducked into Beaches.. We had never been there before, but people said it had a nice view. Well... kinda. It appeared to have been hit hard from the storm and there was no side railing and it was blocked off to go down to the water with yellow tape. So... we sat back a little ways, but still on the patio, No railing, ocean and a toddler? That's a no go! The views are nice though even with the ominous gray skies. It ended up being happy hour -- $2.50 drinks -- so we each got a Landshark and colored with Landree. Peaceful and relaxing. I love just looking at Landree and Erick together. Landree truly is... curly hair, don't care!

We wrapped up the adventures at the Pavilion Beach. We were randomly driving around Vilano and ended up there. There is a turtle nest there Landree was so excited to check out. We had talked to the lifeguard there and he said sometimes he sees pods as big as 50 dolphins at a time! Landree was so excited to get her toes back in the sand! Vilano is a lot more "shelly" and less soft fluffy sand then at our condo, but it's still absolutely beautiful. You have to be more careful at that spot because of the rough waters where the inlet and ocean come together. It's crazy how rough it can be!

As we were pulling out, we got a message from our friends to meet them at Mango Mango's for supper. It's our favorite place and believe it or not... I took zero pictures. BUT, all the more reason to check it out!

..... Day four tomorrow!