Tuesday, July 25, 2017

St. Augustine Adventures: Day 4 (Seafood Stands and Rainbows for Days)

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!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

St Augustine Adventures: Day 2

Day Two was a perfect one. We spent countless hours by the beach and pool and caught up with "Aunt Mandy" and Mister Tony (Mister Joni to Landree) and Tyler. It was a perfect time for me to sit back and soak in the memories and capture some simple shots of the beach. While many love going in town and exploring while soaking in the incredible dining scene, I love just simply sitting on the beach and watching my little family fall in love with this incredible beach all over again. PS. The town is amazing too, but sweating with a 3 year old can be a rough job.

I started off the morning on the patio. I didn't want to wake anyone so I snuck out the front door to watch the sunrise from the patio. Although it's not as beautiful as some of the others I captured, I was amazing just to breathe for a moment before the chaos started. Our new room at Ocean Gallery definitely didn't disappoint.

Before too long came the clack, clack of our 3 year old daughter, Landree Grace. She wanted to come out and have mommy daughter time. How can I resist?? We decided to create a new tradition to have a mommy daughter date in the mornings with homemade cookies and coffee. She literally was thrilled and I think that we will keep this tradition going for years to come. I made this recipe this time from the site "The Girl who ate everything" and it was awesome! Give it a try! Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

When Erick/Daddy woke up, we decided to venture out to the beach before Aunt Mandy came for a quick visit. (Please, please stay for awhile next year?) We came across beautiful skies and our amazing friend Mikey out fishing. Erick and Mikey have formed a wonderful friendship and he is such a strong, Christian role model for him. God truly led us to the right place!

Three minutes on the beach and we came across our first Ohio State Fans. Typically, anywhere we go one of us is wearing something Ohio State. And, sometimes we are unintentionally matching. Erick gets so thrilled when he hears that first "O H!" Landree even yelled back and I caught a couple pictures of her telling the dolphins good morning, and O H! 

After our quick walk, Landree and Erick headed for the pool and I headed to make breakfast, which, I promptly forgot to capture, but you need to try it! This Tator Tot Breakfast Casserole is delicious and it served us for two days! (Chew out Loud Cheesy Tator Tot Bake) At that point, Aunt Mandy arrived. We scarfed breakfast and may have gotten into the New Sarum Brewing Dunn's Mountain Cucumber Kolsch we brought.... hey, we are at the beach... and its 5 o'clock somewhere... ok or 930am.  We spent lots of time with Aunt Mandy before she had to leave for Orlando. Landree's song obsession is "da dip" so she had to learn to dance like Mandy. So fun! 

After Mandy left, Erick's friends from back in Ohio came for a visit. Tyler and Tony live in Jacksonville so we have been blessed to have them visit both years we have visited. The kids had so much fun making castles, chasing in the ocean, hauling water, and just having a great time. Did I mention how wonderful this beach is?

Erick is SUCH an amazing father.

When we were at the pool, I could hear people start yelling and making a commotion. I look behind me and see this little friend slithering right behind me... Eww. I didn't actually move off my chair in panic, but if I would have known we were near a poisonous snake habitat I may have moved more quickly.

We were so bummed when Tony and Tyler went home and Landree insisted she wasn't tired. Our friends invited us to have dinner with them, but my mommy gut said, NOPE. Abort mission. Well, that lasted about 5 minutes. She was OUT!

Two hours later, she was still zonked.  Our amazing friends sent up some of their dinner as our appetizer. To say that Jana is an amazing chef is an understatement. This Salmon and Rice was delicious. Can we get an invite next year pretty please? If any of you are visiting Fernandina Beach, you need to visit her at Ms.Carolyn's. The cake ya'll the cake... more of that later in the week.

Erick and I decided to just make dinner together and finish up the day with a nice bottle of wine (thanks mom!) on the patio. It was the perfect ending to the day. The shrimp here? It was the shrimp from the seafood market from yesterday!

Until tomorrow friends...