Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine


We’ve had such a whirlwind last few days it’s hard to know where to start.  We saw so much, did so much and took so many pictures.  


With a big storm expected in the PNW we knew we needed to catch a flight before the storm came in.  Thus, we opted to fly out Wednesday night instead of on Thursday as originally planned.  Flexibility is key.


Our flights worked perfectly and we arrived in Jacksonville fairly early Thursday morning.  Of course, we were beat.   However, after picking up our rental car we drove  to the hotel to get freshened up and ready to hit the road again. 

Finally, we were off to Jacksonville Beach.  We didn’t want to waste any time because we had very little of it.  Hurricane  Matthew had also visited the beach just a few days before.   It took the end of the Jacksonville Beach Pier with it.  Thus, the pier was not available to the public.  We saw piles and piles of debris that had already been cleaned off the beach from the hurricane.  That didn’t keep people away.  The waves were good sized and surfers were out.  Others were sunning.  It wasn’t packed but it wasn’t empty either. 


Joe’s Crab Shack had a great location with a fabulous beach view.  It also had a view of some of what had been previously cleaned off of the beach.


We enjoyed watching the waves while munching on an appetizer of coconut shrimp.  

175That evening we were invited to join the rehearsal dinner for Mike (my nephew)  and Richelle (his beautiful bride-to-be).  While driving there we saw evidence of more damage in Jacksonville.  Much of it had already been cleaned up but there were still piles of tree trunks and branches waiting to be moved away.    

The dinner was held in the backyard of Richelle’s parents and it was wonderful.  Tables were set up for family and friends.  


A shrimp boil was on one table with shrimp, potatoes, sausage and corn.  Nummy.  Plus, there was fried alligator tail, grouper cheeks, chicken and salad.  What a unique menu and fabulous dinner. 


There was one thing we did forget to purchase and that was bug spray.  
176We paid the price for not having it too.    Zach (my great nephew) and I compared mosquito bites from Thursday evening.  He had a measly 14.  I ended up with about 18 on just the one night but there were more bites to come.  We just didn't know it yet.  Those mosquitoes are vicious and didn’t just bite bare skin.  They even bit through our clothes.

On Friday part of the group was heading to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.  Not us though.  We had seen alligators. We were off to see the town and take a tour. 


We were actually planning on taking the Old Town Trolley but discovered the Red Train Trolley offered a senior discount.  Actually, we were already parked when we figured out we were at the wrong place which turned out to be the best place.

We could get off and on the trolley at about 20 different places but didn’t have time to do it all.     We absolutely loved it.  Terry agreed we need to do things like this more often.


St. Augustine is actually the oldest town in America. It was established September 8, 1565.  That was way before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.  Our highlight on Friday was the Castillo de San Marcos. 


We loved the Fort and were amazed at the size of it.  Our timing was perfect in that we were there during the firing of one of the cannons.  


We  were also there when about five groups of school kids were visiting.  Touring the Castillo was free for everyone that day since computer systems were still down due to the hurricane.


“Cover your ears” was the command when the cannon was fired.


The Fort even had a moat but there were no alligators in that moat on Friday.  Thank goodness for that!

Another  place we had hoped to see was Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth.  However, it was closed due damage from Hurricane Matthew.

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We strolled down St. George’s Street, took a tour of San Sebastian and enjoyed some Italian Gelato.



We would have loved to tour Flagler College but didn’t have time.  The campus is gorgeous.  The Red Train Trolley was perfect in that we did get an opportunity to see a lot we wouldn’t have otherwise had time for. 

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We saw very little of St. Augustine.   Time was not something we had a lot of on Thursday or Friday.

We missed many museums, churches and historical buildings including the Old Jail.  Maybe another time?

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The original Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is in St. Augustine.  I had to take pictures of the Log House located in their parking lot.  The inside was similar to a motorhome without slides. 


It reminded me of the Tree House in the Redwoods of California.


Dinner was scheduled at Barnacle Bill’s at 4:30.  There were about 24 weddings guests.  Each table was setup for 12.  The tables were pretty much split with Richelle’s family and friends at one table and Mike’s at another.

From there it was back to Jacksonville and the hotel.  Saturday would be another busy day.  After all, that was the day of the wedding.

To be continued ....

‘Tis life on the road. 


  1. Alligator tail - tastes like chicken?

    We will keep Red Trolley Tours in mind.

  2. We did the red trolley tour there years ago so much to see and so little, nice that you got so much done.

  3. I love it when "the wrong place...turned out to be the best place"; don't you?

  4. What a mess Matthew did to that area.
    All that food at the rehearsal dinner looks delicious! Nice setting for that event.
    St. Augustine is one my all-time cities. We loved it last year. The trolley was great.
    We didn't visit Castillo de San Marcos. Thanks for all the neat photos.

  5. Thank goodness "Matthew" never made it up to our coast. Got some needed rain of it, that was all.

  6. You sure saw a lot of the area! Flagler College is beautiful and worth the trip to see it. I did hear that it had some damage.

  7. Whirlwind is a great word to describe your lifestyle. You move so fast I'm shocked that any mosquitoes would have been able to catch you to bite! :cD

  8. Forts make for some great walking history, and that one looks great. Nice you were able to avoid storms on both coasts in one trip! I too am starting to appreciate the value of trolley tours for seeing more of an area when time is short. Such a pretty town, one we'd like to see if we ever make it to FL. The rehearsal dinner sounds amazing. I see the storm cleanup sign is one they must keep in storage for regular use :-(

  9. I love St Augustine ! It's so colorful with history around every corner! inam happy to,see Mathew didn't completely wipe out everything! Nothing quite like the ocean....

    Enjoy family time and can't wait to see wedding photos!


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