St Augustine 2.0!
We decided to return to St Augustine to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean that we had left back in December. Since we needed some warranty work done on our coach we had to be back up north in Elkhart Indiana by March 28th. So, we decided to finish off our winter in the warm Florida sun instead of making our way inland.
Our first week back at Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort we were parked right along the beach front dunes. This spot also had us parked right beside the walkway over the dunes and out on the beach. At first we thought this would be a bit of an annoyance, however, what it did was allow us to meet a lot of new friends as they walked by. Two legged, as well as four legged furry ones! Sadly, we did have to give up our beach front once the calendar page turned from February to March so we moved to a
site closer to the middle of the park. We were sad to be further away from the sound of the ocean but our new site was between two park model homes so for the rest of our stay we did not have new neighbours coming and going beside us. This spot was sheltered from the ocean winds, had sunshine, and with our motorhome pulled up further in the spot it allowed us a view of the ocean out our big front window. So, even though we gave up the prime ocean spot we still had a really nice place to call home.
Along with our spot just outside St Augustine, nestled between St Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach we had the opportunity to forge new friendships. Our neighbours the first week were Bob and Sandra from Illinois. We had lots to talk about and discuss as we are retired farmers. We had a campfire with Jim and Sue from New York another nieghbour of ours along the ocean. Linda and John, who
we had met the first time, were still in their same spot.. So they welcomed us back. The longer we stayed the longer our list of friends became, Linda and Gerry from Ottawa, Linda and Larry from southern Indiana who were always on the beach late afternoon when we walked. Doug and Becky and their dog Bandit who we will see when we return to Canada as they live close to our first campground near Point Pelee National Park. Jacque and Liz from Montreal also supplied some very interesting conversation and treats. Liz and Larry, both enjoyed early mornings on the beach and then sharing their photographs. She is also a newly
gifted painter and we purchased one of her sunrise paintings for our future enjoyment. We played with Shilo and Bradley, two beautiful Retreivers who always drew us over to their gazebo to pet them, oh yeah, Basil and Kathy, their owners. Catherine and Rich from Pennsylvania and their dog Dharma, where we enjoyed a campfire with them to get rid of the last of our firewood and to wish them well on their house hunting. Leanne and Whiskey (her Siberian Husky) from Timmins as well as her parents from London. Then there was a strong friendship that was formed
between Buddy (a rescue dog) and June at the laundromat which then led us to a friendship with Bill and Ginger, Buddy’s owners. Then more Facebook friend’s in Linda and Skip and the list goes on. This is one of the main reasons that someday might find us back at Bryn Mawr, the people, and the community!
St Augustine this time around gave us the opportunity to make new friends but it also gave us time to connect with some family and friends. It started out with a wonderful visit from our dear friends and cousins, Lynn and Julie Zehr and their son Blake and his friend, Lucas. I like to think it was us that brought them down and not just escaping the cold Canadian winter and an amusement park with the name of Disney 🙂 Either way we were happy to have them in our town. They rented a nice cabin at the KOA just 7 km towards St Augustine and we had a wonderful four days with them. Even though it felt like only 2 days, since it went by so fast. It started out with them driving down the beach
road to our campground for a walk on the beach before meeting for dinner at one of the local beach restaurants. Then there was the local farmers market and a Florida sun beach day, although it was a little windy! A barbeque at their cabin of Golden Tile fish, seared tuna and chicken for the boys with a campfire on their verandah looking over the little pond in the middle of
the campground. The one afternoon we spent walking around the old city with a highlight seeing the “face” of Henry Flagler that was i
mprinted in the marble of the foyer of the old hotel which is now the dorm of the college. This imprint is said to have been left by Flagler’s ghost during the wake for him at the hotel. We even got to hang out at our RV after they checked out of their cottage before they drove back down to Orlando to fly home early the next morning. We really enjoyed being able to spend time with them in our new home.
We also had a nice impromptu visit from cousin Jan Mullett and her partner Steve. They sent us an email that they were going to be going through Florida with their trailer and wanted to connect. So we made plans for them to come see our set up at the beach and have some coffee before going on with thier day. They arrived at 10 am and the coffee pot was full and waiting. All of a sudden it was 12:30 and we were still sitting in the RV talking! So after a little bit of discussion we decided to go into St
Augustine for lunch at the Prohibition Kitchen a local spot we wanted to try. They are known for their burgers and good food but we also discovered the largest soft pretzels ever! All of a sudden it was 4:40 PM and we were still sitting there. So after a quick tour of St Augustine they dropped us off at home and headed back to their park two hours away. After they left we thought of an idea that on their way back north they could use our lot as we had it paid for until the end of the month but had to leave early. They jumped at this opportunity and through Rich and Catherine we even got them on a beach front lot for their stay!
Our other special visitors involved Bike Week that was happening in Daytona. Wayne and Sharon along with some friends of theirs were staying on the other side of Orlando. Even though they did not make it up to St Augustine to see us, we spent a wonderful day meeting them west of Daytona at a Sonny’s Barbeque. Then driving into Daytona and spending the afternoon walking around the spectacle of opening day of Bike Week at the largest Harley dealership in the US at Daytona. The weather took a turn to the cold side after this day and it was not favourable to see them again, but it was so good spending time with family.
Daytona Bike Week! When we planned our Florida loop it did not look like we would be back to these parts for Bike Week. However, when we had to change plans to get back to Elkhart and found space at Bryn Mawr again it became a possibility. We only made it to Daytona twice however. The first time with Wayne and Sharon on opening day and then the following Sunday which was the last day. Both days were nice and sunny but the closing day was extremely windy and cool so the driving was fun but a little trickier as the wind would actually blow the bike a little sideways as your drove. All week long we saw lots and lots of bikes as the drive north out of Daytona on the A1A takes you right along the ocean and comes up and past St Augustine making it a mecca for motorcycles. The crowds were never too overwhelming on the two days we went but being part of the gang was fun and exciting.
Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre are a main attraction for a lot of people along the east coast of Florida. It is a 160 km south of us on the coast. Not only was it the launching pads for the Saturn rockets that took the astronauts up to the moon, it was also the launching pads for every space shuttle
that took off to the space station. It is a day long adventure to tour the facility and to see a rocket launch up close and personal. ( I was lucky enough to see (June was sick for this one) a SpaceX rocket being launched. It ended up happening at 2 AM in the morning and all I had to do was walk out on our beach. It was a cold night and other then one other person (at least where I was) I got to see the rocket blast off and head towards the starry sky. It was a sight I will never forget. ) The launch we had tickets to had been scrubbed twice, but it finally got the green light and away we went. After spending the afternoon seeing the exhibits at the
Space Centre we drove out to a side road along the inner coastal waterway to view the launch over the water. Here we set up our lawn chairs and camera on the beach and waited along with lots of other people. The count down started and everyone was getting excited but then at the 4 minute mark it was put on hold!
The hold lasted about 45 minutes before it finally blasted off. As it lifted higher into the sky, flying over our head,
we heard the roar from the rocket engines and that sound will remain with us for a long time. The actual display of the rocket taking off did not last very long, only a matter of minutes. It was definitely worth the drive down there.
The rest of our time was usually spent cycling around the area and taking in the Farmer’s Markets where we befriended a few of the local vendors. We enjoyed some good cycling weather over the last month and managed to get in over 600 km of cycling plus lots of
km’s of walking the beach as well. We spent St Patrick’s Day (which is a special day for us, as it is also June’s Birthday ) by attendng the local St Patrick’s Day Parade in the morning. In the evening we enjoyed the party hosted by the campground in the community room. It is always so nice to celebrate with everyone on my BD!!
Part of the fun of our travels is seeing and learning about the local attractions. We took in a morning talk and tour of the local turtle hospital and research station, Whitney Lab at Marineland. We also came across a small Trump Rally in downtown St Augustine at the fort. We had a short political discussion with a guy about the
value of socialism, and listened to the Republican speaker go on and on about “the intellectual eggheads”. It was a very interesting experience. Local tours are always interesting and in St Augustine was no exception. We toured a local chocolate factory which had some amazing chocolate and the local Distillery where we ended up leaving with a bottle of bourbon.
Eating the local delicacies are always a highlight and along the Florida coast that usually includes seafood. We became “experts” at grilling Grouper, Golden Tile and Ahi Tuna. One of the more interesting discoveries was a Crispy Crème Burger at one of the local beach
spots. This was a hamburger where the “bun” was 2 Crispy Crème donuts. Amazing! We shared one between the two of us because it was so decadent!!! We also discovered “UFOs” with Lynn and Julie when they came, which is a local burrito/taco fusion beach restaurant. It was so good, we actually had this again for June’s birthday dinner!
It is amazing on how fast time can move on when you are enjoying yourself. We can hardly believe that not only is our time in St Augustine coming to a close but this means we start the drive north. Where did the winter go!!! We sure experienced a lot and are looking forward to what the future holds. As we drive out of Bryn Mawr we are not sure when we will see the ocean again!