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Oh my, have the last few weeks gotten away from me! So many new sites and explorations recently through St. Augustine! Jon and I are continuing to settle in to our Old Mission Ave. House (the washer/dryer got delivered a week ago, but still makes me smile every time I walk past it!) and exploring this wonderful city. Of course there are quite a few things to get used to as well... including but not limited to the two palm trees in our front yard, the bugs, lizardy guys that hang around the house everywhere, having the air conditioner on all the time (*the humidity inside the house would be crazy insane if we didn't have this..), house/ceiling fans, did I mention bugs?, and not really having to look at the weather because it'll be about 75-85F when I leave the house in the morning and when I get back and when I walk up town at sunset.
I think i've mentioned this before, but our house is about a mile from uptown, and it's really fantastic being able to walk up there to meet JB after work. Typically i'll go straight down San Marco which winds past many tourist stops and small shops, but there is also a lot of residential traffic. Other times I'll wind my way down to Water Street and walk past the larger, still old, and very beautiful homes there, or any street between. It's a nice stroll and refreshing after work, errands, or time at home .. to get out and keep finding little joys as I bounce around one way streets, tiny alleyways, some of the oldest buildings in the country (including the oldest school house) and wonderful little doorways.
These photos above are from some of those explorations (many many more to be shared)... the first is from Vilano Beach (where a few of the panorama's ive taken lately are from). You can drive on these beaches (which Jon and I have had the chance to do) which really feels like driving in slushy snow. It's amazing how many trucks and cars you can see just from the Fort (on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon), looking out over the inlet, little shiny specks sitting right on the shore, but it isn't too ultra busy with cars during the week . The second and fifth photo are from those walks uptown right near the fort ... the last trip on the Schooner Freedom gets back right as the sun gets bright and the sky turns bold before quickly fading, and the street lights and palm trees silhouette against the sky so quickly and easily. Across from our house (picture four) is a shrine (picture three) which has not only a very large cross and amazing gravestones and ruins, but a neat view.
I'm thankful that with our very different work schedules JB and I have been able to have a few afternoon dates. I've gotten to see St. Augustine a little more and get a greater sense of being settled in and feeling at home here. Some of this date time has been to get the house more set up and cozy feeling, but we've also gotten out to explore this beautiful city. JB has lived here before, but it has been a few years so he is enjoying getting to see the sights with a new light (and company) and sense of place following his time living in the Caribbean. I've tried to be active in getting to know his friends, setting up healthy routines (still have some work to do on this though...) and constantly reminding myself that I won't be returning to Drake in the fall. Having a good partner in crime with this has certainly been a blessing.
On one of our date days though we took the opportunity to take a walk around the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument! Since the fort is right downtown i've passed it practically every day (and sat on the grounds for an afternoon reading session) so getting inside to take a good tour was very nice. Because of my history working with the National Park Service along with art and art history, I was really interested in the conversation the exhibits shared of the continuos debate and conversation of how and what to clean and restore with this old fort. It costs $7 to get in, and is worth the stop for both the history and views. During peak season there is said to be about 3,000 people that go through throughout the day, but there is enough space to comfortably fit all visitors. It doesn't take too long to go through (and we read most of the signs, so it's a good stop for an hour or less of walking around. Make sure and ask about the cannon firing too - they do that throughout the day.
After exploring we went home and changed (hot fun in the sun = several outfits in a day) for dinner. When I first started planning our afternoon together I wasn't sure where to go and was looking places up when JB came in and said he had it planned (I was pretty impressed). So for dinner we went to Catch 27. I can't say enough nice things about this place... it was small (about the size of hour house actually) on a side street just off of St. George, free corkage (BYO wine and beer, they don't serve any), and they take reservations. They have a small menu, because all that's on it are the appetizers and how you'd like your fish prepared - you see, they just have whatever was caught that morning, but a few ways to have it prepared. We also found out the other night that JB went to college with the owner! We happened to run into him, and what a funny surprise it was! We will certainly be back (especially when Mom and Dad get to town).
Next up Jon's parents visited! I had been working from home until then, but with my boss coming to town I got settled into the office and squared away on some new projects. It was also a good time to explore more St. Augustine hotspots, along with get our couches (which JB's family so generously contributed to our home) and decorating ideas!
...before our fancy date (see below) (a week after the Cooks left) I got my Florida drivers license! Although it was sad seeing my nice Illinois license go (although they cut the corner off and let me keep it for a memento) it was pretty neat getting this... when I moved I had to get Florida insurance and plate pretty much right away, but that has also finally got put on my car! (And during our date I got carded, so just hours after getting this I got to show my smiling license to the waitress!)
Last week JB and I went out for a celebration afternoon and dinner, and stopped by the new St. Augustine Distillery. It opened up about three months ago, and also houses a restaurant called the Ice Plant. Just check out their menu and drink list and you will be drooling, hungry, thirsty, and ready for a good meal. Because neither of us had been there before I convinced him to take a tour with me. While we've both been on these before, it was neat to see it here even just to get a sneak peak at the buildings history and structure, and the bourbon they are aging. It was recommended that we get the Clam's for an appetizer (yum!) which we did - just make sure and ask for extra brea for dipping in the lovely broth. We also got burgers - grassfed and organic, etc.
They were pretty tasty, but the clams were definitely more a hit for us both. Since we got to try and Florida Mule during our tour (which we happened to be the only 2... they leave every half hour throughout the day) we tried a mix of other cocktails. Here i'd say you really can't go wrong - they have the seasonal crafted list, which includes photos of what your ice will look like, along with an entire bar for whatever cocktail you'd like to order. All in all it's a really great place, and we will most certainly be back, even if for an afternoon hydration session. Their website has a lot of great information and history, so make sure and check that out too.
This past week JB and I took a mini roadtrip to Savannah... it was a last minute thing for work, as my boss was going to be there and we were able to pick up Jon's guitar. Neither of us had been there before, and as it was a potential location to move and work from i'm happy to have been able to see it. I wouldn't say it's my favorite place, Charleston or St. Augustine definitely beat it, but i'm still willing to give it a chance again alter too. We had a good time though, good meeting and dinner with my boss, and a good little getaway from St. Augustine, which makes it even better to come home. There is also a Dick Blick and Utrect art supply stores... so that was a great little stop! I grabbed a few things (after giggling like mad after walking in..:) ) and JB left a little dino playing piano drawing for the next shoppers. Our last stop before going home was to Tybee Island... once again, I definitely like St. Augustine more (sorry Tybee!) even though it was beautiful with a nice peer and such.. but we did stop for lunch and I got to shuck my first oysters!
Well, that's all i've got for you right now! No idea what's coming up next... but i'll be sure to share! Leave a comment or hit Connect if you've got any questions or comments! I'm excited to see what comes next, and will certainly share more of the journey as soon as I can sit down again (when i'm not playing outside, working, or drawing!) Cheers!
Photo Round up... the miscellaneous, random, everyday sites and happenings.
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