for our final stop on our loop around florida, we met up with the grandlidboms in saint augustine. the wait between the last time we saw them and this time wasn’t as long as some of the visits out west, but the kids were just as excited, nonetheless.
our first stop was dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant, where the highlight was the pretty surrounding scenery. especially at sunset. even if it means your picture will be backlit and terrible.
the next morning, we met up at a farmers market. derek and i arrived before the grands and the kids, so we hung out at the live music a bit, drinking excessive amounts of local coffee. the bluegrass band that morning had like 42 members. it was basically a big fat jam session.
we had several items on our agenda for st. augustine. there’s several historic forts in the area, including castillo de san marcos, which is like the oldest or something. i really can’t remember. maybe i should do a better job of blogging.
obligatory drawbridge family photo.
we arrived just in time to get ourselves a terrible view of the cannon firing simulation. (no cannon balls, sadly).
then the kiddos got to work on their junior ranger books. a friendly reenactment guy stopped by to help us.
we did a bit of fort exploring, but trying to keep our party of seven together, while working on the different age ranges of junior ranger books was a bit chaotic. i did snag this pic of all three kids in a storage type area.
hazelnutty and a cannon. overlooking the waters. which is prettier than the views overlooking the shopping areas.
another item on our saint augustine bucket list was a trip to the whetstone chocolates. this chocolate factory is a pretty small operation and sadly, it wasn’t running on the day we had our tour. which made it not quite as exciting, as our tour guide explained what the machines would look like when they were in operation for us to imagine. oh well. there was free chocolate and fudge, and since derek and i couldn’t eat it, the kids were glad to have some extras.
before we found ourselves out of prime fishing locations, derek was determined to get out on the waters with our tiny fisherwoman. he and anna went on a chartered trip, where they reeled in several catches to share with their landlubber family back at the hotel. anna had a great time, and was an excellent reeler inner.
while castillo de san marcos gets all the attention, just down the road (island), there’s another little fort with an interesting history. fort matanzas was built to be sort of a lookout to keep castillo de san marcos from being attacked by invaders coming up through the matanzas inlet. we drove there and took a ferry and were there in no time at all, but in the heyday of this fort, it would have been extremely isolated and desolate.
next adventure. the alligator farm. we weren’t sure if the kids would be up for this, since we were coming off of a long time in the everglades, where alligators were abundant and out and about in the wild. but, the kids wanted to check it out, and we had a discount through our zoo/science museum membership, so off we went.
our next st. augustine adventure was sort of a fail. i had heard from another fulltime traveling friend that the fort mose state park was really interesting. there’s a complicated history, but basically, this was the location of the first free black settlement. unfortunately, i didn’t do good research, and the museum was closed on the day we went. we walked out the boardwalk, over the marshy water/land where the settlement once stood. and read all the informational signs. but that was it.
from fort mose, we hit up a local thrift store, before grabbing lunch at a place we OBVIOUSLY had to go to. hazel’s hot dogs. it was super tasty and everyone was happy, especially hazel.
whenever derek’s parents visit us, we are sure to grab a date night, since they are impossible on the road alone with tiny children. with the help of some tips from friends, we decided on prohibition kitchen, and the advice was solid. i made a gametime decision about whether or not to stay keto and in the end, i stuck to it, begrudgingly.
for our next st. augustine activity, we went to an escape room type establishment. it was more kid friendly, and st. augustine themed (fort matanzas to be exact). we couldn’t take pics inside, but we had a pretty good time. the kids loved trying to find clues and break codes. we solved it in the nick of time, maybe with some help from a mysterious sky voice that tries to move you along when you’re stuck. and then we took our official group photo. and they covered hazel’s fast with the watermarky logo thing. thanks.
finally. our last adventure. the lighthouse….
before we finally parted ways, the kids were sure to test out the pool and hot tub at the resort the grandlidboms were staying at. 🙂
we had a pretty jam packed time with the grandlidboms. and saying goodbye wasn’t as sad as usual, because we knew we would be in winston-salem about a month after this for a week. or so we thought.