Wednesday, December 18, 2019

wrap up from Vilano Beach

We packed up and left our wonderful site on Vilano Beach this morning.   We were sad to leave as we had enjoyed another wonderful stay there.

  The only blemish on our visit was an early morning race to the storm shelter after the deafening Tornado Warning alerts on our phones woke us at 4 a.m.    We ran around like chickens for a few minutes before we came to full consciousness and then gathered a shaking Lewis, our credit/health insurance cards, raincoats and headed out into the storm.    The laundry room shelter isn't very far away but we were all soaked by the time we reached it.   There were only three families there, all with very frazzled dogs so it was an exciting time.   We all just sat, phones in hands, dripping on the floor, trying to keep dogs calm and away from each other, waiting for the storm line to pass by. 

It did, eventually and we went back to Beluga.    Lewis was as wet as if he just had a bath and I was happy he was settled enough by then  that he didn't feel the need to jump in bed with us.
We were so relieved that the Tornado didn't materialize that we fell back into a sound sleep.   I woke up, a few hours later, to a very sandy bed.   I realized that my legs must have been covered with sand from running around the flooded, sandy road from sliding in and out of the Jeep.     Ah well.....we washed the bedding later that day and no harm was done!   Other than that bit of excitement we had a glorious time. 

Eric and Laurel, along with Laura and Kevin, checked into  Anastasia State Park toward the end of our stay and we were so happy to be able to spend a bit of time with them.

Laurel invited us all to their site for Prosecco and a festive cheese and fruit tray before heading into St. Augustine for supper at the unique Ice Plant Bar and a walk around to see the lights.   I took no pictures, I just don't do a good job of photographing people.    Laura and Laurel took some so perhaps they'll show you.     We had such a nice time that the hours flew by and it was too late for us (Dave and I) to feel much like walking around town (or perhaps it was several glasses of Prosecco, a very snappy and yummy cocktail named "Little Red Corvette" or just too much food.....) so we gave our excuses and went back to Beluga and bed.

The next day we met Laurel and Eric at a very cool food truck, Crave, parked alongside the San Sebastian River.   

lots of reading and then choices to make.....

The food was very healthy, very delicious and the cute guy at the serving window (David Eric) was very sweet as we took our time deciding among the millions of choices of wraps, bowls, etc.    Once decided and ordered, they arrived  quickly and we sat and ate and talked at picnic tables next to the water.

lunch view

  After lunch we drove further into St. Augustine and then took a good stroll around and did a bit of window shopping.     The real reason, however, was to get a bit of dessert at Hyppo.   Laurel highly recommended their unusual and naturally flavored ice pops (peach/ginger, watermelon/hibiscus, Honeydew/basil, Sweetcorn, Guava/chili and Chocolate/peppermint or Strawberry cheesecake lest you think they were ALL healthy flavors)  - how fun is that! 

We were sad to say goodbye to them, we wonder when our paths will cross again.   Something to look forward to then.

On our way back to Beluga we passed a couple colorful spots that we hadn't noticed before.

Vilano Beach has lots of pretty mosaics tucked into the oddest places

Isn't this the sweetest little cottage?

We had one last job to take care of before we moved on to our Christmas celebrations on Longboat Key. ....making the last of the Christmas cookie dough.    I always make dough ahead of time, then bake them up fresh as we want them.    I love the smell of baking cookies at the holidays!

Dave creams while I measure the ingredients for Mayan Mystery Cookies

Beluga will stay in a nice, quiet campground in Sarasota while we celebrate the holidays with Jesse and Erin in one of our favorite places.      We can't wait to see them again!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


If you're bored by pictures of beaches and restaurants, you probably don't want to read any further.....

Vilano Causeway Bridge

And...if you like to read instead of look at pictures, you probably won't want to go any further in today's blog.    We're not here to do exciting things, rock climbing, hiking, zip lining, kayaking, going to museums and galleries, etc.    We're here to enjoy the surroundings, eat fresh seafood and absorb as much beach as we possibly can.

"our" beach

if it rains, we drive on the beach at Porpoise Point
(red jingle bells are Rocky's Xmas decoration)

this sky is dark, not blue, and we wondered why the sailboat was heading out,
directly into the storm.....

"Off with his head"!

a flock of chickens greeted us at the pizza joint in Vilano Beach!

there were hens and roosters and chicks all heading for the trees to roost for the night!

from here they flew directly UP into the trees, cackling loudly as they flew

building clouds signal an imminent change in the weather
(view from our waterside dinner table at Caps On The Water last night)


Sunset over the River

Moon glow on the Ocean

Thursday, December 5, 2019


After leaving Hilton Head Island, we made a short, two day stop at Fernandina Beach, Florida.   We stayed at Ft. Clinch State Park, which was lovely, but the real reason for our visit was a favorite restaurant.      We have been to the sweet little town of Fernandina Beach many times.  The area was always a good stopping off spot on the long drive to our place at the Colony Beach and Tennis Club on Longboat Key.      This was our first time camping at Ft. Clinch State Park river campground and we were very pleased

the campground is down this 4 mile long canopy road

Amelia River

guys, guys, can I swim?  Can I fish? guys, guys!

Lewis had his eye on the Amelia River flowing by just two sites away,  but he just had a bath and we had other plans for him later so he needed to stay clean.   Poor Lewis.

Christmas mowing begins

There are a few really good restaurants in the small historic section and we've eaten at them all.   Our favorite, however, and the one that keeps us coming back is LeClos.   It's in a tiny yellow cottage, complete with picket fence, and a fern filled outdoor seating patio.    Inside the walls are flamingo and it holds all of 12 tables.

my salad - just the beginning

So....that was Fernandina Beach.    The next morning we continued south to our next stop, North Beach Camp Resort on Vilano Beach, just north of St. Augustine.

We all love it here, lots of space outside for Lewis to lounge sans leash, plenty of thick foliage perfect for visiting birds, the ocean on one side and the river on the other.

Catbird at second cup

Today we walked to the back of the campground for a waterside lunch at Aunt Kate's.   Geez, one might think all we do is eat!

he was posing nicely til that speedboat shot by!

post prandial pelicans

After lunch we did a bit of shopping and then headed home to put up our Christmas tree.    Dave couldn't wait, this is his favorite tree.   He used to hate this job when we lived at the farm.   We had two real trees and his job was to l) traipse around in the snow while I selected two perfect trees and then lie down in it to cut them down, 2) bring them in and set them up,  3) string the lights, and 4) vacuum up the falling needles.     stall, stall, stall - crab crab crab.     Now, he happily puts up the tree in no time at all and smiles the whole time!

it's on a timer and it twinkles!