Well, we've been told to make it sound good!
7/2/12 - 7/2/12 85 °F
"Thus the adventure begins...", or at least that's the way we are expected to begin this blog according to one intrepid fan (read: Jim's mom when she replied to a simple email and admonished us that she expected more). Well no more of droll introductions. Wink, wink Nancy!
In fact, we had a great start to our adventure. Weather was perfect, and highways were relatively clear. We decided to make our landing in St. Augustine, FL via the beach, just like the Spanish Conquistadors. OK, maybe not just like them, since we had a sports car with 5 Internet connected devices on board. We commented several times today that "My, how times have changed", just like our great-grandmas may have, except instead of commenting on the changes in corsets and carriages, we commented on how interconnected we were. Truly amazing when you put things into historical perspective.
And historical perspective is exactly what you get when you arrive in St. Augustine, FL -- America's oldest city. Three words: charming, charming, charming. With a bit of tourista thrown in. Since we tend to rely on TripAdvisor, we did a little pre-arrival reconnaissance, and found an introductory tour most appropriate. "Gold Tours" we're hosted by a verbose English barrister on-board an extended golf cart, allowing for an interesting (albeit a bit too in depth) tour of the historical section of the city. But before climbing aboard that tour, we discovered a wonderful quaint little restaurant called, The Floridian. While the ambiance was "old Florida", and more lunch-like, the food was absolutely delicious in a low-country Southern Comfort kind of way -- cornbread; shrimp &grits; FGT (Fried Green Tomatoes) Hoagie; sweet, spicy & boozy (their words) BBQ pork sandwich; etc, etc. De-lish! We're actually thinking of re-routing our return trip just to get back to this place! I'm salivating just writing this! An interesting side note of this place is the separate dining area and bar. Since the restaurant is within 100 ft. of a church, they cannot serve alcohol, so you have to go to the back of the restaurant (about 20 ft.) to order your drinks. They are 2 separate businesses, but all within the same building. You gotta love the logic in that!
On to the golf cart tour. OK, it actually holds 8 people. This was rated as the top tour in St. Aug. But after taking it, we find it hard to concur. While the British gentleman is certainly friendly and extremely knowledgable, he is a bit opinionated and the tour is a bit disjointed and hard to follow. Nevertheless, it is informative (if a bit too much) -- thank god there isn't a test afterwards on who invaded when and how many times, and did we really need to see Amerrica's largest indoor pool, which is now a rather derelict antique row? But considering we only have one day, it was a good overview of the old city. Along with a few recommendations for drinks and dinner, it was a good tour. A solid B+.
That left us with a walking tour of the old town, stopping by for a gourmet popsicle at The Hippo (#1 rated restaurant in St. Aug. - go figure), and enjoying the old architecture. We found an interesting place for dinner. And that is next on the agenda. Cheers!
Well, turns out dinner at Cellar 6 was just OK. Great atmosphere, but we were a little late for the live music. The food (Ahi Tuna over Calamari salad and Margherita Flatbread) was pretty good, but a little "over done" in terms of too many flavors at once. Sometimes simpler is better. A nice walk to our hotel, the Hilton Bayfront, ended our evening in St. Aug. Tomorrow is probably the longest drive of our trip, to Virginia Beach, VA, so time for some shut-eye.