Over a year ago, William's grandparents gave us a SUPER generous wedding gift- a select registry gift certificate. Select Registry is basically a membership that various inns, bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels are a part of. So basically, we had nearly 400 places to choose from for some vacation time together! Isn't that awesome??
As our one-year anniversary approached, we decided to pick somewhere neither one of us has been that also wasn't too far of a drive....and the choice was made: St. Augustine, FL! When we booked I had no idea that we were going to be visiting the nation's oldest city. How cool, right?? AND it only takes about 4 and 1/2 hours to get to St. Augustine-bonus points! It's only about 30 miles south of Jacksonville (just in case you wanted to know).
There was so much to do. Lots of shopping, places to eat, things to see....and we tried to do as much as we could, while still relaxing some too of course.
We left Columbia Thursday night and drove down to Tybee Island, GA to get a head start on the trip. Friday morning we got up fairly early and made it into St. Augustine around noon. First stop was the St. Francis Inn to get some materials from them. We actually selected to stay at their condo at the Comanchee Inn right on the harbor. It was a really nice place, and the view was beautiful.
We went straight to lunch at O.C. White's (as recommended by the Innkeeper) and had a nice cold beer and a delicious lunch. We shared the blackened mahi sandwich and the garlic shrimp. Yum!
After wrapping up lunch we headed over to the condo to check in and then headed over to the pool to get some sunshine in!
An ice cold Shocktop to start off the trip!
Dinner was a suprise from my Mom and Stepdad! How thoughtful! I should've known she was up to something when she asked me to send her the link to where we were staying :) They sent us over to The Reef , which was voted the "Best Seafood Restaurant in St. Augustine"! It was delicious and the oceanfront view was gorgeous. We had the calamari, grilled scallop tostadas and then split some crabcakes! I think the scallop tostadas were my favorite part of everything we ate the entire trip. I will definitely be recreating them at home sometime this summer!
Dinner at The Reef!
Saturday we started off with breakfast on our porch and then headed off to the marina for our kayak excursion. Our guide gave us a great history lesson as well as showed us some beautiful areas of the marsh. She took us over to the fort (the Castillo de San Marcos national monument) and also the world's tallest cross! The plaque on the cross says that it "marks the approximate site where in 1565 the cross of Christianity was first permanently planted in what is now the United States." That's right -- Jesus arrived in America here first, over a half-century before the Pilgrims even touched their toes to Plymouth Rock! Pretty neat I thought!
The fort ( and you can kind of see the cross in the back too if you look closely)
After kayaking, we headed over to Mango Mangoes for some shrimp tacos and a cold beer before relaxing at St. Augustine Beach for a few hours. You can drive on the beaches in St. A which was quite interesting to me.... you just don't see that in SC!
After a little beach time, we headed back to the condo and got showered and changed before walking over to dinner at the Kingfish Grill, which was right beside our condo. We feasted on oysters, shrimp, scallops and William had the shrimp and grits. This place was cozy and nice, right on the water and the ambiance was very comfortable.
Sunday! Our official anniversary!! We began with breakfast at Fish Tales and then headed off to the St. A Alligator Zoological Park. We got here early in order to beat the crowds and I'm glad we did. There was A LOT more to see here than we expected and it was all really neat. We even learned about the largest croc to ever be discovered, Gomek. He lived at the St. A. Park for a few years before passing away. But they have an entire almost "shrine" built for him there. That sucker weighed 2,000 lbs!! Craziness....
Fishtales-our morning breakfast stop :)
Check out all those baby gators!
Cool shot of a bird :)
After the park we did a little sightseeing in the downtown historic district. Shopped a little, stopped for a drink at the White Lion Pub, checked out the live music at Scarlett O'Hara's and then ate some lunch at the The Backyard of Meehan's Tropical Pub. We had a delicious crab and shrimp dip, followed by a beef brisket stuffed chile relleno. YUM!
A quick mimosa at Scarlett O'Hara's
Not a great shot of Meehan's, but anyways.....
After stuffing ourselves we did what anyone would want to do-put on our swimsuits! We traveled over to Vilano Beach and basically took a nap :) This beach was different from St. A beach because it was almost all shells. It was kind of hard to walk actually! It was nice out though and we got to see some surfers show us their skills!
We wrapped up beach time and headed back to the condo for a champagne toast (yes, that's our wedding day flutes AND champagne, I'm so thoughtful, I know) we headed over to Harry's for our last meal in St. A. Harry's has the most beautiful courtyard where we decided to spend our evening. There was a guy playing music and the whole vibe was just perfect. We shared some fried green tomatoes for starters, and I had the tilapia shrimp meuniére and William had the red beans and rice with smoked sausage. It was a great time with great service, and great company too of course!
This picture doesn't do the courtyard at Harry's justice. It was really gorgeous out there!
Hey! It's us again!
There was a storm rolling in that night so we ended the night after dinner and then made our way back to Columbia first thing Monday morning. We had a fantastic trip and it was a wonderful idea to go somewhere new and explore. Here's to another fun year!