The Sunshine State
Alex and I have just arrived back home from a lovely stay in Florida. A state that wouldn’t have been our first choice for a summer vacation (we tend to choose cooler locales than our home state of TX for the summertime) but we were attending a family reunion there anyway so we decided to make a vacation out of it.
After two days in Orlando for the family reunion we were both ready to hit the road two hours north to beautiful St. Augustine. Orlando was way too commercial, chain restaurant dotted, and theme parky for our taste. Not to mention that the full humidity in 95 degree heat actually made my body hurt.
We knew why as soon as we entered the downtown area (which is still said to be owned by Spain). The architecture was lovely and almost made me feel like I was walking around a small Spanish town rather than one in north eastern Florida.
We stayed at The Carriage House which I hands down, wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who’ll be in the area needing a place to rent. It was chock full of history and Americana nostalgia and was sooo adorable. As soon as we pulled into the long driveway we immediately gasped. The house was nicely set back about 25 yards from the main road and had a giant 200 year old oak tree with Spanish moss hanging from its branches looming overhead. The mossy green home had a charming balcony in the front as well and it reeked of southern charm. The house got even better as you walked through the front door and discovered its three spacious bedrooms, two baths, fully stocked kitchen, a parlor, large dining room, and a spacious terrace. And thankfully the homeowner had the AC cranked so it was a comfortable 74 degrees throughout our entire stay!
During the four days we were in St. Augustine we were able to do a lot of sightseeing, shopping, beach going, watching of the World Cup :-), and EATING. We ate really well there. Our favorite restaurant of the trip was The Tasting Room, a Spanish fusion tapas bar with great ambiance, live music, and fantastic food. We feasted on spinach and pine nut empanadas, mussels with a Thai curry broth, and seafood paella! They even had a psychic walking around that was “on the house” that entertained us while we waited in between courses.
Besides eating in many great restaurants while there we were lucky enough to visit Erin and Chris’s home on the island where they made a proper Italian meal for us. Alex and I were insanely impressed with their mad pizza making skills. Having recently returned from a special trip to the island of Ischia they brought back a recipe they sampled while there. The pizza that I will forever refer to as Ischia Pizza was FABULOUS and I’ve vowed to make it this Saturday for our late Father’s Day celebration (I’ll blog about it in detail then)! Also on the menu was a tasty arugula, corn, and tomato salad, and a scandalous dessert of homemade brownie topped with lemon marscapone and candied lemon slices. So impressive!
I was spoiled even more the next morning when Chris made me a marocchino, an Italian coffee I’d never sampled before. You can read how they make it here. The process was a bit tedious, but oh man the end result was fantastico. I literally felt like I was back in Italy sipping in a small cafe. Bravo! Moments later I was out their front door on the two block walk to St. Augustine Beach where I enjoyed some AM waves before traveling back home. Oh to live by the beach, I can’t imagine how great that would be…
With full bellies, heavy suitcases, and slight tans :-) we headed back to Austin this past Monday.
We were so excited to see Saci who had been staying with my parents the entire week (thanks Mom!) and get back to our normal grind. The week prior to going to Florida I was in Denver for a conference while Alex was in Ohio for work as well. Living out of a suitcase was growing old and we missed the comfort of our own bed. The house was EIGHTY THREE degrees when we walked inside. Yuck. But soon cooled off and we’re settling in for what may be a gruesome summer of 3 digit heat. Eek.