St. Augustine, FL – Beachin’

After we split ways with our dirt bike squad, I begged and pleaded with the boys to see the beach. How could we not!?

The beach was only about an hour from the restaurant and I was dying to see the ocean. On the way, we called a hotel along the beach and got a room for the night. After checking in, we walked across the street to a fancy bar and had some cocktails and rum cake because, hey, we’re on vacation. Then we walked along the beach and dug around in the sand for seashells. We also found some sponge or coral like thing and half a sand dollar! (so, sand fifty cents?)

By this time, our backs were hurting so we headed back to the hotel and slept. In the morning we got continental breakfast and went to check out the beach in the daylight. Sadly, it was sprinkling and chilly so we were glad we picked up our shells the night before but we were still able to get some pictures.

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Then we started heading up the coast line, stopping whenever we found something interesting. We originally thought we would try and find somewhere to ride that was on the way home but most places weren’t open on Mondays and it was rainy when we left. Instead, we found a pirate themed mini golf course where Dad and I tied for the win! Our next stop: a navy blue and white candy striped lighthouse!

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The lighthouse was so interactive with a bunch of tangible history lessons between the different buildings. We started with the light keeper’s house. The main museum was in the light keeper’s home with a “shipwrecked” boat on the bottom level. You could actually put your hand over different artifacts in the museum to learn how the light keeper and his family used the different utensils, tools, and furniture. The bottom level had uneven floors, artifacts from the boat, and more.

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The first thing we saw as we walked towards the museum was probably Jason’s favorite: the beer stand.

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The picture below shows some of the different utensils used in the dining room during that time period. The one that is lit up is actually a cake cutter. Then in the mirror, you can read the history on the cake cutter. Its was so interesting!

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Outside, you could go to the ship yard, the cafe, the lab, the lighthouse, or the nature trails. We started to go to the light house but heard an elementary age group of kids headed for that direction so we went to check out the ship yard instead. Here you could see two older gentleman building these boats by hand the way they would have been built when the light keeper was living here in 1890! It was incredible that they had zero power tools to help them. After the ship yard, we made our way into the lighthouse.

The bottom, or base, o housed the oil cans that were used to light the house before they used lightbulbs and the light keeper’s office. You could read in his work log about what went on each day include one entry that read, “light went out between one in the morning to three in the morning due to second assistant falling asleep”. At each of the landing on your way up to the top, there were facts listed on the wall including the light keeper’s wife’s salary to maintain the lighthouse after his passing: only $400! Another read that one of the children took his sister’s cat and threw it off the top of the lighthouse wrapped in a parachute. It survived but didn’t return until 4 weeks later. The sister did not find out until years later. Then, finally, we reached the top.

The lighthouse was amazing. There were 219 steps to the top and the view was incredible.

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Going back down was a lot easier on our sore muscle and lazy bodies but we weren’t done exploring. We walked past the cafe (which smelled delicious, had gourmet specialty hot dogs, and locally brewed beers!) to the lab to see how they cleaned and restored artifacts found in shipwrecks. It was so interested to learn how the water turns blue as it cleans and how they could tell what things were even though they were still covered in ocean gunk.

Our final adventure at the lighthouse was through the nature trails. We were able to see all kind of flowers, trees, and plants that we don’t have in Indiana or Iowa. The sign at the beginning of the trail said you might see animals (I wanted to see a tortoise) but unfortunately, no dice.

 

Our last stop in Florida was to an authentic Irish pub for lunch along St. Augustine Bay. We quickly realized this is where the rich men park their yachts and come in for a bite and the rich women day drink like the real housewives of St. Augustine. There were several fancy shops and restaurants crammed next to each other along the bay and around historic Flagler College.

By this time, we were anxious to get back on the road. With only two extra stops on the way (one to see live baby gators and a 13 foot gator and the other to Georgia Peach World for moonshine and jelly) we took turns driving, napping, and riding shotgun so Jason could keep dad awake at night and I could sleep at night (since I had to be at work the next morning). We got back waaaay later than we expected but managed to make it and have already started prepping the changes for our next moto trip. To say this trip was amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am so incredibly grateful.

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