Sunday December 16, 2012
We were hoping to have been celebrating this in the Bahamas, I had visions of us watching the sunset from the cockpit while sipping a certain bottle of cherry wine that I’ve saving for a few years now, but our wedding anniversary is instead being celebrated in St. Augustine. While I thought we might be able to go into town and spring for a beer or a dessert, Matt surprised me by telling me we could actually go out for a meal. At a real restaurant. It’s surprising because he doesn’t put much stock into any kind of holiday or dates that are usually cause for celebration, even his birthday, but this seems to be the only one he really seems to care about, which if I had to pick only one I guess I’m glad he chose this one. The plan had been to get out on the bikes early in the day and finally check out the beach for once. In the two weeks since we’ve been here it’s actually something we haven’t done yet but keep telling ourselves we’re going to. But summer vacation schedule got in the way and after waking up just shy of noon, eating, showering, and getting ready we only had three hours of sunlight left in the day. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but we’ve heard there’s a charge to get onto the beach and we figured it would be better spent enjoying a full day there.
Still enjoying the rest of the sunny and warm afternoon we hung out with Georgie on deck to let her do some exploring and bat at all the lines running from fore to aft. She seemed to enjoy the chance to do something new and after some time searching and slinking she picked a spot on the coachroof to roll on her back, throwing her legs up to the sun and soaking in the warmth. Then for a little while I was able to revert back to my previous life of getting ready to go out for a night on the town. Straightening the hair, putting on eyeliner, and rifling through my clothes to find that perfect outfit and matching it with just the right accessories. Something that probably would have been much simpler were it ten to fifteen degrees warmer, since almost everything dressy I have is in the form of a dress and not suitable for the cooler nights we’ve been having. And even though I wasn’t sure if I’d even need it when we left, my one cardigan had been sitting in the dirty laundry bag for over a week without much chance of quickly being pulled out at thrown on. I knew I should have brought that second one! Finally deciding that jeans and a nice tank top with my jacket over it would suffice (keep in mind, I can be a girly girl, these things sometimes matter to me) we pulled the bikes out for the ride into town.
Since we’re so used to to taking a left on the first main street and then following it to the highway where all the main stores are we were surprised at how quickly we made it down to the Bridge of Lions in historic St. Augustine where we locked up the bikes for a walk around. Having our hearts initially set on a certain restaurant we found out they didn’t have the meal that had been on special the last time we had passed by, the whole reason we were going there. Still being early in the evening we decided to stroll the streets until something caught our eye, taking in the ‘Nights of Lights’ while we walked. Strolling past Matanzas Bay we watched the horse carriages wait to pick up customers and throngs of people enjoying drinks and food on outdoor patios. Passing a Mexican restaurant at the end of the road we saw they had a special on premium margaritas and live music playing that night. Glancing at the menu posted outside we kept it in mind but but weren’t sold yet. One other thing we also found was a restaurant next door that apparently has a great happy hour going on Monday nights, only $1 for tall boys of PBR, Steel Reserve, and Miller High Life. Not too sure about the first two (in fact, I don’t think I’d touch the second one), but the champagne of beers really isn’t too bad. We vowed that if and when Rode Trip made it down we’d have to hit the place up with them, eventually stumbling back to their boat for the night which would just be a half mile up the road.
Taking a tour of St. George St. with all of the tourist shops and other restaurants nothing jumped out at us there either and since I absolutely love Mexican food we went back to that restaurant to see if there was anything on the menu that Matt would like as well. He eventually found a few things he could live with and we walked inside, asking for a seat on the patio upstairs. Of course in the basically empty restaurant they seemed to be the only tables that were taken, but we were still seated next to the live music, a guy playing the guitar. Straight away we ordered our margaritas and browsed the menu until I found the tostadas that I had been craving and Matt surprisingly went with something other than a burrito. His all time favorite food is Chinese, but I keep trying to convert him over to Mexican. We compromise and eat both a lot of the time.
Listening to a wide variety of music on the guitar we heard classic rock, alternative, and top 40, but thankfully no Christmas music, which he promised us he would not play. Singing the first few lines to Jingle Bells to see if anyone was still paying attention though he was quickly heckled, by us, and went back to playing much more ear pleasing tunes. When the food came out the portions were so large that I had no idea how I’d be able to eat it all and in the end only cleared half of my plate. The rest was taken to go and shoved into the basket of my bicycle, in a vertical position and sure to start leaking at any moment. It wasn’t enough to send us right back to the boat though and I still wanted to cross the Bridge of Lions to see what was on the other side since we had never gotten around to it earlier that morning. The bridge itself is very pretty and looking down at the water below it felt very different to be crossing over it instead of passing through it.
Neither of us knew what was on the other side on Anastasia Island except that it eventually led to the beach. We had both assumed because that it was ocean front property that it would be filled with mansions and really fancy shops, and we were very surprised to what we found. All we could see were budget hotels and hole in the wall bars and pubs. The strangest part of it all was even though it was just past seven pm the area was completely deserted. There were few cars driving down the road and no one out on the sidewalks. Very different from where we had just come from where I would not have been able to twirl in a circle without smacking someone in the face. The whole feel of this place was just very…eerie. Maybe that was partially due to the couple of hearses we saw parked near the road? (For the haunted tours) I’m sure during the spring and fall months when the sun is blazing and it’s perfect to spend all day by the beach this is a happening seaside town, but in the middle of December it looks like it was abandoned. Getting as far as the Alligator Park we turned around to head back to the boat yard.
Like I said, I had been saving a certain bottle of wine for this occasion, and I had hoped that while drinking it from our cockpit we’d be bobbing around in a tropical cove watching the sun go down and the stars come out. I thought about saving it until we actually did find that spot but right now you could make me just as happy in a turquoise water cove with just a glass of water so the bottle of wine was still opened. If you ever get up to Cherry Country (Traverse City, MI) make sure you go wine tasting and make sure that tour ends with at least one bottle of cherry wine. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so good. With glasses in hand we strolled the yard to look at other boats at the docks and Matt listed all their features while I just nodded my head up and down. I don’t know how he can hold such a massive knowledge for everything boats, but I just let him go off on his tangents and pretend I know a little about what he is talking about. We eventually ended back up on the deck of Serendipity, trying to pick out the stars through passing clouds. It definitely wasn’t a bad anniversary for ‘having to settle in a boat yard’, but please, please, let me be in a tropical location next time around!
Best. Wine. Ever.