Being that I'm a small-town girl, (born on Cape Cod, one of the most beautiful and charming small towns in the country), I have always longed to have that "home-at-home" connection with the place that I'd eventually plant roots in. But ever since moving to Florida, in 2001, I've never felt that way about anywhere I've lived. Northeast, Midwest, southwest...I've seen many different parts of the Sunshine State. And I've never really liked any of them. Either the beaches were too crowded, the towns too rural or the traffic too hectic...there's always been a complaint or two (or a hundred) everywhere I've gone. Truth is, I miss the quaintness of Falmouth. The architectural detailing of historic homes, the travel-by-foot transportation, the tree-lined streets, where everyone knows everyone. I've never seen ANY of those in this state. That is, until I headed to Saint Augustine. Located in Northeast Florida, (just 35 miles from Jacksonville, where I lived a few years ago), it's such a breath of fresh air from the average Floridian town or city. Founded by Pedro Menéndez in 1565, Saint Augustine is noted as one of the oldest cities in the nation. It's got charm. It's got history. It has BEACHES. So basically, it's a happy medium between my hometown and typical beachy scene that is of this state. Uh, hello, where have you been all my life?! A place so perfect. I had to see it for myself. (I had been to Saint Augustine Beach ONCE before, when I was 12, but didn't really have the chance to explore the city in full detail). We only had Friday to explore, since he had to be back for his Saturday morning class, but we couldn't pass up even the littlest chance on going. So Thursday night, upon Bop's arrival home from school, we loaded up the back of the hybrid and took the 3.5 hour drive cross-coast. And I'm so glad we did! Friday morning we explored downtown Saint Augustine and all of it's amenities. I was seriously starry eyed the whole time! Museum upon museum, tiny vintage shops, cafes, trolleys...I was in awe! It reminded me so much of home.
First, we took the trolley downtown and took a glimpse at all the shops and eateries available. I can't even count how many vintage boutiques there were. Needless to say, Bop's not thrilled about being in such close proximity to places that'll rack up our credit card bills. And I can assure you, I'm not even that big of a shopper! They're just THAT cute.
Then, we toured the Old Jail and boy, that was an experience as Kiri was chosen to be honorary "trustee" for our group of hoodlums. I found it so neat how Sheriff Perry built his family's home attached to the jail and even had the female inmates serve as his wife's cooks, maids and nannies!
Though we weren't able to tour too hard, we made it a point to mosey our way over to the 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not' museum. Bop likes anything crazy and disgusting, so it was right up his alley of strangeness! There were so many trinkets and weird little odds and ends...I even got my fortune told! (Which was oddly on point!) It was definitely a sight to see.
Last but not least, we headed to the beach. OHMYGOD, the beach! White sand, blue water, humungous waves....it was so much better than the two foot deep, green water of the Gulf. I was definitely impressed with how neat and quiet it was there. And might I add that I WILL be taking up surfing once we move!
Basically, Saint Augustine is my dream town in reality form and I (can't believe I'm actually saying this...BUT!) can't wait to plant roots in this tiny little slice of Florida. And to say that Bop's excited would be an understatement; he's already in the process of getting a hold of people to discuss employment after graduating from the police academy. I see a bright future ahead of us and I can't wait to begin the rest of forever together in this wonderful place. Honestly.