I woke up early yesterday morning, like a little kid at Christmas, excited that the big day had finally arrived. I had a quick shower, got dressed and jumped in the car to drive to the beach. The sun was just coming up as I left the house, with one of my travel mates fixing herself her first cup of coffee and the other one still in bed. I had told them I planned to get up early and go but I'm not sure they believed me.
I stopped at the local lighthouse first and took a few photos:
then headed to a beach we had visited the evening before (still haven't blogged about our Sunday adventures yet, stunning sunset at the beach must do that). Something inside told me it was where I needed to be and when I got there, I wasn't disappointed.
The sun was up, the wind was blowing, the waves were crashing and it was all quite lovely.
I sat by the water and did a bit of journaling, sipped on some water and snacked on some Keebler crackers (we don't seem to have those peanut butter and cheese cracker combinations back home, I'll need to stock up before we leave town).
I noticed two white birds at the water's edge who were looking for fish and started talking to a man who was photographing them. Jay and I had a lovely chat about photography (he uses old lenses on a new camera body). He retired several years ago and spends his days touring the U.S. in an RV, is currently in St. Augustine to celebrate the holidays with his kids and grandkids who live here. He told me the larger white bird was a great egret and the smaller one a snowy egret. He has photographed them quite a bit and told me they would let us get quite close without flying away, and he was right.
I headed back to our house and my fellow travellers and I headed out to take one of the trolley tours that operate around town.
One of the stops was the Fountain of Youth (which surprisingly enough had no bearing in choosing St. Augustine for this vacation) but we didn't get off. Someone told me it only works if your name is Ponce de Leon, so it's just as well. :)
We got off the trolley at one of the stops and had a delicious lunch seated on an outside patio. What a treat, to be eating outside on a warm day on my late November birthday! The pumpkin sticking out of the side of Lorraine's head is the only clue to the season.
There were several laneways of shops in that area so we had a bit of a wander about and lo and behold, we came across one of those frontier photo places. You know the kind I mean? Where you dress up in period costumes and end up with a sepia photo? I had to convince the ladies to take part at first, played the "it's my 50th birthday, I insist!" card but they quickly got into the groove and we had SO much fun doing this. Here's how ours turned out:
Afterwards, we hopped back on the trolley and finished the tour, then headed back to our house for a quick nap. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant after walking through the first rain we've had since we got here (and probably the last, if the forecast is to be believed), including a margarita for me and key lime pie to share for dessert. The perfect end to a perfect day!
I also received several emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from the people I love, which really helped to make it an extra special day. Thank you all.
I found this advice in one of the little shops we visited, which I thought was most appropriate for a milestone birthday celebration: