We start this crazy journey in the best way possible, saying good bye to south Florida at sunrise and heading north to sunny skies and partially formed plans.
First stop is a must. If you haven’t been to jupiter Florida, it’s the best kept secret of the state. A small little town with fishing, golf, good food and a laid back attitude.
When you go, there are THE places you must stop at. For lunch, some fish tacos with plantains from Guanabanas, a quick drink from the Square Grouper and dinner at Food Shack. Trust me when I say anything you order at food shack is the right thing. Also, for $12 you can buy the cooks a round of beer which is just a small favor for the orgasmic experience your taste buds are in store for. If you’ve been following me for a bit you’ll notice that I have a love affair with hats, the one below can be found across the street from Guanabana’s at Blue Line. Pop your head in and support your local surf shop!
We spend the night in Jonathan Dickinson State Park and head north… next stop? Orlando… ish. I’m a sucker for a good veggie burger and since we have to stop at Whole Foods and REI anyway why not visit Hillstone? Quick little side trip for some sammies and whiskey never hurt anybody. Speaking of hurt, we are keeping track of my injuries this trip. So far I’m up to 2 in 2 days.
Rock springs has a great park; on the weekend it’s party central and at 9am it’s at capacity. But, Wednesday morning after school is in session, hallelujah, freedom from the masses! There’s no better way to wake up in the morning than hopping into the freezing cold water of Rock Springs at 68 F.
A cup of coffee followed by a swim through sun rays. The sign of good times to come. This is also my first chance to have my picture taken underwater. Hence the incredibly awkward moments and poses. I promise they will improve.
Continuing our trek north, the next stop is historic St. Augustine.
It should come as no surprise that I’m a coffee junkie. When we stopped into Starbucks and saw a man wearing an Alligator Farm shirt, we struck up a conversation. He was nice enough to invite us over and we took him up on the offer.
We walked into the Alligator Farm, gave our names and Frank comes out to greet us and take us on a tour. Who knew a simple encounter over an iced coffee could lead to such an amazing morning. Frank called himself “the plumber” which was the most humble title considering he designed irrigation and all the running water for the park. The water filtration, the bubbling natural looking springs, and the most amazing, using heated water flowing through copper pipes for climate control; this is all Frank and his team. I went in barely knowing the difference between an alligator and a crocodile and left feeling like a herpetologist. Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s a specialist in reptiles and amphibians. This place has the first ever Gharial bred in captivity!
Thanks to the power of instagram, Swamp Tupelo, aka Katie, recommended the greatest little spot for lunch; The Floridian. You’ll feel like you’re in the heart of the swamp with a Michelin rated chef serving you lunch and Martha Stewart decorating the bar.
This is where we say good bye to Florida and make our way into Georgia. More food, more pics and more animals. The injury count so far is at 4 in 3 days. Ugh.