Monday, October 1, 2012

August Vacation

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

We went on a sailboat through the bridge to the ocean

We love breakfast at the Bunnery in the Old City

on the sea wall before our sailboat trip
After the Wedding in the Pasture we left for St. Augustine, Florida in two cars. After a year and half living "at home" Becca was heading back to Florida to live. She moved to Gainesville since she enrolled in graduate school at University of Florida. Rachael and Kevin had recently moved back to St. Augustine from Princeton, NJ. So, St. Auggie would be home base for our week in Florida. The drive down was slow going because I had to do some of the driving and I drive slowly with periodic stops due to panic attacks. After 17 hours we finally got to St. Augustine.

I woke up and walked out onto the beach from our condo and when I did, I cried. The beach was being dredged and large construction machinery were clanking away, and at the water's edge there was a straight six foot drop to the "real beach."  I went back to the rental office and told the agent I was breaking the lease no matter what it cost and moving to another condo a couple miles south to enjoy the beach as nature created it. I had worked extremely hard long, stressful hours and I wanted a peaceful, serene beach vacation. The rental agent offered me the off-season rate if I stayed. So I did. I learend to tune out the earth movers and ended up enjoying the "wall of sand" while it lasted.

The extra money we saved on the rental went toward a sailboat ride in the bay out to the ocean.

We love St. Augustine for some reason. The old city. The beach. I could stay for a very long time there.

On our second day we drove Becca's car loaded with her worldly possessions to Gainesville to check her into her apartment. That day turned into a stressful, chaotic day.. She had rented her place sight unseen based on beautiful internet photos of a darling apartment. (Now if I had known this, as a real estate agent, I would have advised against it. But I didn't know the details of how she came about her rental). We got the key to unit and found the door had previously been kicked in. The unit itself was not only tiny, it was sub standard housing. Before we picked up the key, as I sat with her in the rental office and went through the rules with the rental agent, I saw all the signs of a "slum lord."  All my years of experience in Columbus working in real estate near the largest university in the country, I am very familiar with the tell tale signs of slum lords. These landlords take the rental money and don't put any back into maintaining the properties. The complex and unit was a stressful environment. I myself have lived in the real ghetto before. This community was worse than that. There were tears.

Biking on Anastasia Island State Park
Hypo Cafe
So the day was spent trying to find suitable housing for Becca. Which was never found.

What was to be a 1/2 day excursion to Gainesville ended up being an all day and evening trip. I took no photos of Gainesville. Sam, Olin, and Becca's boyfriend prayed for Becca before we drove back to St. Auggie. There were more tears driving back in the dark.
Quirky Vilano Beach pier.
Sailing past Mission's cross-site of the first Christian Mass in the N. America
Sunset at quirky Vilano Beach over the Intercoastal
However, visiting with Rachael and Kevin and their dog Clancy in our beachfront condo was wonderful. Hanging out with all three of my kids was vacation in itself. We ate gyros from the place next door. We swam in the pool and we had some really great days of boogie boarding and rafting in the waves.  I got a great tan. I took my two "girls" and we got manicures and pedicures.We went out to dinner. We had breakfast at the Bunnery. Kevin and Rachael were having a bit a housing crisis themselves. And, happily, the day before we left they found a nice house to rent.

Just wish we could be there permanently.  So this was the overview of our early August vacation.


  1. Wow, what a housing ordeal on both accounts, but the beach and sunsets look amazing!

  2. It did sound like a good vacation though! It is sad there are owners out there renting apartments/houses not up to code, etc., just for the "mighty dollar".


  3. Fantastic photos and a great narrative make for a fabulous blog post. This was certainly one!

  4. Great pictures! How did you enjoy your vacation? There are so many things in Gainesville to experience as a visitor, from the great places to eat to the Gainesville pawn shops. Sight seeing may not be great in the traditional sense, but it has it's own unique charm.