Friends, this week I would like to tell you a little bit about my weekend.
I should preface this by making note of three things: 1. Friday was my last day of work for AN ENTIRE WEEK (oh, yes, I am off for the next four days); 2. It was the weekend before A Certain Someone’s birthday, so I decided to make our weekend together as much of a surprise as possible; and 3. It is July in Florida, and so you should imagine a glistening layer of sweat over everything I describe.
Also, I’m quickly discovering that, if you can swing it, destination birthdays are pretty awesome. I say this having only taken part in one destination birthday celebration—this weekend’s—but, in my opinion, it went over rather successfully. Here’s a snapshot of what we did last Saturday.
A Certain Someone (who from now on shall be known as ACS) and I, after rendezvousing in Jacksonville—which is about two hours north of my parents’ house outside Orlando, for those of you playing along at home—headed to St. Augustine, one of my favorite places in Florida. Yes, it’s a little touristy, but there’s so much history—Castillo de San Marcos! The Catholic basilica! The nation’s oldest schoolhouse!—and so much culture that it’s easy to brush aside that small detail. (Also: Everywhere in Florida is somewhat touristy. It just is.) Plus, St. Augustine is beautiful. It’s on the water, the architecture is gorgeous, there’s a big green park in the middle of the historic district—it’s just lovely. Every time I visit, I think, “Hmm. I could live here.”
But back to the story. After a few days of fevered research, I’d booked us a night at the St. George Inn, which overlooks—surprise!—St. George Street, the historic district’s main road and one that is accessible only by foot—no cars allowed. It’s full of quaint little shops and eateries, and it’s also close to the fort and the water, so after reading tons of reviews on TripAdvisor, visiting the St. George Inn website no less than 10 times one day and looking at every photograph of it I could find, I made the executive decision that it would be a good choice—and it was. We stayed in a third-floor room that was enormous; it had tile floors, a king bed, a good-size bathroom and a view of the charming Huguenot Cemetery. The only thing I found slightly, um, odd, was the fact that there was not a sink in the bathroom—no, the sink was located in the bedroom portion of the room, which meant that you had to actually leave the bathroom to wash your hands. Now, I don’t know about you, but I tend to engage in some Secret Behaviors when I’m in the bathroom—I take an extra minute to brush my hair, examine my face, adjust my outfit, touch up my lipgloss—and you really couldn’t do that in this case. Well, I mean, you could, but the person staying with you would be privy to all of it, which kind of renders the phrase Secret Behavior meaningless, does it not?
ANYWAY, weird sink situation (and my weird tangent about it) aside, the room was adorable, the inn as a whole was lovely and we were both happy to be in St. Augustine. After couple of sandwiches and cold beers at the little Irish bar/sandwich shop next door, we decided to go for a walk downtown, ducking into several shops along the way, then looping around to walk along the bayfront before heading back to the room again. I should note that we were taking our walk at around 3 p.m., oblivious to the fact that there was a HEAT ADVISORY in effect—the actual temperature was in the mid-90s, but the feels-like temp was hovering around 106. So, yes: walking around? Probably not the smartest idea, but we sure did sweat out our lunch.
Because our faces were about to melt, we made the executive decision to lounge around at the hotel for a few hours after the walk, cooling off in the air-conditioning before heading out for dinner. We ended up at Pizza Alley’s Chianti Room, which is a charming little restaurant that serves up classic Italian-American fare—think chicken parmigiana, veal marsala, fettucine alfredo, the usual. We both ordered chicken parm (plus a beer for ACS and a pinot grigio for me) and it was delicious; we waddled out of the restaurant and into the night feeling stuffed and happy.
Then came one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend: We’d randomly run into one of ACS’s good friends before dinner, and after exchanging excited hellos and “Oh-my-gosh-it’s-great-to-see-you”s, we told him we’d give him a call after we’d finished dinner. So we did, and the three of us ended settling onto the green-painted front porch of a little shop and chatting—about everything and nothing, the best kind of conversation—for a good long time.
But while we were walking toward our meeting spot, we passed a tiny bar where a pretty girl with a guitar was singing, accompanied by a violinist. The music was beautiful, spilling out onto the street and causing other pedestrians to pause and listen, and at one point, the guitarist stopped singing and just strummed along in concert with the violin. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but at that moment—standing on a street corner on a sultry, still June night—it was perfect.
Do you ever have those moments where you’re nostalgic for something while it’s happening? For me, this weekend was full of them. And they were magical.