Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anastasia Island State Park and St. Augustine Florida

It was June 1st when we arrived at Anastasia State Park.  It was sunny and there was a wonderful cool breeze blowing through the trees.  This is a pretty campground with access to the ocean-depending on which loop you are on it's going to be about 1/2 mile or 3 blocks.  We stayed here twice in a 2 week period.  The first time was on the Sand Dollar Loop in space 63.  I highly recommend getting one of the sites on the curve of the loop.  They face the ocean and get a consistent breeze of some sort most of the time.  The 2nd time we returned we were on the Coquille Loop and not on the curve-we were in space 129 and the tree coverage was so dense the air couldn't reach us unless it was hurricane force winds !  When I walked down to the campsites in Coquille that were on the curve of the loop they had a breeze going on .  Lesson learned-I'm sure we will return.  The sites are set up nicely-the trees and bushes provide a nice amount of privacy and the restrooms are in the middle of the loop so it's never too long of a walk for a shower.  The showers are wonderful and I took many cold ones to help chill out in the 90 degree heat.  Hailey did not care for this campground-no dogs allowed on the beach. Boo-the only negative.

One of the neighbors

The beach is really pretty and never ever crowded the entire week we were there.  Of course we couldn't spend a lot of time at the beach as Hailey was alone at the site , but the time we spent was enjoyable.

About mid week we ventured into St Augustine to explore.  We lucked out in finding a parking spot under a huge oak tree so Hailey was quite comfortable while we took the Hop on Hop Off Tour.  The Roadtrek was in plain view of the tour operator who fell in love with Hailey so we left all windows open and ran the 12 volt fan directly onto her bed-she was cooler than us !

We immediately headed to the Pepper Palace one of the places Johnny (remember here) had recommended to us.  They had about 30 tastings going on for everything from BBQ sauce to Salsas.  Note to myself to not make "Diablo" the first salsa tasting-I think I burned off about 30 percent of my taste buds; 3 hours later the burn was still going strong.

While doing the Hop on Hop Off Tour, one of the stops was the Ice Plant.  They had vodka tastings going on -yummy and a restaurant open for lunch in the converted Ice Plant.  We made a note to come back later for lunch.

The pesto bowtie salad that came with my sandwich-so very good !

My TABLE sandwich, T-Tomato,A-avocado,B-Bacon Smoked , L-Lettuce,E-Egg.  

Oh my gosh-our server Nick recommend it as his favorite and it's now officially my favorite.  You all know how good a  cooked runny egg tastes dripping over bacon,avocado,and well you get the picture.  I'm definitely going to try and recreate this when we get home to Cape San Blas.  Besides their bourbons and vodka they make a mean Soda-I had the ginger-which was fresh ginger juiced into soda water and served with a sprig of mint.  Very refreshing and so good.

Jim had the Turkey Nicoise wrap, fresh turkey breast with an olive tapenade,lettuce,roasted onion aioli and marinated cucumber-so tasty and so much food-he could only eat half !

As we returned to the campground we decided we had done enough walking to wear off the lunch and wanted to treat ourselves to dessert.  I had done some research and discovered Rita's.  All I can say is thank goodness there is not one of these in Cape San Blas-or I would be as huge as the Goodyear Blimp !

Rita's has several items to choose from but I recommend the Gelati-its a cup of fresh fruit Italian Ice topped with custard-heaven !  I chose the Black Cherry Ice-which had huge chunks of fresh black cherries and topped it with the vanilla custard.  Jim had the Pina Cola Ice topped with vanilla custard-we could barely move after finishing these.  It was a great ending to a wonderful day.  Even Hailey got a little custard treat !

We loved Anastasia so much we tried to add a few more days on-we couldn't stay Friday and Saturday-they were sold out.  So we relocated about 10 miles south to the Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort.  Jim and I don't usually stay at the private campgrounds-too pricey,too crowded and too close together.  But I have to say the ability to walk 300 feet and be on the beach-and Hailey was allowed on the beach -far outweighed being surrounded by Class A's .  Plus everyone had their own private little deck as part of the campsite-a very nice touch.  We spent most of our time on the deck whenever we weren't at the beach.  Great swimming pool here too.

Hailey gives this campground 5 paws since she's allowed on their beach.  Where is everyone ?  Probably at the pool-really nice beach and never ever crowded while we were there. Haven't figured out why folks stay at the beach and don't use it .

While we were at Rita's enjoying our treats we spotted Tony's Pizza adjacent to Rita's -what a combo-killer food !  And guess what ?  Tony's delivered to our campsite at Bryn Mawr.  I am not exaggerating, this is the best pizza we have had since we left Pittsburgh,PA many moons ago.  Jim has decided we will be making frequent road trips to St Augustine from Cape San Blas just for the pizza.

Our 3 days of "luxury" camping were over and we headed back to Anastasia for the 2 extra days we added on. We had two quiet days of relaxation,reading and walking-but sure do miss the swimming pool and Hailey definitely missed the beach.

Enjoy the little video of our Hop On Hop Off Tour of St Augustine and Happy Trails my friends and fellow travelers.

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