The Fab Floridians’ Trip

July 20 – July 21 Travel Days

The Fab Floridians (Parish, Anna, Valentina, and Rheanna) traveled from Chester, Virginia to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on July 20, 2019 and stayed until the following Friday.

We decided to break the trip up due to the distance, and we stayed in Savannah, Georgia which was the half-way point. We stayed 20 minutes outside of Savannah in order to save money. We booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Richmond Hill. We had excellent service! They even allowed us to store our bikes in their meeting room. They served a great, hearty breakfast the next morning which was included in the price of the hotel. We ventured into Savannah on July 20 to have a late dinner. We should have researched a dinner spot prior to traveling, but I was in my “let’s wing it mood!” We checked out Paula Dean’s restaurant, but the food choices and crowd made us venture more to the Riverfront area. We ended up at Dockside Seafood. They are good about taking your name and number, and they call you when your table is ready! So while we waited, we walked and toured the city. They had unique shops and a marketplace of crafters.

The next morning we embraced a  1 1/2 hour walking tour of Savannah and learned so much about the history and unique stories that brought Savannah to life! Our tour guide was exceptional, and she was so proud of her city. After the walking tour, we went to the world’s famous ice cream spot, Leopold’s Ice Cream; they will be celebrating their 100 anniversary next month! They had the best ice cream and filling sandwiches. We had to try a macaron from a local shop, and if I were a rich man, I would have bought a hundred of those little deliciousness bites to share with the world!

Experiences on vacations are so fascinating to me. You know the people who happen to be on your walking tour, the story that grabs your heart from the tour guide and makes you tear up, or the locals going about their day living life in front of you. To stand under a tree that was described as 1,000 years old, and soldiers being nursed in the Marshall Hotel, and the Irish families who came to Georgia and brought their rich heritage (just to name a few tid bits) all got to me. I just about lost it when a black man was singing in the park and making flowers out of palm leaves. He sang about not giving up, being brave, and love.

Parish left the tour to talk to him and buy me a flower. We met a man from Australia and his wife from Mongolia in the walking tour.

If you could only sense how important you are in the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person. Fred Rogers

I believe we sense these moments as humans, and they need no explanation, only the exchange, the smile, and gestures of “I see you.”

We pulled over once Parish saw the low tire pressure light come on. Thankfully, there was a Good Year down the road that fit us in, and we got two new tires! This put us behind 2 hours, but we enjoyed the local restaurant, Mack’s Tenders, in St. John’s Florida. Their chicken and over 30 sauces to choose from caused us to get two orders! They also had funnel cake fries. The manager and his wife were so proud of their work, and he talked about how they were both in college to learn more about business. He complemented me on my crochet, and the girls played cards. We made the best of it.  Although he was not the owner of the restaurant, he stated that he treats his customers like he was the owner—takes pride in his work. This was truly evident and a pleasure to witness. I shared that I would make his wife a scarf, and he announced that she loves the color yellow.

We got to Aunt Ginnie’s house around 10:30 p.m., and she was up, ready to welcome us with open arms, a tour of the house, and helped us get settled.  Her beautiful home was about a block and a half from the beach—paradise! The girls were so thrilled to be near water they challenged themselves to get up and watch the sunrise on Monday morning!

July 22

They did it! They got up along with Parish to assist them out the door. They not only watched the sunrise, they walked around 2 miles to shops and, yes, they found a Chick-Fil-A (hence the long walk). They called Parish to come pick them up. What is is it about that place? They came home to go take a nap, and Parish and I rode bikes into Lauderdale by the Sea. We had fish tacos at Aruba, bought an umbrella for the girls, and enjoyed seeing the city by bike.

I met a wonderful young couple who had just had twins. This was their first vacation away after the birth. She recommended a few places, and we took her up on Las Olas Boulevard.  What a unique Boulevard of speciality shops and restaurants. Our first store was HEAVEN—Ann’s Cafe and Flower Market. We felt like we had stepped into Paris, France with the flowers, smells, bakery, and cafe table and chairs. We had dessert first this night! We asked them about a fun sushi place, and Brea suggested Sushi Rocks on Las Olas Boulevard. The service was excellent, and the food was divine!  Honestly, every meal was exceptional in Florida! We left there to walk around and take in the nightlife.

July 23

Parish and I woke up and took a drive while the girls slept in. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Anglin’s Beach Cafe right on the water. We watched the palm trees sway and the black grackle sing. He was singing a song about “drop some food, I’m hungry….”

Our morning turned into a trip about 30 minutes away to Sawgrass Mills, the 8th largest mall in the U.S.  This mall was fun, overwhelming, and international! The people, food, and stores were outrageously exciting! The Bath and Body Works literally had 80’s music playing loud. And, you know, I danced. At one point, Parish and I started dancing together. The only move we know —the couple’s spin.

We set the girls free with some cash, and they came back with tall tales of deals and sales!

And, yes, we went through the Chick-fil-A line on the way home. They were thrilled!

July  24

Parish and I woke up and took Dale on a long walk which gave us plenty of opportunity to see Ft. Lauderdale. Dale is Ginnie’s chocolate lab—beautiful eyes, and gentle, fun spirit.

We spent most of the day enjoying the beach.  Parish and I spent some couple’s time at the beach early in the morning. We watched how they cleaned up the seaweed, and found some pretty sea shells.

The girls enjoyed the beach later that day, and we joined them to swim and play.  We were joined by spotted eagle rays that waved their fin, and all I could think of was  “Shark!” The fin waved up over the waves like a dorsal fin. Rheanna became family at that point.  Between the screams, the words, and the running we were definitely the tourists who had lost their minds.

Later that night we went to a local restaurant called Shooters. We sat outside on the water watching the water taxis and admiring the sunset.

July 25

The girls decided they wanted to say they went to Miami. Through research on the web, we found a restaurant that is well known and stated “expect a line out the door”. We had to go for the experience and the food—a Cubano sandwich. They also had a bakery that could have fed an army! The restaurant was called Versailles. Spanish was the language and the workers/owners LOVED their work and restaurant. You felt like family, and the food—yes—was heaven!  We finished the meal off with bakery items and Cuban coffee. We headed over to Miami Beach and Espanola Way. Another great area of beach, shops, and restaurants rich with culture. A storm came which made the adventure a challenge—downpour of rain, lightening, and thunder that sounded like an explosion. We were all cautious, and we enjoyed the beauty of the storm.  We had a special treat to head back to—The Lion King—thanks to Ginnie! We reclined in our seats and watched a modern, miracle of technology, and a powerful story! After our movie, we ventured to Killwin’s Ice Cream for a treat, and then Ginnie drove us around showing us The Good Year Blimp hanger, parks, and other parts of the city that were meaningful to her.

July 26

We are headed home, but one last sunrise moment was in order. Parish and I took our coffee and a towel and headed to say good-bye to paradise. The cool breeze and rays brought bittersweetness. We are sad to leave, but the promise of a new day will always rejuvenate a soul.

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We looked at old family pictures that Ginnie had stored in boxes, and Parish took snap shots of the pictures to take home.  It was great to reminisce and hear fun, family memories. We decided to travel to Walterboro, S.C., which is just outside of Charleston, S.C. This would allow less time to travel on Saturday.  Home awaits.

Traffic and storms slowed us down a little, but overall we made good time. We ate at El Pueblo Mexican Restaurant in Walterboro, and stayed at Comfort Inn and Suites. Another great hotel that was reasonably priced and included breakfast.  I enjoyed people watching families with their children who were excited about the day’s adventures, and grandparents taking grandchildren on trips. The conversations were priceless, and the laughter invigorating. The stories of families and their memory making moments truly touches me. No pancake machine, but I was able to make my own waffle!

July 27

Only 5 1/2 hours away from home, so we decided to stop off at South of The Border. I stopped here as a little girl, but the area seemed a little different this time. I think once upon a time there was an amusement park with rides. We got the typical t-shirt, bumper sticker, and ice cream. Of course we tried on the big sombrero. I never could imagine coming back in my 50’s with my husband, third child, and her best friend. My mom took a picture of me standing in line for the ride when I was about 12 years old. I’m not sure where the picture is at this point, but I do remember the “snapshot” in my mind and heart. Thanks mom and dad.

We are home tonight! Tomorrow brings a beautiful day and a wedding. We look forward to sharing in their joyful occasion and union. A great way to end the week.

Ginnie thank you for your love and positive influence in our lives. Your strong, positive spirit is inspirational, and your love for family and others a powerful example of reckless love.

Rheanna and Valentina you are true friends with continuous laughing, talking into the middle of the night, sharing, and experiencing life together.  I love watching you both and being with you.

Parish, you are a powerful, steadfast father and husband. Thank you for keeping us safe on the road, and navigating Miami traffic. Thank you for being thrilled over the small things and engaging in the story.

Victoria (you know). 🙂 The hope to come.

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