Visiting Florida from Fernandina Beach all the way to Titusville
Florida Travel Blog› entry 1 of 8 › view all entries
We had planned to go to Florida for a while and had set up a date for December, 2001. We knew a couple that had also planned a trip around this date but they had cancelled due to post-9/ll concerns. I had planned and anticipated this trip though and was determined to go. We didn't and hadn't even planned to fly. To me, flying is great, when you are in a hurry, but when I have the time, I have always felt that half the fun of a trip is getting there and we live in Kentucky so its not as if Florida is far, far away. We took Triple A's advice about taking an alternate route there too because of high construction maintenance in Atlanta, GA. We took 75 South until getting to Knoxville, and then turned off on Interstate 40 East to go through the Carolinas and head towards Interstate 90S close to the coast. Now, Tennessee is a beautiful state all the way through, but I lived in North Carolina and have always felt a fondness for it.
Fernandina Beach is the first town you come to when entering Florida from the northeast and it is truly a quaint little town. I was impressed with how friendly people were. We stopped at a local store to pick up a few groceries and everyone either said hello or waved. The main reason to stop was to finally get out and see the ocean. This was the first time I'd ever seen the ocean and I was in awe of it. Before then, I had always dreamed of buying a house along the Ohio River in my little town in Kentucky, but ooohhh! The sea killed that dream! So, we just got out and looked for a while and there were beautiful homes edged along the coast, rental properties, of course. We were on our way to St Augustine for one night and then onto Daytona Beach for the next three nights.
St Augustine is a good sized city, but very nice with a small-town feel to it. There is so much history here. We visited the St Augustine Lighthouse and climbed its stairs all the way to the top. There is a garden behind the lighthouse with a bench where you can sit which we did too for a while and the day was just gorgeous!. Very relaxing. Now, I didn't see any ghosts, for those of you who watch the travel channel. I love the travel channel too and I even think it would be cool to see a ghost, but no such luck. Of course, it was daylight and maybe they come out at night? From the place we stayed, I could see the Light coming from the lighthouse and felt a comfort by it although I generally like to have all shades down and a room to be completely dark when I sleep at night. We stayed by the bay and in the morning you could get up to watch the dolphins come up to play. For our night in Augustine, we visited Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum which was interesting and along with the lighthouse made a good night after the long drive. The next day, we just walked up the streets and in so many ways, Augustine reminds you of old 18th century, other than the cars whizzing by. You can rent a horse with buggy for tour and of course, there is the haunted ghost tours. The so-called Fountain of Youth is interesting too, just don't drink that water, its the nastiest-tasting water I ever had. If that supposed to keep you young then I'll just have to get old. St Augustine is well worth the visit.
Finally, onto Daytona Beach and this is late December, things go so well, even in a usually crowded area like Daytona Beach, but it wasn't so crowded now. It was just great! We found this little resort called Beach Haven. This couple had took it over and were in the process of renovating it. They were very courteous. They were working on the rooms and the rooms were clean. Not bad at all and we're talking about oceanfront and oceanside rooms. We rented one of the oceanfront rooms for the ridiculously $40 a night. After that, I decided that anytime I take a vacation involving the beach, oceanfront or oceanview are a must. There is nothing like getting up at 5am to see the tides come and then later again watch at sunset. On the east coast, of course, you see the sunrise and on the west coast you can watch it set. Haven't got to the west yet, but that sunrise is just gorgeous!
The next day we went to Titusville to the Kennedy Space Center. I have always wanted to actually be there when a space shuttle is going off to see it rather than watching it on tv, but unfortunately we weren't that lucky. The Kennedy Space Center is well worth the time and the money though. There are so many things to see in there and as with everything else, the wait wasn't too long either. We were told that lines are generally very long, but being that time of the year, it went very smoothly. We got to observe the NASA "control room" as I call it. I can't imagine being in there with all of those controls when a shuttle is going off. I'd really like to come back to Florida and be lucky enough to be here to watch a shuttle blast off. We wanted to go to Disney World too, but due to time constraints, it wasn't possible. Next time, Disney World will be definite though.
For our last day, we just hung out at the beach, wanting to savor in every last moment because when we got back home, there would be no sea or tides and I knew would miss it. There were a few people out walking along the beach and they were very friendly as they actually speak to you when passing by. There was a beach patrolman who frequently drove by, although I felt safe. If it had been crowded as it usually is at certain other times of year, then I wouldn't have felt so safe. We found an injured seagull that I felt so sorry for because the tides were starting to come in for the evening and the bird couldn't even seem to walk. I don't know what was wrong with it, but the patrolman could be depended upon when called to rescue the poor bird and take it to the vet. Afterwards, we watched the nightly tides come in for the last time and then got up the next morning and watched the sunrise one final time. We were off then, but we had lunch at this little restaurant on the outskirts of Daytona. The food was very good and you could either eat indoors or go outside to eat with a view of the sea. You can imagine which option we chose. When I got home though, it was depressing as I had gotten so used to listening to those tides coming in mornings as well as evenings and I actually felt lonely for a while. I have been dreaming of living by the sea ever since that trip.