The Travel Post, part 1

Okay, now for that all important travel post.  Since the kids got two weeks off this year, one for spring break and the following week for the National Catholic Educators conference, we decided to drive to Florida.  Now you may be thinking, but she lives in the great, white, frozen north.  Can you think of a better reason to go to Florida?  Compared to here, it’s nice and warm down there-which is the perfect reason to go, at least in my opinion.  So we went.  And airfare being the fiasco that it is, sure we’ll let you fly for cheap but it’s a one-way ticket and we’re going to charge you for every bag you check and we’ll only allow those bags to be a smidgen weightwise since they apparently can’t hire anyone who can actually lift a fully packed suitcase anymore.  And they’ll charge extra if you want to bring a carry-on bag that actually fits in the overhead racks because it would be silly to actually put something in there that was made for that purpose.  And let’s not offer  to feed anyone so much as a cracker without charging them for it because we should all know to bring crackers and pedialyte along in case our kids need to use the airsickness bags (do they even provide those anymore?).  I’m beginning to think those of you who put up with this crap are the crazy ones.  If I drive, I know that my kids are fed, can go to the bathroom whenever they need to, and will be taken seriously when they say “I don’t feel so good” (it’s only happened a few times and not on this trip but it was good to be prepared).

So off we went.  Ditty and BooBoo are very good on long rides.  The first time we did this trip (this was our second) Ditty was 6 years old and BooBoo was 3 years old.  So yes, they are seasoned road trippers now.  We got to Belleville  Illinois the first night and took time to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis before going to the hotel.  We also took a little time the next morning to see some of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows in Belleville.  Then we were off to our next hotel in Dublin Georgia.  Nothing we wanted to see in Dublin, that was just how far we can travel in one day.  We did find a really good pizza place just outside of Atlanta Georgia called the Mellow Mushroom.  OMGoodness!  It was seriously some of the best pizza I have ever had.  It was even better than our local Dominos, but don’t tell Dave-he’s a nice guy and I’d hate to hurt his feelings.  But if you’re ever in Atlanta, look up the Mellow Mushroom, you won’t be sorry.  We left Dublin at 8 am and drove to Savannah Georgia for Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  It was a beautiful Mass.  Interesting to hear an Irish brogue in a southern church.  After Mass, we went to B & D Burgers for lunch.  Their sweet potato french fries are really good too.  Then we toured the Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts.  There was just one other couple in our tour group so Ditty became quite a focus for the tour guide.  Ditty’s fourth grade class had done themed book reports each month of last year and when they did the biographical one, she had chosen Juliette Gordon Low for hers.  The tour guide was quite interested in that and asked many questions.  The guide also told us that Juliette, among other things, knew how to work iron and had made several sculptures and created a set of gates for her parents garden.  It was a very neat tour and we enjoyed it very much.

After we got back to the car, we were able to walk to each destination as they were all in the historic district of Savannah, it began to rain.  Driving in a town you are not familiar with is difficult at times and in the rain more so because vision is obscurred and it it hard to read the street signs.  But we made it out of Savannah, we could have stayed a couple more days because the city’s historic area is so beautiful.  But that wasn’t in the plan so off we went toward our first lengthy destination-St. Augustine Florida.  We planned to stay in St. Augustine from Sunday night to Thursday morning and we did.  Looking back, if it hadn’t been “spring break”, Daytona Beach would have been a better option with daytrips up to St. Augustine and down to Cocoa Beach and cities farther south.  But Daytona doesn’t have a good reputation for being family friendly during spring break-college students tend to take over and their behavior away from their parents influence is, well, less than stellar.  Not the education I would want for my two young children, so we stayed in St. Augustine instead.  And it too is a very beautiful city.  St. Augustine is the oldest, continuously settled city in the U.S.A.  It was founded by Spain in 1565 and has some beautiful architecture.  We visited Castillo de San Marcos while we were there as well as the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine and the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.  We also walked St. George street, a nice pedestrian mall, and visited the Spanish Quarter Museum, a living history type of museum.  We had lunch at Mi Casa restaurant on St George street and were entertained by a singer there.  The food was very good and we enjoyed the outdoor seating in the enclosed courtyard.  We also toured St. Augustine lighthouse and took our first dip in the ocean at Anastasia State Park.  The kids loved shell hunting on the beach there.  And seeing a tortoise taking a stroll on the sidewalk was very entertaining to them.The Gateway Arch

The kids & I at the Lourdes Grotto on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows.

The gates Juliette made

The soldiers at Castillo de San Marcos firing the smooth bore muskets.

Our little tortoise friend, “Speedy”, out for a stroll at Anastasia State Park

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