Wednesday, September 8, 2010

St Augustine, Florida, 2010, 1-Year Anniversary Trip

My husband Matt and I pulled up to the stately white and blue-trimmed Bayfront Westcott Inn and shimmied the car into the curbside parking space, monitored by two shiny black coin meters.
A pleasant middle-aged blonde woman named Joy with a Wallace and Gromit-like accent welcomed us, inviting us into the front entrance and through the hallway to the small dining area that smelled strongly of ammonia and some other unusual cleaning product. She motioned for us to sit down at one of the few white linen-covered square tables. At the one to my left brochures, business cards, and maps were laid out for various restaurants, ghost tours, and local activities. We were briefed on the area, bill total, and breakfast itinerary. I asked how old Wescott Inn was. The main house was built in 1880, though some of the adjacent rooms were constructed just a few years ago.
The sound of cicadas is constant, which adds to the "old South" allure of this historical town. If you sit on the blue wooden deck at one of the many white wicker, glass-covered tables, you will get a nice view of the bay, where we saw a group of dolphins playing that night.
After settling into our room, a cozy space with wood floors, antique armoire, a high, four-poster walnut bed piled high with various-sized pillows, we came down again to the side porch and ate some pimento cheese dip, white cheese spread, and crackers. Then we tromped around St. George street, popping into the Cathedral Basilica. It was quiet and choral music played on the overhead speakers. Shrines to saints were embedded in the walls surrounded by lit candles. Hard wooden pews faced a grand podium area that was roped off from lay persons. Stained glass windows let in muted shades of red, blue, and yellow light. On the way out, holy water dripped in a bowl from a stainless steel font. From there we stopped into a few stores, one of them a weapon's supply place, that contained the biggest selection of swords I had ever seen in my life. As we continued walking, we came to an indoor walkway, full of candy, clothing, and candle shops. One such shop caught our eye. Hickory Ridge Organics, we discovered, is a vegan, organic natural soap and body care store. After smelling a number of yummy aromatherapy soaps, creams, and body sprays, we purchased a jar of French lavender bath salts and eucalyptus and spearmint foot scrub, both made with Dead Sea salts, which we were informed, have 27 different salts, as opposed to the 3 that American sea water contains. We went home that night with about 7 or 8 samples of other soaps, including peppermint, oatmeal, tea tree, almond, sandalwood, etc.
Earlier in the day we sucked on popsicles at "The Hyppo." Matt enjoyed the sweet and spicy mango habenero, while I was refreshed by the mellow lemon cucumber mint flavor. The owner is a laid-back young fellow that has been concocting these unusual frozen treats in his kitchen. His latest creation is called "The Mouth Grenade," a combination of pineapple, mango, chili paste, soy, and cilantro.