One part about adulting that I’ve had to get use to is that not all of your friends are going to live within a mile of you for the rest of your life. Relationships, jobs, and schools look different for everyone and people move away. However, having friends live in different places can be exciting! For one, you always have a place to stay when you go visit them. Secondly, you can plan to make time for each other by going on getaways that are new and exciting for both of you!
Hence how our trip to Jacksonville, Florida got planned. With one friend on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, one in Atlanta, and two of us in Greenville we really wanted to go somewhere that would be equidistant for everyone. Once we went through the places we’ve already been and established that we wanted somewhere near the beach we took to Google Maps. Double-checking distances for everyone we discovered that Jacksonville was exactly five hours for everyone! Seems like the perfect plan, or so we thought…
Jacksonville was a very interesting place to say the least. We laughed, we cried, and we definitely left with some stories to tell.
So here it is, Jacksonville: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
Gotta look at everything with a little bit of positivity. So to start off, Jacksonville had some really good food! Seafood by the beach, a scrumptious brunch, and every appetizer your heart could ever desire at a sports bar. Pretty much everything we ate lived up to all of our expectations.
Another great thing about Jacksonville is that it’s only a forty-minute drive from St. Augustine. Not knowing what exactly to except from our trip, we decided to just spend one day in St. Augustine. Now despite the scorching heat, St. Augustine was definitely the highlight of the trip. Free winery tour and tasting, phenomenal drinks at gorgeous hotels, and probably one of the top 3 best meals I’ve ever eaten in my life.
Lastly, another pro of our trip to Jacksonville was the location of our Airbnb. Aside from a twenty-minute drive to the beach and the drive to St. Augustine-everything was within a 5-10 minute drive from where we stayed.
So we took our trip during Memorial Day weekend ready to brace ourselves for the holiday crowd. Nope, not in Jacksonville. I swear, everywhere we went was dead! One of our favorite restaurants that we went to was Kickbacks. The coolest décor, colorful waiter, and fantastic food…but completely dead! We were so confused but everyone kept saying that it was early and everyone would be out later…we were eating dinner at 7:30, how late do these people stay out?
Another bad part about our trip: the heat. Let it be known that unless you are going to Disney World or planning to spend all day on the beach-Florida in late May…no, just no.
Ah…the ugly side of our trip to Jacksonville. Why don’t we start with our Airbnb. Yes, it was in a great location…and that’s about it. The running joke all weekend is that we were staying at Florida’s version of Grey Gardens. Complete with overgrown bushes, creepy artwork, and the cockroaches…LIVE cockroaches! Thankfully the owners did spray one day while we were gone and all we really did was sleep there, but even that was a stretch. Word to the wise: before booking your Airbnb double check that there is a picture of the outside of the house.
The I.D. situation was another ugly side of Jacksonville. Well, more annoying than anything, but all the same. After being in Jacksonville for a good five minutes we took to the beach! We had done our research and found that the Lemon Bar was the hot spot for lunch on the beach. Well…it was also the site where we got to argue with two “bouncers” and a manager over how my twenty-four year old friend’s I.D. was ‘100% a fake I.D.’ After a series of “Scan it!” and “Okay, get an officer to confirm it’s real,” the manager allowed her to come in. Now, I will say they had phenomenal coconut shrimp and an amazing Miami Vice, but come on…
And then there was the Trolley/Fountain of Youth tragedy of 2017. The trolley seemed like a great way to see and do everything we wanted to in St. Augustine but that was until we were stranded miles from our car in the Florida heat outside a chocolate shop waiting for our next trolley. There went trolley one, two, three, and even trolley number four. Nobody got off the first four trolleys that went by our stop. FINALLY we were all able to board a trolley and head towards the Fountain of Youth-the main attraction that we wanted to go to. But, oh wait; it was closed early for a wedding! Now, just because it was closed did not mean that we didn’t get to drink from the fountain…but that’s another story for another time.
Ah Jacksonville, such a unique place to visit. I can’t say that we’ll be back anytime soon but I wouldn’t have wanted to go on this trip with anyone else. That’s the thing about traveling though. You plan where to stay and where to eat but everything isn’t going to be as glamorous as you might have imagined. In fact, sometimes you get screamed at from random women on the street during a photo-shoot that you stole her husband’s clothing designs and that she’s going to come looking for you. But, if you have your friends with you, everything is a memory you can laugh at later…at home and away from the cockroaches.