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For those who follow along on Instagram know that I spent last week in sunny Florida. While I love the Pacific Northwest, about this time of year, when we are on day 1,022 of rain and gloom, I need a little escape. So, off to Jacksonville Florida it was!
The handsome hunk was in Jacksonville Florida training already, so it doubled as a trip out to see him and get some much needed time together.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect!
Day 1 – Fly to Jacksonville, Florida
I flew into Jacksonville International Airport. Flying into Jacksonville is an all day affair. There are no direct flights from Seattle to Jacksonville so whenever we go to Florida we get a connecting flight. Add in drive time from a remote island to the airport, parking, etc and there you have an entire day eaten up by travel. I actually woke up at 10:00 pm the night before to get ready for my flight!
Thanks to a layover in Dallas, I was able to experience the cult phenomenon of Topo Chico. And, I have to say, it lives up to the hype. I got into Jacksonville in time to sit in rush hour traffic on the way to the hotel. Once I got to the hotel, the handsome hunk greeted me with a glass of wine and a “homemade” dinner, made from what he was able to cook in the hotel room. Cooking for each other is our love language, so it was so sweet and meaningful.
Day 2 – Melbourne Beach
Up bright and early to drive down from Jacksonville to Melbourne Beach! We stopped at this little dive for breakfast, The Southern Grill, which was amazing! I got a bowl of cheese grits, with scrambled eggs and spicy sausage. If you go, that is what you should order off the menu. So good! And in true southern fashion, it came with a side of butter. And that folks is why I did a detox before this trip.
Then we hit the road! We stopped in Cocoa Beach on the way for lunch at the Sunset Waterfront Cafe, which was named one of Coastal Living’s favorite seafood dives. We sat on the water soaking in the view, which is literally feet away, and the 75 degree weather before continuing on.
We checked into our Airbnb in Melbourne Beach, two blocks from the water, and got situated. Then got ready for a night out on the town! We went to Hurricane Creek Saloon to watch the Last Call Band and Tracy Byrd. We sang along, sipped cocktails, and danced the night away.
Day 3 – Melbourne & Family Day
We walked from our Airbnb to a little breakfast spot on the beach. After, we walked to the beach to dip our toes in the very cold ocean and watch birds. We walked the long way back to the Airbnb, looking at houses along the way, one of our favorite past times. As a Realtor, I am always fascinated by real estate wherever we travel to.
We then spent the late morning and early afternoon poking around Melbourne. We grabbed coffee at a cute shop, perused boutiques, and hit up some thrift stores looking for buried treasure. I found a giant brass bird that, naturally, I had to have. The fact that I only brought a backpack carry-on as my luggage be damned. Totally worth it!
The handsome hunk is a Florida native, with most of his family still living in the area. So later that day we spend lots of quality time with Tom’s family. It was such a nice and relaxing day.
Day 4 – Daytona 500
Daytona 500! Wow, what an experience. Neither of us are NASCAR fans. Or, I should say, neither of us were NASCAR fans. After the 500, I think I can solidly call us fans. It was a blast! Such an experience!
We got there early, Darius Rucker put on a pre-race show. The President came, we watched Air Force 1 land and take off. The Air Force Thunderbirds put on a show too! We got to see Jeff Gordon and the Fox crew doing their pre-race show. Then the race started! And, was promptly rained out. So we headed back to the hotel in Jacksonville, unsure if we would return the next day for the remainder of the race or not.
Day 5 – Daytona Beach
We had gone back to Jacksonville the night before, and were unsure if we wanted to go back for the rest of the NASCAR race, but when we got up the next morning, we both wanted to go. So, we hopped in the car early and headed down to Daytona Beach! We spent some time just hanging out on the beach. Tom swam in the ocean, and I sitting on the beach, White Claw in hand, living the life.
Then we headed back to the Speedway. So glad we did! I still don’t think I would watch a NASCAR race on TV, but in person, it is a ridiculous amount of fun. The handsome hunk had a very early morning, with a 3:00 am alarm, so, right before the race was over, we headed out to beat the traffic. Which, caused us to miss a very bad wreck with Ryan Newman. I’ll be honest, I’m glad we missed the wreck. Watching replays of it was horrific. It was right in front of our seats, and for hours no one knew if the driver had survived or not. So, I was glad I didn’t watch that happen right in front of me.
Day 6 – Jacksonville, Florida
Last full day in Florida. We were both exhausted from the long day and night before. The handsome hunk went back to work. I had brunch with a good friend from Washington who recently moved out to Florida. I had a craving for Ramen, and Tom said he knew a place. So, we went to Crane Ramen for lunch which was out of this world good! Totally recommend. After, we met up with Tom’s aunt at Leaderboard Arcade and Bar. It was the perfect place to grab a drink and play some games for a casual laid back get together.
Then took a power nap before heading out to dinner reservations with friends! I had been wanting to try Valley Smoke after seeing numerous people talk about it on Instagram and it doesn’t disappoint! Fun fact, The Handsome Hunk’s dad owns BBQ restaurants so Tom grew up in the restaurant industry, and it is hard to impress him with BBQ. Most of the time, he makes better BBQ than what we can get out at a restaurant. But, he loved the brisket! Tom and I split the ‘Que for 2 and crispy chicken livers. I’ll just say, we definitely will be back!
Day 7 – Travel to Seattle
Whole day of travel back to the Emerald City! When I am flying out of Seattle, I always park my car at Park ‘n Jet Lot 2, with valet parking. They have a shuttle pick you up from the airport, then go get your car and bring it round, so when you are dropped off, your car is sitting there, waiting for you. And, if you book online, you almost always get a great discount!