My friend Cecil came to visit me from Texas. We have been friends since before my daughter was born (she is 34). As long as we have known each other, we have liked traveling. Sometimes we do the local things in a given area and other times we venture out a bit.
I kept asking Cecil when he could come and he finally pinned down some dates in April. So then I compiled some ideas about what we could do. My husband suggested that we alternate longer trips and shorter trips-ending with local activities on Cecil’s last day. This was a great idea. With Cecil arriving Monday afternoon-we had four full days for fun-Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday we would bring Cecil to the airport early-so that we could participate in an Earth Day Vendor Event in Orlando.
Monday we went to dinner at Rib City-this place is one mile from our home in Grant. The owner of this place has really made this a favorite local spot. Great food, great service, and great atmosphere. It is so wonderful to have this place so close to home! Not only is the food great, but The Old Grant Creamery is on the premises with the best ice cream ever! While Cecil was here I think we went a total of three times-Cecil loved it!
This is what we decided on for our week of fun.
Day 1 Tuesday: Tarpon Springs
Day 2 Wednesday: Sanford, Cassadaga, and dinner at Megan’s
Day 3 Thursday: St. Augustine
Day 4 Friday: Indian Buffet Lunch, Downtown, and Beach Walk
Day 1: We headed to the sponge docks at Tarpon Springs. The weather was comfortable until the afternoon and by then we were ready to leave. We ate at Yianni’s. I told Cecil he MUST have the flaming cheese ( Saganaki). Cecil did like the flaming cheese but I learned that Cecil does not like Gyros. For him the meat and the spices were strange. I loved mine and he offered me the rest of his-but I was full. We walked the streets and we picked up a couple things. I loved lunch-but the Gyro was not Cecil’s favorite. It was a great ride though-both ways. Cecil and I like to take back roads-you never know what you will see. We went to Abbott’s Custard in Vero-kinda on the way home. Abbott’s is something I have been connected to since childhood when my grandparents took us every summer. Cecil loved it of course.
Decorated bicycles in Tarpon Springs, FL
Day 2: I told Cecil about Sanford after friends and I had gone their to see a friend’s art exhibit. I fell in love with this town. There is a great variety of stores and eateries. There is so much charm in this city. I love the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery. I think Cecil was surprised by some of the crazy (that’s a good thing) art in there. He really liked the watercolors. A new group was setting up and we met an artist that was retired after 47 years of teaching. As Cecil and I are both retired teachers-that was fun. We walked the streets, which are beautiful, and at my suggestion ate at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. My stepdaughter had recommended this to me and I had gone there with my girlfriends on the first trip. This is excellent food. I do not remember what Cecil had but he did like it. I had the sausage plate again (like last time) but this time had sauerkraut and mashed potatoes with it. The mashed potatoes were the best I have ever put in my mouth. The kraut was fantastic and if you eat German food-you know mashed potatoes and kraut together are amazing. I had the bratwurst-also fantastic.
After Sanford we decided to bop over to Cassadaga. Cecil had been years before and enjoyed the town, bookstore, and a reading. He had the reading and left feeling great about everything the person shared. He tried to get the same person again but she was busy. He was able to meet with someone that day and was very happy with that person as well. It was very interesting to listen to things Cecil had to say about the experience and that was one event this time that when he told me about it, I got goosebumps…
Last stop for day 2 is to Megan’s for dinner. She made a fantastic eggplant dish-I bought the salad fixins’.
Day 3: St. Augustine-the nation’s oldest city. I love St Augustine so I suggested it. It’s a bit of a ride but Cecil and I enjoy long rides and he would often look at the map and find alternate routes to using the highway. We arrived in time for lunch and ate at a place I hadn’t eaten at before. The menu offered Po Boys which appealed to both of us. While the inside was typical casual decor-the food was great! The Florida Cracker Cafe– I admit I loved the name. It reminds me that I told Cecil he must read A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. When I mentioned this to Cecil in the Sanford bookstore, a woman chimed in and also shared her love for the book. We walked around after lunch and I was excited to find some jewelry pieces by Kelli Rae Roberts on sale. When the afternoon got warm-we headed home. I think we stopped at The Old Grant Creamery again-Cecil said it is the best ice cream he has ever had.
Day 4: Kept things local this day because Cecil would leave early the next morning. Didn’t want to tire him out! In the morning I stayed home and got a little work done-then we headed out for a few short errands before lunch. My grandogs Lotus & Po are having a one year Whobilation (birthday) on Sunday so first stop was the pet store to get gifts. My daughter always collects donations for the shelter at their BD but come on-I am the grammy so I was buying a present. Megan told me Lotus needed something challenging-that girl is smart. So I picked a puzzle with four things to do. For Po-I chose a ball machine. You put the ball in and it shoots out. I also knew Diesel (chihuahua) would love it. Off to Taste of India for buffet lunch
We both enjoyed it-I have never been disappointed here. After lunch we went downtown. I found a new store there Giftique, with lots of things my friend Annette would like. I have my eye on a gold crown I saw there. Lots of art by Kellie Rae Roberts. Cecil bought some bath salts at Indian River Soap .
After perusing downtown-we headed over the bridge to the beach. Every time Cecil visits we go to the beach. As we walked this time, we remembered when we first took Megan on a beach walk. She was about three and would walk at the water’s edge, fall down, run a few more feet, fall down-she loved it. It was a perfect day for a walk-in fact we were very fortunate to have beautiful weather every day Cecil was here.
Friday night-Cecil’s last night-he offered to take us for dinner to our other favorite local eatery-The Old Fish House Bar & Grill. We sat outside and it was wonderful. We suggested the Redfish to Cecil as it is a favorite. I , however, have been craving clam strips so that is what I ordered-with hushpuppies of course because they are amazing. We had a nice dinner-but then it was back home to work. Marty and I had samples to prepare and had to pack the car completely for the Earth Day Event at Lake Eola the next day. Cecil offered to help but we declined-thinking it would not take long! Sorry to say that we worked till almost ten! Cecil decided to turn in-good idea as we would be out early in the morning.
I always enjoy when Cecil comes. I am looking forward now to getting back to Texas, on his territory. Have a quite a few friends I can visit in Texas-it’s a big state.
I kept the list of ideas Cecil and I compiled for travel-for when he comes again.