Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Return to St. Auggie

“The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscape, but in having new eyes.”                                                                                           -Marcel Proust

We descended upon St. Augustine Beach again, once wasn't enough for us and we needed to get back. In fact, this is my confession: I am addicted to the ocean, this place and the energy that surrounds it; however, no intervention needed, I am fully and painfully aware of it. We had originally planned on spending another five weeks here, but when Sherry let us know that Todd and her were bringing the kids and her folks out in February, well that left us scrambling to extend; how could we not find a way to see them all? Bonus, we got to stay longer and our five weeks became seven weeks, a chaotic last couple of weeks as we transitioned from our first place to an interim hotel and then to our last home here, but nothing a walk along the beach can’t calm and completely worth the pandemonium in the end.

Our first place this visit was up on 13th Street, when we were here last October we were down on 6th, and I found myself pining for the lower streets. They have more of a local charm to them and it could be they are closer to that “Golden Mile,” and the beach living is at its finest. Or it could be that I wasn't in love with our place like I was with the little yellow cottage we stayed in last time. This place was updated and had some great conveniences, but was completely lacking in that perfect nostalgic beach home, especially that 50’s-70’s style retro home that makes Saint Augustine Beach so unique.

Like I said, our first place had some great amenities, especially only being a block from the beach, but is a place that had completely been updated and well it lacked in the beach feel. In fact the décor was more like the eighties got frisky with as Asian tchotchke shop and the outcome was our living space for six weeks. Fortunately we are movers and shakers and don’t really spend too much time indoors, and why would we, there is a beach a block away! Being down on the higher streets, put us in a more tourist area, so everything was close. Meaning, we could run across the street to grab dinner from one of the great restaurants on the island and the pier was around the corner, making my Wednesday produce haul from the farmers market much easier to get back home.

Time flew by and our once five weeks, that extended and turned into six, was gone and we found ourselves loading up the Flex again and off to Ponte Vedra Beach to crash at the Sawgrass Marriott. We had one night where we were homeless and in between spaces in Saint Augustine Beach, we needed to be out of the 13th street home and our next landing space on 5th not ready for one more day. So we leveraged Marriott points and pampered ourselves a bit, and Marriott thought we needed some extra love too and they upgraded us to a Villa. Ah, the perks of being married to a road warrior! And such a welcome surprise after all the stress and chaos of finding another home to rent; although I might have considered sleeping in the car had it meant we got to see our family!

The Sawgrass Marriott is right next door to TPC (Tournament Players Club) Sawgrass.  Home of the PGA headquarters and probably the world’s most famous golf course, how can one forget that notoriously famous 17th hole. Our villa looked right out on the 14th fairway and although I found it peaceful and relaxing, Tom might have might have been slightly tortured; being so close to such a famous course, not having his clubs and the $400 fairway fee kind of put the idea of playing a round a tad out of reach for now, but there is always next time. 

View from the patio of our Sawgrass Villa
Fully rested, we got back in the car and made our way back to St. Augustine Beach to unload the car and get moved into our last home here before moving on to our next destination. Our place on 5th was such a welcome and inviting surprise; we walked into a haven of beach chic. A home swarming with charm and I was ecstatic we got to finish out our visit here in a place that screams St. Auggie!
Image of the 17th hole, borrowed from the TPC Sawgrass web page, not my image :)
The home was idyllic and was the epitome of a true beach cottage. We were one house from the beach and back in the haven of that precious Golden Mile, where surfers run up and down the road and the locals are differentiated from the tourist by those that have shoes on versus those that don’t. The home was clean, a mix of vintage and even had bikes, surfboards and paddleboards for us to use; granted the water was freezing so the latter two weren't really options this stay. We also became cat parents while we were staying there, that's right, this home comes equipped with its very own cat, Donger. In fact the home is his and anyone that stays, are his guests. Donger spent his days at the beach and only made an appearance at night and had his own room off the back of the house; and my allergies only acted up once when I was giving the guy a little too much love for my eyes to handle. And how did Ethel handle the cat, well the old girl is so blind, I don't even think she realized he was there most of the time, besides, I think she was fully aware she would be a on the losing end of an battle with Donger; street cat vs. pampered pooch, the odds wouldn't have been in her favor. 

This being our last week in town and being in a place that cozy, that exemplified beach living was hard to leave, but here she is, our last home in St. Augustine, unless of course I convince Tom to move there! Which by the way, every home we have stayed at in St. Auggie is officially up for sale right now, I must be putting out some crazy, 'I want to move there' energy! 

Donger the Cat

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