I spent yesterday out on the town with my mom and my brother's girlfriend, Abby. We played "tourist" and did some sightseeing and shopping in St. Augustine. We didn't have to go far and we still had a fun day and learned a lot more about St. Augustine's history, legends, and hole-in-the-wall shops.
We decided to take Ripley's Red Train Tours around town for the full tourist experience! It's a great way to see everything that you won't want to miss and there are plenty of opportunities to get off the train and spend time in different areas of town. The drivers are entertaining and it's also a great way to cool off and sit down if you've been walking in the heat all day.
We went in several shops that I didn't even knew existed. Here are some photos of my favorite things I found yesterday and some random funky things around town!
SO true around here!:
Unforutnately I can't remember the name of the store that we found the little signs in but they also had a huge selection of art and windchimes. The back area is natural garden with benches, trellises, and a few windchimes and suncatchers around. It's settled between old stone buildings. I liked it because it reminded me of my grandma's backyard where I grew up. Her backyard is literally never manicured and is still covered in Wandering Jew, soaring potato vines and grape vines, huge ancient shade trees everywhere, and lots of GREEN. Really reminds you of Old Florida. This garden was a treat to visit.
Here's Abby in what she calls her "tourist hat". :) I think this may have been on the backside of the Milltop.
Indians! I guess not many people would understand why I took this photo. When I was a kid we used to take yearly road trips up to North Carolina to visit my family over summer break. There was a gas station off an exit of I95 in a town in South Carolina called Santee. I can't remember the first year that we stopped at this gas station, but it must have been completely by chance and my brother and I haaaaad to stop there every summer thereafter. They had a huge junky souvenir shop, and wax Indians in the front window. For some reason we thought they were the coolest thing. I was on my way up to Pennsylvania about 3 years ago for the Carlisle All-Truck Nationals and insisted that my boyfriend at the time stop off this exit because I had to see if the the Indians were still there. Sadly, they weren't, and when I asked the lady behind the counter, who was the same big-haired Dolly Parton-esque lady I remembered from 15 years before, she said they'd been sold to someone a long, long time ago. She was shocked that I actually remembered them when I shared with her my little story about stopping off every summer to see the Indians.
Squatters. Bums. Homeless... whatever you want to call these people. Yes, I'm annoyed just like anyone else when one of these people asks for money but I always have had this secret wondering about how these people live their lives the way they do. Maybe that's another project down the road, but you do come across some interesting characters downtown sometimes. Generally these guys don't bother people much (the police keep tabs on them regularly) and I believe they are allowed to hang out downtown and play music or "entertain" for money, as long as they aren't doing it on the main walk, St. George Street. Sometimes they add a little something extra to their "show". I actually smile for some reason when I see one of these people with a dog. They've made a friend, and while they may not have much else, they always have that one true friend by their side. It always makes me wonder where the both of them came from and what they have been through. And why they do the things they do now.
And here is Charlie Brown. He enjoys entertaining you and your kids, apparently...
Abby was on a mission to find a replacement piece for a necklace she has, so we found a bead shop in one of the indoor stripmalls. It reminded me of a candy shop. So colorful!
We didn't go into Potter's Wax Museum but I managed to get this through the window. (Note to self: invest in polarizing filter!)
Mom loves these things. No, they aren't real people. Very realistic statuettes in a shop on King Street.
We did a quick walk past the Casa Monica Hotel and I slipped up into the valet area and snapped a pic of their car, and Abby on the stairs.
The Closet! OMG this place was a neat little hole in the wall with Tara's name written allllllll over. Lots of vintage, tons of reconstruction and DIY clothing, upcycled items turned into something else... loved it! (Glad I found this place, good ole' 5 Points is a bit of a drive for me now...)
Rows and rows of vintage shoes.... I wanted to whip out my acrylics and paintbrushes and start painting right there! (I custom paint shoes in case you haven't heard!)
Meet Elvis! He hangs out at Paradise Poochie, a doggie boutique on Cordova Street. Elvis loves to play fetch with a tennis ball! I can't wait to take the Pigster to meet him and visit the store. They have some really unique dog toys (lots of the indestructable variety, a necessity when you own a pit bull!), a huge variety of gourmet treats, and super friendly employees!
Now I have a tooooon of photos to go along with this shop. It was probably my favorite place we visited besides the Dr. Seuss Gallery where they do not allow photography! (But it's a DEFINITE must-see! Next door to this shop.) Plaza Verde is owned and operated by Europeans so everything in the place has a European touch, whether strong or faint. My husband, Dani, is Polish, and while he doesn't really enjoy frou frou things and shopping, I've got to drag him into this place because it will without a doubt ring a bell to him. They carry luxury bath products, imported home decor, European foods, and fine gifts. Sometimes I question myself as to why I didn't go into Visual Merchandising or something. I have this weird "oooooh.... ahhhhh" obsession with retail displays (another reason I loved The Closet so much). The whole structure of this space was awesome, from the literally soaring high ceiling, and long, open "hall" feeling to the vintage furnishings-turned-retail displays, and big use of hanging paper lanterns.
(Next craft night, I'm going to try to make these!!)
This is on my wish list this year. (*ahemmm. mom. stocking stuffer. !*) I loooove little coffee table books. Unfortunately my coffee table only holds a prized photography issue of Surfer Magazine currently, but I have a bookshelf in the living room with pretty much nothing but coffee table photography books. This one is all about kids getting into "innocent" trouble. Something I was all about back in the day.
I'd die to have this cabinet in a big bathroom or a kitchen! Loooove the black and white paint job.
Organic soaps, body lotions, and shampoos.
This line of candles are my new favorite thing for smellin' up the house. Voluspa Candles are handmade and come in over fifty different scents. You can get them in jars, tins, or even incense sticks. Oh excuse me, "luxe burning sticks". They are extremely fragrant in a sophisticated sort of way; no fresh ocean breeze christmas tree homemade cookies and mangopineapplepearblueberrygrapeapple smells here. I had the hardest time choosing just one to take home! I ended up with the Santiago Huckleberry 85-hour variety and so far, so very, very good....
The last stop on the train tour brought us to San Sebastian Winery. I've been a big fan of the Vintners Red for a few years, which I originally found in Publix, but it seems to be sold at most major grocery stores in northeast Florida now. (Even Wal-Mart has it.) The winery offers free tours that explain their own unique wine-making process, as well as a free wine tasting where you get to sample about twelve different wines. Allow a bit of time if you visit San Sebastian Winery. The tour is about 30-45 minutes long and you'll spend about 20 minutes at the wine tasting. They have a big store that carries all their wines plus accessories and very unique sauces, jams, jellies, and spices. They also have a rooftop wine and jazz bar, as well as banquet/reception facilities. (I'd love to shoot a wedding and/or reception here, so book it, people!) :)
The barrel room. You can actually get married in here or have your rehearsal dinner or reception in this space! They use these old whisky barrels to age one of their varieties of wine. At the tasting after the tour, we got to sample this one and it did have a very woody/nutty yet sweet taste.
They were prepping for a wedding reception on the rooftop while we were there so I snapped a pic of the setup. Love me some gold bamboo chairs! For some reason I'm convinced that anything that has been painted gold photographs beautifully.
Mom waiting on a refill. :) This is particularly amusing to me and me only, most likely. My mom doesn't drink but I think she had a good time at the wine tasting. We both have a new favorite: the Cream Sherry!
Abby enjoying the last drop.
Avenida Menendez is usually a traffic jam of tour trains, tourists trying to snap photos of the fort from their car windows or trying to back up into oncoming traffic, horse-drawn buggies, and pedestrians. I don't know how these horses put up with it sometimes, but they just keep trotting along with traffic. :)
I missed the morning session at the pier yesterday due to my outing with the gals and didn't make it out there until right before dark. I'll have some shots up from today, late morning, shortly. Here's all I got last night.
Some long exposure fun:
And the moon.