Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Visit From Home

Earlier this month, two of my very best friends, Jen and Holly, hopped into Holly's VW and made their way 14 hours to visit Robert and me! It was so much fun to have them! They were our second set of houseguests ever. My friends mean the world to me. They know me and love me and the feeling is mutual. They are the people I can laugh with, cry with, talk to, and just be me with. I am the luckiest girl in the world to know them! Here's a little recap of our goings on...

Day 1: We ventured down Archer Road in Gainesville to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Spring is beginning to peak through here. It was a feast for our horticulturally trained selves! Jen indulged me in a little photo shoot at the bamboo cove. She is just beautiful and the bamboo is unbelievable! What a pair!

Day 2: We all saddled up and went to St. Augustine for the day. I tried to prepare them for what they were about to see, but I just couldn't do it justice! They were floored. Until I went to SA last August, I had no idea that such a thing existed in the USA. It is a city filled with history, unique, old, funky, Spanish buildings that make you want to move there instantly! If you haven't been, you really must go. We visited Flagler College (Holly is convinced she needs another degree just to attend that campus - it's stunning). We wandered down St. George Street (visitor trap) and made our way to Scarlett O'Hara's for lunch. Robert and I love that place! We sat at the outdoor bar and watched the other tourists watching us. They have a killer Mahi Mahi Sandwich and Shocktop is on tap! From there, we headed to the beach for sunset. It feeds the soul to be near something so vast. The longer we were there, the lower the sun got, the warmer the water felt. We brought towels to layout on but wound up using them as wraps. It was gorgeous! The perfect day!

Day 3: This was Holly and Jen's last day in Florida. To date, they hadn't seen any alligators! That's a shame in these parts. We ate a quick breakfast and went to Paynes Prairie - a nature preserve here in Gainesville. We hiked the La Chua trail to the Alachua Sink Hole. The Prairie used to be a lake until the sink hole opened. Now it is a drain hole and a mini-lake. This is where the alligators hang out. There aren't any gates, fences, or other protective barriers between you and these dinosaur-like beasts. We were captivated! I stopped counting after 70... there easily were 200 alligators. Easily... and that's not including the babies!

This is a shot of Robert's favorite tree in Gainesville! It stretches from one side of the lot to the other, across the street, and beyond. It is amazing. The drama is only increased by the moss that drips from every branch! Central Florida is an amazingly beautiful, swampy place.

Having the girls visit for a weekend was wonderful! Thanks so much for trekking all this way to hang out with us. We love you guys!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary!
Thanks for the great pics...good stuff to look at while I sit at the Seattle's 3:30am...about half an hour till I find out if I get on the flight back to Oki. Isn't St. Augustine great? Ellen, my bridesmaid, who sent you the restaurant recommends, went to Flagler! I got a personal tour from her when we were in Gainesville/St. Augustine...pretty cool!