The Shortest Sign of Spring

This has been the longest spring of my life. In Tallahassee, spring began at the end of February with the first sign of budding flowers and pollen. Pollen completely took over our screened porch by March, and then different flowers continued to bud and flourish through April. Of course, flowers bloom year round in Florida. I remember these beautiful red flowers that came up each December. But there was definitely an early spring season. When we moved to North Carolina at the end of May, it was still cool here (58 degrees our first morning!) and our  landlord told us that these beautiful pink flowers would bloom “soon” on our back porch. I had my doubts. By the first week of June I thought surely they had already bloomed and disappeared by now, but, sure enough, come mid-June mountain laurel type flowers began opening up on all of the bushes around our house and bright orange flowers sprouted by our mailbox (clearly, I need to learn the names of flowers). Spring continued in my world 6 months after it began. It still feels like spring here. Continue reading

Pastries, Manatees, and Cypress Trees!

A few weekends ago, I was the happiest person on the planet because…

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…my sister visited me in Tallahassee!

I really can’t put into words how wonderful my sister (and brother-in-law!!!!) are. I talk to my sister almost every day on the phone and sometimes we Skype and of course we text multiple times a day, but having her HERE in person was just the best thing. The first night she was here, we stayed up talking until almost 3AM. I wasn’t even tired! (Until my head hit the pillow – then I was out!).

I tried to cram so.many. Tallahassee things into their visit. For starters, we went to the French Pastry Shop where we enjoyed macaroons and RUM soaked cake that was actually literally dripping with rum. My brother-in-law squeezed most of it out like a sponge and we left it in the little plastic container, ha!

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We went to the Tallahassee museum and saw lots of little and large animals like otters, Florida panthers, red wolves, gray foxes, pigs and sheep:

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We went downtown for dinner. We had the BEST artichoke dip and martinis at 101 for their half price Happy Hour.

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Can you even see us? I know that picture is way too dark. It’s my phone camera. I tried to auto fix it and this is what I got:

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…Is that better? You can decide. I’m writing this post at 5:30AM and my photo editor is still sleeping.

While we were enjoying the appetizer at 101, we were talking about how cool it is to live by the ocean and have local seafood, and my brother-in-law mentioned how delicious mussels are. I’m not sure I’d ever had them, and I really wanted to try them. When we walked next door for dinner at Harry’s, sure enough, they were one of the lead appetizers on the menu. So we shared some!

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…and they were delicious!

I realize, now, that I tried to cram way too much into their Tallahassee time. I designed an elaborate brochure and then personalized schedule and sent it to them prior to their visit. There were so many places we wanted to visit and explore and eat… but we didn’t build in any break time.

Halfway through our second day, after waking up early to play frisbee golf in the mud, going to Wakulla for a manatee boat tour, visiting the pastry shop, and then finally grabbing some lunch at Birds, we came back home for a quick pit stop. Bret and Drew both fell asleep. I still had a 2 mile walk, pool visit, dinner and ice cream plans on the schedule, but it was unseasonably cold and dreary. I’m pretty sure Mallory could have used a rest, too, being that we were operating on only a few hours of sleep, but being the crazy person that I am, I convinced her to outside to get the mail with me and then sit by the hot tub.

I just wanted to make the most of our time together, and I wanted them to see every inch of Tallahassee that I could cram into 48 hours, but sometimes the best time spent is relaxing in the comfort of your home. We ended up having a super relaxing dinner outside on our screened porch which was perfect. Relaxing was good because we had to save our energy for the next day… a 4 hour road trip to UNIVERSAL in ORLANDO!

Any case anyone thought I was kidding about the schedule…

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I’ll save the Universal weekend trip for another blog post just so I can spread out how much I loved having some of my favorite people here. 🙂

Springtime Tallahassee

I woke up yesterday morning at 5:20 and drove my friend, Janelle, back to the airport. It’s always bittersweet – a little weird and a little sad to have a friend visit and leave again. It was like having a piece of D.C. around for a little while.

The weather forecast was grim last weekend.

  • 100% chance of rain
  • Possibility of severe thunderstorms

Turns out it was 80 degrees and sunny. It’s officially SPRING in Tallahassee!

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It did rain overnight on Friday and then for a couple hours on Saturday morning, but the rest of the weekend was clear, blue skies. The Florida sunshine came out and did its thing just in time for the Annual Springtime Tallahassee festival.

To me, the Springtime Tallahassee festival signals that all of my favorite outdoor Tallahassee things are open for business. The pool is open! The FSU Rez is open for canoeing and paddle boarding! Outdoor seating at all restaurants is available!

We didn’t get to zipline or paddle board or explore many Tallahassee places on foot, but we did eat…a lot!

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MMmmm… baked oysters with Parmesan and garlic on a cracker at Birds.

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And we got to take a peaceful boat tour around Wakulla and saw a few manatees in the water.

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We wrapped up the weekend with a Happy Hour at 101 which was funny because they accidentally gave us breakfast menus.

I always love having a friend visit because it makes me feel like Virginia isn’t so far away. We have more visitors coming this month and next… including my SISTER… I’m so excited!

Happy Spring, everyone!

 

Wakula

Why did I want to move to Tallahassee? Two reasons.

1. Bretski
2. Manatees

I love manatees more than your average vegetarian hippie animal lover. I LOVE them. And I never miss a chance to see them in captivity, but my dreamiest dream has been to visit them in the wild. As soon as I heard that you could get a glimpse of one of these babies down here near the gulf, I have been researching boat cruises like it’s my job.

In all my searching, I found the most perfect little piece of real life jungle cruise heaven: Wakula Springs. I love everything about this place beginning with the name, including the old time ice cream soda refreshment shoppe, and ending with this little token of hope:

So we signed up for this boat tour and I tried NOT to get my I’m-going-to-see-a-Manatee-today hopes up. I was content with the little turtles and gators and serene wildlife as pictured below:

But then.

It happened.

Manatee!…and…baby manatee!

Of all places, they were snuggled up next to my side of the boat and these perfect uninjured babies living safely and happily ever after in this majestic state park brought tears to my eyes. Literally.

Dream come true. I think I’m going to like living here.