Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last Day

For the last day of our trip, our goal was to drive along the coast as much as possible, hit the beach, have a nice meal, and get back to the airport in time for our early evening flight.  When we arrived at Deer Lake State Park we knew we had found our beach:

We found our nice meal at Uncle Ernie's in the very picturesque St. Andrews section of Panama City.  It seems like every single meal we had on this trip was outstanding, and the grouper sandwich at Uncle Ernie's was no exception.

The dock of the restaurant where we had lunch.  I guess some people go there by boat.

People who live in Florida get to have their very own orange tree right in their back yard.

Tire Art - this house's side yard was full of hanging parrot planters mad out of tires.

Heading Home

The Endless Horizon

High Altitude Sunset

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mississippi and Mobile

We left New Orleans with our stomachs full and happy, thanks to the delicious beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde.  Our plan for the day was to go to the beach somewhere in Mississippi on our way back to Florida.  We went to the beach in Alabama when we were on tour, and we stayed in a casino one time in Gulfport, Mississippi but we didn't have time to hit the beach, so today was the day.

We turned off the highway at the earliest possible place and drove along the coast most of the way through Mississippi. It looks like they have big plans for the Mississippi coast one of these years. A lot of it is under construction. They are building a huge sidewalk/concrete boardwalk between the sand and the road that goes for miles and miles. There's lots of parking right next to the beach so it's very convenient for a quick visit.  We ended up going to the beach in Gulfport because that's where the sun finally came out.

Gulfport, Mississippi

A Mississippi Mockingbird

This where we had a late lunch after the beach.  It's a super fun place and it is indeed a huge shed.

The barbeque was some of the best I've ever had.  The coleslaw was amazing too!

Most of the highway through Alabama looked like this, especially near Mobile.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Orleans

In spite of all of my touring and other traveling, and the fact that I've always wanted to see it, I had never been to New Orleans before.  I saw that it was only three hours from Pensacola, but it was three hours in the wrong direction from the airport and three hours back, plus another 2+ hours to Panama City, so we decided to skip it so that we'd have less driving and more beach time.  Although it seemed a shame not to go when it was so close, we decided to stay in relaxation mode.

Our host Don had prepared an incredible meal for us the night before - he is truly a gourmet cook.  We were planning to just chill out on the beach the next day, but we woke up uncharacteristically early and noticed that we were both sufficiently sunburned to the point that it would be better to take a day off from going to the beach, so we packed up and headed off to New Orleans after all.

New Orleans was wonderful and when I go back it needs to be for longer than a day and a half. But this time a day and a half was perfect! We stayed in the Garden District, rode the trolley to the French Quarter, walked for hours and hours, heard some jazz, and had fabulous meals. And on our way out of town the next day we picked up some beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ft. Pickens at Pensacola Beach

Ft. Pickens is on the western end of the strand that is Pensacola Beach.  It was originally built during the Civil War and I think it remained in use through WWII, but it is now a historical site.

Ft Pickens has a somewhat ghostly, kind of otherworldly quality, and the scenery is almost surreal. The lens on my camera seems to be in a bit of a state of decline, but the pristine beauty of the water and the sand managed to shine through in spite of that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I'm finally getting to take a real vacation.  It's the first one in ages.  I don't even want to think about how long it's been.  So you can imagine I was quite excited to be up amongst the clouds.  I love riding on airplanes! 

We flew into the new airport near Panama City because the airfare there was much cheaper than flying into Pensacola and we also wanted to visit some of that area as well.

We got to stay in a lovely Chinese-themed beach house, courtesy of our friends Don and Holly.  The view from our bedroom almost looks like the view from a cabin on a cruise ship.  It was both fun and relaxing to look out and see nothing but water.

Out on the back deck we had this view of a neighboring dock and you can see the bridge between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach way off in the distance.

The birds on this dock were incredibly noisy every day at around 5 pm or so.  It was pretty hilarious listening to them.