Jacksonville, FL: July 2012

Last weekend I got outta town for a little R&R with some girlfriends… just me, no hubby!

First stop, the beach! This is the view from my friend Nicole’s apartment in Jax Beach. What would you give to be so close??

I met my friends Nicole and Meryl just last summer, when I went to Israel with the Jewish Federation of North America’s Young Leadership Mission.

One of the best parts about the trip was becoming friends with awesome people from around the country. Now I have plenty of people and places to go visit 🙂

After a night on the beach with plenty of girl talk and catching up, I said goodbye and headed towards the St. Johns river to meet up with Dawn. Dawn and I “met” about 3 years ago when we started commenting on each other’s blogs (she writes the vegan and gluten-free blog, Florida Coastal Cooking.) Eventually we began emailing and now chat almost daily. With everything we had in common, we couldn’t wait any longer to finally meet in person!

After spending the afternoon window shopping and lounging in the pool, we hopped in the boat with Dawn’s daughter and husband and took a ride over to Whitey’s Fish Camp for dinner. I had never heard of a fish camp before, but it’s basically a big, casual restaurant and bar serving up plenty of fish and southern specialties. Live music and a huge drink menu too. Most of the clientele show up on their boats or motorcycles 🙂  I enjoyed a pile of freshly grilled shrimp with a plate from the salad bar and a baked sweet potato. And on the side of my plate was something new to me – hush puppies! I decided these are the equivalent of serving cornbread in traditional New England-style restaurants.

Aren’t we just glowing with happiness to finally be together? hehe 🙂

Morning goodness: a sleepy doggie, and a “grasshopper” chia smoothie. Like a mint chocolate frosty. Yummmm.

On Saturday we hopped in the car with mini-Dawn (seriously these two look so much alike!) and picked up Dawn’s mother. The four of strolled around St. Augustine, visiting both the farmers market and “down town.” I got some comments after posting the picture on the left in Instagram – oops, sorry tan lines girl! We indulged in a morning snack of jumbo muffins from the gluten-free and vegan baker at the farmers market – mine was pineapple chocolate chip. Heaven!

After our muffins we were still pretty satisfied but wanted to enjoy lunch at The Floridian. How cute are the mason jars on the table? The three of us adults shared two salads: The Southern Belle (local lettuces, blue cheese, candied pecans, diced peaches and roasted sweet potatoes with grilled locally-made organic tempeh and drizzled in a light lemony-vinaigrette) and Cornbread Panzanella (arugula, heirloom tomatoes, pickled veggies, sharp cheese, and grilled cornbread croutons with shrimp in a basil-buttermilk dressing.) We left very happy!

We capped off the weekend by cooking dinner together at Dawn’s. I promise it was a lot more delicious than my phone was able to capture. Local shrimp and flounder that we picked up at the farmers’ market, avocado and goat cheese salad, and one of my favorites, butternut chickpea salad with warm tahini dressing. For dessert, grilled bananas stuffed with crunchy peanut butter, salted dark chocolate, shredded coconut, topped with a scoop of vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

Can you blame me for not wanting to say goodbye?

Have you ever traveled to visit a friend online? Would you?

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7 Responses to “Jacksonville, FL: July 2012”

  1. 1

    Kate — August 5, 2012 @ 1:46 pm Reply

    Girls weekends are the best!

  2. 2

    Joanne — August 5, 2012 @ 8:42 pm Reply

    Sounds like the eats in Jacksonville are WAY better than what I experienced in Hollywood! And I’m SO glad you got to hang out with Dawn. It looks like such a great time!

  3. 3

    Ricki — August 6, 2012 @ 8:40 am Reply

    So cool! And yes, you sure do looked tanned! 😀 I’ve met blogger friends who’ve come to Toronto and it was always great to finally meet; yet to do the traveling in the other direction, but I certainly would. It’s so great that you and Dawn forged such a close relationship via your blogs! Glad you had a fabulous visit.

  4. 4

    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — August 6, 2012 @ 11:24 am Reply

    What an incredible weekend! Sounds delicious too! I have met up with bloggers when I’ve visited their cities. It’s so out of my character to meet up with “strangers”, but once I got into conversation with my blog friends, I realized we already knew each other. It’s so comforting hanging out with them knowing there’s no judgement we pick up where I online conversations left off!

  5. 5

    Alisa — August 6, 2012 @ 11:46 am Reply

    How cool! You two are seriously glowing!
    I’ve met up with friends, but never made a special trip. Now I’m thinking I need to!

    • 5.1

      Cara — August 6, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

      why yes, I think you should!

  6. 6

    Dawn — August 6, 2012 @ 1:55 pm Reply

    We had SUCH a wonderful visit….I can’t believe it went by so fast!

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