Birthdays were never a big thing for me. We’d say Happy Birthday and I’d get to pick what I wanted for dinner, and that was about it. Social media has made me see that a lot of other people make a big deal out of birthdays. So, for my 55th birthday, I planned it big. New Year’s in St. Augustine, two weeks in Orlando with my actual birthday at Hollywood Studios, three nights in New Orleans, and then a Western Caribbean cruise with a few friends.
And then COVID happened. Seems I’m destined to never have a big birthday celebration.
All of us were tired of being home, and after a trip to Disney World with my friends earlier in December, I felt comfortable returning there for the two weeks I’d planned.
We also could spend New Year’s Eve in St. Augustine!
We arrived in the afternoon and were able to check into our hotel. I have to say it was pretty swanky! This was the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront right in the middle of the historic part of the city and across from Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. I had Hilton points to pay for the reservation or it would’ve been too expensive for us.
After checking in, the first thing we wanted to do was get something to eat. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and were very hungry. We walked half a block down to Meehan’s Irish Pub.
I’d eaten there once before and had their home made Irish Cream – it was to die for! One New Year’s Eve, instead of in coffee that would keep me up all night, I had it in a martini. Okay, I had a couple of martinis. I also made two appetizers my dinner – Macaroni and Cheese and Conch Fritters. They were both very good, although I couldn’t finish the Macaroni and Cheese. We weren’t quite outside where we ate, but we were right next to a door that went outside. The staff here did wear masks and I felt pretty good.
St. Augustine has an event called “Night of Lights ” from mid-November to the end of January annually. In the Historic District, over 3 million lights adorn the buildings where businesses traditionally stay open later. There is a train that goes around to show them all, but we decided to walk around.
Eventually we found a bar with cheap drinks and live music.
I was a little nervous here with how crowded it was. There wasn’t any social distancing going on although the staff was wearing masks. We collected some New Year’s Eve swag and left after the set ended.
We walked around a little, but everything seemed to be pretty crowded, s we called it a night around 10PM.
The next morning, we were up for breakfast at 9AM. It seemed that most of the other tourists had slept in. We had no trouble getting an outdoor table at a nearby restaurant, Nero’s Waterfront Cafe.
I had a Brunch Bowl which was home fries, cheddar cheese sausage, onions and peppers in a bowl topped with two eggs. It was very good! My son enjoyed his pancakes. I liked how everything on the table was disposable. Unfortunately, during Corona, it seems worrying about our carbon footprint is out the window.
We decided to spend the day on the Old Town Trolley tour that they have going around the Historic District of St. Augustine. We picked it up near the hotel and the Castillo de San Marcos.
The tour was great. There were so many beautiful and historic building in St. Augustine. We learned a lot. I didn’t realize how much of the Civil Rights Movement happened here.
However, when the trolley turned into the parking lot and made a stop at the St. Augustine Distillery, it emptied out. We were among those who disembarked.
We had four samples as we moved through the self-guided tour through the Distillery. Everything was great. There’s a gift shop at the end and I purchased a few trinkets and one of their cocktail mixes.
We were driving to Orlando from St. Augustine, so we didn’t stay too late on New Year’s Day. I would like to spend more time there. I really enjoy the shops and restaurants. There are a lot of places I’ve looked at but haven’t been through yet. I think from now on this will be the place we stop for one night before Orlando to rest a bit and enjoy the sights.