Friday finally came and it was time to begin our trek north. We were going to leave Saturday morning but that would involve a 3am wake up call and we just were not up for that. So we decided we would explore a few more beaches between
St. Augustine and Jacksonville and then jump on I95 in Jacksonville and stay on that same road until we arrived home in Connecticut.
Have I mentioned we like to wander?
Ponte Vedra Beach
This beach reminded me so much of Greenwich, a town that really, really, really does not want visitors to visit their beaches. In fact, many Connecticut towns are like that although in comparison to Florida beaches they don’t have the beach-cred to be so pricey. Our town charges $10 a day for parking and you can come and go as desired. This past summer our town’s beaches were maintained far better than some of these other beaches profiled in this New York Times OpEd. We are very fortunate to have a beach 3 miles from our house that is "reasonably" priced for visitors.
After much effort, we finally found the public beach at Ponte Vedra Beach and it was free to park. The beach was beautiful, but no treasure was to be found. Nothing. Nada. We had an inside scoop that this is THE beach to find shark teeth, but sadly, we could not find one.
We moved on....not to the beach but to Sawgrass Golf Course where Tim Tebow was hosting a charity event to raise money for his Tim Tebow Foundation. I am proud to say I am one of the first members of his foundation, signing up the day he sent press releases out. I get made fun of a bit for my adoration of this man, but I respect how he has handled fame and criticism while staying true to his core beliefs and values. He is a role model for my children in a world where there are far too few.
We were allowed access because we said we wanted to make a donation, which was true. They were “selling” numbered golf balls which would be dropped from a helicopter over a designated hole on the golf course and certain numbers would win prizes. We wanted to purchase some golf balls but even after several emails back and forth with a planner at the event, we could not find the person to donate to. We were not very good treasure hunters on this trip.......
Moving up the coast, our next stop Amelia Island State Park. We saw our first tortoise! He was not so thrilled to see us. We also saw what I believe to be an osprey returning to its nest with a large silver fish in its talons. It was an amazing short visit. No shells, but treasures we will never forget.
Our very last stop was Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. We told the girls we had about 15 minutes. It was already 4pm and we had planned to be on the highway at 4pm, not beachcombing, but we had such a hard time resigning ourselves to the fact we had to head home to the land of wool sweaters and Ugg boots. We were not quite ready to give up our flip flops and tee shirts.
Fernandia Beach was my favorite beach that we visited. The tide was in the perfect spot in its 12 hour cycle to form sand bars and rivers of warm crystal clear water. I kid you not, as soon as we set foot on this beach, Greg reached down into one of those little ocean rivers and pulled out the most perfect, most beautiful sea shell we have ever found. It was as if God himself placed it there for us to find it. It gave Greg and I chills for there was not another shell like it to be found.
We walked and splashed and treasured every second of our walk on Fernandina Beach. It was the perfect culmination to our week away. Not simply because we found the treasure we were hunting, but because we found so many others in our search.