Friday, November 28, 2014

Tolomato Cemetery

While in Jacksonville last month, I was fortunate enough to visit the Tolomato Cemetery in St. Augustine. They are open on the third Saturday of every month and couldn't make it since my plane landed that day, so I thought to email then on the off chance that they would be able to open sometime during the week I was in town. Matt was kind enough to take time out of his Thursday to open the cemetery for me for a few hours.

One of the things that makes this cemetery special is that it is small, just under an acre, but there are about 1,000 people buried here. Most of the graves are unmarked because back when the cemetery was founded the most common grave marker was made of wood. Not good long term for the hot and moist weather of Florida.
























Above, a gate has been restored and stands out from the fencing around it. 








This cemetery is such a beautiful one and is just a block away from the busy shopping area of St. Augustine. If you find yourself in the area on the third Saturday of any month, I encourage you to go!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Disney World 2014

Last month I visited my parents, who live in Jacksonville, FL. I was born in Tampa, lived in Florida until I was 10, and guess I count this as where I "grew up" because as far as I'm concerned the 15 years in NC didn't happen.

One of the great things about Jacksonville is that it's only about 2.5 hours from Orlando! I can't imagine a trip to Florida with Disney. Who doesn't want to go to a place where dreams come true?


Even though I've been to Disney countless times, I had never stayed at the resort until this trip. Last time we went we drove down, did the Magic Kingdom, and drove back all in the same day. Too. Much. So I splurged and bought a room so my mom and I could enjoy ourselves.








Splash Mountain is tied with the Haunted Mansion as my favorite ride.


And there's a new gift shop that is Haunted Mansion themed!








And now we get to my favorite area of the park... Fantasyland. Two years ago they added this area and it has a HUGE Beauty and the Beast theme (some Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarfs). There's Belle's house, the Beast's castle with the Be Our Guest Restaurant underneath, Gaston's Tavern, Bonjour! Gifts, and a little popcorn cart than is Maurice-themed.








The Be Our Guest Restaurant has some of the most amazing food I've ever had. Last time I had Salmon with Leek Fondue and Saffron Mashed Potatoes and this time I had the braised pork and a chocolate cream puff for dessert. Both dishes were fabulous.







Ariel's Grotto...



And breakfast the next morning before we left!





Disney! I can't get it out of my mind and I'm already looking forward to my next trip (whenever that will be). In the mean time I'll carry all of my souvenirs around with me and wear my Haunted Mansion t-shirt :-)