Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I didn't find the computer in this house until today. Well, actually, Emily found it. We are not staying with the Tobins -- their neighbor is on vacation and needed a housesitter, so we get the whole house! We just have to take care of her dog and fish while we're here, that's all. ROFL!!!! Score!!!!

Wednesday's drive was ... a circus. We were hours late leaving home; we had to stop in Athens to get parakeet food, drop off the two little birds with Martha, and get breakfast. Then we stopped in Chattanooga to see if I could find shoes at the Kohl's there -- no, I couldn't. That was the WORST Kohl's!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes; it was so messy!

Then we crossed over into Georgia and the traffic came to a *screeching* halt. I have no idea how long it took, but we didn't get to Atlanta until *late*. We stopped at a restaurant on the Macon by-pass for a late lunch, and when we came out... police cars and fire trucks and ambulances went rushing by -- there was a car wreck between the restaurant and the silly interstate. Traffic stopped again!!!!! It was crazy, and it was like that all the way down!

We *finally* crossed over into Florida around 6:30 or 7:00 at night, and turned east on I-10. Not three minutes onto that artery, we ran into the smoke from the forest fires. I took a couple of pictures -- it was eerie. We crossed one state highway (441, which goes from FL through GA and up into TN) that was closed because of the fires. Weird *and* scary.

Anyway, we didn't get to our Jacksonville hotel until really late, like around 9:30. (There was traffic around Jacksonville, too -- you'd be driving along and then *blam* -- everything would just stop.)

Check-in was a breeze, and the girl gave us coupons to nearby restaurants. I was worried that the kitchen would close before we could get there, but we went to Ragtime, a microbrewery. Their kitchen was open late, even on a weeknight! The food was just OK. We went back to the hotel, and I watched "Shear Genius" -- dang!!!! Tabatha was my favorite!!!!! But I loved her attitude, "I don't mind losing as long as Tyson can't win, either." ROFL!!!! Tabatha was *so* mean. I don't know why I loved her so much!

Thursday morning, I leapt up at what I thought was the crack of dawn, and Wesley was already coming back to the room with Dunkin Donuts and coffee. He had been up for ages. I snarfed down some coffee and half a cake doughnut, and I put on my swimsuit and pareo, and Wesley, Woodrow, and I went to the beach to walk through the surf a little. It was very pleasant, although the water was on the chilly side. I was really surprised that it was so cool, because man, it was already getting hot outside.

We had to drag Emily out of bed, and we packed up and hit the road before 10:00 in the morning. Shocking!!!!

Basically, about the hotel: Seahorse Oceanfront Inn. They have a very dinky website -- -- and we stayed there in July 2000 right before the Big Honkin' WDW trip. I had totally forgotten how much I love the Seahorse. Before we left Thursday, I stopped in the office and asked if they were booked for next Wednesday night in case we get tired of Miami and want to go back to Jacksonville a day early. It's so kitschy and wonderful. And now the area around it has been restored and there are all these thriving, interesting restaurants and art galleries and stuff. Cool!!!! We'll be there again on Thursday night for sure, and I hope we'll get there early enough to spend some quality time on the beach.

Anyway, we left Jacksonville and drove to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Thursday through clouds of love bugs. OMG, ugh!!!!!!! I got the lovebugs in WDW last September, and now I get them again in May!!!!!!! Rotten timing!!!!!

We spent Thursday afternoon/evening pleasantly with the Tobins. Very noisy, of course, but very nice. Lots of laughter, excellent food and company!

Friday we went to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The pictures don't do it justice; seeing it on America's Castles doesn't do it justice. It's the most glorious place, and we *all* *loved* it. I would really love to have visited it during its *very* short heyday (about 1916 to 1922, because the original owner died only six years after its completion). It's very, very Great Gatsbyish. Oh, oh! John Deering ordered a set of china from a British china manufacturer -- he always ordered service for 24 -- and he had the china commissioned through Tiffany's of New York. Tiffany's designed the china and sent him a single place setting for approval, and he ordered the other twenty-three. They were completed in England, and were shipped to Mr. Deering... on the Titanic!!!! The tour guide even said that they kind of wondered if that was a true story until after the Titanic was discovered and the artifacts were on tour a couple of years ago in Miami -- one of the things on display was a bill of lading for a crate of china, addressed to Mr. J. Deering, New York City, New York. COOL!!!!

(It's very pretty china. I wasn't allowed to take a picture of it.)

Anyway, the house is gorgeous, and it's right on Biscayne Bay, but it's stuffed full of historic artifacts. Three ceilings were imported from various castles in Europe. Some of the walls were, too. The house cost Mr. Deering something like 19 million dollars to build back in 1916. I can't even figure out how much it would cost to build now.

And the doofus died without an heir, and his half-nieces sold the remainder of the property to the City of Miami in the sixties for One Million Dollars. Geez!!!!!!!

If you're ever down here, I highly recommend visiting Vizcaya. It's a bargain to visit, too -- only $12 per adult. Woo hoo!!!!!

And then we got stuck in Miami traffic, and then we came back here to the house, and then there was a thunderstorm, and then we had dinner at the Tobins' house (make-your-own pizzas, and OMG, that was fabulously yummy!)....

I have left out ALL SORTS of details. I just wanted to hit the high spots -- Wesley said Georgia was conspiring against him with all the traffic mishaps there, and he referred to it as 40 days in the desert, LOL -- and the smoke -- and the beach -- and Vizcaya. Other than that, the weather is MUGGY, and I am a delicate flower. We were supposed to go deep sea fishing Saturday. I was REALLY looking forward to that. But... after all that riding in the car through smoke and love bugs, I do not feel totaly spiffy. I do not want to risk being stuck on a boat for four hours. I'm just not sure that would work out well for me... or anyone else stuck on the boat with me. Y'know?

I don't know what I'll do Saturday -- sounds like shopping and hanging out in air-conditioned places. I'm gonna miss that boat, and I'll be simultaneously grateful I'm not on it. But at least I'm in Florida! It's a travel blog again!


At 19/5/07 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you came through Chattanooga and did not say hi lol Leah

At 20/5/07 10:02 AM, Blogger Bay in TN said...

Leah, I'll stop and say hi when I don't have to be stuck in Georgia traffic someday!!! LOL!!!


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