Sunday, December 23, 2012

Staycation Day 2

We slept in late on day 2 of our staycation, which doesn't happen too often so it was a nice surprise. Around lunch time both kiddos were up and ready to embark on our next set of adventures. We knew we would need another adult for the activity they had picked for today and since my hubby had to work we invited my dad along for some fun. Since we can't seem to go anywhere without first planning our eating strategy we mapped out a new place to eat today too.

On Phillips Hwy on the way to St. Augustine from Jacksonville you will pass a little hole in the wall restaurant. If you blink, you will miss it...other than the strange double decker bus broken down in the front lawn. I have passed it a million times, never been inside. My dad had ventured in one time by himself a while ago but since my mom wasn't there to give us an honest opinion about it, I had been too afraid to try it myself.

This is a good time to mention that most of the adventures I went on as a kid is a direct result of my dad wondering in and around places we weren't supposed to be. "Act like you know where you are going and no one will question you" he used to say. Some of my favorite memories are of these moments, heart pounding, afraid of getting caught, laughing hysterically afterwards. He was nosey...in a good way. He's not afraid to try new things either. I hope to pass along this sense of adventure to my kiddos too.

Anywho....we decided today was a perfect day to try it out.

 This is the outside. I'm not hiding any of the restaurant...it is that small. Right out of a little London town.

 Inside...it was magical. I want to bring everyone I know here! Especially my hubby...perfect for a date-night. I can imagine what it would be like to watch a soccer game here, sipping on some Guinness.
 Or if you have a little boy who loves history or knights...this is your place.
 It has a bar but it also has a kids menu, I'd definitely say it was kid friendly.
 Of course I had to get the fish 'n chips...one of my favorite meals. It didn't disappoint.
After our meal we poked around outside, lots of great photo-ops. You almost forgot you were on the side of the road in Florida.

We all gave it two thumbs up :)
So on to our first activity of the day...the one we needed another adult for...

Oh yes, we did. We rented tri-scooters. I was so glad that Bella and I could get the one with the pretty lashes. Nothing says tourist like these babies...and we were all everyone was talking about around town. People would stop and take pics of us!
 Bella grabbed my camera to document.



 We got stuck on the Bridge of Lions while it was going up but when we were on the main road, we could get up to 45 mph!
Once again, I would highly recommend this. I never in a million years thought I would have so much fun. Did I feel utterly ridiculous? Of course, but it is a memory I will never forget and I haven't laughed so hard in a really long time.

OK, so it would be really hard to get us to come down from our high of lunch and roaming the historic district like mini rock-stars but it wasn't in the cards for us to have a perfect day. After my dad went on home and we hit up a local Mojo's barbeque for dinner we were ready for our final activity. The ghost train adventure. Refer to our most unfortunate events only one day prior to set the tone for this train ride. We had asked lady who sold us the tickets if this was going to be scary...she said no. We asked her if it was age appropriate for Bella and she said of course...IT IS OK FOR ALL AGES!!! (even says so on their website). We had to park at Ripley's because that is where you catch the train, at 8:00pm sharp.

We met our guide, who seemed really funny and not cheesy at all. He was dressed in an old suit and carried an old lantern. He immediately made us feel at ease. He told us no one would be jumping out at us or anything like that. Even though it is called a ghost train, the train was really just to transport us to the cemetery's and the fort. Our guide kept us entertained while on the train, telling stories about old Inn keepers who were still haunting B & Bs around town.

He did keep telling everyone to make sure to take lots of pictures because ghosts show up in photos sometimes. Of course I didn't even think to bring my camera (it doesn't have a built in flash) but I had my cell phone. The first photo I snapped at the fort cause mass panic in our group because guess what I caught???

 They gave us each an EMF reader to carry around in case a ghost flew by us, it would spike the electromagnetic lights. This was a hit with the kids. I kept asking Bella if she was scared and she assured me that this was a piece of cake compared to yesterday at Ripleys.




After an hour of funny ghost stories and the kids chasing each other in dark grassy areas with the EMF sticks we got back on the train and headed back for what we thought was the end of our tour. But instead...our tour guide pulled up to the entrance of Ripleys and said that our tour would continue...wait for it...inside.  Oh gee....just what I wanted to hear.
Bella looked at me with a look that sent guilt straight to my spine. Like I had been hiding this information from her and I was just trying to torture her. I had promised her we would never go back to this place again and here we were being told we had to go back inside. I looked at the door and there was a florescent CLOSED sign lit up. Certainly we couldn't go inside if it was closed, right? All of the lights were off and there was no one at the ticket desk. He unlocked the door and led us though. We all crowded inside, Bella quietly repeating, "I want to go home, I want to go home." Hindsight, I should have just ignored the tour guide and turned around and walked out. But they had told me nothing was scary...it was appropriate for all ages. I just kept telling myself that it would be fine.

Then our funny, down to earth tour guide looked right at us, told us that he would be turning us over to a new tour guide because this part of the tour was frankly too scary for him. Preston looked at me and said Mom, we have to get out of here right now. Then out of no where a new guide appeared. A scary looking mid 20 something short man who has watched too many ghost hunter shows and clearly believed in everything he had ever read about them. He led us up the stairs and into a pitch black room...yep, the room with all of the wax figures. And of course everyone else on the tour thought they had hit the jackpot of ghost tours, snapping away with their cameras, trying to catch ghosts. All we saw were flashes of the lizard man or man with crocodile teeth staring at us. It is safe to say that Bella was paralyzed with fear.

The short tour guide went on and on telling us stories about all of the murders that had happened in this very spot and how the murderer was never caught...blah blah blah. All I could hear was Bella crying into my chest and I was pressing my hands so hard over her ears so she couldn't hear what was being said. You know what I'd compare it to...having good old Large Marge tell you a bedtime story...
We pretty much ran out of Ripley's, Bella crying, Preston scared silent. I felt like the worst mom ever. I know eventually they will look back on this and laugh but in the mean time, we are all sleeping with our night-lights on.

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