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.
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!
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.
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.
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...