I was a nerdy kid.
What am I talking about? I’m still a nerd.
As I get older, I’ve really come to embrace my inner nerd. It’s sort of comforting to know that, given a square of paper, I can still fold up a book or a cup. Because you know what? I had a great childhood, and it’s fun to re-visit that.
And this February, I did that with travel. Jared and I climbed into the back seat of a Ford Focus and tagged along with my parents on a road trip, all the way from Indiana to St. Augustine, Florida, just as we did when I was growing up.
I was thrilled to be able to share St. Augustine with Jared. We visited many of the places I’d loved as a kid, and discovered some new spots for the over-21 crowd.
The Cheese Wheel
Truth: the sandwiches (called a ryder, basically a pita sandwich) weren’t as spectacular as I’d remembered. But I’d still go back.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Truth: We didn’t go in. Who needs to, when you can visit David for free in the parking lot?
St. George Street
This old pedestrian street of shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes is still one of my favorite parts of St. Augustine.
The Spanish Bakery
If you are ever in St. Augustine, go here (it’s on St. George St.) and buy a loaf of fresh bread for $2. If there isn’t any, wait.
You can thank me later. We used to consume whole loaves as children, back before portion sizes were a thing.
The Bridge of Lions
I’m obsessed with these lions. Always have been. Always will be.
They made the light blue to celebrate ‘Sea the Light.’ COOL. I’m a sucker for any variation on normality.
A1A Ale House
Weekday happy hour, beer brewed on-site and gorgeous views of the bridge. What more could you ask for from a bar? And, in a strange twist, the bartender was the grandson of the former president of the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, who danced with my mom at my parents’ wedding.
No pictures here of this dark little bar off of St. George Street with the biggest selection of world beer we’d seen in a long time.
Also on St. George Street, home of the best burritos in St. Augustine. We went back three times.
One night, as we were walking back past the fort (Castillo de San Marcos), we noticed a family gathered together, pointing at the stone walls. Near the top of the fortress, skirting a narrow ledge, was some sort of creature.
“It’s a feral cat,” said the father.
“No, a raccoon,” said the mother.
Suddenly a girl, about ten, rushed closer to have a look before making a breathless announcement.
“That, my friends, is a raccoon,” she declared, with a flourish, enunciating every word. Then her voice dropped to a whisper of reverence. “The masked bandit.”
I froze. It was exactly the kind of weird statement I would have made at her age. In exactly the same tone of voice.
Jared nudged me. “It’s you,” he said.
I felt a weird sense of pride, and hoped that some day, this nerdy kid would be lucky enough to return to St. Augustine. That she’d stand there with someone she loves, and feel a sense of peace at how, sometimes, the world comes full circle.
And that being a nerd never goes out of style.