Hello from warm & sunny Jacksonville, Florida, home of the TaxSlayer Bowl (formerly known as the Gator Bowl) between my Penn State Nittany Lions & the Georgia Bulldogs. Yesterday morning, my family & I left cold New York in the midst of a wintry mix which caused massive flight delays & cancellations, but thankfully did not impact my flight. Just two hours later, we landed at Jacksonville International Airport where it was mostly sunny and 80 degrees!
After about a 45 minute drive, we made it to Ponte Vedra, home to the famous Sawgrass golf course, and, more importantly, the Marriott Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa. Unfortunately, the hotel is under construction, so the main pool is closed and we have to walk to another building to use a different pool. After checking in, we rode over to the Cabana Beach Club, Marriott’s private stretch of beachfront property along the Atlantic Ocean.
After grabbing a quick snack, we packed into the car and drove to Saint Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European establishment within the borders of the continental United States. We parked our car in what we thought was the downtown part of town & were immensely disappointed as it seemed over the top and like a typical tourist trap. We decided to stick around, though, as we heard that Saint Augustine is constantly ranked one of the top cities for Christmas light displays in America!
After a BBQ dinner, we waited in line for over an hour to board a trolley for a Night of Christmas Lights tour. The Christmas light displays were gorgeous and, more importantly, we saw the part of town that we were looking for! The architecture was gorgeous and you could definitely see the Spanish influences! It pays to take some form of tour every place you visit, you never know what you’ll miss if you don’t. After the tour, we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.
Today, we decided to take it easy. We are actually staying at the Georgia team hotel (we booked our trip before team hotels were announced), so we decided to visit the Penn State hotel on Amelia Island, the Omani Amelia Island Plantation Resort. It was absolutely beautiful and was right on the beach!