Eggs on the Beach
After leaving the Ocala National Forest, we spent a few hours in historic St. Augustine. The town was comprised of many touristy shops and restaurants that were very cool with a clear Spanish influence in all of the architecture. It was very dog friendly and we were able to watch some football while we used the free Wi-Fi on a restaurant patio. For dinner, we stumbled upon Hooked on Harry's, a Louisiana-inspired restaurant, and treated ourselves to a gourmet feast. The four of us split a burger and fries while listening to some smooth piano playing, and even witnessed an awkward marriage proposal. St. Augustine is definitely somewhere we would like to come back to. It got to be late, so we spent the night at a Flying J (fancy, I know), and continued our journey in the morning.
After experiencing some zipper issues while packing up our tent at the Flying J, we headed to the seemingly enchanted Amelia Island near Fernandina Beach. While it is possible to find free campgrounds anywhere you go, it is not easy to find one with as amazing of view as Peter's Point on Amelia Island. We arrived on the island mid-afternoon on MLK Jr. Day. Brooke somehow found this gem of a campsite on the internet (as she tends to do), but information on it was scarce. We knew we could drive on the beach and have an open fire, and that was all the information we needed.
The view from Peter's Point was incredible. The sand was pristine and the beach itself was basically empty. The first night there, we were the only ones camping. Compared to the Ocala forest, camping on Amelia Island was much more peaceful. The sound of the waves was more soothing than the shriek of bugs and whatever else is lurking in the woods, and there are not nearly as many bears. The only thing that prevented this from being the perfect camping environment (besides the fact that you couldn't legally have beer on the beach) was the near-freezing temps at night. There were even fresh water spouts and clean bathrooms (with lukewarm showers) no more than 100 yards from our rig. It was very clear Amelia Island was a rather ritzy area, after all, we were camping (for free) right next to the Ritz-Carlton.
We were there a total of three days, but they all kind of blurred together. We met many locals who came by to check out our tent setup, all of whom were very nice and welcoming. We spent the majority of our time staying warm, but also some time exercising, working, and attempting to kayak (I suck). We even saw dolphins not too far from the shore! One of the days, we had to get more firewood and ice, so we made the three-mile roundtrip hike to the market, carrying three bundles of firewood and a bag of ice on the way back.
We dined primarily on egg-infused dishes (our go-to ingredient, mostly for protein), such as scrambled eggs and 'eggs in purgatory'. The best part of the day, in my opinion, was when the sun was setting. While that might sound cliche, please reference the picture to the right. It was badass. The 20 minutes a day the sky looked like that made the sub-40 temps at night worth it. When the darkness engulfed us, it still wasn't that dark. Brooke was able to use her photography skills to capture these amazing images of the beach and our campsite at below.
Amelia Island was well worth the trip and we hope to come back one day and camp again, hopefully when it's warm enough to wear shorts.
We aren't quite sure where we will end up in the next few days, but check out our Instagram (@mnitishin, @brookevanpop) to see where we are at all times!