We had such a wonderful weekend in Jacksonville, FL with my sister Rachel and her husband David.  It’s amazing where driving 6 hours in any direction will take you.  When I left Birmingham it was chilly and the trees were bright with color, whereas Jacksonville greeted us with warmer temperatures and palm trees.  It’s always so refreshing to go to the ocean… to take in the sounds, smell the sulfur and salt, and watch the gentle blue waves.  Our first night there we went to Rachel & David’s favorite little Mexican restaurant called TacoLu and had some tasty margaritas and tacos.  The next morning after my run on the shore, we drove 45 minutes to St. Augustine down a scenic beach road.   We passed some beautiful coastal homes and imagined the people living inside.  This was James’ first trip to St. Augustine, so I was excited to share that experience with him.  Once we arrived we enjoyed lunch at The Floridian, known for their regionally authentic cuisine.  Of course James got the burger, and I got a fresh fish sandwich.  After spending the afternoon strolling the shop filled streets, we headed back to their house for dinner where we were all assigned a course.  David did appetizers (crab-artichoke dip), Rachel and I made the main course (fresh flounder stuffed with Alabama Gulf shrimp and sweet potato fries), then James brought up the rear with homemade apple crisp with whiskey caramel topped with vanilla ice cream.  Collaborative meals are fun, affordable and memorable.  We ended our last night there playing 4 hours of Cranium on their living room floor.  It was the perfect quick trip!  Thanks for having us, Rachel & David.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week… should be two weekends in a row full of family.  This Sunday is the Lily Bean’s second birthday, so everyone will congregate in Birmingham to celebrate.  Next weekend we will all head over to Columbus, GA to spend the holiday at Christy and Mike’s house.  Speaking of Christy, she just finished a Half Marathon on Saturday… only four months after giving birth to sweet baby Lucy.  Nothing short of inspirational!  Looking at her finish line pics made me crave competing in a race myself.  Nothing like seeing someone complete a goal to help fuel your own!

Christy after her Half Marathon with Mike & Anna!

Rachel & David on Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach

Baked flounder stuffed with Alabama Gulf shrimp and topped with asparagus sauce, side of sweet potato fries

St. Augustine

Cranium!