What We've Been Up To: Part I
Family and friends visiting, zoo days, and Georgia!
The grandparents came to visit for July 4th weekend. We ate so much seafood and comfort food over their visit, which resulted in some good naps, Mason included. [Note: I'm not a huge seafood lover, but there's a place with my favorite salmon dish that I can't deny.]
On Saturday, we arrived super early at St. Augustine. We got there early for two reasons. One: parking. If you're not familiar with St. Augustine, it can get quite crowded, especially on a nice summer day. Two: we've got a toddler. Earlier activities tend to be best for Mason, and being that it was less busy at the time we went, it worked for all of us. We just enjoyed walking around the town, and since it wasn't anywhere near crowded, we took Mason out of the stroller so he could walk around with us. He stopped to look at nearly everything; a window, a doorway, a statue next to a bench, and of course, he tried going into a fountain, too. This child loves water.
Click on each photo to enlarge!
On Sunday, we took a drive to St. Marys, Georgia. From St. Marys, we took a ferry to Cumberland Island. I've honestly never heard of this island until B proposed the idea. It's a barrier island off the southern coast of Georgia, filled with wildlife, unspoiled beaches, lots of history, and ruins of the Carnegie's mansion. People can even stay on the island by either camping, or at a bed&breakfast inn. There was some preparation required before our visit. This included:
- Making ferry reservations as there are only 3 departure ferries (excluding Sundays) and 2 return ferries per day.
- Packing our own meals, snacks, and plenty of water. There aren't any public cafes/restaurants/food stands on this island.
- Having sunscreen, bug spray, and a first aid kit with us. It is insanely hot on this island, and there are forest trails. All of this is essential!
- There was a brief orientation given to visitors before boarding the ferry. The park ranger reviewed emergency protocols, wildlife safety, general rules of the island, etc.
Feel free to learn more about it here.
B had told me that we might see some wild horses, and we certainly did! Not long after the ferry dropped us off, we began following a trail. It was actually rather sudden that the path went from being more woodsy to a field with horses. In the distance was the Carnegie's mansion, Dungeness, dating back to the late 1800s (we learned this mansion was their winter getaway home). I loved learning about the history of the island and how much of it is still undisturbed. As we walked closer to the mansion's ruins, we saw more horses casually grazing the fields, unbothered by our presence. *We were conscious to keep a fair distance per the park ranger's directions.
I'd say the most challenging - but still enjoyable - part of our day was the walk to the beach. It was so hot outside, and Mason was understandably growing agitated and uncomfortable in the heat. We made sure he was well hydrated and protected from the sun. In the shaded areas, we took him out of the stroller and let him walk a bit. The sand was creating a great deal of resistance to our stroller, which we ended up dragging behind us like a wagon. But when we reached the beach, it was beautiful and unspoiled. No litter, no crowds, no rows of umbrellas and beach blankets. What was nice is that visitors clearly respected the beach because it was so clean and peaceful. And, of course, Mason tried running into the ocean. It wouldn't be a beach day without that happening. We walked through the trails for the rest of our day trip and made our way back to the ferry.
On Monday, we went to the Jacksonville Zoo. It's tough to keep up with Mason in public places when it's just us two out there for the day, so I don't usually let him out of the stroller. Since we had the grandparents and B, it was the perfect time to let Mason roam. It was so special to see him pointing at the animals, and he seems to really enjoy pointing at the small fish. Some big fish came up to Mason's eye level, and he made a quick exit when that happened. Still, it's cool to see how his interest in the zoo has grown over the past few months. The grandparents also got Mason his first set of zoo animal toys. This was perfect because Mason is really into lions right now, and roars a lot.
What We've Been Up to: Part II coming soon!