One day last summer I went on a group bus trip to St. Augustine, only around 80 miles from my house. We met at a local farmers' market site to preregister and wait for the bus. It was my first trip of this kind. Well, we waited and waited...and learned the scheduled bus had cancelled and we were getting a replacement. It showed up about a half hour late and we rolled out of the parking lot at 10:30 instead of 10 o'clock. Not too bad, but I was wondering if I was jinxing things with my newness .
Fortunately, that turned out to be the only problem of the trip. Palatka, a small town on the St. Johns' River and a little over halfway, provided our lunch stop, a lovely restaurant called Corky Bell's. With a setting on the river and good seafood and vegetables (I had green beans and collard greens), we were now starting off right. After a small piece of key lime pie, I walked their deck and boardwalk and floating dock out onto the river. Perfect.
There were 28 of us, all "seniors", but sort of surprisingly to me, all were in good humor with no grumbling. Everyone was friendly and chatty with some jokesters sprinkled in. And, remember, the temperature here was nearing the 100 degree mark.
Re-boarding the coach after lunch, we traveled past the corn and potato fields of Hastings, a teeny-tiny town but with potato renown. The scenery reminded me of Delaware with its vast wheat and soy bean fields.
With our full bellies, we arrived in St. Augustine in no time, picked up our on-board guide, a real Minorcan descendant, and made our way to the Fountain of Youth, our main destination. At Ponce's Place, being who we were, our first stop was the modern bathrooms .
All of us drank from the Fountain with 20 minute promises of....um....youth? Later, at the gift shop, I decided a souvenir coffee cup with the Fountain's insignia might help do the trick. I'm trying it now and will let you know.
Ponce's Place was interesting with its beautiful entrance on Magnolia Avenue and its strutting peacocks, even some white ones. Our guide was an excellent storyteller in period costume, pretty darn hot for Florida in June.
Later, we toured St. Augustine, with our guide enlightening us on all its famous history. Our driver got a real workout on those narrow congested streets and curvy parking lots, but he was a pro. After visiting the "welcome center" and its well-stocked gift shop, we headed home, without incident. Mopsy greeted me at the door with that "where have you been" look. Actually, it was more like "where's my food?".