St Augustine, Florida, 2017

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Every Friday when I send out my weekly newsletter, I include a few updates on what is going on in the Ann’s Entitled Life household. However, I am unsure how long I will be keeping those old newsletters, and this blog is supposed to be my diary, so I like to give a bit of a round-up on occasion on what is going on in our lives so I can look back 10 years and reminisce.

This year, we are once again at our condo in the St. Augustine area snowbirding. We’ve owned the condo for four years now, and Hubby is getting happy feet. We are probably going to list it in April, and see if it sells. If it doesn’t… well, we come back next year.

This is on top of still looking for a new home back in Western New York. That has been more difficult than we had hoped it would be. We know what we want, where we want it, and it becoming more apparent as time goes by that that home may not exist. (We will not build as our personalities are not made for the trials of building a home.) Also, the market back home is much hotter than down here in Florida, and the supply back home where we want to live are extremely tight. Not certain I want to overpay for a house with a view and then spend big-bucks renovating to make it liveable.

However, with a bit of luck, we could be selling two places this year and buying one in 2017. Thank goodness Hubby unloaded one of his rental properties last year and is considering unloading more this year. I can forsee a lot of real estate transactions in our future, or none… ah the real estate waiting game. Good times.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Anyhoooooo…. getting back to our time in St Augustine in 2017.

The weather has been outstanding. Not just good, but phenomenal. Oh sure we had a few days with highs in the 60s (that is amazing!! In a normal January we’d have been happy with that for most of the month’s highs nevermind lows for daytime high temperatures!), some rainy weekends and a tornado warning one day (ok, that was scary), but for the most part we’ve had lovely 70s and 80s with a fair amount of sun.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Max and I have made it our mission to go to the beach and walk in the (low tide) waves a few days a week. He is groomed on Fridays this year, so I take that into account. We had set up physical therapy for him in Jacksonville on Thursdays mainly for the water treadmill. Come to find out that the treadmill there was flat, no incline. Well, we can get the same results on the beach here, so I take him down on Monday (he’s already looking a little grubby after the weekend) and Wednesday for a good mile+ walk on the sand, and through the water.

Since traveling to Jacksonville and spending the day made no sense for PT after we nixed that water treadmill, we have a physical therapist come to the condo on Thursdays to give Max the rest of his therapy exercises and a laser treatment (for pain management). The PT vet said he is doing extremely well and she does feel the beach walks are helping him.

Mr. Max lowered his Prednisone dose this past Sunday, so the beach may also be necessary to deal with an increase in energy!

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


These photos show some of the damage from Hurricane Matthew last October. When we arrived in January, there was a dumpster in every driveway on A1A (not kidding). The Vilano Beach Pier was undergoing some repairs (since finished) and our condo building still had repairs being made in the basement (storage lockers). Two blocks with older homes and trailer homes seem to be toast. Considering all that will be going on in Vilano beach the next two years, I expect some pretty pricey housing to go up on those blocks.

There was one house on A1A that was on pylons for years. They had trucked in more sand for support two years ago and were working on the house for what seemed like forever. THAT house looks beautiful now. The rest of them? Well, you see in the photos above the damage done by the hurricane to some of the beach homes.

There is sand on the opposite side of the street on A1A too. If you had not been down here before the hurricane hit, you wouldn’t think anything of it. To me, it is odd to see. I followed along on twitter when Hurricane Matthew hit, and then the clean-up afterward. A1A here was covered in debris and sand, and the trucks came down the road and basically plowed everything out of the way before they reopened the bridge to people and traffic.

I did post Hubby and Sonny-boy’s ocean fishing experience here: Offshore Ocean Fishing – From Ocean to Table.

Hubby has been heading into Jacksonville once a week for shooting lessons. He’s getting quite proficient, and brings home is targets for me to “admire” more often than not.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


For myself, I have been doing nothing. And enjoying every second I have been doing it! Publix has a B1G1 wine sale every week, and I found two new wines to put into my rotation: Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (we went back twice to get this one… omg good!) and Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.

Hubby and I enjoy a “date day” every Tuesday. We go out, explore and/or shop, have lunch, etc. (We have a puppy sitter stop in so Max is not alone for too long.) Every Friday when Max goes to the groomer, Hubby and I have a good 4-5 hours to ourselves again too. We have hit all the resteraunts in the area we have enjoyed previously, and will not be off to new restaurants starting this Friday!

That is all that has been going on with use these early days of 2017. What is new with you and your family?


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Offshore Ocean Fishing – From Ocean to Table

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!





Hubby had wanted to go ocean fishing for a few years now, and the weather was never conducive to going when we had company (fishing is not for me). Until now. Sonny-boy came to visit us last week at our condo in Florida, and he and Hubby went out offshore ocean fishing.

The weather has been glorious the last few weeks in the St. Augustine area. Little rain, mostly sunny, and temperatures from 65°-80°. Unseasonably warm and clear! We will take it.

With this wonderful weather, came great fishing conditions. Normally, ocean fishing in January is not possible (the captain of the boat Sonny-boy and Hubby went out with said he normally goes out five times in January). When my brother was up two years ago in February, the ocean was too rough the whole week to go out. You need fairly decent weather to go out ocean fishing with a rod and reel.

Hubby looked into the offshore ocean fishing a bit for cost and regulation. The charter boat covers their fishing license (as I understand it is part of the fees the charter pays to Florida). Some boats do not go out very far, and Hubby wanted one that would go out far enough so they were not waving at the people on the beach.

He finally settled on a charter boat for him and Sonny-boy that was 6 hours long (other choices at this time of year were 4 hours and 8 hours. There is a dawn to dust choice in-season.) The cost was $650, so this is pretty expensive fish.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


In Hubby’s words…

I went on a 6-hour offshore fishing trip with my stepson today off the coast of St. Augustine and Jacksonville, FL. I have only ocean fished once before, and that was in a small boat off Long Island years ago. This was a 36 foot 600 hp center console boat. Water was a bit choppy heading 10 miles offshore due to swirling winds. We then headed north about 10 miles towards Jacksonville.

For most of the time we had lines in the water, it was non-stop action. We were bottom fishing, and the fish would sometimes hit the bait before I had even set the reel. I must have caught over three dozen fish throughout the day. Unfortunately, most of them got thrown back in the water. We ended up keeping our limit of seabass (5 over 13″ each). Over half the fish we caught were red snapper, some nice sized ones, too, but we could not keep any. Also, I caught a 30# drum fish and a small strawberry grouper that had to go back.

If anyone has visions of relaxing while ocean fishing, forget it. There was no place to sit. Instead, you had to brace the front of your legs against the sidewall of the boat while holding the rod in your hands. This did not do my back any favors. With all the action, my wrists were actually getting tired.

Then, there was the mid-trip nausea and dry heaves for five minutes. The captain gave me credit for getting right back on the horse and continuing to fish afterward. I don’t mean to complain, I just wanted to relay my actual experience. The captain definitely delivered as far as finding where the fish were.

As I understand it, trolling-style fishing happens in the summer when the ocean water is warm. Maybe I will give that a try someday.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Sonny-boy and Hubby each caught a drum fish. That is a picture of Sonny-boy with his. Sonny-boy is 6’5″ tall, so that is one big fish!!

Unfortunately, they had to toss them back. Not in season.

Hubby caught more than 15 red snapper fish (Sonny-boy caught 3) and had to toss them all back. According to the captain, they could not take any (I since found this website that suggests they could have each kept one, possibly two – red snapper.)

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


They ended up keeping 10 seabass (5 each).

After filleting (which was included), Hubby said they end up with about 3- 4 pounds of fish.
We had dinner, and then Hubby foodsavered the rest. (Be sure to click here for Hubby’s Vacuum Sealing Tips and Tricks!)

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Fortunately, it was delicious because for the price per pound, it was the most expensive fish fry we ever had! 😛

A few notes – the amount of red snapper they caught (that was tossed back) was a surprise even to the captain. Apparently, the ocean is quite cold in January (it isn’t horrible when we walk the beach, but I would not want to go swimming right now). Normally little fish come up when it is warmer to feed.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


The same for the pelicans. They will scoop up those fish and eat them. Right now, they are very hungry. There was a welcoming committee when they came back hoping for fish scraps. You cannot feed the scraps to the pelicans though as the bones could lodge in their throat.

Hubby and Sonny-boy both said they had a great time, although it was a lot of work and not the sitting in a chair while drinking a beer and hoping for a nibble idea most people have of fishing!


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Lewiston, NY Food Tour

Lewiston, NY Food and Historical Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.





For many years now I have been listing Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY. I started this list on my old blog in 2010 with a whopping 75 listed items – back then everything was free – and it has grown to over 200 Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY. My goal is a list of 365 things to do (reasonably priced, not crazy-expensive) in the Western New York area – something for every day of the year!

With that in mind, when Hubby and I attended class at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute last month, and had the Lewiston Food Tour recommended to us by one of the couples in attendance, we thought we’d give it a go.

Now this is actually the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour. And that is a much more accurate description than just a food tour. There is a large dose of Lewiston history that is incorporated in this tour. Alicia Scott-Tepas (one of the owners) is from Lewiston, and her pride of place shows through. Her husband Chris took the lead on our tour. He’s a school teacher and at times that showed. He was quite thorough in his material, but sometimes I felt I was being “taught” during our three hour class… er tour.

Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least it was not a bad thing for us. One of the areas Hubby and I are house hunting in is Lewiston. This tour made the history of Lewiston much more real and rich for us.

While I will not relate all the details of Lewiston (you gotta take the tour to get that), I will say it was most interesting. I find Lewiston very quaint, very beautiful, and very livable. I find it even more interesting now that I took the Lewiston Food Tour.

A few things of note:

You can buy tickets here. Bring your printed out ticket with you. You will get a text reminder the day before the tour (ours was from a Boston 617 area code which I assume is where roaming table is located, but that is just an assumption).

• Tours are available through the end of September, Wednesday through Saturday, but check their calendar for confirmation.

• Group sizes are up to 12 people. (Our group had 8 people.)

• There are six (6) food stops. Carmelo’s is only on Wednesday and Thursday, on Friday and Saturday Waterstreet Landing makes up the six stops.

• Private group tours are available.

• The cost was $49 per person (August 2016), children 12 and under are $35.

Now on to the food…

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


We met at The Silo Restaurant – a beautifully restored coal silo that sits on the Niagara River. We enjoyed The Haystack. Some of you may remember it from an episode of Man V. Food. They went to the Silo to film the recipe.

A normal Haystack has 1 pound of Rib eye steak, cheese, mayo and hashbrowns served on a roll from a local bakery. Our Haystacks were smaller, but still delicious!

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


Our next stop was the Brickyard Pub. Here we had fresh cut sweet potato honey fries (OMG sooooo good) and Smoked Wings. The wings had been smoked for 5 hours, and I must say that while they were different, I didn’t care for them much. Hubby didn’t even try them.

We also had the Brickyard Lager which is brewed in Rochester for them. I am not a beer fan, but man did I like this one. It reminded me of a tasty pale ale.

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


Our third food stop on the tour was the D’Volio Olive Oils, Vinegars and More. Honestly this was completely out of place on the tour. It was more like a “come sample the oils and stop back later to buy” stop than a real food stop.

Saying that… we had small samples of:

Vanilla custard and Lime Olive Oil. I loved this. Hubby hated it.
Vanilla custard and Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Oil. I liked this. As a group this was the favorite of the two. Hubby also hated this.

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


We then headed over to the Orange Cat Coffee Co, for a choice of iced or hot coffee. And, since it was another 90+ degree day, most of us chose iced coffee. There are 100 flavor choices of coffee inside this tiny coffee house. They roast their beans with essential oils which I found very interesting. We had the Iced Island Coconut, and Hubby loved it. He’s the iced coffee guy at our house, so trust his judgement on this one.

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


We next went over to Carmelo’s. This was Hubby’s favorite stop. He loved that the owner came out to chat, as well as serving our group himself. We enjoyed a plate of Heirloom tomatoes, citrus bread crumbs, basil with an aioli sauce. We also had a white wine that was god-awful. I have no idea what it was… should have gotten the name so I never order it anywhere.

Lewiston, NY Food Tour. A review of the Lewiston Food and Historical Tour including cost, destinations, food review and my overall opinion of the tour.


And our final food stop (actually it was the final stop of the tour) was at the Village Bake Shoppe for a mini mile high pie. I thought this was fabulous!! Their regular mile high pie has 5 pounds of local apples inside. I can see how with the beautiful, thin slicing.

On our way out we bought a few cookies and bars. The bar I bought (a toffee one) was pretty bad. It was dry and flavorless. Hubby bought their version of the Hello Dolly bar, and he thought the same (dry and flavorless) and said my Hello Dolly Bar recipe was much better. Then there was some muttering about my making them soon – which I ignored. The ricotta cookies he purchased, he liked very much.

All in all I felt the tour was well worth it. The food was mixed in my opinion, but different enough to be glad we tried it. The historical tour was very interesting. The Lewiston Food and Historical Tour was a great way to spend a summer afternoon.


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