Amelia Island, Florida

February 19th-23rd, 2023

We had a few days in between helping to care for our granddaughter in Virginia so we booked a condo through VRBO that was located oceanfront on Amelia Island. It was great to have warm weather and the sun shining in February! There was snow at home so we enjoyed the temperature in the 70s!

Our first full day we drove to the north end to visit Fort Clinch. The drive to the fort took us along the historic Canopy Road that was covered with oak trees and Spanish moss.

After the serene drive along the canopy road we arrived at Fort Clinch, 1847-1945. The fort was never completely finished. When the Civil War began the fort was under control by the Confederates. Then as the Union started to gain control of the coast of Georgia, General Robert E. Lee ordered the evacuation of the fort and Union troops arrived in March, 1862. It is now a Florida state park and is open to visitors. We enjoyed wandering around the fort.

After visiting the fort we drove over to see the Amelia Island Lighthouse. It is the oldest existing lighthouse in Florida. In 2001 the Coast Guard turned over the lighthouse to the City of Fernandina Beach. It is the westernmost lighthouse located along the east coast of the US and about a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. It is located within a residential neighborhood and sits on the highest point on the island.

On our way to the lighthouse we stopped at the Salt Marsh.
Salt Marsh
Looking across the Salt Marsh at the lighthouse
Amelia Island Lighthouse

After our morning exploration we spent the afternoon by the ocean at our condo.

Our second full day at Fernandina Beach was gorgeous weather so we spent most of the day enjoying the warmth of the sun and catching up on our reading!

Day 3 was another warm and sunny day. The sunrise was beautiful! We read by the ocean in the morning and spent the afternoon walking around the historic downtown of Fernandina.

Sunrise from our condo patio.

Fernandina Beach historic waterfront city is considered downtown which encompasses over 50 blocks that are on the register of historic places. It was fun to walk around the area.

Today we left the warmth of Florida and headed back to Virginia!

Our last Amelia Island Sunrise!

A Trip to San Antonio, Texas

November 5-12, 2022

We had enough Delta points to schedule a quick vacation to San Antonio, Texas, a city that we had never visited. It included our flight, hotel, and car.

The hotel upgraded us to a suite and we were quite impressed! After checking in we headed out to the famous San Antonio River Walk.

Saturday’s Adventures

Along the River Walk

Our destination was Valero, or the Alamo as its known to most people. It was the first mission along the San Antonio River in 1718. The Alamo was where over 150 people died in 1836 as they fought for independence from Mexico.

Sunday’s Adventures

We headed to Fredericksburg to visit some wineries along the “Wine Road 290”! Our first stop was to park and walk around the town of Fredericksburg. As we walked along the main road in town there were many shops and some of the wineries had downtown tasting rooms.

After walking around town, we visited a few of the wineries along the “Wine Road”! Our first stop was Messina Hof. They produce wines that are 100% grown in Texas.

On to Signor Vineyards with over 200 acres!

We also stopped at Grape Creek Vineyards founded in 1983 and was the oldest winery on Highway 290. They bottled all of the Grape Creek wines on their estate.

We really enjoyed our drive along the Wine Road. We drove up to a few of the other vineyards to look around before we headed back to San Antonio.

Monday’s Adventures

This morning we walked the other direction along the River Walk and headed to the Pearl District.

The Pearl District had shops, restaurants, a park area, the Culinary Institute of America and the Hotel Emma.

We had brunch at the Bakery Lorraine that was known for their baked goods. Every item that they serve was handmade. The food we had was delicious! We visited and browsed a great book store called The Twig. After walking around the area we stopped in the lobby of the Hotel Emma. It was a historical hotel that once was a Brewhouse in the 19th century.

This afternoon we visited the other Missions of San Antonio. Mission Concepción was our first stop. It had the oldest unrestored stone church in America.

Mission San José became known as the “Queen of the Missions”. At its peak, it housed 350 Native Americans that resided in 84 two-room apartments.

Mission San Juan was established in 1716 to serve the Nazonis Indians but the mission struggled due to disease and danger from attacking Apaches and then the Comaches. People of the San Juan Parish still worshipped at the church just as their ancestors had.

Mission Espada was established in 1731 and had many Spanish features. You could see the church doorway, the brick archways and the bell tower all had a Spanish influence.

Tuesday’s Adventures

Today we walked along the River Walk to the Main Plaza so we would know where the San Fernando Cathedral was located because we were going to go to the light show this evening. This afternoon we spent enjoying the pool at our hotel, reading and watching the Denver Nuggets basketball players that were also staying at our hotel!

Wednesday’s Adventures

Today was a trip to visit Austin, Texas the capital. We visited the capital building and the LBJ Presidential Library. Both were very educational.

Thursday’s Adventures

Natural Bridge Caverns was our destination for a late morning tour. The owners of the land developed that first 1/2 mile of the 2 miles of caverns. We were told that the first 1/2 mile was the best to see and was called their Discovery Tour.

This afternoon we visited the historic Market Square where you could get the flavor of old Mexico with the many locally owned businesses.

After walking all through Market Square, we visited the Tower of the Americas. It was a clear afternoon and it wasn’t very busy. It was 750 feet tall and we had awesome views of San Antonio from the observation deck.

Friday’s Adventures

This morning we went to the Witte Museum. The museum had exhibits that incorporated Texas heritage, nature, science, and culture.

Our next stop was the Japanese Tea Garden which had also been known as the Chinese Tea Gardens. It opened in an abandoned quarry in the early 20th century. It also was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. A lot of people were visiting here. The gardens were beautiful.

When we returned to the hotel for our last night in San Antonio, we visited the rooftop bar of our hotel for a glass of wine.

Saturday Adventures

This morning we checked out of the hotel, returned our rental and flew home. It was a great trip and we enjoyed exploring and learning about San Antonio, Texas!