Tag Archives: Florida

Local Fall Festivals

One thing I love about the south is the abundance of festivals. Down here, we can find any reason for a festival. Holidays, food, animals, civil war battles, you name it! Below, I’ve listed some of the best festivals coming to the north Florida area this fall!

September 14th-16th
Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival
100 James Rd, Jekyll Island, GA
(Free Admission – $10 Parking)
Presented by Southern Living, the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival combines the classic southern dish with family-friendly entertainment, artists market, live music, craft beer, and more!

October 6th-7th
Datil Pepper Festival
St. Johns County Agricultural Center, 3125 Agricultural Center Drive, St. Augustine, FL
(Free Admission)
Celebrate St. Augustine’s very own datil pepper with pepper cook offs by local chefs, tastings, along with datil pepper products and plants to purchase. It’s a great time for the whole family exploring the local culinary culture of our oldest city.

October 12th-13th
French Country Flea Market Fall Show
Sweet South Cottage and Farms, 6007 Veterans Memorial Dr., Tallahassee, FL
($7 Admission – Free Parking)
Presented by Sweet South Cottage and Farms, the French Country Flea Market showcases antiques, hand painted home goods, shabby-chic style furniture, vintage curiosities, local art, live music, and delicious southern delicacies.

October 13th
Florida Museum of Natural History
3215 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL
(Free Admission)
Explore the lives of bats, bees, and butterflies at the 13th annual ButterflyFest! Learn about butterfly gardening, conservation, backyard wildlife, and more! Other fun includes butterfly releases, a “pollinator” parade, and plant sale.

October 13th-14th
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Plant Sale and Orchid Show
Gainesville, FL
(Free Admission)
In celebration of the gardens’ 32nd birthday, there will be over 50 booths set up selling a wide variety of plants. In addition to the sale, there will also be an orchid show put on by the American Orchid Society.

October 20th
McIntosh 1890’s Festival
Van Ness Park, McIntosh Fl
(Free Admission, both free and paid parking available)
With it’s inaugural event  in 1974, this festival has grown to over 250 vendors and an estimated 35,000 visitors annually. Come and enjoy crafts, food, and a good time!

October 20th
Florida Bat Festival
Lubee Bat Conservancy, 1309 NW 192nd Ave., Gainesville, FL
($8 Admission)
The 14th annual Florida Bat Festival will offer fun for the whole family including games, music, environmental discussions, vendors, crafts, food trucks, a beer garden, and the world’s largest bats with 6’ wingspans.

October 27th-28th
Micanopy Fall Craft Festival
Micanopy, FL
(Free Admission – both free and paid parking available)
In the heart of downtown Micanopy, expect hundreds of booths full of homemade candles, soaps, clothing, planters, jewelry, art, etc. There’s also a large section dedicated to tables full of antique and vintage items.


Bee Saga

Hey guys! It’s officially spring, and almost summer, here in north Florida. The pear trees have bloomed, our grass is green again, baby ducks having taken over the lakes, and the bees are buzzing… albeit, less bees at Big Brown. 😉

A few months after Ray and I bought our house we noticed some bees flying around a column on the outside of our sunroom. Because we were planning on having our wedding reception in our backyard (PS- it was awesome), we had the yard sprayed for bugs (mainly mosquitos) and we also had pest control spray the bees. Listen, I know we shouldn’t kill the bees… but I also know you can’t have your grandparents or pastor or photographer or tiny babies being stung at your nuptials.

About a year or two later, the bees showed up again. I was pissed because I didn’t know anything about bee pheromones and I thought the pest service we used just did a terrible job when they originally sprayed. After some deciphering, we figured out that the hive was actually inside the concrete column underneath our house. Cool, right? I stressed about it for a while, but ultimately the bees were keeping to themselves and we didn’t have any money to fix the problem anyway.

The bee activity was at a minimum, until the hive split. Twice. At the time we literally had no idea what was going on. When a hive gets too large for the given space, the worker bees will start grooming a new queen. Once the new queen reaches maturity, she leaves and takes a portion of the hive with her, thus a split. The new hive will find a place to hang for a while and send a few bees out to scout a location for a permanent home. The first time this happened we had a bee tornado and it was truly terrifying. The second time we just saw a cluster of calm, docile bees on our palm tree. Still a little terrifying.

Since then we’ve had several people come out and look into our bee situation. One guy (an ex cop, mind you) who said he knew loads about bees, got scared and never came back. Another guy took 3 months to respond to emails. Another guy thought the job looked too hard. I don’t know if we were just having bad luck or weren’t asking the right people or what… but it wasn’t working.

A few weeks ago our good friend, Lacey, said she had a friend who could possibly help us. In comes Phillip. Phillip came out several times, thoroughly assessed the bee situation, examined the column which housed the hive, and ultimately relocated majority of our bees and properly sealed the column so they can’t return. He was awesome! 

While Phillip was awesome, Ray, Lacey, and myself were… well, kind of dumb. Between the three of us, we managed to get 5 bee stings because we couldn’t help but watch the bee removal process. My sting, which was in the middle of my forehead, happened 5 seconds after I walked outside. OF COURSE. My face was swollen for a few days, but thankfully I didn’t stop breathing or anything.

It’s honestly hard to believe that after 7 years of struggling, within a week of meeting Phillip, all our bees were gone! We’re so happy! If you’re local and have a bee situation, or see a hive clustered up like in some of my photos… I’ve got a great bee guy!

Florida Ice Storm 2018

Living in Florida my entire life, I’ve had only a handful of very cold weather experiences. It’s snowed here a few times, but nothing of consequence. We DO tend to have a few weeks of low temps (lows getting into the mid-low twenties), but it tends to warm up rather quickly.
This past week has been particularly cold, and last wednesday North Florida was transformed into a winter wonderland. We ended up only getting “frozen mix” rather than full blown snow, but I still loved the results.First off, I’ll let you know that I slipped on our porch steps as I was walking to the car to go to work. I still have a gigantic bruise on my back. Second, my car was completely frozen and one of my spiritual gifts is NOT de-icing a car. Third, I was terrified of driving on icy roads, but the roads ending up being fine and I only work 3 miles from our house anyway. So, my morning started off rocky and I didn’t have a chance to take in the ice-covered surroundings.
When I came home for lunch, I took the opportunity to walk around our yard and snap a few photos. Everything was so beautiful! And again, I know this may not be too impressive to someone in, say, Michigan… but to Floridians THIS IS AMAZING! Look how magical our yard was!Here’s hoping for another bout of really cold weather before it’s 95 degrees on the daily!

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

key lime ice cream 2Key Lime Pie is the quintessential Floridian dessert.  I, however, prefer ice cream to pie- thus I’m sharing Key Lime Pie Ice Cream with you today! I’ve made this recipe several times this summer, and it’s been a big hit!
Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
12 graham crackers (3 full sheets), coarsely crushed, divided
lime zest and wedges (optional)

ice creamIn a bowl, combine milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk and combine. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker (I use the Kitchenaid ice cream attachment) and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Stir graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container ( I just use a loaf pan), cover, and freeze until firm. Sprinkle each serving with a few graham crackers, lime zest, and wedges when you’re ready to eat! It’s soooo easy!

Anniversary Weekend

It’s so hard to believe that Ray and I have been married for 5 years. Some days it seems like we’ve been together forever and some days it feels like it hasn’t even been a year.
Below are some snapshot from our anniversary weekend getaway. We stayed in the sweetest air b&b in Palm Harbor, FL. We spent Saturday eating delicious Greek food, exploring the Tarpon Springs sponge docks, and talking about some of our goals for this year.IMG_6545IMG_6541IMG_6543We watched the sun set at Fred Howard State Park, and witnessed an awkward matchy-matchy family photo shoot in the wild! See below! IMG_6561IMG_6566IMG_6567IMG_6569Sunday morning we decided to drive across the state to Cocoa Beach. First, we made a stop in Ybor City to have lunch at The Columbia restaurant, my favorite! You can’t beat the 1905 salad and sangria! Neither Ray nor I had been to Cocoa beach since the 90’s, and well, it hasn’t changed much. The Space Coast is pretty high on the tacky scale, but that’s only more reason to love it! We stayed in Fawlty Towers hotel (named after the show and run by Brits) which looks like a castle and is painted various shades of pink and teal. Fortunately, we were really close to the beach. Unfortunately, we slept on the most uncomfortable bed on planet earth. We spent Sunday afternoon swimming in the ocean! IMG_6576We drove home Monday and made a quick pit stop at Disney Springs for lunch and a little shopping! It was a great weekend!