Birthday Week 1.0

This began years ago, not working on my birthday, which morphed into taking the entire week off.  🙂


This year I’m splitting up the time:  3 days in Jacksonville visiting Karen and the boys, then 5 days at Crystal River with friends –  fishing, of course.

Dinner in Jacksonville Saturday was at the Wicked Barley Brewing Company.  BTW love their marketing slogan!


Being a new craft beer drinker, Rich gave me advice……..

……… and I went with the brown ale.

We chose a variety of appetizers and shared amongst the three of us (yes,  Karen joined us).  Left to right, we had fried cheese curds, chicken empanadas and pretzels with honey-mustard or melted cheese.


My favorite ended up being the fried cheese curds.  I wasn’t expecting much, but who doesn’t like fried cheese!

Afterwards, we walked through their outside seating area towards the St. John’s River and got a last photo before leaving the brewery.


I brought the beer home for Eric.  Started that trick during a recent cross-country trip.  🙂

Lunch on Sunday was at Newk’s, a favorite of mine.


I ordered a sandwich and my side was macaroni & cheese – yum.


It’s mostly sandwiches, but also has salads and pizzas.  They have some pre-packed breadsticks and although very crunchy, they take the edge off before your food arrives.
12063A04-3649-4972-BAF9-7375C3D42FE9Since I haven’t seen these in Central Florida, I did a little internet research and found out more about them.  It was founded in 2004 in Oxford, MS by father and son chefs and described as an American eatery of fast, casual cafes.  Today over 100 Newks locations operate in 13 states, primarily in the Southeast.  They maintain a strong culinary focus with all products made from scratch, open kitchens and large round tables with complementary gourmet condiments, toppings and breadsticks!

The afternoon was spent creating jewelry, which was the ultimate goal for the weekend.  More on that later.

Dinner was pizza from ‘Jenks’, primarily since they have bacon as an option for a topping.  Really, who can resist bacon.


Eric packed me a few craft beers for my weekend and it added to my enjoyment of the pizza.


Every night we ended our evening by watching a movie, mostly a ‘chick flick’ – thank you Karen.  🙂

Monday was a visit to another favorite of mine – Maple Street Biscuit Company. Connor joined us.


My biscuit of choice was the chicken ranch biscuit, with smoked bacon – yum again – followed by (shared) iced cinnamon pecan biscuits.



This restaurant was created in Jacksonville, opening their doors in 2012 with 4 guiding principles: comfort food with a modern twist, gracious service, immaculately clean stores and sustainable business.


They refer to their places as ‘a group of community stores’ and are named after the community its built in.  You will notice a lot of communal seating inside the stores.  This is to ‘meet your neighbors’ or if visiting, ‘meet locals’.  Everyone should check out their website – it’s very interesting.


So, jewelry…………..a good many of the pieces were created from stones I got in Shanghai. Karen helps me finish bending the wire or tying off the thread when I’m done.  These are definitely ‘collaborative’ pieces.  I ended up taking home 3 pairs of earrings, 2 necklaces and 1 bracelet.

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Stay tuned for Birthday Week 2.0.


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