Jacksonville Road Trip!

Eric headed to visit his family during their deer season and I headed towards Jacksonville.  The reason for my road trip was two-fold:  our friends are moving into another house so I offered to ‘schlep’ boxes between their places AND I was asked to burn six more vacation days before the end of the year, so there you have  it.  Oh yeah, and maybe just maybe visit the Jacksonville bead show which was going on that weekend (more on that later).

Their new place is great.  We got there in the dark, so I couldn’t really appreciate the outside character……. until the next morning.  Wow!


I went out for a morning walk – secretly checking out their neighbors – turned around to see what I couldn’t the previous night and again…….wow.   I think it’s going to be  nicknamed it ‘the castle’.  🙂


And at least for this trip, I got to sleep in the upstairs turret.


They haven’t moved in, so I have a temporary bed in the upstairs front room that will probably be Connor’s – lucky guy.


Naturally with any journey, there’s food involved and this trip was no exception.  Since they haven’t moved in, cooking in their kitchen wasn’t really an option.   Karen was disappointed.   However, we (and by that I really mean me) had the most important thing……….


We had a variety of meals during my six days but there was one repeat – Donovan’s Irish Pub.


We shared several appetizers, starting with the pretzel bites.  Pretzels chunks, cheese dipping sauce and frying was involved = the trifecta, right?


Ugh!  I don’t know.  There was something about them that just didn’t appeal to my taste buds.  😦    I kept trying to like them – honestly.  But after a (small) handful, I didn’t want to waste any more calories on a dish I didn’t enjoy.

However, the fish fingers and ‘chips’ were spot on.

On the repeat visit, I added the fried green tomatoes – yum – and more fish fingers.


Tried a different twist on my beverage.  Yes, yes, it’s been around forever, but I’ve never ordered it since I started visiting microbreweries.   I’ll get it again.

I have two favorite eating places I always like to visit on my trips here.  We were able to squeeze in one of them.  Are there better places to eat – probably.  Do they have this place in Orlando – not that I’ve heard. LOVE their side dish of mac & cheese.  It’s just the right size, especially when you get half a sandwich (avocado & turkey was my choice this visit).

Moving to a new address you always want to check out close restaurants.  One afternoon we had a craving for pizza and stopped at a nearby pizza place – and ordered calzones.


And then, there was this amazing breakfast place, or put another way, a place we could order breakfast 24/7.  My nutty waffle had three different nuts involved which I hadn’t seen before.  Not rocket science putting the three nuts together, but I hadn’t seen it and waffles are pretty much the first thing I look for on a breakfast menu.  There was nothing left on my plate.

One evening, Rich made this amazing dinner…….but I forgot to take photos.  Sorry Rich.  It was so tasty, that I recreated (somewhat) the recipe later in the week when I got home.  I had to make do with a few substitutions and while my version was not as good as Rich’s, it was definitely a hit with me.  I’ll make it again, maybe some night when Eric says it’s my turn to cook.  I’m still waiting for that to happen, ha!

So the Jacksonville bead show, OMG! I had never attended one and while Karen said this was small, it was initially overwhelming.  Yep, forgot to take photos.  😦

It reminded me of my time in China when I would visit the pearl market.  Strands upon strands upon strands of beads were available in booths (tables here).  I bought some beads during my visits.  Ooops, okay, there was more than one visit.  Our ticket was good for both days and we wanted to get our money’s worth – just saying.  My last two mornings in town, we used our time to craft some jewelry.  I was able to complete this necklace – love it!  It’s long enough to wrap three times or as a lariat.  Two other necklaces were 90% finished but not ready to bring home and wear.


Sorry, Sis.  While this posting isn’t titled as another ‘ale trail’ subject, the next topic to be discussed are local Jacksonville breweries.  Go ahead, skip to the bottom and check out my last photo if you want.  First glance, the photo doesn’t appear to fit in with the blog, like maybe some random photo slipped in………….. but let me get there after the breweries.


Karen was a good sport and accompanied us on most of our excursions.  First brewery visited was Ancient City Brewing.

  • Opened summer of 2015 and wanted to give a shout-out to America’s oldest city, which is the owners home town.
  • Guiding principles are (1) their beer has to be the best and (2) they gotta have fun.
  • Goal is to use funky flavors like fresh organic coconut & key lime which is representative of Florida.


Another visit was to Bog Brewing Co.


This building was originally a historic pharmacy with exposed brick walls inside, large bay windows and an inviting atmosphere, truly.  While some of those descriptions were found on the internet, the last three words (truly inviting atmosphere) should be underscored.  It just had a good, comfortable vibe.  It’s probably a good thing it’s not close to my house.  We enjoyed our time in this building (yes, drinking beer).  And, yes, they have my ‘baby’ pour.

  • Opened in March 2016.
  • Mantra is ‘Florida Beers x Old World Inspiration’.
  • Serves classic beer styles, Belgian-inspired ales using Florida inspired seasons.  


LOVED their logo.  Notice the beer suds…………Florida!  That reason alone was the deciding factor to add a growler to my collection.  Yep, I’ve started collecting – thanks Adrienne.



Oh yeah, the second photo……….you get in my photos, you own the consequences – just saying.

One night, we let Karen off the hook and visited Old Coast Ales by ourselves………

………sharing a flight.  After a sip of each, we easily divided the pours.

It was hard to find many details on the internet about this place, but I picked up a few nuggets of info.

  • Brew on an in-house 7 barrel system.
  • Seems like they opened in 2017 (yes, kind of vague).
  • Known for a variety of ales but their ‘Kookaburra Brown’ ale is infused with locally roasted coffee.
  • They share a roofline with a taco business and I read numerous references to their deliciousness – they were closed when we arrived.


On my last night in Jacksonville, we stopped at Engine 15 Brewing Co.

They have two locations, one of which is in the heart of Jacksonville Beach – which was our destination.  Our selections this evening were:

While trying (kind of) to keep an open mind about Rich’s selection of Raspberry Peanut Butter Nutsack brown ale, it ended up being the better of the two beers we ordered.  A few details about this local brewery:

  • Became a reality in 2008.
  • They carry 50 tap lines from beers around the world while also serving a pub menu.
  • The name?  One of the owners had a 1962 Ford Fire Engine.  I saw it in the parking lot when we left, but didn’t get the significance, until I got home.  Wow, that was too easy and I missed it.

With 50 beers, there was way too many photos involved, so here is a sampling of their offerings when I visited.


Earlier I referenced my last photo which seems to have no connection.  A few facts, (1) I drove a truck,  (2) My friends are moving into a new house and (3) Ideal time to add new furniture to new living arrangements.

While Karen perused local ads for furniture during my visit, one ad talked about some office chairs.  Upon meeting the folks at their storage unit(s), they said ‘Want to see if anything in our other unit interests you?’  Karen spied this chair, turned around and said………this is you.  After exchanging some bills, we loaded up my new chair.


My cat has now claimed it as hers.

Until the next post.…….





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