Malcolm and I just returned from a couple of days in Palm Coast, FL. This little town is on the East Coast of Florida (between Daytona and St. Augustine) and about three hours from our home which made it an easy drive up I95. It is a part of Florida that we have spent little time exploring and we were curious about what makes it special. The points of interest that we had on our radar before heading out included Bing’s Landing, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and Flagler Beach. All of which were exactly what we had hoped for.
We drove a stretch of A1A from Flagler Beach toward St. Augustine and were amazed at the restoration projects that had been completed or were underway since hurricane Matthew hit the area just a few months ago. We answered our ‘what makes it special’ question within a few minutes – peaceful, uncrowded, authentic Florida. The restaurants, bars and even homes along the famous route are as unassuming as you will find on oceanfront property anywhere in the US. This is clearly a place to kick back, drop a line, launch a canoe and drift. No traffic, no crowds, no worries…
Our first stop was Washington Oaks where we stretched our legs on a two mile loop before heading over to the gardens to walk the meandering pathways shaded by beautiful oak trees.
The park is a very peaceful place to spend a few hours enjoying the garden which is impeccably maintained. The many ponds, gazebos and bridges create a romantic setting for weddings and other family celebrations. We especially enjoyed the rose garden which was in it’s glory.
Not being quite satisfied with our time on the bikes, Malcolm googled local trails and found the Lehigh Trail just a few miles away. The eight mile round-trip was just what we needed to feel energized. The wide trail is paved and runs through a wooded area with a boardwalk extending over wetlands. We passed a few bikers and joggers along the way, but for the most part we had it to ourselves.
Satisfied with our activities for the day, we headed back to A1A in search of a place to eat. Captains BBQ at Bings Landing gets great reviews on Trip Advisor so we decided to check it out. Wow! First of all, the setting is perfect for a lazy late afternoon lunch. After ordering food from the attendant at the counter and selecting beer and wine from the cooler, we made our way to the screened back porch and a beautiful view of the Intracoastal waterway. A few minutes later we were called to pick up our full rack and three sides.
The barbecued ribs were some of the finest we have ever tasted and while the coleslaw and collard greens were standard, I have to say that the mac-n-cheese was a mistake. It tasted a bit “out of the box”, but the ribs were so good, who cares!
Too full to get back into the car, we strolled down to the water and found a bench where we watched the world go by for a while before heading to the hotel.
What a perfectly lovely day. This guy thought so too. Stay tuned for day two…