New Smyrna Beach 2017

Our yearly family Florida vacation took place in August this year! And though we had a bad time here two years ago, we were returning successfully pregnant. We were a little nervous but I was pretty far along, so we hoped all would be well and we’d have a good family vacation this time.

It did not start well. We had flight delays and what we thought was an on-site car rental was offsite. The shuttle bus to get there was packed and slow and it was miserable. THen we got off the bus and it looked like refugees from a natural disaster. People and luggage as far as the eye could see. It was hard to even discern a line. It was really hot out and as it turned out, the line for cars was all outdoor – and one guy told us his wife had only just gotten inside after 2 hours on line. So I noped out of there and we called a lyft back to the airport. I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves to that hot mess when there are a million car rental agencies. We tried to make a reservation online, had issues with it going through, but just ended up walking up to the counter, explaining what happened, and they gave us a great deal on our car. So it ended up fine, but we wasted a ton of time.

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We finally got to the condo and found we were in a condo we’d stayed in before. Perhaps you remember me commenting on the bedside lamp that threatened to slash your wrists with sharp metal when you went to turn out the light? Yup! Seriously, who designed this thing?

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And then we got to say hello to the ocean. Pregnant shadow!
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We went to Norwoods for dinner, which has gone from not my favorite restaurant to probably consistently my best meal there. They’ve redone their menu within the last few years and it’s so good now. They have these really good fish preparations. This is “stack style” – I chose red snapper. It has onion straws, served over a potato cake and edamame. Seriously, phenomenal tasting.

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Doug’s meal:
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The moon over the ocean:
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Clear skies the next day:
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Morning view – not so shabby!
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Being there later in the year, we caught a lot of sea turtle nests. We weren’t lucky enough to see any hatching, but we often had fresh tracks from mama coming in to lay her eggs.
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We made sure to hit JB’s Fish Camp multiple times – blackened grouper sandwich!
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We spotted river dolphins and manatees at JB’s dock – this one swam right past Doug’s feet:
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Every year the ocean has different marine creatures to experience. Once it was tiny blue jellyfish – largely just washed up on the beach, not in the water, thankfully.

This year, it was these happy little fellows:

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These are called ocean butterflies and walking on them is a bit like walking on glass. Fortunately you could see the bands of them in the sand – usually. So you could mostly avoid them. But not always!

And sunrise:
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You can see the sea turtle nest in the foreground:
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Another food staple – pizza and a Greek salad at Manny’s. Yes the cheese is pasturized.
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Bikini shot! I’m about 6 months pregnant here.
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More ocean butterflies:
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Sea turtle nest:
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Me (at right) and sisters in law. It kinda sucked not being able to have a cocktail or a beer with me!
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We went to a restaurant out on this marina for dinner. The food was so-so, but the view was nice:
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Doug and I made sure to eat at That’s Amore, one of my fav places on Flagler. Unfortunately there was no indoor seating and outside would have been fine but there were some people arguing nearby and it made it hard to focus.

This mahi dish was amazing – the sauce was really light:

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And this seafood pizza didn’t disappoint this time:
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More sea turtle tracks:
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The turtle patrol would come along and check old nests (each nest had a date it appeared, a hatch date if it had hatched, and a date by which any remaining eggs would be no good anymore. After that date, they would dig up the nests, record the unhatched eggs, take along any they thought would still have a chance, and cover over where the nest was.
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Cafe Verde on Flagler is another great restaurant that is new-ish. The fried yucca was amazing – fresh and crispy with a salty/tangy sauce – apparently vegan – no mayo. Waitress said the base was a yellow pepper paste with garlic, parsley, and some olive oil, probably some other things – and that they emulsify the sauce in a blender, which gives it the consistency.
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Pulled pork:
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Our last day it rained. :-(
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Pano:
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Family pic at dinner:
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