My best friend Sarah spent all of last year teaching English in China, so she knew she wanted to do something extra special for her birthday. Our first plan was to go glamping (glam+camping), those plans fell through and we went with the back up…spend a weekend at her family lake cabin. She warned all of us that this would not be a 5 Star Weekend, and that it might be closer to camping. Her description in the facebook event was my favorite…
We will be spending the weekend in my family’s lake house in Keystone Heights. When you hear “lake house,” you may think of Clooney’s pad at Lake Como or perhaps something like the Catskills in Dirty Dancing.
It is not like that.
This will be a rustic weekend. So prepare for a camping-like atmosphere, just in a home. There is no central air and the facilities are pretty basic, but again we will be drinking through this so it will be fine.
She was very accurate in her description. I beat everyone to the small town of Keystone Heights, and got to spend about an hour exploring the small town while I waited.
I spent some quality time in the local CVS. Sarah and her friend Alyssa arrived and we began the journey to finding this lake house. Sarah had directions from her father, but this house is not on any map. We ended up down a dirt road at a rustic house. The key wouldn’t work and Alyssa and I were convinced this was where we would die. Thankfully, it was the right house and we made it inside. The inside of the cabin was definitely rustic. The fridge had to be from the 1950’s…but it was perfect for an old Florida weekend.
In the morning we woke up and spent some quality time on the quaint little porch of the house. Sitting out there with the breeze blowing really transported you back in time. It was the perfect start to the day. We made a coffee run, and resumed our porch swinging.
Thankfully we still had cell service, while it would have been nice to disconnect for a weekend, it would have made planning our day a little more challenging. We found a state park nearby and hopped in the car for a short hike. Gold Head Branch State Park had several trails to choose from, and we went on the main trail. It wasn’t that exciting of a hike, but it was nice to get outside.
The hike wasn’t too far, just under 3 miles…but when we finished we all agreed we needed to find food. Sarah (the birthday girl) loves BBQ, and lucky for her there was a GREAT BBQ place we had found when we got lost the night before. After BBQ, we headed back and hung by the lake with some beers. We strung the ENO up and enjoyed the PERFECT Florida weather.
We had several plans for dinner that night. The big two were driving into either Gainesville or St. Augustine for dinner. We decided on St. Augustine. Getting there took FOREVER…or so it felt. I hadn’t been to St. Augustine since college and I always forget how much I love it.
We wanted to eat a restaurant called The Floridian, but the wait was OVER an hour. We put our name down and decided to wander around for a bit. Luckily, they text you when your table is ready so you don’t have to stay put. We explored St. Augustine in hopes of finding somewhere that would seat us faster, but we ended up back at The Floridian. I am SO glad we waited…my dinner was AMAZING. The interior of the restaurant was also beautiful. If you find yourself in St. Augustine I definitely recommend eating here. (I promise it is worth the wait) .
How perfect is that wallpaper?! I need it everywhere in my house! The drive back to Keystone Heights was much quicker. We woke up the next morning, cleaned and packed the car and drove into Gainesville for breakfast. Again, it was fun to visit our college town and to share it with Sarah’s friends that didn’t go to UF. I loved getting to spend a weekend with one of my best friends, to celebrate her birthday. and to unwind in such a relaxing place.