Tab and I just got back yesterday from sunny (and partly cloudy) Jacksonville, Florida. Tab officiated the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year's Eve between Kentucky and Georgia Tech. For bowl games officials are asked to arrive two days prior to the game to ensure everyone makes it in time. We left on Thursday bright and early for a kid-free couple days and an awesome football game.
We rolled into town just in time for lunch. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency right on the river. A sweet reader or two (THANK YOU!) had recommended River City Brewing Company which happened to be just across the river from our hotel. We had gumob and a crab cake to begin-super yummy! And I had the fried shrimp (absolutely delicious). Sidenote-I always imagine myself eating broiled seafood and the second I look at any seafood menu I'm the first to order some FRIED platter! #icanthelpmyself
After lunch we walked over to the Jacksonville Landing (right beside our hotel) to check it out. Most of the stores were closed during the day so we made a spur of the moment decision to head to a local spa!
After we napped! haha! I'm not even kidding! :) These are my favorite leggings to travel in, paired with my favorite long tank, a comfy cardigan, and these tennis shoes.
We grabbed an Uber for our ride over to the spa and it was the first time either of us has had a negative Uber experience. Have you guys ever had a bad Uber? This car SMELLED! He was super nice, but the car was a mess. He was eating a bag of potato chips, which would be hard to do while driving so you can just imagine how chips were getting all over him. Right? It was an experience!
We finally made it to the spa and we relaxed for an hour!
Then we had the world's best Uber driver on the way back to the hotel. He was an immigrant from Cuba who's been a U.S. citizen for the last ten years. He was so proud to be an American. I was tearing up listening to him speak about our country. Sometimes being born here in America it's something we can easily take for granted. His little speech spoke straight to my heart.
We showered and quickly got ready for the bowl dinner. I wore a pair of black jeans, leather coat (sold out), and booties. (sold out).
All bowl games are different because each is run by a committee, but most have a dinner for the officials at a local restaurant. Ours was Thursday evening at Maggiano's. Did I just hear a "MMMM" from you? ;)
I should have taken a picture of the spread...salads, zucchini, bruschetta, chicken parmesan, Tuscan chicken, and lasagna. SO GOOD!
And then they brought the most delicious cheesecake. The sweet guy next to me kept adding more to my plate when I wasn't paying attention AND I kept eating it.
The restaurant was looking all kinds of festive.
Friday morning we slept in!! Glorious!
And headed STRAIGHT to your recommended Maple Street Biscuit Company. Holy Yum that place was good! Thank you to everyone who mentioned it. We talked to the manager while we were waiting to order and after we ordered he brought us these cinnamon roll/biscuits with pecans that were heavenly!
You guys! This food was SO GOOD! It was my favorite meal in Jacksonville! I got the biscuit with fried chicken, goat cheese, and pepper jelly! I mean. Delicious!
Big smiles because that brunch was divine!
Then we drove to the Atlantic Beach area to check out the shops. This store (I can't remember the name and can't read it in the picture) was all edible, natural products used to make soaps, candles, lotions, etc. The company was on Shark Tank and Barbara was the one who put up some money.
Night out number two was another outfit, another yummy restaurant. Top, jacket (sold out), jeans, and booties (45% off). On this night, there was a boat parade with fireworks right on the river by our hotel. We decided to head with a smaller group over to the Landing area to eat and hopefully see the festivities from our table. This area was FULL of fans!
Benny's Steak and Seafood was on the menu...again I enjoyed the fried shrimp and fried catfish! #ijustcantquit
And then when we were finished with dinner I looked out the window (see my reflection) to see this!
Awesome firework show that I thought couldn't get ANY better...
Until fireworks started showering OFF the BRIDGE! It was a SIGHT!
Then I ran into this sweet reader, Kristin. We chatted for a bit and were both crazy impressed with those fireworks. McKinney needs to take a page out of Jacksonville's book. :) SO good to meet you, Kristin! XO
Before we knew it, it was GAME DAY! Top (sold out), my favorite long tank, jeans (sold out), and similar booties (this is the same style-super comfy). The guy's shuttle for the game left at 7:15! Yes, 7:15! I opted to walk to the stadium since it was so close. A group of us left around 9:30.
These were the other wives I was hanging with for the day. We had tickets to the tailgate party beside the stadium so we stopped there for a quick bite.
You guys know I have a thing about over dressing because I'd much prefer to be a bit warm rather than freezing. I had to take off a few layers once we got to our seats.
The singing of the National Anthem gave me all the chills...all the veterans in the stadium were asked to salute so I could see men and women all around me saluting, when "the rockets red glare" was sung fireworks went off, and the group of Marines singing were awesome.
Check out my guy up there. :)
After the game we snapped a quick picture of this guy in his uniform. #kindof
Someone on the crew had made reservations for us all at Benny's (where we ate the night before), so we headed back for night number two. On this night I had a shrimp pasta and wasn't disappointed!
At night the Landing was full of lights, people, and fun!
Lo, Kelly, and cute baby, Boulder, were headed to Amarillo so we got to spend the morning with them and the flight to Dallas.
And then in a blink, we were on the flight home headed back to our three crazies. A HUGE thank you to my parents who held down the fort and made sure everyone was taken care of. And to my mom-who kept the laundry all caught up! AHHH!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Happy 2017, Friends! XOXO