For videos of our most recent time living in Central Florida, check out our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist on our new YouTube Channel.
When we got the email about Thanksgiving at Wine Bar George, we knew we had to do it for our good-bye to Florida. This would be our third time at Wine Bar George and one of the places we will miss when we’re back West.
It was a beautiful day – we arrived at Disney Springs at around 10:30 a.m. for our 11:30 reservation. The lime garage was already full but we’ve grown to appreciate the orange garage so that was no problem. We strolled around the springs, enjoying the atmosphere and Christmas decorations and our first stop was the Ganachery – another place we will totally miss. We got some chocolate toffee bark to take home and a milk chocolate Mickey and a vanilla with dark chocolate, shared them, while we strolled the Springs and made our way to World of Disney to get our first peek at the remodel.
We browsed and ended up getting Minnie Mickey coffee mugs. By this time it was getting close to 11:30 so we headed back to Wine Bar George and were seated on the balcony across from another couple, who were just being served a huge plate of Thanksgiving turkey. We exchanged appreciative glances and comments and ordered the same. The dinner was a traditional turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and haricot vert. We paired it with Argyle Pinot Noir. It was quite tasty, but I asked for a box to take half of it home for my evening meal.
We skipped dessert but made a point of stopping at the Chicken Guy. I’m not a fan of chicken tenders, but this was our last chance to try them. We were especially interested in the Nashville hot honey sauce – we were wowed by Nashville’s hot chicken when we evacuated there last year. I’m not usually a fan of hot chicken as in Buffalo Chicken Wings but Nashville chicken is amazing!
Anyway, we picked up an order of 3 tenders and the Nashville sauce for Rich’s evening snack since he managed to finish his turkey dinner. And then we headed home. It may seem to silly to complain about an hour and fifteen minute drive but it does get old. But that’s probably because we’re so ready to move back west. Our Florida vacation this time around is so over.
The toffee was incredible, my leftovers were even tastier heated up later, and the bite of chicken tender I had was the best chicken tenders I’ve ever had, although Rich remembers Cane’s in Las Vegas as being just as good if not better. We’ll have to make that one of our first stops when we get back so we can double check that memory. 🙂
Looking back on our time here in Florida this time around, we see that this was Skipper’s house. At 18 years old and never a fan of stairs, he loved ruling the single-story. We were able to give him the extra care he needed. He thrived here as much as an 18-year-old cat can for the last year of his life. And when Daisy joined us, he enjoyed the little girl’s company, and the way she would walk underneath the big guy. Skipper knew all the cats – those who came before home and those who followed him. It isn’t the same in this house without him.
Skipper’s house is now on the market. We’ve met with the movers. We’re finalizing a house with our realtor in Las Vegas for the Shadow and Daisy chapter of our lives. We’re very excited to do Vegas a bit differently this time around. Rich’s boss, direct reports, and co-workers are ecstatic. I’ll have a dedicated music studio in a casita-type feature of the new property. And I’m ecstatic about that!
I won’t miss the mosquitoes in Florida. I’m one of those people mosquitoes feast on. It’s been a hot and humid fall this year and I can’t seem to go outside without getting eaten alive. I’m up scratching as I write this. It wasn’t this bad this time last year.
We’ve got a couple of days planned for our Disney finale. I’m pretty sure we’ll miss the access to Disney and the beach, which are always the draw for us. And then we should be home for Christmas.
Thumbing through our photos on my phone over the past year and a half, I can see that we’ve had one heck of a Florida vacation. We started this chapter chasing Margaritaville and we certainly found it.
But now I’m looking forward to our next adventures together, and the comfort of being home.
The F&W Festival gets more and more crowded each week, and Saturday, wouldn’t you know it, seemed to be the hottest, most humid day yet. It may have been the last hot and humid day of 2018, because it’s been cooler ever since. Anyway, all I know is that I dripped sweat like I was in Thailand so many years ago. It makes it all so very tiring, and we didn’t have a lot of energy for this one.
But our list of things to do on this trip wasn’t that ambitious – mostly to revisit Taste Track and get another one of those tasty Chocolate Raspberry Croissant Donuts, the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri, and, perhaps, the Short Rib Tostada at Mexico or the Black Pepper Garlic Shrimp Noodles in China. We did all of the above (except for the noodles) and more.
We also tried the Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes when we got the Skirt Steak. I actually preferred the Corned Beef over the Skirt Steak, although the smoke on the steak stood out nicely.
So, back to the beginning. We debated about whether to choose the Festival Center or Taste Track for our first stop but we were so hungry, Taste Track won. But we had to wait about 7 minutes for the booth to open, but it was worth the wait.
Then, we were off to the Festival Center for our free on 4th visit Passholder Mickey cutting boards (so cute!) and a couple of Mimosas to wash down breakfast. Rich got the Blood Orange I got the Tropical – mine was a bit too sweet and his was a bit too tart so we mixed them to get it just right. Hard to tell which is which from the photos.
We stumbled around and found the Flavors from Fire both and got the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri and Polenta and the Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes (amazing cheese sauce) and a wine pairing (Michael David Winery: 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel, Lodi).
My apologies for the not so great photos – the sun was so bright it really was hard to see what I was snapping.
We thought we might want a refreshing Baileys Guiness Milkshake in Ireland but partway there, we decided to turn around and head for Mexico for the Short Rib Tostada and a couple of Margaritas – so hot and sweaty out!
Halfway through the margaritas, we decided to head over to Hawaii for some dessert. Rich got in line and I snagged a table.
The Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Macadamia Nuts was awesome!
We’d also heard great things about the Maple Walnut Cheesecake at the Cheese Studio so we made a final stop on our way out. It was quite tasty, too, but better suited for Thanksgiving – it had a real taste of Fall but too heavy for such a hot, humid day.
My favorite was the Passion Fruit Cheesecake in Hawaii, although the Maple Walnut may have been Rich’s favorite. Both delicious and a great way to end the 2018 Food & Wine Festival for us.
I will miss the morning sunlight peeking through the trees,
Soaring birds chirping their morning wakefulness,
Squawking gulls flapping their wings,
Treading shore birds scanning the pond for breakfast.
I will miss sipping my coffee on the lanai greeting the dawn with prayer,
Scribbling my early thoughts,
Clearing my mind of nighttime fears,
Making room for gratitude and thankfulness.
I will miss cocktails and apps overlooking the springs at the BoatHouse,
Strolling World Showcase,
Martinis in the Wilderness,
Dipping my toes in the ocean.
I will miss our dream kitchen,
White cabinets and quartz countertops,
Undermount lights with a view,
Morning walkers and evening golf carts.
But most of all I will miss
The last house where Skipper lived.
We’ve stumbled onto this YouTuber – The Motorhome Experiment – and I’ve been binge-watching these videos. We’ve been kicking something like this around for some time, although we’d probably get a Fifth Wheel instead of an RV because we’d rather drive a pick-up instead of a bus (my parents had an RV and my aunt and uncle had a Fifth Wheel).
One of our fun outings is to walk Fort Wilderness at WDW to check out the various types of RVs. For now, we’re just dreaming – none of this will happen until Rich’s retirement, which is about nine or 10 years away.
Class A Motorhome – convenient snacks going down the road
Airstream Camping Trailer – small but adorable
Fifth Wheel – driving a truck vs driving a bus
In the meantime, Rich’s work brings us back to Las Vegas, and we’re very excited about it. We desperately needed a break from the desert and Florida has been, once again, a fabulous vacation, but it’s time to go home. Our Florida vacation is coming to an end. As one California friend said, “Back to Disneyland.” 🙂
Anyway, back to the Motorhome Experiment – they start out in Las Vegas with their countdown of going full-time by preparing and getting rid of extra stuff and selling their house in 2016. They’ve traveled to Florida and back, Mexico, and trips up the West Coast from Las Vegas to San Diego to Sonoma to the Oregon Coast, Washington and Alaska. Even stopped at Disney World and Disneyland! Simply amazing. It truly shows what an interesting life you can live if you’re the sort to drive/live in some sort of recreational vehicle.
Yesterday we made our third trip to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival – this time with brother Bob. Little did we know that it also happened to be Columbus Day and the park was packed, especially for a weekday. Ugh!
Still, we had a blast sharing some of our favorite booths with family – the last time was back in 2010.
We started off with the Festival Center, tracking down the Chocolate display, including scenes from Coco, made entirely with chocolate. It was quite impressive!
Then we moved on to France for our favorite beignet with Hazelnut Creme with a glass of champagne – fabulous way to start the day.
Of course, we had to introduce Bob to the Ireland booth, then we chose the paella from Spain, Belgium, and Bob chose some items at India and Africa. We then finished up with my favorite Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles in China – amazing! Rich got a Kung Fu Punch, and while refreshing, was too sweet for me.
On our last stop for the day, we entered the Mexico Pavilion for some much-needed air-conditioning and to see the Dia de Los Muertos exhibit from Cocol One of the exhibits showed time passing, lighting up the scene and then returning to darkness, revealing the dead family members reunited with their family. Really cool!
It was hot and crowded by then and Bob had some plans of his own to do some park hopping before returning to Epcot for some evening noshing, so we called it a day and let Bob continue on his way.
We’ve had such fun playing tourist with family but now it’s time to get back to work. Let’s see what I’m inspired to work on most – my music or my writing.