Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jacksonville SIPsters Weekend

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I just spent a few days in Jacksonville with a group of close girlfriends! We all met on another blogging site back in the day and started having annual gatherings about four years ago. We call our group the SIPsters (Scary Internet People). We've met here in Memphis once and in Knoxville twice, but this year we agreed on Bethany's house in Jacksonville. This was my second trip to Jacksonville this year, and fourth overall, so Bethany says I'm officially a regular now. Yay!

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We spent one afternoon in St. Augustine. It's such a cool city with a great atmosphere.

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We capped off the day with dinner at The Conch House, where again, I have become a regular. I'm addicted to their banana pepper calamari.

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(The header of our group's online community says "Endless Summer," so we thought this mini-fleet of Endless Summer boats was some kind of sign.)

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Of course ocean-communing time is a must for me, so the next afternoon we went to Jacksonville Beach. The water was surprisingly warm for so late in the year, and there were lots of waves! A few of us tried to bodysurf, but couldn't get out to where the swells were breaking. The current was STRONG.

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We also did a little shopping. Amazingly I only bought one book at the used bookstore, but spent ALL the cash I had brought for The Thrift Store (unofficial tagline: "If you don't find anything, you're not looking hard enough"). Most of the long weekend was spent doing what we do best: sitting around a table eating and talking! We ate most of our meals at the house. Bethany taught me how to make sushi and I couldn't believe how easy it was (at least in its basic form). I'm excited to try again at home.

I'm very thankful for these friends. We come from different backgrounds and don't agree on everything, but are always respectful and supportive of each other. I mean, there were eight adults and four preschool-aged children in one house for four days, and we all still liked each other when we left! We are, as Bethany's husband dubbed us, the Sisterhood of the Secondhand Pants.

The more time I spend in the Jacksonville area, the more I like it. It seems like the perfect place for me in many ways. I wish I could pick up my house, church, and all my loved ones and move them there.

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