Updated: Mar 3
"Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call..." -Jimmy Buffett
"Mother Ocean" seems to call me more often than I can go, but I go visit Florida as often as I can. There is something about the water, sun, and warmth that makes me feel...wonderful! I can't even begin to describe in words how I feel when I'm there. Perhaps energized and happy! I'm excited to be outside enjoying the outdoors in beautiful weather. It is my favorite place to visit!
Some say it's too hot...but the sunshine and weather are what invigorate me. You can be in Florida any time of the year and be outside! Most days the sun is shining. When it isn't shining it is usually during a thunderstorm. Which is also one of my favorite things!
As a kid, and well, as an adult...I have been known to dance in the rain. My brother and I once were dancing in the rain when lightning struck pretty close. Yikes! That was a bit scary. There is something about a thunderstorm that I have loved my whole life. You can sit back and watch a storm roll in. Mother nature has full control and it pours, the thunder cracks and you can see the lightning- there is so much energy in the air. I love it! Everything gets cleaned, and the air has that great rain smell. In Florida, it's even more exciting as it generally is intense but only lasts only a few minutes to a half hour. Then...the sun comes back out!
You also have the beach...which heals pretty much everything! You can sit and listen to the waves and relax. All the stress seems to ebb away with the tide. You can play in the waves and have the sun keep you warm. Florida just makes me feel better!
While in Florida I enjoy eating at a few restaurants that I know are safe. My favorite place to eat is So Napa!
This restaurant started here in New Smyrna Beach but has now expanded to Ormond beach and Jacksonville beach. The food here is amazing! The employees are great about ensuring I can eat safely!
I had a great meal, as always! They have great gluten-free options, like their baked Brie that, when ordered gluten-free, comes with Schar table crackers and grapes. They also have Highway 29's Famous Pork Chop which is very good. As I've said before, I'm a pretty picky eater and I'm not often able to find great gluten-free pizza. I believe So Napa, has some of the best gluten-free pizza I have found, so I often eat it while I'm there. So Napa has an amazing Key Lime Martini! If you tell your server you need it gluten-free they will make it without graham cracker crumbs. It is delicious!
Right next to SoNapa in New Smyrna Beach is the Kembali Teak Gallery and The Boardshack. You can find them on Facebook @kembaliteakgallery. This is a really neat store! They have various unique wood furniture. I enjoy walking through their store every time I'm in the area.
As I said earlier, I love that you can be outside all year in Florida. Here are a few pictures of some of the paths you can walk on and some of the flowers that were blooming when I was there. I enjoy getting up early, before it gets too hot, and going for a bike ride. Here is some of the vegetation I saw while bike riding and walking!
Just going for a walk you can see flowers in bloom, smell the ocean, and hear the birds singing. What more could you ask for?
Another great restaurant in New Smyrna Beach is Norwood's. I have visited this restaurant over several years. This time it seems that they have made more changes to make it easier to eat here if you are gluten-free. Instead of putting hush puppies on plates, for those that do not need gluten-free, they have started putting all hush puppies in a separate bowl on the table. I think this makes it safer for those eating gluten-free as no one accidentally puts a hush puppy on a gluten-free plate. They have also changed the topping on their salads so they are all now gluten-free.
My daughter got a house salad. All of their dressings are made in-house and are gluten-free. My daughter was happy to have her favorite Ranch dressing with her salad. This is a big deal for her!
I had the Lemon Rosemary Chicken. It was very good! My daughter had the ham chop, or as she said, "it's a pork chop!" It was also very good! Norwood's has an extensive menu with many options. They also have a Treehouse bar. I have honestly never been in it, as I travel with my children, but it does look pretty cool. I mean how can you beat hanging out in a treehouse as an adult?
Another WONDERFUL trip to Florida! We had a very quick trip this time but had some wonderful weather and great food! I can't wait for the next time!