Girls’ Day Out – Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and New Smyrna Beach
The pups were very upset with me yesterday. Even though I've been on vacation this week and at home with the pups every day, they somehow have picked up the ability to read a calendar. They knew it was Friday. Friday is normally our day to go explore a new park or a new trail. Normally I grab a cup of coffee and my laptop, sit in the garden and write, and then we go for a walk.
Yesterday I got coffee, got dressed, and they were ecstatic. They lined up by the door and their little hopes were dashed when I didn't take them for a walk. I went to the beach with my daughter.
During last week's Pup Walk to Smyrna Dunes Park, the first thing I saw when we hit the trail was the lighthouse across Ponce Inlet. I was curious about the lighthouse and put it on our Things to Explore list.
Daughter and I were both off yesterday, so we explored it.
As it turns out, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida – 175 feet tall.
I think it would have been faster to swim across the inlet from the dog beach than it was to drive there. It was a lot more mileage than I expected given its proximity to New Smyrna Beach but it was worth it.
We arrived at just the right time – it was gorgeous and not terribly hot yet (the lighthouse is not air-conditioned).
There are 203 steps to the top.
The good news is, it’s not a straight shot straight up. There are landings and windows to peer out of along the way with beautiful views of the beach and the ocean (which didn’t come through in the photograph).
The views from the top are spectacular. I could have sworn we took pictures, but apparently I was so busy admiring the view I didn’t take any. It was fun to stand on the observation deck, look out over Ponce Inlet and see the dog beach where we were a week before.
After surviving the climb (and descent) we explored the keepers’ houses, the gift shop
and then it was off to lunch.
Just up the road is a lovely little restaurant called Down the Hatch.
Instead of a server, an egret welcomed us.
Florida weather being ever-changeable, we noted a few clouds gathering but chanced the deck anyway. The view was lovely, the breeze was wonderful and sometimes the clouds pass on by.
This was not one of those times.
After a mad scramble to the covered part of the deck we enjoyed our boiled shrimp, coconut shrimp, and frozen strawberry daiquiris.
By then, the weather had turned again
We explored the beach
And both sides of Flagler Avenue
Popped in and out of several delightful shops and galleries
Stopped for ice cream
said goodbye to the beach
and drove into the most horrendous storm on the way back.
I have been in hurricanes that had less rain and better visibility than that storm!
We made it home safely and even the storm couldn’t put a damper on a most enjoyable day.
However, the pups are still sulking so I’m off to take them for a walk before today’s rain!