A Day Out

Cummer Museum, Jacksonville

Watching the news coverage of all the cancelled flights and stranded passengers last month made us glad that we decided not to travel this summer. But it really wasn’t those airport scenes which killed our mojo. It was really inflation. The high cost of everything this year — gas, food, etc. — has pretty much kept us very close to home.

We’ve lived vicariously through the trips friends have posted about on Instagram. Sometimes one of us, I won’t reveal the name of the dashing fella, might mutter “show offs!” before slamming the iPad shut, and sidling off to the car for that four mile trek to the gym. A glorious and scenic four miles too, by the way. I just don’t go bragging about it to all my friends is all I’m sayin’. .

However, when all one has is lemons, one makes lemonade. Gas is now under $4.00 a gallon. Not enough to celebrate with a dinner at Ruth’s Chris, but tolerable enough to justify the 40 mile trip back and forth to nearby Jacksonville for a little Saturday fun. Join us for the ride. In fact, do us a solid by offering to fill up the tank when we get you safely back home.

We leave early partly because we know temperatures will be close to 100°F by the early afternoon, and also because our first destination is not exactly rich with parking options.

Our first stop is the Riverside Arts Market, a community farmers and artists market held every Saturday in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood. Riverside is located on the west bank of the St. Johns River and is bounded by Interstate 10 and 95 to the north, the river to the south and east. The market is literally under the freeway overpasses — the kind of thing that probably wouldn’t fly in earthquake-prone California, but doesn’t even merit an eyebrow-raising here in hurricane-prone Florida.

Temperatures are already in the low nineties after arriving, but thankfully those freeway passes do provide a nice cover from the sun and also the occasional rain that falls intermittently ….

After the market, we head over to the nearby Cummer Museum. The museum is free on the first Saturday of the month, which is perfect for us “staycationer” types. We haven’t visited since prior to the pandemic, but even that visit was somewhat marred by the closure of their beautiful gardens from the 2017 onslaught brought on by Hurricane Irma. It took two years and $1.3 million to complete the renovation, and this was our first opportunity to actually walk and witness all the splendors offered. There are actually three separate gardens: the Olmsted, English, and Italian Gardens. Each are separated by short walls via stone, brick, and pavement walkways.

We were able to roam through all three gardens. But at one point the skies opened up and the rain, which had been threatening all morning, finally began to fall. I tried for one more shot as it started to pour, and you can almost see the frustration beginning to mount in my subject’s face.

Good grief, some people act like a few drops are going to kill them…

“Will you hurry up already?!”

Safely back inside, we checked out the visiting exhibit: “Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection At Asia Society.”

We have a lot of bhuddas in our home, at last count at least nine. As beautiful and interesting as ancient ones are to look at, I feared what this exhibit might do to inspire the procurement of even more. Those canny curators at the Cummer anticipated my fears and actually include a special exhibit gift shop for it. The sacred Buddha was looking out for me on this day, however, and we managed to leave with nary a dollar spent. Om Mani Padme Hum.

The museum visit completed, we made our way to the next stop: the Cool Stuff Vintage store, which is located in the Cork Arts District, literally on the outer edges of Riverside. Gorgeous first noticed this place while scrolling local Instagram posts during lockdown. We visited once last year and figured it was time to go again to see what treasures might await us. The problem is that each of us have vastly different ideas of what constitutes a treasure. We ended up calling it a draw, with Gorgeous only buying a few turn of the century appetizer forks and a tiny ceramic lamb. Hard as I tried, I was not able make a persuasive argument for the owl lamps.

Our final stops were in the Baymeadows neighborhood of Jacksonville. Baymeadows is a multicultural area chock full of ethnic grocery stores, delis, restaurants, etc. For Gorgeous, it’s a haven for all the hard-to-get spices and ingredients that she needs in her kitchen arsenal. Her two favorites in particular are the Al Basha middle eastern grocery store; and Raja Indian Spices, whose name speaks for itself. We hit both on this visit, plus quick run-ins to a couple of others before one of us began to wilt from the heat and exhaustion.

It was a fun day with lots of exploring and very easy on the pocketbook. Except for gas, inflation barely laid a glove on us in this round.

Hopefully more exploring as the weather cools a bit in the fall…

Until next time…

45 thoughts on “A Day Out

    1. Wasn’t that TV wonderful? If we had a bigger place (with a basement perhaps?), I’d have loved to get it. The European bakery was closed for vacation unfortunately, and the Columbian bakery I only peeked in this time. It was a hot day, and we already had a few perishables in the car. Next time!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a pleasant day out! First, Gorgeous looks well quite exotic wearing her hat in the garden. Second, I don’t know who collects the Buddha statues, but this could be somebody’s next gift. Was there a special one in the gift shop? Lastly, Marty, I think you missed your opportunity to “sell” the owl lamps to Gorgeous. Think of how utterly charming these owls would be wearing different hats for each holiday – Christmas stockings, green Leprechaun hats, witches’ hats for Halloween, Pilgrim hats for Thanksgiving. You could even stick on a cigarette or a pipe for an extra punch! See what I’m talking about? Maybe gas prices will stay low, and you can return to the store. Just one thing. Please do not tell Gorgeous where you got these ideas. Under any circumstance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I didn’t keep your request, Betty. We both laughed and laughed at your ideas. The pilgrim hats for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) definitely wins the prize for best idea!

      There were loads and loads of Buddha’s, all of them at the usual, insane museum gift shop prices. So in reality, I never even had to break into a sweat. It was never in the realm of possibility. But the ancient ones in the exhibits were a sight to behold for sure. Thanks for the laughs, Betty!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What inflation? Do you have inflation down there? Geez, up here gas is ‘only’ $4.25, and our electricity has only gone up 111%. Covid is rampant, but as long as no one mentions it on the news, it doesn’t exist. Life is good. 🙂 That is quite a Farmers’ Market, and a great use of under the freeway space. I loved the vintage shop even if I don’t have even one Budha or owl lamp. That TV made me chuckle. Those were the days. Remember getting picture tubes and other parts replaced by the local TV repairman? It’s hot down there too? It’s been 100 or more for a week up here and wicked humid. Spices are nice, but what did you buy in the bakery? That’s what I want to know this Monday morning as I drink my coffee. 🙂 Stay cool if you can, and thanks for taking us along on your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, denial. It does make everything better, doesn’t it? 😉

      I do remember the picture tubes being replaced. Just the words “tv repairman” brings back memories. Now we just toss out and replace.

      I think it’s been less hot down here than what you’re getting, which makes zero sense at all.

      The European bakery was unfortunately closed for vacation. It’s a wonderful one, so we’ll just have to go there again sometime. The Columbian one I stuck my head into, but decided we had bought enough already Next time hopefully.

      Stay cool, Judy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have a very positive attitude. I don’t love doing staycations myself because I feel like it’s too easy for me to turn it into an ordinary day, but you may have inspired me because this seems like a real adventure. I did wind up doing some air travel this summer. Flights were delayed about 90 minutes, I didn’t lose my luggage and I had a good time, so I’m going to call it a win, but boy, those stories of airport disasters were scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We renovated our kitchen earlier this year, so in most respects this post is putting up a positive face on our needing to be frugal for a while. 😉. But we’re also both homebodies, so it’s thankfully not too much of a stretch (my ex-wife was a travel agent!). I really don’t want to get on a plane for a couple of years if I can help it. One can’t control emergencies when one has to run to families, though. I’m glad you didn’t have any major problems on your trips this summer.


  4. This looks like so much fun. You know how to go on a perfect staycation. I’m going to take notes because we, too, have decided to pass on traveling anywhere this summer. HOWEVER, there are things to do around here if’n we get our selves motivated.

    [Did you take all you wonderful photos with a cell phone camera? They’re great.]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we’re both in the same boat, Ally, what with home renovations. Currently we’re starting a DIY bathroom “spruce-up”, though we did get a handyman to fix some broken moulding. Our fun budget has been hit, so it’s best to find local things to do and make the best of it.

      Re: photos. Thank you! Yes, just my iPhone SE, believe it or not. But I’ve learned how to edit them a bit for shadows, highlights, etc. after I transfer to my computer. So maybe I know what I’m doing after all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ally, I just recalled something worth sharing. I don’t know if you’re an iPhone user, but if you are there’s one snag in the transferring process to WP. Apple uses a propriety picture format called HEIC. It’s unfortunately accepted by WP, so one has to convert it to a format such as JPG. The process is easy — again on a Mac. It’s simply File/Export… and you choose your format preference (JPG is the usually the first default offered).

        I thought this might be helpful to share!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for this information. Got it. I know that nothing is ever as easy as I hope it’ll be when it comes to photos. I’ll keep this in mind should I actually start to edit my photos better. I tend to be a sluggard when it comes to pictures.


  5. It sounds/looks like it was a fun time! I love seeing the pictures, specially the last one 🙂
    I want to plan a couple of trips in the next few months, but with all the cancelations, and yes the prices, I am having second thoughts,
    I may just stick closer to home for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Marty, You are right how the increased price of everything has a ripple effect. Interesting how the market is under the freeway. And as you say, helps with the heat. A fascinating post, Marty, and I appreciate the photos. You and Gorgeous covered a great deal of ground, an adventure and fun. Do not tell anyone I know about the owl lamps…at some point friends and family decided I would like owls? I know I do not have room for them…..

    Liked by 1 person

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