Our Recent Trip to Pensacola!

Hello Everyone! We were finally able to visit our daughter in Pensacola, FL for a few days last week. It wasn’t the beach trip that we had planned in May, but we packed in a lot in the two and a half days that we spent there.

We arrived mid day and spent an hour or so at her charming 1920’s bungalow she’s renting with a couple of roommates. We still had a little time to kill before we could check into our hotel, so we walked to Bayview Park which is only a few blocks from her house. The first day was very warm, in the mid 90’s, but there was a breeze. After that we checked in to our hotel near the airport, which was only a few minutes from her house.

The conditions at the hotel were very good. The employees all wore masks and so did we. Once we checked in, no one but us came into the room. We could request new towels and trash service, but we were only there a few days, so we didn’t need anything. Breakfast was very basic, but they did have premade hot sandwiches. For the most part we walked up and down the four flights of stairs several times a day. We wore our masks when we did get on the elevator and never got on with more than one person.

My daughter works for the Pensacola Bay Oyster Company. They spawn and raise oysters to sell mostly to restaurants along the Gulf coast. They have been selling them to individuals during this time since the restaurants were closed. She spent the first 10 months harvesting the oysters on the “farm” in Escambia Bay. Now she’s responsible for the Bottle Nursery, where the babies go to grow large enough to move to the farm. She also helps out at the Hatchery, where the spawning and initial growing phase is. The company has 8 of those big tanks with millions of oyster seeds in them. She had to feed the seed at the Hatchery the first night so we got the full tour of the process.

This is a bag of about 22000 oysters almost ready to go to the farm at the Bottle Nursery at the company’s other facility. It was quite interesting and now we’ll know what she’s talking about.

After our tour, we picked up dinner at the grocery store and ate at her house. I will say one thing, the people in Florida seem a little bit more lax in wearing masks than here at home. Besides the hotel, that’s the only place we went inside a building. We spent the rest of our time outside.

The next day was beautiful and cooler. My daughter took the day off and we filled the day. Early in the morning, we went to Shoreline Park on Gulf Breeze. This was the park where she took pictures of the baby owls earlier in the year. You can see pictures of them here and here.

We took a walk on the nature trail and obviously a very different landscape than what we are used to walking in. There are palms and live and heritage oaks and other assorted low growing vegetation. This is a heritage oak that dates back to the late 1800’s.

At the end of the nature trail is a boat launch and a pier. There is also a swimming and picnic area.

From the park, you can see the bridge to Pensacola Beach.

We walked to the west where there was a large marshy area.

It was baby season for the Osprey’s and Great Blue Heron’s. This pair was perched at the end of the picnic area.

After leaving Gulf Breeze, we continued on to Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens at the west end of the island. Fort Pickens is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. As we drove through the park, we saw more Osprey nests with babies in them. It was pretty cool to see them. We went out there to watch the Blue Angels practice. The Navy base is still closed and even though the Blue Angels are not doing any shows right now, they are still practicing.

We were probably about 5 or 6 miles from the runways, but pretty close to show center which was around the lighthouse. Just a note about my pictures, I only had my phone (an iPhone 6) so the planes look further away than they really were.

It was a very different perspective because you got to see the planes rejoin after doing their maneuvers. We enjoyed the show and they are planning to restart the shows in late July. They will also be performing their big beach air show in July over 4 days and over more of the beach area so it won’t be so crowed (they hope). My daughter says its packed!

We stayed at Fort Pickens because it was less crowded than going back to the main part of the beach. We had a picnic lunch and enjoyed several hours in the sun and water. We also got a direct flyover by the Blue Angels later in the afternoon. We saw them take off and head east down the beach. They were quiet as they approached us from behind in their diamond formation. Very loud as they went directly overhead about 500 ft above us.

After we returned back to my daughter’s house, she wanted to take us on a bike ride in her neighborhood so we could see all the cute houses in the area, so we did. It was much cooler on that day, only in the low 80’s. We were getting tired, so the three of us went back to the hotel and ordered a pizza for dinner. It arrived just as a thunderstorm and very heavy downpour started. We watched it rain sideways for about 45 minutes. Like I said, it was a very full, but fun day.

The next morning, my daughter had to work, so we hung out at the hotel for a little while then took a walk at Bay Bluffs Park on Escambia Bay near the airport. The trail is mostly a boardwalk with lots of steps down to the water. After that, my husband wanted to drive through the area we had ridden bikes the night before to take a better look at the houses near the water. I was also trying to set up kayak rentals for the afternoon. We got a call from our daughter that she going to the Bottle Nursery, so we asked if we could meet her and see what she did there. So that’s what we did.

We watched her clean the minuscule oysters (not the ones in the picture above) and told her we would go have lunch at the hotel and pick her up shortly to go kayaking.

The rental company brought the kayaks to us at Bayview Park on the Texar Bayou. We started our journey towards Pensacola Bay because that was in a more protected area with marshes and some very big and nice houses on one side. It was also in a no wake zone for boats.

I know I’m pretty goofy looking in the back, but I decided to wear the life vest because there were lots of boats around. Usually they have kayak vests, but this is what we got. They were very clean however and almost looked brand new. We spent a couple of hours paddling around and viewing wildlife. We saw a couple of Great Blue Heron nests with babies in them, too. We paddled north of the park, but that was in more open water, meaning boats and jet skis. Another very pleasant afternoon.

We spent that evening having dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend at an open space restaurant at the beach. The temperatures were so pleasant to sit outside. If we weren’t so tired, it would have been nice to watch the sunset over the Santa Rosa Sound.

So in the two and half days we spent in Pensacola, we hit all the waterways: Escambia and Pensacola Bays, Texar Bayou, Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf. Not too bad. We had such a busy but fun trip. I hope we don’t have to go so long before we see her again.

I hope you enjoyed my travels and a different location this time. We want to go camping, but all the state parks in our area have been full for months. Thanks for stopping by and be well.

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5 Responses to Our Recent Trip to Pensacola!

  1. patsystitch@gvtc.com says:

    We usually have a summer trip to Pensacola but have not planned one this year. Your post may change our minds. Can you share the hotel name? Thank you.

    Like

  2. lydia bowen sheffield says:

    Looks like a y’all had a great time.

    Like

  3. Pingback: WIP Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | The Quilting Nook

  4. Wow, it looks awesome out there. I’m moving to Pensacola next month and was a little worried about the outdoor culture. It looks beautiful! That marshy area and the kayaking looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing about your time visiting!

    Liked by 1 person

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