Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Walk and Vote

Did you vote today?

My voting precinct is located along the same route that I walk every morning. I decided to take care of two things at once. 

Walk and Vote

It only took a few minutes to pop in and vote and I was on my way again. 

I hope you took the time to vote today.

"Everything is within walking distance if you have the time." 
Steven Wright.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park

This bridge has been on my walk list for quiet a while. We pass it every time we come to Amelia Island but we're usually going somewhere and don't have the time. 

Today we made the time. After eating two hot dogs and lots of cake at my nephew's birthday party we needed a good long walk!

At one time this bridge was one of the many narrow bridges for cars along A1A between Jacksonville and Fernandina  until several years ago when new bridges were built to replace the outdated ones. When I look at this tiny two lane bridge it's hard to believe it carried all the auto traffic along this busy road. Not only cars but this was a popular fishing bridge so people would be lined up along the edge with their fishing poles in the water. 

When the new bridges were built the old bridges were torn down except for this one. Thanks in part to George Crady who was a Florida State Representative, supporter of State Parks and a bait and tackle shop owner, it was left in tact and turned in to a pedestrian only fishing bridge. I'm not a fisherman but this bridge spans the Nassau Sound and according to the Florida State Parks website it's suppose to be the best fishing in Northeast Florida. 

I can't vouch for the fishing but I can tell you it makes a wonderful place to walk. 

You may have to dodge a few sea gulls and fishing poles but there are NO CARS! Walking is safe and the view is outstanding.

A beautiful day to be alive and walking!

The fishing bridge is actually two bridges connected by a road on a small island of land. You can park at either end of the bridge and walk the entire length. 

(The bridge you see on the right in the picture above is the new bridge.)

Gorgeous white sandy beaches. 

A few things to know if you walk this bridge.

  • From one parking lot to the other it was almost 1.5 miles. A nice 3 mile round trip. 
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen- there is no shade!
  • Bring water
  • Entrance to the fishing pier is on the honor system. The fee is $2 per person and that includes entrance to Amelia Island State Park
  • Restrooms are located at the north end of the bridge.
  • The bridge is part of  Amelia Island State Park and is 8 miles south of Fernandina Beach on A1A
  • No pets are allowed on the bridge.

Walking at the Zoo

I've bought a zoo pass every year since our children were young. After one or two visits using the pass it would pay for itself. Even now that our kids are grown and our grandchildren are young enough to get in free I still buy a pass each year. For one thing it's a great way to support your local zoo and another is that the zoo is a fun and safe place to walk. 

We visited the zoo Saturday morning. It was a little chilly so most of the animals were out and active. Which made the walk more interesting. 

It takes us about 1 hour to cover the entire zoo as long as we don't stop too long at any exhibit. Our Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is lovely with lots of gardens and this time of year it's decorated for Halloween. 

There were a few zombies along the paths and lots of pumpkins. 

Parts of the walk are also along the river front which is one of our city's most beautiful sights. 

A walk at the zoo is a fun way to rack up the miles....

Walking With the Club and Lunch at Mossfire Grill in Riverside

Walking alone can be a wonderful time to pray and think and get your creative juices flowing. 

Walking with a partner has its benefits as well. A time to talk and hash out problems or just share dreams and make plans. 

Sometimes a group is good...last year we joined a walking club. We were hoping for a chance to meet a few new friends who shared our love of walking. We also saw it as a way to venture out of our comfort zone and walk places in our town where we've never walked before. 

Last weekend we took a 10k group walk to Riverside,

Jacksonville is a beautiful city to walk and Riverside is one of my favorite neighborhoods. 

Moss draped tree lined streets.

The gorgeous St Johns River

Beautiful old houses. (John, Hint, hint...this one's for sale.)

One benefit of taking a 10k walk


Mossfire Grill 
1537 Margaret Street
Jacksonville, Florida 

This was our first visit and I'm glad we decided to stay for lunch. The menu is mostly Southwestern fare with a nice selection of  tacos, burittos, enchiladas and quesadillas. A few surprises thrown in like crab cakes and meatloaf with mushroom gravy means a little something for every taste. 

I decided on the Chicken and Spinach Quesadilla

A flour tortilla filled with chicken, goat cheese, white cheddar, spinach and roasted garlic. Served with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. 

The tortilla was grilled so it was slightly crisp. I really liked the goat cheese. It added a salty, savory flavor to the mild chicken and spinach. 

John ordered the Stacked Pulled Pork Enchilada. I'll be honest when it came to the table we weren't sure it was an enchilada. That is until the waitress pointed out that it was stacked and not rolled!

Slow roasted carnitas style pork on blue corn tortillas smothered with ranchero sauce, cheese and sour cream. Served with rice and black beans.

We shared so I got to taste the enchilada and it was delicious. I liked my quesadilla but I really enjoyed the enchilada. 

Even though we got to the restaurant around 11am quite a few tables were already filled. The service was friendly and our meals came out quickly. 

Lunch for two with water to drink including the tip was $22. A little pricey for lunch but we made it our main meal for the day. I don't mind paying a little more if the food and service is really good. And it was really good at Mossfire Grill. 

Happy Walking!

Friday, October 24, 2014

What's On My Feet

One reason I like to walk is that you don't need a lot of expensive equipment. To start a walking program the only thing you really need is a good pair of shoes. (Some people do walk barefooted but not me!)

I've owned several different brands of walking shoes. Nike and New Balance are two favorites but Skechers are my new go to shoes.

Skechers are lightweight with breathable uppers.  Memory foam makes walking in these shoes very comfortable.

Even the little strappy dress shoes are great shoes for walking around town. I wouldn't wear them for strenuous long walks but they're great for a marathon shopping trip!

A few shoes tips:

  • When trying on new shoes be sure to wear the socks that you'll be using when you walk so you'll get a proper fit. 
  • If your feet tend to swell shop for new shoes at the end of the day to get the best fit. 
  • Don't think you can break in new shoes. If they don't feel good at the store they won't feel good in another week.
  • Do walk around the house in your new shoes. That way if you decide they aren't comfortable for some reason you'll be able to return them. It's harder to return shoes after you've walked outside. (Each store is different but this is the policy at many shoe stores. Check on the return policy before you buy)
  • Having two pairs of walking shoes allows you to rotate shoes each day. This will give each pair time to air out between walks. 
  • If you don't have two pairs of shoes to rotate you can use a blow dryer set on low or cool to dry the shoes between wearing. A dryer sheet tucked inside will also freshen up smelly shoes or a sprinkle of baking soda works pretty good.

Leave me a comment and let me know your favorite walking shoe...

(I purchased Skechers myself and I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Step By Step

Several years ago I began wearing a pedometer. This is a little gizmo that counts each step I take. This one simple thing changed my whole outlook when I realized that I was I was taking less than 5000 steps a day.

 According to an article at About Health less than 5000 steps is considered sedentary. I'd always thought of myself as fairly active so this was a wake up call. 

See the article "How Many Pedometer Steps Per Day is Enough?" for more details.

When I first started wearing a pedometer my goal was to increase my steps by 500 to 1000 steps a day. I slowly worked my way up to taking 10,000 of more each day and I've kept up that pace for the last 3 years. 

10,000 steps isn't a magic number but one many people aim for. For me 2100 steps is equal to 1 mile so I'm walking around 4 - 5 miles each day. Weekends usually find us walking the trails at a local state park or participating with our walking club and my steps can go up to 16,000 or more. 

A few tips pedometer tips:
  1. Buy a good pedometer. I use one by Omron. You can buy pedometers that track miles, calories burned, heart rate, etc. but I like this that just keeps up with the steps. 
  2. Don't use the freebies that are given away at health fairs. You can jiggle those in your hand and up your steps. That doesn't help you at all.
  3. I put my pedometer on as soon as I get out of bed. It's surprising how many steps you can take just fixing breakfast. 
  4. If your pedometer doesn't come with a good clasp rig up a way to hold it sucurely on your waistband. I found this out the hard way when my pedometer came off my pants while in the bathroom at Sears. It wasn't pretty...
  5. Track your steps and aim to add steps each day until you reach a number that's right for you.
  6. Have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Number of steps are important but shouldn't be your only goal.

I purchased this Omron pedometer at Walgreens for about $15. I've had it for 2 years and I've replaced the battery once. That's a good deal...

Do you wear a pedometer? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Alone With God- A Prayer Walk

I like to walk in the mornings by myself. It gives me time to be alone with the Lord. If something is bothering me or I'm trying to make a decision about something I give it over to Jesus and usually by the end of my walk I have a clearer idea of what I need to do. 

During these early morning walks I also thank the Lord for His many blessings. I call to mind the times He has been faithful to answer my prayers. Not always the way I wanted but He always hears and answers. His answers are a million times better than anything I could come up with!

Getting outside and seeing God's world helps me to have a better attitude. I look at simple things like what we call weeds that grow in the ditches. God cares so much that He makes even the lowly weed beautiful. I know He loves and cares for me so much more. 

Where is your favorite place to spend time alone with the Lord?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Together - Walking the Trail at Ft Caroline

It was cool this morning so we decided to take a walk in the woods. 

We choose Ft. Caroline National park because it was near a store where I needed to stop. Ft. Caroline is part of the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. 

This is a neat place to walk. You can walk on the river side and get a history lesson at the remains of Fort Caroline or cross the street and walk by the Spanish Pond. We decided to walk the pond area because there are lots of hills and hills are hard to come by in this part of Florida. 

The trail was overgrown in places but passable. I forgot the bug spray so we couldn't stop for very long because mosquitoes were hungry and they'd land on any warm blooded body that was standing still. 

There were quite a few people on the trail. I liked that everyone was friendly and spoke as we passed. Even though the trail was pretty strenuous there were several families walking with their kids and dogs. 

It warmed up pretty quick and I was glad I brought a cold bottle of water. 

Before this walk we were 41 miles over our 500 miles together challenge. This Sunday afternoon walk added another 3 miles. Feels good to be out ahead.

(also forgot my camera so no pictures to share:(

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Move - Take a Simple Walk

Please note due to being away from internet access I'm starting this challenge late...although I didn't begin on October 1 my goal is to write for 31 days...

My father-in-law is 93 years old (young). He still hikes in the mountains near his home, is active in his church, grows roses, and just celebrated his wedding anniversary to his younger (83yrs) second wife.

Some might say the fact he is well into what most would call old age is due to good genes or just the luck of the draw.  He attributes it to a beer a day and plain stubbornness.

I'm not sure but I know that one thing he does is to stay on the move. He gets up every morning, puts on  his shoes and goes to early mass. He does this every morning and then stays active all day till it's time for bed.

His philosophy is to keep moving and my husband and I have adopted his way of thinking. We don't grow roses (or anything else for that matter) or go to mass every day but we do walk and stay active. 

Just a simple 30 minute walk can work wonders. Some days we walk our neighborhood. Other days we go somewhere special like to the beach or a nearby park. If outdoor options are out of the question then we clock our miles on a treadmill or by walking in our local mall.

I don't know if walking will help slow down the aging process but I do know I feel better. When I'm worried or anxious and I start walking I can feel the stress leave my body. That knot that forms in my stomach when I'm overwhelmed slowly unwinds.  When I'm feeling blue or unproductive a simple walk can help me snap out of whatever has me down. 

Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself.
"Walking is man's best medicine."

Lace up and take a walk!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of Walking - Welcome!

Anyone who drops in from Write 31 Days:

I failed in my efforts to write for 31 days about walking. I did get up to day 11 but it went down hill from there. I have walked everyday but I find writing and posting everyday to be too much for me. It sort of took the pleasure out of my day...

I hope you'll still take a look around and see some of the beautiful places I walk and maybe learn about the benefits of walking.

Thanks for dropping in.

Walking is my number ONE way to stay healthy. There's been tons of studies done on the health benefits of walking. Among other things walking can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, fight off depression and increase your creativity. Almost anyone can walk, it's free (one of my favorite words), can be done just about anywhere, and the only equipment needed is a decent pair of shoes . 

So for 31 days I'll be posting about places I walk and other walking related information.

For more information on this challenge check out the Write 31 Days website.

Lace up and let's go walking!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Walking in Our Neighborhood

"Manners is the key thing. Say for instance when you're growing up, you're walking down the street, you've got to tell everybody good morning. Everybody. You can't pass one person."
Usain Bolt

When we first started walking in our new neighborhood we were surprised by how many cars passed by and no one acknowledged us.

 No lifting of the hand for a friendly wave, no nod of the head and certainly no eye contact. 

I was discouraged by the thought that we'd moved to the wrong place. A place so unfriendly that our  own neighbors could so easily ignore us we walked down the street. John on the other hand accepted the situation as a challenge. He was determined to break the barrier and get people to wave. 

So from that moment on we waved at every single car that past by. At every single person we saw standing in their yard or on the front porch. And by wave I mean a hand up in the air so you can't miss it kind of wave! 

Guess what? In just a few short days we had pretty much everyone greeting us on the road. Even a few arm out the window kind of waves and a horn honk here and there:-)

 It's amazing how a simple wave can change your whole attitude and make the day seem sunnier. It's also just plain good manners!

I do love my neighborhood and I walk almost everyday. I'm sharing just a few photos from  my last morning  walk. 

There's usually a few people out walking and biking.

Many houses in our neighborhood are located on 2-3 acre lots with a few mini farms thrown in. 

Parts of the sidewalk (where there is a sidewalk) look like a trail in the forest. 

Beautiful 'weeds' grow in all the ditches...

That's just a glimpse of my neighborhood. 

Lace up and get to know your neighbors!

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Great Florida Birding Trail at Ft Clinch State Park

On the way home from Tallahassee I saw several signs for the Florida Birding Trail. Had they always been there and I just never noticed? A quick search on the Internet when we got home and I had all the info I needed. 

"The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation Commission. AT its core is a network of 515 sites throughout Florida selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing or educational opportunities." From the  Great Florida Birding Trail website.

I just knew that one of these 515 sites would have to become our next walk. Since we are very close to Fernandina we decided to check out the trail at Ft. Clinch State Park. 

The trail begins at the parking lot for the fishing pier. A neat little kiosk provided plenty of information about Florida birds and the birding trail. 

It's a half mile walk from the parking lot to the end of the fishing pier. We were there pretty early so we decided to get walking before the noon day sun started bearing down. There were lots of people fishing from the pier. Even one guy who had a good size shark on his line. It made me glad I was walking on the pier and not swimming. You never know what might be swimming right by your ankles...Yikes!

Under the pier

On the pier

Above the pier

The walk on the fishing pier was pleasant. There was a nice cool breeze coming off the water. Several flocks of birds flew overhead while we were on the pier. I believe these are pelicans. OK I've lived in Florida my whole life with the exception of two long years in Texas. I'm ashamed to say I don't really know much about Florida birds...

 The rest of our walk wasn't quite as enjoyable. After a nice lunch in the picnic area by the fort we took the walking trail through the woods.  Not a breath of air was stirring. It was HOT! Even the birds and squirrels were smart and stayed quite in the shade. 

But that's summer in Florida...

For more information on the Great Florida Birding Trail check out their website.

Lace up and learn something new about your area.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Beach Walk at Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is a Georgia State Park that boasts over 8 miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches. The island has many places to walk including the historic Millionaire Village once a vacation home to America's wealthiest families including the Vanderbilts, Rockefeller, Goodyear, and Pulitzer to name a few.

We started the day off at the Georgia Sea Turtle Museum where we joined an educational tour about alligators on Jekyll. This included a ride over the south beach and a walk to locate an alligator that had a tracking device. We were able to track this gator to a sewer pipe in the parking lot of a hotel. You never know what's right under your feet!

The highlight of the day was the long walk on the beach. There's nothing nicer than cooling your feet off in the ocean...

Take a walk and get your feet wet!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend Walking in Savannah, Georgia


A Weekend in Savannah, Georgia
June 27 and 28 

Savannah is just a 2 hour drive from Jacksonville so it makes an easy weekend trip. We drove up on Saturday afternoon and arrived in time to take a nap and get ready for dinner. 

Dinner at Johnnie Harris 

1651 E Victory Dr
Savannah, Ga

Johnnie Harris Restaurant was established in 1924 and although the place has been updated over the years it retains an old fashioned atmosphere. It felt almost like being in 1930 with dark paneling and high ceilings. There was a large area in the center of the restaurant that looked like it could be used as a circular dance floor. It was surrounded by intimate booths around the perimeter. 

The food was good. I had the barbecue pork plate with fries and coleslaw. The pork had a really good smoky flavor and the coleslaw was perfect but I think John made the better choice health wise. He had salmon with sweet potatoes and broccoli. He said it was delicious. 

I love this! It's Earth rising! Located at 14 E 73rd Street. Originally a storage tank built in the 1950s by Savannah Gas Company it's been painted to resemble the earth. It now carries an advertisement for the Savannah Mortgage Company. 
You can read more about this at Roadside America.

Historic Savannah 10K Walk

This walk was set up by The Happy Wanderers Walking Club and is self guided. You can pick up the directions and a map at the Savannah History Museum and Visitors Center: 303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Savannah, Ga 31401. Just go to the front desk at the museum and ask for the start box. 

I was intrigued by all the staircases in this city. This is just one view. 

This is Forsyth Park at Gaston Street and Bull Street. It's one of many parks and squares that dot this town. I loved that there was so much activity going on. People sitting and talking, riding bikes, walking and a young couple (see the guy kneeling down?) having their pregnancy photos taken. Large oak trees that shade the park and a beautiful cast iron fountain that was that was erected in 1858 make this a lovely place to walk.

If you continue on in Forsythe Park past the fountain you'll come to the Confederate Memorial. The monument was erected in 1874 to honor those who fought and died in the Confederacy. It's interesting to note that the monument was made in Canada with Canadian materials and brought to Savannah by ship so no part of it touched Yankee soil. History runs deep here. 

If you're walking for AVA credit be sure to take the time to walk around the monument and make note of the names of the Confederate officers on the two bust at the front and rear. You'll be tested later:-)

This is a friendly town full of Southern hospitality. While we were trying to take a selfie in one of the parks a young couple walking their dogs stopped and offered to take our picture. 

We did venture down to the water front but it was packed with tourist so we didn't linger. To me it was nicer walking by the old houses and through the many parks and squares. 

There's a lot of history to be found not to far from home. 

For more information on how you can enjoy walks of this kind check out the American Volkssport Association.

Lace up and visit a town near you!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Walking to a Destination

Most of the time our walks meander around from our car (or house) and back with no real destination in mind. Our goal is to just walk and chalk up steps and miles. Today we decided to do something different and actually walk to a chosen destination.

We parked at the MOSH with the intention of walking to European Street on San Marco to have lunch. It was actually only about a mile from where we parked to the restaurant so we added some walk time by going over the bridges.

First we walked over the Main Street bridge to the Landing.

A lot of sailboats docked at the Landing. There was also a charity walk for the Kidney Foundation. Nice to see activity down on the waterfront.

Then over the Acosta to San Marco. It was very hot on top of the bridge. A bright sunny day with no breeze. This is a view of the Landing from the Acosta. Very pretty waterfront city.

After lunch at European Street we took the long way back by going through the San Marco area. Walking down Hendricks Ave. we came across some old buildings. One was the South Jacksonville City Hall built in 1913. Learned something new today. 

We also encountered a man who I think was homeless. He walked with us a while and told us about living in Pittsburgh. He was nice and didn't ask for money so maybe he wasn't homeless. Maybe he thought we were...

After we got home John informed me that if we walked one more mile we'd be caught up on our goal of walking 500 miles this year. So off to Winn Dixie we went. We parked and walked down to where the Salvation Army is on Lem Turner, turned around and came back to Winn Dixie where we did our shopping.

Yeah! We're not behind anymore!!! Let's hope we can keep it that way.

 Lace Up and Walk you might learn something new about your city!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Walking in the Rain- Tillie Fowler Regional Park

We took the little guy to the park even though we were pretty sure it was going to rain...Are we bad grandparents? 

I don't think so. A little rain never hurt anyone...and he had fun...

Tillie Fowler Regional Park is located on US 17 across the street from the main gate to Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Most of the trail is cover with a nice boardwalk. Good thing because there was a lot of standing water. 

This is the Tower Trail that takes you to a 3 story wooden tower that looks out over the woods toward the river. 

As you walk along the boardwalk you can see brick roads that crisscross under the trail. 

This area was once used by the Department of War and the brick roads were used for movement of men and animals. 

Don't be afraid to get your feet wet, lace up and walk in the rain!

Self Guided Walking Tour of Monticello, Florida

Heading home after a visit with our son and his family we took a side trip to visit the town of Monticello. I've seen the sign for this historic town many times but we've never taken the time to visit. I was happy that we did take the time on this trip.

At the Chamber of Commerce we found a brochure for a tour that could be made on foot or in the car. Of course we took the foot route.  I forgot to take a water bottle that I could carry with me but I thought we'd find a place to stop for a cool drink if needed. Wrong! Nothing is open in this quaint little town on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately most of the walk was in the shade so we didn't suffer too badly.

We stopped by the Chamber on Commerce 420 W. Washington Street to pick up a map of the walking tour.
The Chamber of Commerce is located in a cute little converted church. Even though it was closed on Sunday the maps are located in a stand at the front door. 

Monticello Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce

Monticello Opera House was built in 1890 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The walking tour took us by several churches. This is the most interesting one (in my opinion:-)
Christ Episcopal Church located on High Street was built in 1885. 

Interesting details on this building. Lots of intricate woodwork and beautiful stain glass windows. The woodwork sets it apart from other Episcopal Churches built around this time. 

Anytime a walk includes a cemetery I'm happy. Weird but true...

City Cemetery 


There are many early settlers of this area laid to rest here as well as Union and Confederate Soldiers.

Next time we see an interesting sign we won't wait so long to check it out! 

Get off the main road lace up and start walking!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Walking in Historic Springfield

Springfield is the oldest residential area in Jacksonville. Established in 1869 Springfield saw tremendous growth after the Great Fire of 1901 destroyed the downtown area. An eclectic grouping of bungalows, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Prairie School, Mediterranean and Stick style homes sit along tree shaded streets. By the 1920's many of Jacksonville's richest and most powerful families lived in Springfield.  

By the time I worked at the Springfield Atlantic Bank at 8th and Main in the late 1970's and early 80's many families had abandoned the area in favor of newer neighborhoods. The area was blighted and many of beautiful homes were left to deteriorate.

In 1987 the Springfield neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was a renewed interest in the area and in 2010 Southern Living magazine spotlighted Springfield as the #1 comeback neighborhood of the South.. In 2013 This Old House placed Springfield fourth on their list of sixteen of the Best Old House Neighborhoods in the South.

This was the first walk we took with the First Coast Trail Forgers walking club. The walk started at 10am with about 15 people. We enjoyed walking with Mark and Gloria a couple that have been involved with the club for many years.

It was a really nice walk with beautiful houses and big trees. The 5K walk took us about an hour and then we ate lunch at a little cafe at the start point of the walk. The Three Layers Cafe located at 1602 Walnut Street offered a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, soup and the most wonderful looking desserts. I had a turkey and artichoke grilled sandwich with chips. John had a Cuban with potato salad. I stole a taste of the potato salad and it was very good. Even though we passed on dessert it was the perfect way to end a walk.

At the start of the walk we were all together. That didn't last long as
the power walker blew on down the road. 
A small sampling of the renovated homes.

I would love to see inside that room at the top of the tower.

St Mary Episcopal Church on N Laura Street. 
It was a sweet surprise when we spied this little gem in the middle of a residential block. St Mary Episcopal Church. There she was. Red door and all...I wonder if the power walkers even noticed?

There's still work to be done...

Lots of interesting places to see...

Are you ready to lace up your shoes and go walking?