Unsung Heroes #1

Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

I was unsure as to whether to title this article ‘Hidden Gems’ or “Unsung Heroes”, but as the two businesses I am going to tell you about are on main thoroughfares then to call them “Hidden” seems slightly inappropriate!

Our first unexpected experience happened while on the way to visit St Augustine. We had left Orlando fairly early and driven towards Daytona and then picked up Route A1A to hug the shoreline as we headed north. We couldn’t resist a short stop to dip our toes in the ocean as we drove along the vast sands of Flagler beach and then it was onwards towards St Augustine, while at the same time looking for somewhere to stop for a mid morning coffee. Surprisingly coffee shops seemed in short supply until we spotted the flags outside what proved to be the Java Hut Café.

We quickly pulled into the side of the road next to the beach to park up. Thankfully the highway was not too busy and we were able to cross easily to get to the café. We walked up the ramp to the deck to look for some seats, but most of the tables seemed occupied. However one couple left just as the waitress arrived, and as we needed a table for four she set about moving a couple of the high tables and their chairs to create places for us in the corner of the deck.

Once seated we were amazed by the wonderful view over the Atlantic and then set about ordering our ‘elevenses’. While our wives went for coffee and toast, my friend and I, part persuaded by our friendly waitress, ordered toasted bagles with cream cheese to accompany our own coffees. We were soon enjoying our toasted delights and, as so often happens in America, our waitress, drawn by our accents, came over to chat. After the usual explanation of why we were here (we own a villa) and where we were heading the conversation was suddenly halted as we saw ‘something’ emerge and quickly return to the sea. Our waitress explained that we had just caught a glimpse of a large ray and told us that there would be a fair chance of seeing dolphins if we could stay long enough, although alas this was not to be on this occasion. Christine was quite used to seeing the various ocean inhabitants; even more-so as she was part of the volunteer staff at the dolphin rescue center just a couple of miles along the beach.

My main question for her was ‘how much does a job like your cost? ’! Getting to see amazing sunrises, every day when she opens up, sees dolphins and rays cavorting in the Atlantic and get to work with dolphins in her spare time. My ideal existence!

So if you are travelling along the A1A and fancy a coffee, or something more substantial, while relaxing in front of stunning views, then drop in at the Java Hut Café. We certainly will next time we are passing.

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