Getaways & Groupon

This past weekend I spent a few days in Jacksonville Florida. I was looking for an affordable weekend getaway, and I happened to see a good deal for a hotel on Groupon, so I snatched it up. So me, my boyfriend and his dog Jojo headed out on Friday afternoon and started driving north. It was a very last minute trip, so on the ride there I was busy on Pinterest and google trying to find the best places to eat (the most important thing, obviously). We were planning to meet some friends when we got there, so I was looking for somewhere relaxed and fun for Friday night. I found a place called Kickbacks Gastropub that was calling our name. Cool environment and delicious food. They had pretty much every kind of food you could want. They even had a “vintage” menu that included spaghetti Os, hamburger helper and a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich. As much as I was tempted by the PB and fluff sandwich, I decided on a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw that pulled out my southern roots and my boyfriend had a giant bacon cheeseburger. An excellent start to the weekend.

This was Jojo’s first overnight vacay. She is a rescued terrier mix somewhere around the age of 2 or 3. She wears a Mohawk proudly and listening is not her best attribute, but she is pure entertainment. When we left for dinner, we decided the best option was to put her bed and toys in the bathroom and close the door, so we didn’t risk any accidents on the hotel carpet. Well… we came back from dinner to find she had escaped her small prison, broken into her bag of food, finished off a king size Kit Kat and had completely demolished the bed. Ok, Jojo, point taken, no more locking you in the bathroom, got it.

Saturday we hit the gym in the morning. Not something I would normally want to do but I had a big day of eating ahead of me so I figured I should try to burn a few calories. Remember that healthy food kick I said I’ve been on? Yeah me neither. We went to a place called Whiskey Jax for brunch. The menu looked fantastic. They had several delicious options. I desperately wanted the Nutella French toast because I adore anything with the word Nutella in it. However, I had a very sweet, chocolate filled afternoon planned for us so I went for an omelet that was filled with Brie cheese (another weakness of mine) and crab. My boyfriend ordered chicken and waffles. It had delicious fried chicken on top of a bacon waffle (can I get an amen) with bourbon syrup on the side. He also ordered bourbon whiskey chicken wings as an appetizer…I have no explanation for that besides the boy can eat. The wings were also delicious. Brunch: success.

The plan after late brunch was to go hang out with Jojo for a bit (who now has a complete fan club at the hotel and she has decided she loves the vacay life) and then go to the place I was most excited about, “Sweet Petes.” I had found this place on Instagram that was described as “23,000 sq feet of candy”. Um yes, don’t mind if I do. I drooled over the website at brunch as my boyfriend made fun of my love for sugar. I kindly said to him, this will be a judgment free zone and you will not comment on how much candy I’m about to buy. Agreement settled. As all of you know, the game plan you make can quickly change. As we were driving back to the hotel from brunch, about 4 minutes from the hotel, we hear a loud bang and quickly realize we popped a tire. Fantastic. We were on a dangerous curve on the interstate and ended up having to back down the highway a decent amount in heavy traffic to get to a shoulder. Now, keep in mind this is a fairly new relationship between my boyfriend and I. We are going on 6 months and everything is rainbows and butterflies so far. So I think to myself ok, this is a good test, couples bonding time…I hope. Bless the boy’s heart, after about 45 minutes, the flat tire is off, and the spare is on. He puts it in drive, and after hearing a horrible, fingernails down a chalkboard screech, he realizes it is on backward. I have a bad habit of laughing at really inappropriate times. So I just start cracking up in the front seat, and luckily he’s laughing as well. I mean at that point, why get angry or upset, just deal with it and make it fun. Couples bonding time over a flat tire, check.

After dropping the car off at Tire Kingdom, we grab an uber and head to Sweet Pete’s. The time has finally come people. I’ve waited all day patiently for this. 23,000 sq ft of candy is calling my name. I’ve worked out and only eaten an omelet to prepare for this. Bring. It. On. We pull up to a beautiful old, country style home, walk up the steps and walk into heaven. I am not joking here, I walked in and literally said, this is what heaven is going to look like. Sign me up for chocoholics anonymous, I know. The first room is full of bouquets of flowers, which I quickly realize is made of candy. I’m in a dream. It must be a dream. At this point I say, “you know I’m just going to go on and grab a shopping basket I think I’m going to need it,” then reminding the boyfriend this is a judgment free zone. I walk around 2 stories of candy with googly eyes. The bottom floor was all prepacked candies and truffles. The top floor had a “dessert cafe” that had ice cream, and a few pastries in one room and in the next room was yet another room full of candy. I ended up with everything from chocolate covered homemade marshmallows to peanut butter praline truffles. Hands down the best thing I purchased was the dark chocolate sea salt caramels. Holy guacamole they were amazing. I’m pretty sure we downed all of those while we were waiting for our Uber back to the hotel. If you go to Jacksonville, I highly recommend stopping at Sweet Pete’s. It’s truly an experience. The old home is absolutely beautiful, and the decor is so whimsical and fun it brings true meaning to feeling like a kid in a candy store. As we walked out, I saw a sign that read, “never under estimate the power of chocolate.” Yep, these are my people.

Check out was at 12 Sunday. I’m embarrassed to say we finished Saturday off with pizza for dinner plus the majority of my purchases at Sweet Petes so Sunday we were hoping for something a bit lighter and healthier for lunch. I spotted a Zoe’s Kitchen just down the road and knew that was the answer. We have a Zoe’s about 30 minutes from my hometown, and it’s one of my favorite places. They have wonderful, healthy, delicious choices. We started with the hummus trio which is to die for. I had chicken kabobs with a side of braised white beans a fruit, and the boyfriend had steak kabobs. It was a first for him at a Zoe’s, and he very quickly became a fan. It totally hit the spot and now we don’t feel like complete fatties, kind of. We went home fat and happy. All in all, Jacksonville was a great weekend getaway. Now, back to my clean eating and exercising… after I finish all my candy of course.

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