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When Chris and I first married, we committed to regular date nights and quick romantic getaways a few times a year. Now clearly when the stars are aligned this would happen, but in the real world date nights on the reg and quick getaways are fewer and further between that what we’d hoped. Still though, we’ve committed to doing whatever we can to make these things happen as much as we can. It would absolutely be easier at times to let it go, not make plans, forget the hassle of arranging a sitter and stay in, and at times because of budget, that’s what we do. But for us it’s important, even if we need to sacrifice in other areas, to invest in us and in our marriage. That’s why this dating series came to be, and that’s why an overnighter together is a priority… well at least every year or so!
Recently, we had the amazing opportunity to take our overnight date to the other coast of Florida and enjoy some larger waves than the gulf usually gives us, a kid-free night thanks to my parents in town and an amazing spa retreat thanks to One Ocean Resort and Spa. Yes, the stars aligned. It was a mix of my favorite things, in no particular order, the beach, my favorite man on the planet, a good book, a gorgeous and relaxing spa, a cobblestone downtown with amazing food selections… yes my favorite things indeed!
The great thing for us is that it was a fairly quick road trip across the state, which makes it even easier for us to take off at a moments notice (or a few days’ notice which is usually how we plan our trips!), although the resort is just minutes away from the Jacksonville airport as well.
We figured we start our little vacation off with a spa treatment, and especially since we didn’t have days to unwind, we wanted to kickstart ourselves to the slower pace and rhythm of a beach front getaway.
The Spa at One Ocean was the ultimate tranquil escape for us, and I could have just chilled out in their ocean view relaxation room watching Dolphin’s frolic in the surf for hours. Our couples massage indulged us with that view as well though, being the only oceanfront spa on Florida’s first coast, and then a dip in the hot tub and a spritz of eucalyptus in the steam shower was just what we needed to loosen up and settle in for a night away.
If you get a chance, try their specialty, The Seashell Massage (like a hot stone massage but with special seashells)!
We squeezed in as much as we could on this trip, which also included as much Mexican food as our bodies could take. I’m not sure about you, but when I’m beach bumming I crave guacamole and chips like nothing else. Well, that and fruit. We took our hefty appetites to indulge in amazing tacos at The Flying Iguana, which thankfully was just a few steps down the cobblestone streets of Town Center because we quickly hurried through an evening rain back to the cover of our hotel afterwards. While everything on the menu looks delectable, I recommend trying a variety of a la carte tacos to sample all of the crazy good flavors. Oh yeah, and the queso too.
We ventured down the tree lined street of Town Center a few times…. for a coffee run, and basically whenever we got hungry (another eatery we swooned over is M Shack with really good all-natural burgers and crazy awesome flavor combos), but we also spent as much time near the water as possible. And by near, I mean in it, around it and everything in between. A day at the beach without kids meant I could read my book and hop in the water too cool off as often as needed while Chris napped in his own chair next to me. It also meant a swim out in the ocean with my hubby where we happened to encounter quite a few friends! Thankfully we had our phone out in the water with us to capture it all. Seriously, amazing…. you need to see it.
Although we don’t always get the chance to getaway together, and make at-home date nights a regular occurrence, we have made it a priority to take advantage of and create as many opportunities we can. It takes work to make a date away together happen, and with or without kids, travel and adventure is a huge part of our heart and lives. Sometimes it means sacrifice in other areas to make it happen, sometimes it means working things out creatively between schedules and finances. But always, it’s worth it. Our time together is worth it.
And if you happen to find yourself looking for an escape near Jacksonville, this is one to check out. One Ocean Resort offers so many options for families too. We could’ve made a full week out of it with our littles! I loved that there was such a cute downtown area right outside the front door and a beach haven on the other side with the resort standing as median between the two. Plus, there is the Sea Turtles Kids Club for kids to engage in their own fun interactive learning experiences while mom and dad enjoy spa time or a have walk on the beach to themselves… A perfect way to mix in family travel with a bit of date-friendly getaway. Our dream is to continue taking trips together both for us and our marriage and as a family to encourage in our children the confidence and curiosity for new cultures and adventures.
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Tabitha has been named Tampa Bay's most influential mommy blogger and is the writer behind FreshMommyBlog.com as well as hosts her own online cooking show, KitchenWise . She has made appearances on Daytime TV and has been featured multiple times in print and online magazines, other blogs and websites. She's a sought after speaker and has represented many large brands as spokesmodel, including Mitsubishi Motors.
In her own words, "I want to live authentically with as much heart as I can muster, loving those around me to their fullest potential and biggest dreams. Yes, maybe a little dramatic, but living fiercely is part of my make up."