I just love Daytona Beach. The hard-packed sand is great for long walks and seems especially designed for ocean-side driving (which is actually legal here). This historic Florida town has tons going on for the younger set and is quite easy to navigate. But on a recent Girlfriend’s Getaway, I learned that there is a very upscale side to my favourite beach town where ladies of a certain age can be pampered and dine out in style.
One example of how you can enjoy roughing it with class is the Shores Resort version of making s’mores around the campfire. After enjoying some cocktails on the large backyard patio which sports comfy couches and the most luxurious of outdoor furnishings–we were provided with packages containing all the fixings for s’mores.
Marshmallows, graham crackers, and delicious chocolate were all tucked inside cute packages that were given out and the staff even provided thick metal skewers. ( No need to look for sticks of wood.) Inviting metallic fire-pits dotted the large terrace and groups of women including ours happily lazed on the lovely sofas, drinks in one hand, a goeey s’more in the other. It doesn’t get much better than that.
But there were many more places to eat and visit for girlfriends on a mission to enjoy all the best of what Daytona has to offer. Unique restaurants with great food was the order of the day. Going to Vince Carter’s, a new sports themed restaurant was an event in itself.
Specially designed with the help of the basketball star’s mother, Michelle Carter-Scott, this eatery was very fancy for a “sports bar”. The complex had a bar area that was filled with big screen TVs and to die for mixed drinks. There were also several outdoor patios and a quiet piano lounge. I had a gigantic salad with a side of black bean soup and was very satisfied (to be honest, I was full after my first delicious cocktail).
A Bit of Exercise With More Food
All the food required some physical activity, so we found time to climb all 203 stairs to the top of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and and to enjoy the beautiful scenery on a short kayak trip through Cracker Creek Canoeing.
Unfortunately, all of the sampling during the tour at Daytona’s famous chocolate factory– Angell and Phelps– more than made up for any lost calories.
So yes, we did more than eat on this trip but, admittedly, food was never far from our minds. You just have to know where to look for elegant and unique dining experiences. Speaking of which, I highly recommend The Cellar. This restaurant has a historic background–it was once the home of President Warren G. Harding.
The present owners have chosen to turn the basement area into an elegant Italian experience. The service was helpful and the food was fresh and delicious. Nice circular tables made for fun conversations.
We finally took a break from eating to get some spa treatments. While I found my massage at The Spa at Hilton to be a bit uninspired, I was was blown away by the friendliness and attention to detail that my esthetician at the Ocean Waters Spaprovided provided during my caviar mani-pedi.
I half expected that little eggs would be rubbed onto my hands and feet but actually it is a soothing caviar extract that is applied as a mask.
The trip also gave me the opportunity to develop my non-existent golf swing–with a real pro from LPGA headquarters. Soon I was actually able to make contact with the ball and I really felt that I learned a lot in one lesson. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m ready for a real game but hitting the ball is a start.
The food is unique and delicious featuring many veggie options. And I got such a kick out of the decor, as this place is a throw-back to the granola munching, long haired 60’s with signs and paraphernalia from that era.
I couldn’t leave without buying a t-shirt that said ” hippies use the side doors” a nod to the fact that during Woodstock–restaurants and stores were embarrassed to let the hippies in the front door–but since they needed the business they let them in but not through the front door.
Dancing Avocado is owned and operated by a down to earth family with five kids–all of whom are home schooled and are able to put in time working in the restaurant. You can just feel the healthiness when you eat your veggie filled filled omelet with side dishes such as cumber and onion or red beans and rice.
On a more upscale note ; try the Ivy Lane Bistro. This place is elegant and relaxing with delicious brunch dishes.
I loved the food and atmosphere of all the fancy places we went but for sheer fun, my favourite meal of the trip took place at Aunt Catfish of all places. I just loved the fresh faced server who introduced herself as Cousin Jessica “because we’re all family here”.
The manager (whom we insisted on addressing as Mr. Catfish) looked like he had just graduated from high school explained that the restaurant has been in his family for generations. There was a nice salad bar and tons of old fashioned Florida fare–I can attest to the tastiness of the fish and chips–cooked to perfection.