Category Archives: Florida

Gator’s Dockside, Baymeadows, Jacksonville ~ restaurant review


This big boy is their mascot, a chalkboard with specials is behind it.

My author friend and I had business in Baymeadows. We were hungry so we stopped in for lunch. She’s a great fan of the Monte Cristo sandwich which she first had near Buffalo, NY. She said it’s hard to find one in Jacksonville. I’d never had one, so we both ordered it and it came with fries. It’s American and Swiss cheese stacked between wheat bread, and then batter-fried golden brown. It’s covered in powdered sugar and served with raspberry preserves for $11.99. It was very good, filling, and not on my diet.

We were seated in a booth in which the cushions were placed in a wooden frame that was uncomfortable to get in and out of. Once seated, it was very comfortable, but I wanted to limit getting in and out. Next time I’ll sit at a table. Our server was attentive and warm. All of the staff was courteous as far as we could see. When we arrived the place was pretty empty. Two guys were at the bar, a large family was about to leave. About half way through our meal, a few more families came in and sat at tables.

The ladies room was very clean. We weren’t there to watch a game, but it seems it would be a good place to do so.

This review first appeared in Yelp.

8650 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, Fl 32256



High-top tables


Ale Pie House ~ restaurant review

Ale Pie 1


This place is similar to an Italian restaurant/cafe in NYC. They have thin pie crusts like I’m used to from my years in Brooklyn. They also have their own delish specialty pies. They’re near my veterinarian. So, if I ever have to leave a pet off and am in need of comfort food…it is near at hand.

I’ve been here twice. Once with a large group of Christian women who dine out once a month. We had an abfab time and everyone said their food was very good. I had to be challenging. I asked them to make a New York style thin crust pie like I used to order in Brooklyn. I asked for one side of the pie to have sliced meatballs and the other side anchovies. They’d never had anyone ask for that. Still they made it and it was excellent.

Ale Pie 2

Grilled Chicken Pie, it’s got broccoli

The next time I came with two friends. We all ordered specialty pies. Mine was the Florence Pie. It was the first time I’ve ever had pickles on pizza. Very good. This is a go-to place for me.

They also have salads, Italian entrees, and luscious desserts.

This review first appeared in Yelp.

Ale Pie House
3951 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205

Westside ~ 904-503-8000


Ale Pie 4

This one they made up special too. It’s half white pie and I think it’s half veggie. Can’t recall what my friend asked for.

Ale Pie 3

They call it Pesto Pie, with pesto, goat cheese, pineapple and olives. Interesting combo






Gingerbread House Extravaganza, JAX ~ out with the girls

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Moi kissing the Gingerbread Man

I roll with a group of gals calling ourselves Christian Gals Dining & Doing-JAX. Six of us went to see the amazing gingerbread houses displayed at the Jacksonville Historical Society in Old St. Andrews. Tis the season…

The gingerbread houses had already been judged and blue ribbons were given out in several categories. The structures were made of gingerbread and held together with a strong icing. In many cases fonant covered them. Many other candies and foods were used in ingenious ways: candy canes, pretzels, twizlers, marshmallows, life savers, jellied candies, Swiss rolls, bread, cereal, and much more.

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Visitors voted for a “people’s choice type” award. I voted for this one: The Mandarin Garden Club. The work one on it was incredible. If you look through the door, a woman is sitting.


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That woman is Harriet Beecher Stowe author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” She lived in Mandarin, a community in Jacksonville.








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This 1950s Florida ranch home came close to being my “people’s choice.” The house is lit up from withing and people are inside



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Theater Jacksonville, or the Little Theatre ~ live stage productions




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San Marco Theatre & Grill ~ showing first run movies and offering up eats, beer and wine

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Jacksonville Central Fire Station No 1

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Jacksonville Beach Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

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The life story of Jesus. Holding onto the silver knob the exhibit can be rotated from the birth of the Christ Child to the cross.

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The life story of Jesus. Holding onto the silver knob the exhibit can be rotated from the birth of the Christ Child to the cross.




There were so many more to see: the Jaguar den at the zoo, a cabin made by a nine-year-old, the historical Myers and Halstead Farm, a rendition of the North Pole, a scape of little huts by a second grade class, a salute of Jules Verne, and so much more.



The Hurrican Irma tree with bark from trees and varieouspieces of wood found in the aftermath used as its ornamentation, as well as photos of the destruction.

Visiting the Jacksonville Zoo ~ gorgeous autumn day


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Moi and this beautiful lady scarecrow




My gal pal Deborah Williams and I took off for the Jacksonville Zoo yesterday. And what a great time we had in perfect fall weather.



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Deborah in the pumpkin patch with another beautiful lady scarecrow



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King of the jungle!









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Giraffe feeding










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Moi on the carousel



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This guy wasn’t impressed at all that his photo was being taken. I leaned in pretty close and he didn’t bat an eye. Like, “Lady, your the 59,362nd person to snap my picture.”














My Bad Dream ~ demonic or just repeating pizza


woman-aloneThis morning I awoke half in a crazy dream state.

I was standing alone in some utilitarian building holding a framed photo of my mother, staring at it. Then the scene changed and I was homeless, on the street. Then it changed again and I’d been committed to an antiseptic mental hospital where I was questioned by sympathetic doctors in white coats.

I startled awake and said aloud, “Devil, you will not have my mind. As Jesus is in heaven, so am I in this world.” This, being my version of 1 John 4:17. I was amazed at how quickly I became free of any fear of this dream. Remembering dreams is kinda of new for me. For years I claimed I didn’t dream. However, dreaming and remembering them, or snatches of them, isn’t uncommon lately.

Was this dream demonic, or just bad pizza acting up. Well, I hadn’t had any pizza or any spicy food. My evening had been routine before going to sleep. So, I said to myself, “Self, this definitely is not of God.”

But was that true? I don’t have a photo of my parents hanging in my new home in Florida, and I’ve been here almost two years. It’s been on my heart to have an 8X10 of them in a golden frame. There was a beautiful photo of them at some senior affair. My dad held a glass of wine and my mom a glass of seltzer. They were smiling and radiant, having a good time. My sister-in-law, an amazing woman who I love dearly, does beautiful paintings from photos. She offered to do a painting from it, then somehow lost the photo.

I don’t have any digital photos of my parents, they passed a while back, which belies my claim that I’m still 39…but that would be quite another blog article.

Emil Navor WWII

Sgt Emil Navor WWII Pacific Arena

My cousin sent me a photo he digitized of my dad from WWII and of my mom’s immediate family, also from that era. I have photo albums I’ll have to go through to find one of them I can have enlarged. This is the God part. I should get going, find a photo to enlarge, and give it a place of honor in my home in a golden frame.

Grandma, Grandpa, Family

Helen Novogrodsky Navor,  1st row, 2nd from right

It’s quite interesting how “the dark side” lurks in the subconscious mind, twisting, and adding guilt and fear.

It’s also amazing how easily fear and guilt can be dispelled with the Word of God. Poof, it’s gone.





Kicking Back in Kissimmee ~ a writers’ getaway

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The resort train which Dalyn and I rode to get to the miniature golf course on the grounds

Florida Christian fiction writer Dalyn Woods and I took off to relax for a week in central Florida. It was my first vacation since my husband passed away, nearly one year ago. We had a terrific time, yet it felt strange being there without Joseph. Daylyn and I stayed at Westgate Town Center and Resort in Kissimmee. [Disclaimer: this is a time share resort and I know they are somewhat controversial, but my husband purchased and paid for a time share thinking he and I would use it.]


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Moi in front of the glof course


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Dalyn put-putting on the golf course








Westgate Waterpark Then it was off to the on-site waterpark where we floated in the lazy-river, had lunch, then lazed in lounge chairs watching children playing in the water.

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Moi at the kiddie pool

The resort is affiliated with Disney. While we were there we watched at no charge (in their little theatre) two Star Wars movies and Alice Through the Looking Glass.


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Sophie the wonder-dog travels with moi.










A word about FOOD…


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Drafts is a sports bar on the resort and the food is great. Here I had a turkey club on multi-grain bread. Dalyn had a Philly cheesesteak

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Dalyn’s Philly cheesesteak. The beer-batter fries were to die for.

We also went off campus to eat at Giordanos for Italian and the Wildside Barbeque and Steakhouse. I took photos at Giordanos but we were so hungry when we went to the Wildside we just dove in and I didn’t get any shots. The food was real good in both places. BTW, we got coupons from the resort for both.


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Cheesy garlic bread. Each slab has four slices. You dip them into the sauce (which is e frin scratch)



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I got the spaghettie with meat sauce. As you can see, they’re generous with the meat.



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Dalyn had Linguine with Alfredo sauce, which she said was yummy.






Fall in Florida ~ a simple pleasure

They say Florida is one place where the rule ‘You can’t wear white after Labor Day is null-and-void. In general, attitudes and lifestyle are more relaxed here…and that’s a huge reason why I moved here from The Big Apple. I love the simplicity of the lifestyle in Florida.

This year, after the hot summer months, and debilitating hurricanes, the nip in the air that comes with autumn has been welcome. I couldn’t wait to put away my summery outdoor decorations. Yes, I admit, I had pink flamingoes out allIMG_2452 summer…but only in my backyard near my fire pit. I’m all in for colorful, fanciful, Florida-friendly objects ‘d art in the front, but don’t go wild with pink Flamingoes. Truly, I don’t.

So, I hauled the bin out of my sheld where I store fall decorations. I put up a swag of fall leaves over my front door and some harvesty colorful fake flowers in a small flower pot along with the smiling face of a little girl scarecrow.  My fall decorating is a work in progress and I’ll add a few pumpkins to the stoop. I love scarecrows and I’ll put out the ones I’ve collected over the years in the house.

So, how do Floridians dress for Fall? It’s safe to say, folks add rust, gold, and ruby tones to their wardrobe. But, yes, we still wear shorts, short sleeves or no sleeves, and flip-flops. In fact, flip-flops are the official shoe of Florida.

But seriously, I find simplicity dovetails beautifully with my spiritual life.

2 Corinthians 1:12 [ESV] ~ For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

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