Coffee with an ocean view
Leisurely walk along New Smyrna’s beautiful beachline
Breakfast at Wake Up Café
Flagler Avenue shopping
Soaking in Canal Street history
As I begin to awake, I realize that I’m no longer home. I am staying a New Smyrna Beach’s exclusive, upscale vacation rental, The Inlet – the luxury ocean view condo framed by the Atlantic Ocean coastline and the pristine shoreline of Canaveral Seashore Park.
I smile knowing I made the best vacation destination decision possible as I make my way out of my king-size bed and over to a floor-to-ceiling view of waves gently lapping the beach just outside my condo door.
I nudge the sliding glass door open and I’m instantly engulfed in warm salt air. Mmm, smells just like vacation should. I step through and onto my own private patio as I contemplate my first move. Coffee right here, I think…while I take in the unparalleled scenery and plan my day.
Initially I considered a few laps in the pool or a little tennis because the pool deck is beautiful and those courts are so nice, but I think I’ll save that for tomorrow. Should I hike along the nearby walking trails of scenic Smyrna Dunes Park or take my virgin voyage to the beach and dip my toes in the sand?
The beach won that match and after a quick shower, I head out to breakfast. I choose Wake Up Cafe because my mouth is watering for a yogurt parfait and a fresh baked muffin, while my travel companion chooses an omelet dripping with velvety cheese.
We’re dying to check out the town, so our next stop is lively Flagler Avenue, and its beachy vibes and quaint outdoor cafes instantly win us over. We wander in and out of shops – including one entirely dedicated to flip flops and another called Dottie’s, which offers everything from bracelets and baubles to masterfully displayed driftwood art.
Then we decide to head over to the second downtown in New Smyrna, its charming, tree-lined Historic District. There’s a surf museum, a local pub playing live music, and even though we just ate breakfast not that awfully long ago, we just can’t walk past its old fashioned creamery without stopping in for a root beer float. Then, with a day so full, all we have the energy for is heading back to our plush accommodations for a cozy night in including a late dinner we easily prepare in our condo’s state-of-the-art, fully-equipped kitchen.
River boat tour
Fresh seafood waterside at JB’s Fish Camp
With a little more jump in my step the next morning, I opt for tennis with the on-site pro at my choice of four Har-Tru courts. Next on our agenda is a Turtle Mound River Tour, a two-hour pontoon boat ride along the Indian River, offering breathtaking views of Canaveral National Seashore, dolphin and bald eagle sightings and intriguing historic tidbits and funny quips from our hilarious guide.
We topped it off with fresh caught seafood at JB’s Fish Camp, a casual waterfront restaurant and bar brimming with both locals and visitors…all fully enjoying themselves over delicious fare. Feeling adventurous and in honor of our day at sea, my beverage of choice is a “Salted Sea Dog” made from citrus vodka, pineapple and grapefruit juices and rimmed with salt. My meal is the blackened seafood sampler with shrimp, mahi, alligator and a piece of corn on the cob. My date selected a frozen mudslide and steamed clams.
A morning at the pool
Relaxing day spa services
We decide to take it easy midweek and head over to the pool deck, where we get in a few laps in the large, heated pool, soak in the hot tub, comfortably lounge in the sun; and since The Inlet also has both men’s and women’s saunas, we enjoyed those too.
Then we took relaxation to the next level with an afternoon at the Riverview Spa. My mani-pedi ensures that my tootsies are beach-ready and I now sport an effervescent dayglow yellow on my fingernails to match my mood.
Day at Disney
Since America’s most beloved theme-parks and attractions are only approximately an hour away in Orlando, Saturday was our Disney World day and you can just imagine what that entailed! We get there in a flash and take in all the sites, enjoy a concert at the House of Blues, check out EPCOT’s interactive space training lab, experience wild animal encounters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, see the flamingos on Discovery Island, get our game on at the Frontierland Arcade and even brave the water rides at Castaway Park. We’re definitely coming back soon because there is so much more to see and do!
Daytona Beach Auto Racing Museum
Lunch at Crabby Joes on the boardwalk
Off to the races!
Today we drive just 20 minutes north to Daytona Beach, “The World Center of Racing” where we relive the early days of racing through authentic memorabilia at the Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum. We dine on grouper fingers and crab cakes at Crabby Joes, a dynamic hotspot with delicious eats (including plenty of menu options for landlubbers) perched on the end of a pier extending over the ocean.
After being in Daytona, we catch race fever (which isn’t a bad thing) and decide to stop at the Little New Smyrna Speedway, where we watch the quarter midget races to round out our evening.
Breakfast at Ruthie’s
A day at the beach
Romantic dinner for two at The Garlic
Live music on Flagler Avenue
Ruthie’s Restaurant is a favorite among locals and famous for really good down home breakfast; and, of course, after learning all that, we pencil it in to see what all the fuss was about. We can now say from experience that Ruthie’s certainly lives up to its hype. The coffee and smiles flow and I order the “Hearty Breakfast” which comes with two eggs, country fried steak, grits or home fries and toast…maybe not the best choice before squeezing into my bathing suit, but definitely worth it!
We decide that since New Smyrna is famous for its beach which is located just outside our door, we would be remiss if we didn’t enjoy a beach day soon. So…we lather up with sunscreen and make that magic happen, complete with wiggling toes in the sand, a little shelling and a swim in the gentle surf.
Tonight is our date night. So, I make reservations at The Garlic, New Smyrna Beach’s gourmet Italian restaurant. Its atmosphere is reminiscent of an Italian garden with pizza ovens creating tantalizing aromas while strands of white tea lights sparkle overhead. I’m thinking of splurging on this meal…as if we haven’t already.
…and splurge we do! After a romantic meal consisting of the eggplant tower appetizer, garlic mussels for me (so much for date night) and pepper bacon wrapped filet for him, washed down with a nice chianti; we take off in search of some entertainment – which is never hard to find in New Smyrna Beach.
What we discover is “Dueling Pianos” at a local pub called Peanuts. This talented duo was playing tons of songs of every kind and putting on such a great show. I can’t remember when I had such a good time.
Take a bicycle ride
Brunch at Third Wave Café and Wine Bar
Explore Sugar Mill Ruins
Nature hike in Smyrna Dunes Park
Today is reserved for exploring, so first things first. I visit one of the nearby New Smyrna Beach rental shops, which carry everything from golf carts, to surfboards and snorkeling gear, to rent a bicycle for a pleasurable morning ride through the adorable streets of New Smyrna Beach.
Since the weather was beautiful, I figure on a little outdoor dining and decide on brunch at Third Wave Café and Wine Bar – a fusion of southern coastal cooking and global inspiration. After being seated in the outdoor garden area, I sweeten things up even more with their “Dulce-de-Leche Crepe” filled with bananas, berries, almonds, caramelized milk, sugar jam and topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. How could that be bad, right?
Now it’s off to explore Sugar Mill Ruins and then hike through the two miles of elevated walkways within Smyrna Dunes Park, which neighbors The Inlet and rests on 73 gorgeous acres surrounded by water on three sides. It is so peaceful and relaxing that I decide to extend that feeling with a glass of wine on my private balcony while I watch the sun slowly set upon my gorgeous ocean view.
I could get used to this. Thank goodness we booked more than one week. I still want to climb the steps of famous Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and take in its panoramic view, paddleboard down the scenic Indian River, set sail on a Marine Discovery Center guided full moon kayak tour, enjoy a round of golf on one of the many challenging golf courses nearby, travel a little north of Daytona to meander through the historic streets of charming St. Augustine, our country’s oldest town, and take a short drive south toward Cocoa Beach so I can experience a Port Canaveral rocket launch firsthand.
The Inlet at New Smyrna Beach
Call 386-409-9212 to book your dream vacation and head to The Inlet with dreams of tomorrow and the promises it holds.