When it comes to Easter, we love a good sunrise service. We have attended the Bok Tower event and gone to a small service at Lake Clinch in Frostproof but this year as a treat to the Missus we drove to the east coast and watched the sun come up Easter Morning over the Atlantic.
It took a while, but Travel Wife found the perfect one. It was staged by a small church – the Beachside Baptist in New Smyrna Beach. The plan was to attend the morning service on the beach, head over to the church for breakfast, then Sunday school class and the Easter morning worship services.
In surveying the accommodations in New Smyrna Beach, we found something that has become a pattern of sorts. The hotels either were very pricey or very cheap. There was nothing in that “sweet spot” we always try to hit.
However, just a few miles up the road in Ormond Beach, there was a lovely little Baymont we had stayed at previously. It provided good accommodations that fit our price point. That included a great room with a king sized bed, all the amenities and a nice breakfast.
We were able to make the trip from the Ormond Beach to New Smyrna in about 20 minutes. It was an easy ride with light traffic in the pre-dawn hours of Easter Sunday. and we arrived at Marianne Clancy Park just at the onset of the service.
Although it was overcast and blustery, a great crowd had gathered on the beach and along the wooden walkways. The Rev. Don Shobert was giving a sermon and a small group of teens and young adults equipped with guitars provided the music.
The crashing waves and sailing birds made for the perfect backdrop for the Easter message.
Following the ceremony, we adjourned to the church where we were greeted by a bustle of activity as members prepared breakfast. There was a full compliment of bacon, eggs, biscuits and fruit with a choice of coffee and orange juice. The fellowship was as good as the food as we prepared for a Sunday school class that included all the adult classes for that day. It was a combined group of adults, with a spirited discussion about the lesson and was followed by an equally moving Easter morning worship service.
Had that been all we did – it would have been well worth the trip. But no such journey is complete without a couple of forays into the local cuisine and points of interest.
In a previous trip, we had discovered a great little restaurant in Ormond Beach called DB Pickles. Although it looks like a chain, it is a one-off and has everything a diner needs. The restaurant has a full menu, from sandwiches to appetizers to lunch and dinner entrees.
Most interesting is that instead of a salad bar, they have a pickle bar. There are full sized dills, garlic-infused pickles, pickle pasta and pickle relish and more. Speaking of a bar, they have a full service bar inside as well as an extensive bakery.
At New Smyrna Beach, we had the opportunity to go to Norwood’s Eatery, Treehouse & Bar. This came highly recommended to us and did not disappoint.
We decided to eat at the bar facility, which is on the second floor. Not only does it give a great view, children under 11 years of age are not permitted, so it was a sedate setting. Tree limbs grew within easy reach and there was an assortment of light fixtures above our head designed to give ambient light.
I had the Treehouse Burger, which comes with bacon that is cured in their own on site smokehouse.My wife had Mac & Cheese – which also was liberally sprinkled with their bacon. Possibly the best part were the truffle fries, made with truffle oil, truffle salt and Parmesan cheese -then sprinkled with parsley.
This is a must-stop when in the area.
We also visited the New Smyrna Beach farmer’s market – which was a respectable little gathering. Visitors were treated to a string of live music featuring everything from a solo guitarist to a steel drum duo.
There was a wide array of booths from raw honey varieties to clothing, art prints, fresh produce, goat and alpaca products, old-time natural remedies and even a bake sale by the local 4-H.
Just down the street was the New Smyrna Beach Historical Society. They had a wide array of displays, featuring renderings and artifacts from pre-history, to the Spanish and Territorial eras. That gave way to more modern history within the state of Florida.
Sadly, they allowed no pictures inside, saying the flash could damage some of the paper and fabric in their displays.
All in all, we can say that the Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach areas were a lot of fun and didn’t break the bank. We didn’t have a chance to do everything we wanted, so we’ll be back to this fun and interesting stretch of Florida’s east coast.