G and I took full advantage of leap day this time around. Early Monday morning, we packed an overnight bag and headed across the state. We hadn't even decide where we were going to go until the night before. With a free day in our grasp + a wee bit of spontaneity, we each picked a few destinations that sounded cool. These destinations were then written on tiny scraps of paper, folded up and placed in a baseball cap. New Smyrna Beach was our pick. I quickly found + booked a beachfront hotel and tried to come up with an overall game plan. We'd only planned to stay for one night (hello, travel budget), but I knew I wanted to do something special while we were on the east coast of Florida as well. After some thought, visiting the John F. Kennedy Space Center seemed like the best option since it was less than an hours drive from where we would be staying.
I tried my best to keep the whole space center idea to myself, but I ended up letting the cat out of the bag only 15 minutes into our drive. I swear I can't keep anything from my husband, lol. He was excited since he'd wanted to go for quite some time. It took us less than four hours to reach New Smyrna, after a quick stop for lunch at The Coop in Winter Park. Our hotel was right on the beach and I was blown away at how nice our suite was (snagged it on Hotels.com). After relaxing for a little bit, we were out the door and on our way to the New Smyrna Marina to have dinner at Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille. The restaurant was kinda tucked away, like a hidden gem, so I'm surprised we were able to find it. But, boy, am I glad we did! It was well worth the hunt.
I went out on a ledge and ordered a mai tai + the "Eleanor Rigby" — their version of a Cuban sandwich made with ham, bacon, pickles, cream cheese and tomatillo jam. Yeah, it was just as delicious as it sounds. I was not disappointed whatsoever! G stuck with tacos, which you can't ever go wrong with. We spent the rest of the evening watching television and eating donuts, haha (#marriedlife). The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and made our 50 minute trek down to Cape Canaveral.
Most of our afternoon was consumed by exploring the visitor center. I really learned a lot and very much enjoyed our time there. We were able to take a bus tour as well, which gave us the opportunity to view various launch pads (like where Apollo 8 was launched), Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building, and the SpaceX facility. The tour bus dropped us off at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. It was such an awe-inspiring experience. SpaceX had a launch planned for that night and we had hoped to stay in the area for dinner just so we'd be able to witness it, but it was sadly canceled due to high winds so we headed back home.