#1,625 Denoel + More Old City.
by Erin Napier
We did what we always do, ordered a few different pastries to share, and we were happy to see Ryan who has worked in the bakery for years and has greeted us every year when we make our trips. He always ends up chatting with us while we eat, between customers.
And then he told us a very sad thing.
Mr. and Mrs. Denoel will be closing up shop for good when they retire at the end of the summer. This is our last breakfast at our favorite bakery. I was so sad I felt like crying! They’re the original owners who opened the shop 48 years ago. Now in their late 70s, they’re ready to retire. Which makes sense. But I’m heartbroken. I took photos of every little thing I never want to forget. I took a menu with us when we left that we’ll frame when we get home. I don’t ever want to forget that they play The Drifters, except in French. That there is a promotional poster of the bakery with a woman and standard poodle standing in the door, early in the morning, beneath the American, French and Belgian flags at the doorway. I never want to forget that my favorite thing is a warm croissant with strawberry jam.
After breakfast, we spent the morning going from one antique store to the next. We were looking for big old signs for Ben to hang in his new garage.
We found a really cool old Burma Shave sign that says “TOUGH WHISKERS? MOW ‘EM DOWN.” It was $60 and we couldn’t go home without it. You’ll see it when we get home.
After a few hours of browsing stores, we were ready for lunch and stopped by The Floridian, a tiny little cafe tucked into a courtyard garden that serves Southern food with a specifically Florida twist. It’s adorable and the perfect shady spot for people watching.
After lunch, we ran by Dan Holiday’s shop to have a little adjustment made to the sandals he custom made for me a few years ago. Now they’re like brand new. He told Ben dirty jokes while he worked. I blushed, sitting there in my barefeet.
And then we decided since this would be the hottest day of the week, we should go over to the beach. And it wasn’t hot at all. It was exactly perfect. I didn’t even get in the water because the temperature of the air was so nice. I could barely stay awake to finish reading my new book (which is wonderful for any creative professional, by the way).
As the sun was sinking, there was a little chill in the air coming off of the Atlantic. We gathered up some shells, sand and a sea gull feather to add to our travel jar collection when we get home.
We crossed the Bridge of Lions back into downtown to get our showers before dinner at La Pentola.
We were seated in the courtyard that’s draped in twinkle lights. I had a roasted vegetable pasta in wine sauce and Ben had roasted pork shoulder with garlic potatoes. It was so good! We’ve never been there before tonight.
And finally, we stopped at O.C. White’s, our favorite outdoor space and my daddy’s favorite tavern when he was working on his doctorate in SA. It’s right beside our inn and most every night we’ve ever stayed here we’ve gone there to hear Gary Campbell play acoustic songs by Van Morrison, Neil Young, James Taylor, and Zac Brown. He only plays the good songs, and it’s absolutely perfect on a balmy night on the bay, in the courtyard of a tavern that’s been here since the 1700s.
St. Augustine is truly the only city I would ever leave Laurel for.
But I would.
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I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!