We have a lot of favorite food memories, and sometimes they are made in funny ways. Two blocks away from the hospital where I’ve birthed my last three children is a street lined with restaurants and cafes. Consequently I now have food memories woven in […]
There’s no doubt that when we gather in Pensacola, the main event is the beach. Also, eating, boating, and definitely coffee. But as we’ve added more and more kiddoes to our families, it’s occasionally nice to take a day off from all the sand and sunscreen and let the little ones enjoy an indoor activity. Enter – the Pensacola Children’s Museum. We discovered this downtown delight earlier this summer, and our kids are already anticipating their next trip.
The first floor is styled as a settlement from Pensacola’s Spanish colonial times. A trading post gives the kids a chance to practice their bartering skills or play grocer with the produce and meats. The older cousins loved the fort and cottage areas. It wasn’t long before they donned dress-up clothes (Coats! Muskets! Long dresses!) and were defending the fort the against the younger kids. (Wait until we teach them about the Alamo in American history! ;-)) The kids can also play pirates on The Galveston, a ship in the center of the exhibit. For the toddlers, there’s a cute farm area with age-appropriate toys.
The upstairs is segmented into small separate rooms with themes like military history, local Native American history, a book nook, and more! This does make it harder to keep a visual on small children. Especially when they scatter to the four winds, all wanting to play in different rooms! But the only way down is an elevator, so they can’t go too far. There’s plenty to entertain even the smallest visitors on the second floor, from a train table and building blocks to Duplos and an aircraft carrier activity table (pictured below).
Older kids and adults will enjoy exploring about local history through the displays in each room. I learned why the NAS Pensacola lighthouse has its stark black and white color scheme. You can also try your hand at tying nautical knots or learn the parts of a sailing ship through a informative wall mural. Of course, I’m assuming you can convince your kids to leave the Lego Brick Builder room! Whether a rainy day escape on a beach vacation or a break from the sun and sand, your kids are sure to love the Pensacola Children’s Museum!
Address: 115 E Zaragoza St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-4, Sunday 12-4, Closed Mondays. Of note – the first floor of the Children’s Museum is occasionally closed for birthday parties or school groups. In this case, the second floor is still open, but you may want to check the events calendar before you go.
Admission is quite reasonable at $8/adult and $4/child (ages 3-14) with $1 discount for seniors, military, and a few others (full ticketing info here). But then, your ticket is good for seven days, and grants you admission to eleven properties in Historic Pensacola, so it’s truly a bargain! If you’re local, Historic Pensacola memberships are $50 for individuals and $75 for families.
Today we’re delighted to talk about one of our family’s long-standing and favorite traditions in Pensacola! Colloquially known as the Aviation Museum, at our house even more informally called The Airplane Museum, its official title is the National Naval Aviation Museum. Due to the Naval […]
One of the fun things about visiting Pensacola in recent years has all been finding all the new and delicious places that pop up in between our visits. I try to keep an ear to the ground for recent developments and openings. One thing I’ve actively been looking for is a good bakery in Pensacola. My last beach trip Craft Gourmet Bakery popped up in my search, and I immediately put it on my “to-eat” list. It definitely did not disappoint! Tucked away in a little strip mall (not far from our favorite shopping), Craft Gourmet Bakery has only been open since November of 2018.
One Sunday morning Christie and I decided the time was right for a bakery visit. The shop is airy, open, and inviting. When we arrived the owner, Jordan, happened to be behind the counter. She was as warm and inviting as the shop itself, and clearly passionate about what she does. (I love eating food that people love making.) Before opening her bakery she used to be the pastry chef at George’s, which she highly recommended. Another one on the “to-eat” list! She enthusiastically invited us to sample her house-made gelato, featuring unique flavors such as honey lavender goat cheese and mint infused with fresh mint (rather than an extract). Both were delicious and creamy.
Between Christie and me, we walked away with five different bakery items to try: a black garlic sourdough baguette, a key lime mousse tart, a berry claw, a maple bacon morning roll, and a cheddar chive bacon scone, plus a latte. While the latte was little on the milky side for our druthers, overall it was excellent, surprisingly so, right up there with any third-wave coffee shop. It was mellow and nutty, with a lovely microfoam. In most bakeries the coffee often plays second fiddle to the pasties, but not here! Jordan herself made the latte, no less.
We managed to wait until we got home to dive into the goodies. Every. single. thing. was delicious, beautifully balanced, and well-crafted indeed! The cheddar chive bacon scone (which Melissa couldn’t stop eating) was packed with flavor and neither heavy nor dry. The key lime mousse tart (which Christie couldn’t stop eating) was melt-in-your mouth light, appropriately tart and not cloyingly sweet. The maple bacon morning roll (the one that, well, Michael couldn’t stop eating…) was once again, tender and perfectly balanced between sweet and smoky, with the faintest hint of warmth from some cayenne. The range of flavors available in the bakery means something is available for everyone’s taste. As we cut into the berry claw, we could hear the crisp lamination of the croissant dough, something that Jordan was obviously proud of when she was touting her croissants as house-laminated. The pride was justified.
It’s not the cheapest of bakeries (expect to pay $4-$7 for your pastry or dessert), but you know what they say about getting what you pay for. Next on our dessert list is her triple chocolate mousse bomb, which she says is a best-seller.
Last, but most certainly not least, the black garlic sourdough baguette was amazing. It had a crisp crust, chewy interior, and was hefty in the way bread ought to be. Its perfectly sour sourdough was subtly complemented with a tang of garlic; leftovers were divine toasted with butter. (Leftovers, you say? They existed only because I refused to share with my children or my husband who said sourdough wasn’t his favorite. It happens to be my favorite.) Plus, at $3.50 this marvelous baguette is a totally affordable indulgence. In case you can’t tell yet, Craft Gourmet Bakery is officially our favorite bakery in Pensacola, and I will be hitting it up every trip for some awesome bread and other treats! There is a daily rotation of bread specials; hopefully next trip I’ll be here on a Thursday for their Cranberry Walnut bread.
You can eye up Craft’s current specials and seasonal goodies on their Facebook and Instagram pages, and find lots of information on their site. Note that they don’t open until 9am on the weekends, which means you get to sleep in and still be here when the doors open.
Craft Gourmet Bakery
5555 N. Davis Hwy, Suite H
Pensacola, FL 32503
Saturday & Sunday 9am–5pm
Let me clarify up front that I have nothing against hotels. Not at all. They can provide a delightful experience, often a luxurious one. We use them ourselves on many occasions. It’s just that one of those occasions is not a family trip, particularly a […]
I am just now coming to fully appreciate the charm that New Orleans oozes from so many corners (I know, I know, silly me. . . long story), so granted I haven’t been really dialed in to much the city’s pulse. . . but I do know that true third-wave coffee has been a long time coming to the city, and now the craft coffee shops are popping up everywhere! I’m excited to try all of them (eventually), and wonder which will become my favorite. Top of the list for atmosphere is currently Stumptown Coffee, located adjacent to Ace Hotel, at the edge of the Warehouse District and the CBD.
Its Art Deco vibe is eclectic in the chicest sort of way, and has plenty of comfortable seating. It feels like the living room of your sophisticated, slightly quirky, but definitely most-interesting-friend-in-your-social-circle. Personally I especially appreciate the warmer finishes, rather than the bare concrete/industrial decor that has been in vogue lately. The softer atmosphere it creates makes me want to linger. Particularly, of course, with something hot in my hand. The coffee is quite tasty (don’t let me sell that short), with a straightforward classic Italian espresso flavor, and you can get iced coffee on tap.
The decor details make it a feast for all the senses. Stumptown cafe cups, uniquely displayed pastries, a wall of quirky decor, and tasteful but consistent branding and styling turn it into an experience. My hubby and I grabbed lattes (our go-to coffee order), and then sat in Ace Hotel’s lobby as we sipped them.
The hotel lobby is replete with yet more comfortable couches and chairs, with the added perk that it’s a great place for people watching. Plus I’m fairly certain that my cool factor (what there ever was of it. . . ) edged up by a point or so by just hanging out there.
On the other side of the hotel lobby is Josephine Estelle, a cafe just as full of character as the rest of the hotel (read a review here). It reminded me of Viennese cafes, except with a tropical (Cuban?)/Southern twist. My sister and I both have it on our list of places to eat, so stay tuned for a report. . .If you’re looking for another spot for lunch, St. James Cheese company is a comfortable walk from Stumptown, and another spot I highly recommend. I look forward to returning to soak up the atmosphere while sipping my latte soon!
610 Carondelet St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(more info here)
There are few things more quintessentially New Orleans than riding the St Charles streetcar and admiring the gorgeous scenery rolling by. We got the chance to ride it recently as part of our homeschool co-op transportation unit. We had no fewer than eleven (yes, 11!) […]