Vilano Villa – Everything You Need Just Add Family

Article by Beth Carson & Photos by Marisa Dye

It’s rare that adults are more excited for a vacation than the kids are. But, this might have been the case with our stay at Vilano Villa, located new the beach in St. Augustine, Florida.

Our young adult kids were excited. As empty nesters with blended family, we were all jazzed to spend quality time together. Vilano Villa is situated close to one of the oldest, most historic cities in the country-rich with the history and a blessed dearth of tacky tee-shirt shops that plague other beach towns.

My husband, David and I were the first to arrive. We stocked up on food for the week at the grocery store, and then pulled up at the house. We were impressed; after a whirlwind tour full of “Wow, look at this!” we waded into the pool, enjoying the limited kid-free time. How relaxing to float under the stars after a day in the car?

Soon, the kids arrived, and did the same walk through that we did – calling out, “This room is mine!” The master, with its bedroom-sized ensuite with soaking tub and double jetted shower was clearly already spoken for by us.

The Cost of Fun
How often do you go on vacation and spend absolutely nothing on entertainment? Zip. Zero. Nada. All free.

That’s the vacation you can have at Vilano Villa, situated 76 seconds by car from Vilano Beach and a 10 minute-drive to downtown St. Augustine. When taking our young adult children on holiday, we have to eliminate a lot of choices. Costs for six adults add up fast. Even when doing something

simple like going to the movies, you’ll easily shell out over $100. So, having a vacation rental with so much to do at the house and the surrounding area was a huge win for our crew.

Smack in the middle of a year of near constant travel, my husband and I needed this particular trip to be two things- fun and inexpensive. We wanted to make memories that would last. Vilano Villa was so much more than we imagined.

No airfare was needed as it was within driving distance.

The home had a well-equipped closet with all the pool toys needed to play and lounge poolside; a day at the beach cost no more than a quick drive. The kids threw the football on the beach and bobbed in the waves. We took long walks on the beach where the kids asked deep, hard questions about navigating out of the marina of childhood and entering the sometimes choppy waters of adulthood. Our kids were real, open and vulnerable and we had the right place to go deep with them.

Fun Memories
Many hours were spent poolside-laughing and jumping and throwing the football, lounging in the sun.

Breakfasts were a huge hit. Each morning, after sleeping in, my husband David rallied the kids in the huge, decked-out kitchen, cranked up the music, and then the singing, mixing, baking, and grilling started. I listened to the hubbub with a smile on my face while luxuriating in the first-floor master suite, coming out only after the kids called, “Ready!”

At night, we piled in for Monday Night Football on the couches and beanbag chairs in the media room, then again for Thursday Night Football. We dove into takeaway pizza and clean-up was a breeze.

Our daughter got sick one day. She often gets lung infections that escalate into serious breathing problems quickly, waking up before the rest of us,

she drove herself to Urgent Care before we knew there was an issue. She enjoyed a chill day at the beach while I went into town to get her medicine and joined them later.

In one of the magical moments that only vacation rentals can provide, instead of hanging out in the living room playing games; everyone piled on her bed to watch the classic Disney movie Aladdin while she recovered. The stuff memories are made of.

The House – Perfection
For me- the best part was the home. I stayed back some days to work, and the serene ambiance of the house engulfed me. Owner Marisa Dye is a professional photographer as well as the owner of a boutique vacation rental agency, and her attention to detail is 5 star. The home is beautiful, the perfect mix of interesting objects d’art without being fussy. Each room was a delight.

St. Augustine
Of course, we were minutes away from one of America’s most historic cities. A walkable downtown area made it easy to enjoy both the city and the historic fort, Castillo de San Marcos where the “kids” and my husband enjoyed walking on top of the wall. You can pay to get inside the fort, but we were content to explore the outside. Just across the street is the downtown. We explored art galleries, each of us picking out a favorite and we would discuss why we liked it or didn’t. We were all drawn to the desk the size of a grand piano with a glass top over huge, turning gears.

The sales person saw our interest and informed us it famously appeared in the movie “Straight Outta’ Compton.” Only 4 exist. Walking further, we were pulled in by the sound of live jazz and enjoyed a great dinner – fun for all of us.

My daughter and I split off after dinner, letting the men do men things, and we happened upon a French pastry shop that reminded us of our time last year in Paris. Even the hand packaging for our selections was impeccably Parisian, complete with a beautiful bag.

Of course, there are a plethora of tours; boat rides (including one on a pirate ship lookalike), museums, chocolate factory tours, and more. You won’t run out of things to do. Our favorite was relaxing and enjoying each other’s company in the eclectic mix of tourists and locales in the pedestrian area.

A must-see, which we didn’t have time for on this trip, is a tour of Flagler College. Their cafeteria has a wall of original Tiffany stained glass windows.

Vilano Villa is part of your vacation! Come enjoy all the amenities with your family. Click here for more information and to book your stay!

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