Growing up I had a neighbor who always talked about her favorite spring break tradition. Every child in her family was given one night of the week to pick a dessert for the family. Then after dinner, they would all run out to get whatever the child chose for everyone to have for dessert. A different dessert every night and it was all up to the kids. I remember thinking to myself that I would absolutely do that one day. Now as a parent I have the great pleasure of creating our family’s own sweet spring break tradition that will hopefully live up to the same memory this one did for my childhood friend. With a playful spin that fits our family, I have named our sweet spring break tradition, Tour de Sweets.
Living in beautiful St. Augustine I knew I had to tweak this tradition to make it fit into our amazing city’s foodie culture. As a mom of two, this also would only be valid for, you guessed it, two nights of the week. I wanted to make this memory last so I decided to tweak another aspect of the tradition to make it work for our family. We now make this a whole day event and call it Tour de Sweets. Here is my play by play of how you too can have a day of sugar that makes for the sweetest spring break memories.
Step 1: Map Out Your Sweet Spots
With so many options in our downtown area alone, you really need to plan this out. I would highly recommend choosing at least 4 places. This would include a spot for breakfast, a post playground treat, a lunch dessert, something you can walk around with and something to take home.
Step 2: The First Spot is the Sweetest
For us, we always start at Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar. This kills two birds with one stone by getting your breakfast sweets and your post playground treat. There are few things in this world that I love for breakfast more than waffles. Once you get your hands on one from Cousteau’s you will only leave wanting more.
Your children will need to burn all that sugar off and the walk from Hypolita Street to the wooden playground is perfect. This is where that milkshake will come in handy!
Step 3: Lunch It Up
Everybody loves a good picnic in my house. Not only will this save you money but it is just another fun thing to be excited about. If you parked in the parking garage you can swing by the car to get your cooler. There are several fun spots to pick for your picnic. My personal favorite is the grassy area by the fort. If you ask my kids this might be the best part of the day. We play a lot of rolling down the hill to take a bite to go back up and start over again. Make sure to pack some healthy foods and water to combat all of the sugar.
After lunch has settled it’s time to head over to your next stop. My favorite place from here is The Hyppo. Nothing says afternoon cool down like a gourmet popsicle. From the bold and unusual flavors to the sweet usual suspects you really can not go wrong here. The base for most of their pops is fresh fruit and herbs which makes this mom feel a little better about adding this to the list of sugar consumed in one day.
Step 4: The Options Are Endless
By now you have consumed a solid amount of sweets. But, I’m not sure a Tour De Sweets day would be complete without ice cream. St. Augustine does not disappoint when it comes to ice cream shops. We usually start strolling through the streets contemplating our next stop.
In previous years we have headed to Kilwins for an ice cream cone or gone to Peace Pie for an ice cream sandwich. You can really base this decision on how far you want to walk. I like to burn some of the sugar off so we don’t mind traveling and enjoying the downtown scene for a bit to find the perfect place.
Step 5: Save The Best For Last
This option is always something I decide on based off how my children are handling the day. This year my plan is to head to Whetstone Chocolate Factory. They offer several tour times during the week and weekend. The tour includes something for all ages and a great way to tie in your last and final dessert. I also use this spot as a way to take something home. After a day this sweet you are going to be begging your kids to head home which makes for the perfect encouragement to manage behavior during the walk back to the car.
Tips and Tricks
To make this cost effective you have a few options. Not only will you save money by taking a picnic lunch but you can set rules for each place you go. Your family does not necessarily all need their own milkshake. If you are like us you may have two people who prefer more chocolate flavors and two people who love fruity flavors. If you need to get two different types and share you can do that or you can get one big milkshake and all share. There are several ways to make this fit into every families budget.
My biggest tip for this day is to take it easy. Reminders throughout the day are absolutely necessary. You will need to remind yourself several times that your children are not going to be angels. Remind your children several times that this is a huge treat! Just keep in mind that this is something that should be fun and laid back. Even if your day is not going according to plan you can always keep it moving in a fun and exciting direction.
If you do not have a whole day, just take half a day to hit up two or three spots. Whether you choose to share, shorten the trip or stick to the original plan of spreading this out over several nights you can always create your own sugar filled traditions. There are lots of ways to still have a Tour De Sweets experience for the sweetest spring break yet.