My sister and brother-in-law have a timeshare, and this year they decided to use it to vacation somewhere near us. The closest place was Daytona Beach, and we found an RV resort in nearby Ormond Beach. We had a whole week to hang out together. Unfortunately, the weather turned cold, so swimming in their timeshare’s pool was not inviting, but we found plenty to do in the area. We watched manatees in Blue Spring State Park, drove on Ormond Beach, and drove up to Washington Oaks State Park to explore a beach with coquina rock formations. But our first full day together, we hung out in downtown Daytona Beach. We had lunch at a great Thai place, checked out some antique stores, and strolled up and down the historic area.
Fun with Chocolate
The Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory offers free tours, so it was a highlight on this brisk, sunny day. We imagined conveyer belts like in the famous I Love Lucy episode, but this was just a room behind the store with a handful of workers dipping orange rinds, chopping peppermint candy, and packaging chocolate. Our cute young guide, Nick, made it extra entertaining though and the free samples afterwards were worth the wait.
The history of this store was especially interesting to us. It was started in 1925 by two unmarried women who lived together (fill in the blanks) on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Riddell Angell and Cora Phelps made candy in their kitchen and sold it right out of their home to tourists. During World War II, they moved down to Daytona Beach and set up shop there. Eventually they sold their business to Mr. Smith, who purchased it for his wife as a Valentine’s Day present. It’s now run by his son, Charlie Smith, and is associated with the Assyrian Ministries and their global missions.
Down on the Boardwalk
The boardwalk and pier were empty on this cold day (in the 50s), but we had fun walking around and taking photos of the empty amusement park and beach bandshell. I imagine this is a whole different scene in the spring when college students flood the city on break, or during one of the two annual motorcycle rallies where more than 500,000 cycles roar into town. I prefer the deserted version, myself.
My sister, Beth, loves to perform, especially when no one is watching. The empty bandshell was too hard to resist. She hoisted herself up on the stage and sang “Teddy Bears on Parade” for an audience of three. What an endearing kook my sister is.
Top of Daytona
This is a fun, slightly retro kind of restaurant at the top of Peck Plaza. It’s near Beth and Don’s timeshare, and they’d been there before, so we went at happy hour for drinks, live music, and to take in the view during sunset. It’s fun to see Daytona Beach from so high up, and to watch pelicans fly by at eye level. Looking down at the beach below, we could see thousands of seagulls huddled together on the shore in some sort of sunset ritual.