On a dock at Camachee Cove Marina in St. Augustine, John and Peggy Sue Williams stand next to their 55-foot yacht, the “Full Moon,” in an embrace, warming each other from the breezy spring evening.
After 33 years of marriage, John still calls Peggy Sue “my bride” – and he’s whisked her away on a special date.
They’re about to have dinner at Kingfish Grill, a casual waterside restaurant at the marina, where an outdoor table, decorated in a nautical theme, is waiting especially for them.
Though the pair officially met at a party, they grew up seeing each other on the water. One day Peggy Sue sped by on a water ski – disturbing John’s area in her wake – and he thought to himself that the “wild child” was cute. He loved her red hair. After the party, they realized they shared a love of boating, and they’ve shared that love ever since. Boating has been an integral part of their relationship and their family. “Similar activities keep you connected. It’s important to take time for each other, and have fun together,” says Peggy Sue. John agrees, “It’s important to catch up and bond,” he says. “To download, upload and find out what’s been going on with each other.”
The water, it seems, is a perfect place to do just that. “There is a rhythm and relaxation on the water,” he says as he hugs his bride.
Boat Right In
John and Peggy Sue’s special evening begins with a cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville. They’ve jumped at the chance to participate in a First Coast Magazine photo shoot featuring a romantic date, and Liz Stewart Floral Design has started them off with a basket of goodies, including a bottle of wine and fresh flowers.
After docking their boat at Camachee Cove, they stroll across the marina for a sunset dinner at Kingfish Grill.
Since boating is weaved throughout their love story, Liz Stewart and crew created a magical nautical scene for their waterside table. It’s adorned with glass buoys, oyster sculptures, driftwood, beautiful flowers – and of course candle light. Side by side Adirondack chairs overlooking the boats provide a perfect spot for a toast.
Kingfish Grill has some of the best fresh fish on the water. The chef starts John and Peggy Sue off with an appetizer of sushi, for them to share as they enjoy a view of the Intracoastal Waterway and majestic Vilano Bridge. The Tree Hugger Roll is vegetarian, and great for those wanting a flavorful introduction to sushi. It consists of edamame hummus, tempura artichoke, sweet potato and asparagus inside a spinach soy paper finished with toasted almonds, goat cheese and balsamic drizzle. The Tuna Tataki is a lovely arrangement of Cajun seared tuna with a ginger garlic ponzu sauce. Their signature entree, Horseradish Encrusted Mahi Mahi, is served with a roasted garlic herb butter, paired with chef’s choice potato and vegetable. It’s a romantic dinner that matches the scenery.
Take your Cue from John and Peggy Sue
Since the marina is public, a phone call is all it takes to reserve a slip. If you don’t own a boat, Jax Water Tours, located at the marina next to Kingfish Grill, offers sunset tours.
Once you arrive at the restaurant, make your date feel like royalty by ordering a signature dish you know they’ll love.
You can also request a custom dish not available on the regular menu. Chefs usually jump at the chance to challenge themselves with a new creation.
For an ultra-romantic vibe, with the permission of the restaurant, enlist the help of a florist to set your table with decor items, a custom arrangement and flickering wicks. Or just order a special bouquet of flowers for the occasion. The flowers can keep the memory of the adventure alive in the following days. If a nautical theme isn’t your bag, you can create your own theme by incorporating something your date enjoys, or something that is personal to your budding relationship. If you chart the waters carefully, this date just might lead to the beginning of your own personal love story.