Our Favorite Places, Part 2 Saint Augustine, Florida
"Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.
Saint Augustine, Florida definitely makes the cut when we think about our favorite places.
This tiny town of around 15,000 people captured our imagination from the first moment of our first visit there and kept us coming back.
From our home in Ocala Florida, it is an 83-mile trip using back roads. As a life- long freeway hater, I enjoy the drive and the chance to take it a little slower. Roadside stands sell produce, lawn art, and boiled peanuts along the way. I usually like to break it up with an ice cream stop. Nothing fancy. Dairy Queen or Sonic soft serve, and back on the road.
If you have never been to Saint Augustine, take my advice. Park and take the trolley. A trolley wristband lets you ride all day, (or two or three)and you can get off and on again anywhere in town. You won't have to deal with the limited parking and narrow one-way streets. As a bonus, you are going to get a lot of trivia facts and history included. Getting off and on the trolley also allows you to hear the different drivers. They all have a unique spin and different anecdotes and facts they include in their presentations. Don't be shy, ask questions! Take the trolley through its entire route once, make note of what you want to do and see, and then get off and on the rest of the day.
Saint Augustine lays claim to being the oldest city in the US. Yes, there is some dissension on that fact, but, oldest or not, it's old. It was founded in 1565. Both Rob and I love history, so walking around in buildings and cobblestone streets that have been there since the 1500s is awe-inspiring. I like to just duck down a narrow cobblestone street and follow it to see what magical and interesting things we can find. Those kind of wandering around Saint Augustine days are my favorites.
I'd be blogging all day if I listed EVERYTHING there is to do and see in this city. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself at least two days to explore it. A few highlights and must-sees: The Lighthouse, the Lightner Museum, The Aligator farm, Castillo de San Marcos, The Fountain of Youth, The Colonial Quarter, and Saint George Street. If you like more touristy stuff or you have kids with you, the area around Ripley's has some fun shows and tours like the Old Jail.
I haven't even covered the fact that there's a really nice beach area and marinas! Shell hunting, surfing, fishing, and sailing are all ways to spend a day in Saint Augustine.
On one trip, we even took the Ghost tour. Armed with the secret ghost spotting tools of the trade, we visited Ripley's after dark, the jail, and the site of the infamous massacre. I personally did not spot any unearthly beings, but some said they felt a cold presence. It was kitschy and fun!
Let's don't forget the food. You can get almost anything here, but come on! Seafood reigns. We like O'Steens, Conch House, O.C. Whites, and Meehan's for casual seafood. If you are there on a special occasion, RainTree is a bit more upscale and has a varied and delicious menu.
Saint Augustine is just such a truly special place. Just writing this makes me want to go, right now! But, it's a long way from Progreso, MX, so I will just lean back and daydream about it for now!