Old City, Saint Augustine
It really is impossible to see all St. Aug has to offer in a day or two. If that is all the time you are able to visit then plan a return visit... the city will definately call you back!
The months of November thru January are especially beautiful because the city is decorated with lights.
Fondest memory: My best memory of St. Aug is living here and knowing all the secrets that the tourists never knew!... but here I am now grown and mature sharing the secrets with all of VT.
See the restored Spanish Quarter and The Oldest House. It will give you a window into the conditions and hardships the Spanish endured to settle the area.
Fondest memory: The Oldest House. You could feel the influences of the various families who lived there. As life improved in the house, so did living conditions in the rest of the settlement. Below is a picture of The Oldest House when the first family, Gonzales-Alvarez, lived there. Gonzales was a common soldier in the 16th century. The rooms did not have glass windows only shutters. A small fire was kept burning even in the summer as a means to discourage the mosquitos that were everpresent. Twelve people lived in this one room: Mr. & Mrs. Gonzales-Alvarez and 10 children.
Favorite thing: see the OLDEST HOUSE Looks pretty good, don't you think, for being the oldest house in the U.S.! It's also called the Gonzalez-Alvarez house, and has been occupied by Americans and Europeans since the early 1600's. Was originally constructed of logs & thatch roof but burned down in 1702. Was replaced with coquina stone.
Though the whole town is a period piece, the Spanish Quarter Museum is a recreated village where it is always 1740. There is a group of colonial buildings in which guides recreate the dress and lifestyle of the 18th century beginnings of the city. It's conveniently located on St. George Street.
Fondest memory: St. Augustine surprised me. It was supposed to be just a short stop on our trip up the east coast to New Jersey and though the visit was brief, it was still longer than anticipated. I had figured an early morning departure from Ft. Lauderdale would bring us into America’s oldest city around lunchtime, making it possible to visit the local brewpub before sightseeing the entire afternoon. From there, it was a short drive to Jacksonville, where I reckoned there was cheaper accommodation to be found and of course, another brewpub for dinner. But plans have a way of changing on such spur of the moment trips and we found ourselves in this historically rich city with no appetite for lunch. We’d eaten some snacks in the car and it was a very hot Florida day, reducing our hunger to an imperceptible murmur. We passed by the brewpub and though I was thirsty, I resisted my desire to go in for a beer and played the good host to my visitor from Germany, showing her the sights I’d only seen once some twenty years earlier on an adolescent family trip. But all of my memories had faded and I found myself walking around in pleasant awe of this oasis of American culture. The day went by quickly and we tried to get a double room in the hostel I had read about on the Internet but had decided not to stay at, as I had thought the town didn’t require an overnight stop. It was a shame as the hostel looked very special but there was no time to cry over spilled milk, as it was now happy hour at the brewpub we had passed earlier. We sauntered over and greeted by the cool air conditioning and two-dollar pints, we settled into the bustling convivial pub. It was that rare brewpub that had managed to become a local hangout as well as a beacon restaurant for tourists due to its central location. The food was great and the beers better than I expected in this senior citizen haven. It was Doreen’s first experience with American beer and she was surprised how much she enjoyed it and I was happy that she enjoyed the place as well. After a few hours, it was obvious that Jacksonville was out of the question and I was now stuck with the task of finding some reasonable accommodation, late on a Friday night. St. Augustine is a very touristy town and the hostel was certainly the best deal at $38 a double but I’d stupidly not booked that so now I’d have to hunt to find a bargain. Instinctively I knew to head over the bridge that lie just next to the brewpub where there was a row of inexpensive and admittedly seedy motels waiting for inspection. It was the first time that we would have to get a room and wasn’t sure what Doreen expected from this budget savvy traveler. The hostel would have been perfect; it was just the right combination of romantic Bed & Breakfast and funky alternative shoestring that I always strive for, and I knew the alternatives were not going to be pretty. I went to at least three but it was getting late and there wasn’t much difference between them. I reluctantly handed over the extortionate $45 and then moved onto the even harder task of showing the room to this sweet girl whom I’d convinced to come visit me. It wasn’t really all that bad though it was certainly poor value. I’d stayed in much worse places but generally with much lower price tags. Doreen was not impressed and amazed at how expensive the United States could be. I had to admit that for that money, you would get a much nicer room in Germany, with a hearty breakfast included. We took a nap and shower and headed back into town, which seemed deserted now, even though it was only about ten o’ clock, on a Friday night no less! Still we enjoyed wandering the deserted streets romantically aglow with ersatz gas lamps and had a cappuccino at an outside café rather than go back to the brewpub. We got back to our place later than expected and slept deeply after the busy day. We awoke late the next morning to find the room not looking as scary as it did when dimly lit by 40-watt bulbs the night before and laughed about our small squabble over the room and lack of organization. We had passed a few more tests and made some compromises. I hadn’t went straight to the brewpub as I normally would and Doreen had learned that once you’re eyes are closed all rooms look the same. We hastily packed up the car as we still had another 1000 miles to go on this adventure and we were getting a late start. It didn’t matter, our next stop wasn’t that far away, and besides, now I was in perfect position to stop in Jacksonville for lunch. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a brewpub there too. ;>
Favorite thing: SEE ST AUGUSTINES 'OLDEST'. Within the old quarter is the oldest house(1600), the oldest store and the oldest schoolhouse. All are essentially museums displaying period dress, activities, artifacts and each with an admission charge of $5 or less.
You must visit St. George Street. There is lots to see there & its tons of fun. But be prepared to do a lot of walking, no vehicles are aloud. But its definately worth it.
Fondest memory: Being from a cold state like minnesota i would have to say that i miss the warm weather and the beaches the most.
Favorite thing: Saint Augustine is a charming old style city with old style southern charm. Just take it in and enjoy.
Favorite thing: Stroll through the streets of the HISTORICAL AREA.. about 8 square blocks. Touristy with lots of shops and restaurants, also some excavation sites.