Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 23, 2016

Mission Nombre de Dios

Cool breeze. Sparkling lagoon. Shadows and shade. Quaint fences. Peace and quiet. It doesn’t really matter that there’s not much to do but walk and look and enjoy, because that’s plenty. No matter the weather, there’s really not a bad time to be here (unless it’s during a thunderstorm . . . not too fun). Blue skies are best, of course, so if you’re visiting the grounds and you happen to have them, make sure to take full advantage!

Colonial Quarter

Here at Colonial Quarter there are many activities, but my favorite one is just taking my legs from place to place and checking out the displays and artifacts. I believe this particular building is part of the British Colonial section, and showcases items from that era. The framed image at bottom left is a silhouette, and the folks at the museum will create one for you or your loved one for a fee. Looking out the windows, I’m shocked that I managed to get a shot without any people. Colonial Quarter is frequented by families, bus-loads of schoolkids, and folks in historical garb. Regarding the historical garb, that’s my kind of place. :-)

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Friday, September 16, 2016

September 16, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

This room on the Castillo’s south wall has been used for very different purposes throughout the years. Along with the room to the left which is now the book store, it was originally part of the first chapel. When the chapel was moved to the north wall, this chamber became officers’ quarters. Now it’s a rather empty room with interpretive text, samples of all the flags which once flew over the Castillo, and a nice model of the fort at right. I love an old structure where you can tell just by looking at the condition of the walls that this place has seen its share of history. "If walls could talk" is the perfect adage for this old room.

 Fountain of Youth

It irks me to read complaints about one of my favorite St. Augustine attractions being too kitschy because of the whole ‘fountain of youth’ thing. Yes, they have that. Yes, some people could call it kitschy. But what about all the history this place has to offer? It’s essentially an outdoor museum, with displays --- such as this one --- dedicated to bringing 16TH century Spanish and Native cultures to life. It’s also very nice to duck into one of the display buildings if it’s blazing hot outside or you’re in the middle of a torrential downpour (strange how such different circumstances can make you similarly miserable).

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 09, 2016

 St. Augustine by the Sea

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

--John Masefield, "Sea Fever"

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 02, 2016

González-Alvarez or “Oldest” House

The original González portion of the house didn’t always look like this. In the early to mid 1700s it was a small coquina cottage with a couple of rooms, then after British owners moved in, they decided to expand. I believe I heard that the palm tree at left is at least 200 years old, but I'm not certain. Notice the differing width of windows on the top story. I’d really like to just sit on that bench awhile and ponder the González clan who walked upon this very ground when many of my ancestors were still living in Europe . . .

St. George Street

This is the Salcedo house, a great example of St. Augustine’s colonial architecture. I’d love to live here, and not just because it’s a charming home with a balcony where I could watch the Florida sunrise. No, the main reason I’d live here is because just through that door on the left is Whetstone’s Chocolate factory outlet, where they have some amazing treats. So let’s recap: quaint house, lovely balcony, walls full of history, no traffic allowed on the street, and a candy shop downstairs. Yep. Sounds pretty good to me.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 26, 2016

 Castillo de San Marcos

The Chapel of St. Mark along the Castillo’s north wall was dedicated in the 1750s, replacing an earlier chapel which later became officers’ quarters. The niche in the wall would have held religious statuary. The Spanish used this room as a sanctuary until the British arrived, and it is possible that the Protestant Englishman repurposed the room as a chapel to celebrate their own faith. Imagine the walls painted white with a dark red stripe along the bottom (computer models show such a scene, using as proof the remnants of color that still remain), and the altar full of religious items and flickering candles.

 Fountain of Youth

St. Augustine is full of such beautiful, unexpectedly aesthetic scenes, and many of them can be found at the Fountain of Youth. I’m not sure what this window’s original purpose was, but now its main goal seems to be evoking a bygone world. Can’t you imagine finding something like this in old Spain? The framing ferns are a nice touch. I remember watching a travel video that showed tourist attractions in Spain, and one of the sections discussed the old Moorish city of Granada. It was stated that poet Francisco de Icaza once said, “. . . there is nothing in life, nothing so sad as to be blind in Granada.” Likewise, there is nothing so sad as to walk St. Augustine without a camera.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays