Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 17, 2017

The “Old Senator”

Years ago, I stayed at the Howard Johnson Express Inn on San Marco Avenue, and I became acquainted with this old gentleman. No, it’s not somebody in one of these cars, or staying in one of the rooms . . . it’s the huge live oak. Amazingly, this tree has stood exactly in this spot for about 600 years. (That means it was already 150 years old when Pedro Menendez and San Agustín’s first Spanish settlers arrived in 1565). We’ll say it began growing about 1417. It was already somewhere around one hundred years old when Juan Ponce de Leon arrived in “La Florida” in 1513!

Plaza de la Constitucion

The Plaza de la Constitucion is home to the old “slave market” (seen at left) which many argue was never used for that purpose, as well as various monuments, historic artillery, and other interesting gems. The St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica can be seen in the center of the photo. This is a great place to look at, but not so much to walk . . . not only is the traffic constant, but finding a safe place to park along the street can be a nightmare. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 10, 2017

Mission Nombre de Dios

The colors of Florida: Blue-green waters beneath a bright blue sky. This is the Matanzas River, named for the massacre of Protestant Frenchmen in autumn 1565. The sleek bridge in the distance is the Usina Bridge which leads to Vilano Beach. The grove of trees at far left is part of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Standing at this spot and watching the water ripple in the salty breeze is one of my favorite Florida pastimes.

St. George Street

Not only will you see a great deal of Spanish architecture in St. Augustine, but you’ll also catch a few glimpses of Moorish design as well. This balcony on the “modern” end of St. George Street is an example of that. Be on the lookout for St. Augustine’s many architectural styles. They never fail to delight the eye.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 03, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

If you were a British soldier at the Castillo between 1763 and 1784, this would be your “home base.” This room, known quite aptly as the British Room, shows what life was like for these men. Don’t go thinking that this is pretty roomy considering how many men had to lodge in the Castillo during the British years . . . multiple soldiers would have shared both the top and bottom bunk. The informative markers are a great way to learn about what you’re seeing, and are visually interesting as well.

Fountain of Youth

What I like about this view of a Timucua Indian structure is that the lighting makes it appear almost as if everything is covered in a thin layer of snow. Even the sand on the floor resembles fresh white powder. Considering this is Florida, barring an unusual weather event this is probably the closest “snow” picture I’m likely to see. On a more serious note, I love these historical reconstructions. Kudos to the Fountain of Youth Park for expanding their offerings so immensely. I first visited in 2001, and though it was still lovely, the place wasn’t nearly as informative, interesting, or beautiful as it is now!

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 27, 2017

Anastasia Island

I’m not sure what kind of trees these are on Anastasia Island, but they’re pretty interesting. Am I the only one who finds the crooked white branches to be really creepy, though? I know that sometimes trees are made to grow in certain directions by human intervention, but I’m almost certain these are natural. I don’t know if I’d trust having a picnic underneath . . . depends on the strength of the roots, and how secure the trunks are.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

For some reason I really like this display at the Lighthouse. It’s attractive, historical-looking, and informative, and the artifacts are down to your level, not behind glass or something like that. Plus I’m a sucker for colonial artillery so that probably has something to do with it. Despite it being so accessible, I wouldn’t recommend touching. Most museums frown on that . . . and it’s not okay to do it just because someone else did. (You wouldn’t believe how many people climb on historic structures or displays, particularly artillery, even when there’s a sign that clearly says not to).

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays 

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

On the west gun deck between Baluarte de San Pedro (Saint Peter’s Bastion) and Baluarte de San Pablo you can find a fascinating array of historical artillery. Make sure to take the time to read the inscriptions; the often tell a story. Please don’t be “that person” who places their small child inside the mortars. (Yes, I’ve seen pictures of people doing this). I really wouldn’t suggest sticking your hand inside, either. Not only are there folks who think this is a trash receptacle, but you might be disturbing a birds’ nest. That aside, enjoy the guns. They’re pretty great.

St. George Street

Once upon a time, in another incarnation, the wonderful Spanish Bakery restaurant behind Whetstone’s Factory Outlet at St. George Street was the Jorge Salcedo house’s kitchen. This old fireplace hints at that historic past. When you’re waiting in line for empanadas, fresh-baked colonial-style bread rolls, homemade cookies, or piccadillo, you might not even notice this little gem of history tucked back inside the tiny kitchen. Always make sure to keep your eyes peeled in St. Augustine. You’re sure to notice a ton of things you never noticed before.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays