Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 21, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

Palm tree shadows on a 350-year-old wall. Yep, this is heaven. Equally pleasant is getting here so early that you’re just about the only person wandering the grounds (I highly recommend it). This is San Agustín Bastion, constructed in the 1680s and guarding the tenacious town of St. Augustine ever since. This is the only small tower you’re allowed to walk inside, and offers great views of the bay, the terreplein, and the eastern outerworks.

Fort Matanzas

I was recently sobered by a walk along the Fort Matanzas nature trail, which showed many downed and rotting trees that seemed to be victims of the devastating Hurricane Matthew. This scene, though, is untouched, and shows the natural beauty of this secluded area. Watch out for oyster shells (yes, there’s actually a sign that states this), rattlesnakes, sea turtles, and marsh rabbits. If they’re not interested in saying hi, feel free to take a nice long walk.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 14, 2017

 St. George Street

The pedestrian-only shopping district of St. George Street offers so much more than shopping. There are so many little nooks and crannies and alcoves and artsy details if you know where to look, and on my last trip I discovered these two beautiful fountains behind a shop. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, as the fountain the front was constantly burbling in a gentle stream and was very interesting to watch. The blue fence and shutter and the old-fashioned brick path add to the aestheticism of this relaxing little area. Unfortunately, we were on our way out and didn’t have the time to explore more thoroughly.

Fountain of Youth

If you’ve visited the Fountain of Youth recently, you might know that a Spanish chalupa was built on park grounds and placed in the Matanzas River. This is my first attempt at a close-up, which reveals the boat’s name: San Agustín. From 1565 to 1763, and again from 1784 to 1821, this was the town’s official name, sometimes listed in official documents as “San Agustín de la Florida.” I’m still not sure whether it was pronounced “San a-GUSS-teen” or “San AW-goo-STEEN.” I’m not too fond of conjuring a 16TH century Spaniard to tell me the proper pronunciation, either. I hear they were only hospitable toward a particular demographic, and as I don’t meet that criterion, I’ll have to make do with guesswork. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 07, 2017

Huguenot Cemetery

The old Huguenot Cemetery (officially named the “Protestant Burying Ground”) has an air of sadness about it, and history reveals many reasons for this. First, in Spanish St. Augustine Protestants were forbidden to be buried inside the city, making it necessary to construct a burial ground outside the walls where any number of animals on unsavory passersby might desecrate the tombs (traveler Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in the 1820s that vandalism had indeed occurred). Second, many of these unfortunate souls were victims of a yellow fever epidemic.

Castillo de San Marcos

This is my favorite photo I took on my recent trip to Florida. Depth perception be hanged . . . none of these places except for the mortar and watchtower are close to one another, and yet this angle makes it seem otherwise. From left to right: San Pedro tower, the Castillo’s weathered coquina wall with a patch of new coquina visible, one of Flagler College’s many beautiful Moorish-style terra cotta turrets, the replica 17TH century Spanish watchtower at the Colonial Quarter museum, the lovely dome of millionaire Henry Flagler’s Memorial Presbyterian Church completed in 1890, and an old Spanish mortar. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 17, 2017

**Next post will be Friday, April 7th**

Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo as seen from San Marco Avenue is an agelessly impressive sight. This is the western wall or terreplein, with bastions San Pablo and San Pedro.Notice the person resting against the tree at right (I really hope he/she was only sleeping). Part of the Cubo Line, a defensive wall once topped by sharp yucca plants designed to keep out the enemy, can be seen at left.

Fountain of Youth

If you’re into high-tech informational displays, you might not like the displays at the Fountain of Youth, which tend more toward the quaint and old-fashioned. If, however, you enjoy history in all shapes and forms, you’ll love them. I personally like things like this --- ship models, artifacts recovered from the site, etc. --- and much prefer the kitschy charm of old-school displays over modern, in-your-face technological advancements.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 10, 2017

Flagler College

I’m not certain, but I believe this Moorish / medieval window is part of the Flagler College complex. St. Augustine’s various styles of architecture are not to be missed, and random bits of prettiness aren’t at all difficult to find. The hint of palm at lower right places this gem in a tropical locale.

St. Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine

Not Orthodox? Not religious? No problem, this is still a stunning place and a nice little hideaway on St. George Street. This beautiful altar is located within the shrine, one of many details that make it a wonderful place to spend some time in contemplation. I believe the gilded book is a Bible inscribed with various colorful images of saints. The altar has an ancient feel, with details which may call to mind the Crusader or Byzantine era. 

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays