Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 16, 2015

** I’m starting my new blog venture in the hopes of conveying St. Augustine, Florida's charm and appeal through personal photos. I'll post every Friday (barring travel or other "bumps in the road"). Enjoy! **

So why is St. Augustine so important to me? It's my favorite place I've ever visited. It's such an amazing, historic city, full of so many different vibes . . . Native American, Spanish colonial, American pioneer, modern Florida tourist. You can find anything you're looking for; whatever your interests, this colorful town is bursting with character.
Interested in history? Take your pick … Native American, age of the conquistadors, Spanish colonial, African-American, 18TH century British, Civil War, Victorian grandeur, it’s all there. In one day you can tour a Spanish fortress built during the age of piracy, climb a beautiful lighthouse, visit an alligator farm, shop for everything from tiny ships made of seashells to expensive art pieces, and see the site of an important 16TH century massacre which was perhaps the first religious martyrdom in what would become these United States. And that’s only a drop in the bucket.
These are all personal photos taken between 2005 and 2014. Since I’m choosing a photo blog as my means of sharing St. Augustine with everyone who may stop by, my posts won’t be heavy on text, but I hope the photos will convey the colorful hodge-podge that is St. Augustine without the need for an overabundance of words.

 Now on to the photos!
Castillo de San Marcos

Begun in 1672 and finished in 1695, this old Spanish fortress dates from the age of piracy, an era of heavy colonization, religious persecution, and royal intrigue. Seen here is St. Augustine’s Bastion (each of the four watchtowers is named for an influential saint) which overlooks Matanzas Bay. These walls were originally lower, but due to the threat of pirate attacks and British sieges (the Castillo did, in fact, weather two sieges, in 1702 and 1740) they were raised and strengthened throughout the mid-1700s. At right, the Shot Furnace, once used to lob fiery cannonballs at unsuspecting wooden ships in the bay, sits neglected. Note the white paint still clinging to the walls; the Castillo was originally coated with lime-wash, and in its heyday the fortress with bright white with red towers. Imagine how impressive it must have appeared.

 Fountain of Youth

Folks who visit the Fountain of Youth Archaeological with visions of Disney-like animatronics will be sadly disappointed, and those who go for the famous “fountain” itself will probably go away disgruntled. Still, if you visit the Fountain and enjoy it for what it is, not for the entertainment, not for the “youth water”, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Those things are only secondary. The real draw of the park is its natural Florida beauty . . . those looking for Spanish moss, towering palms, and majestic marshland will definitely get their fill. Add in colorful peacocks and gentle Spanish music, a cannon-firing demonstration if you’re lucky, and some fascinating archaeological sites, and you’ll definitely find yourself describing the Fountain of Youth as a favorite attraction.

(c) 2015 – St. Augustine Fridays

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