Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 29, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

Photographers love this kind of weather! Here we see Baluarte de San Pedro --- St. Peter’s Bastion --- and one of the Castillo’s resident Spanish mortars. Save for the modern floor, the informational marker, and the “do not enter” sign, this could be a photo from the past (if, of course, they’d had cameras in the colonial era). And please, folks, don’t ignore the “keep out” signs. They’re there for a reason! The lighter-colored coquina blocks you see along the wall replaced blocks that were crumbling due to age and handling. The Castillo is over 330 years old and needs to be treated with care.

Fountain of Youth

Picturesque without even trying: Not only is the Fountain of Youth entrance a classy design, with plenty of colors, native coquina pillars, and the lovely (and intriguing) “resurrection ferns” on either side, but there’s even a little strand of iconic Spanish moss hanging from the coat of arms in the center of the arch. I highly encourage folks who think this is a “kitschy” tourist attraction to wander the grounds and take in the natural beauty and history. This has long been one of my favorite places to visit in St. Augustine, and I certainly don’t go for the water!

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 22, 2016

Mission Nombre de Dios


You can tell just by looking at this photo that the Mission is a peaceful place. I especially like the shaft of sunlight highlighting the trees, and the tombstones that, instead of being eerie, are somehow serene. I highly recommend that visitors take the time to read the gravestones and maybe do some further research on the lives and stories of the people buried here.

St. George Street

I’m not certain, but it looks as if the old mill-wheel at Mill Top Tavern is made of coquina, that special seashell composite of which so many structures in St. Augustine are built. According to the sign, the wheel dates from 1947 but was rebuilt in 1996. It’s nice to sit here and watch the water rippling. That water, interestingly, is a bright algae green (or at least was when I last visited) which makes the scene strangely aesthetic.

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 15, 2016

Castillo de San Marcos

Did you know that the Castillo’s four bastions are named for saints? This is Baluarte de San Pedro (Bastion of St. Peter). The bottom half of the wall dates from the 1670-90s, but the walls were raised in the mid-1700s. History tells us the walls were originally white and the towers were painted red, and you can still see a lot of the red paint on this particular tower. You can also see some of the coquina retaining walls at left. There’s nothing in this shot that wouldn’t have existed hundreds of years ago, except that the Castillo has of course aged considerably in its appearance.

Fountain of Youth

One of my favorite parts of the Fountain of Youth complex is the Timucua Indian village. Although many Americans are familiar with French, Spanish, and English history, this is a culture you don’t learn about in the history books. Interesting fact: The word “Timucua” was given to this tribe of Native Americans by European explorers. No one has the foggiest idea how they referred to themselves. Here we see the inside of a Timucua dwelling, complete with all kinds of items which add visual interest. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather walk in on a fully-arrayed Timucua warrior than a helmeted Spanish conquistador . . . especially with some of my ancestors being Huguenots and all . . .

(c) 2015-2016 St. Augustine Fridays

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 08, 2016

 St. Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine

St. Photios is one of those places where you can find peace even if you espouse a different faith, or none at all. There’s just something intrinsically comforting about the beautifully-painted walls, the shrine and its flickering candles, the slow-paced, spiritual atmosphere. If you go, make sure to check out the details on the murals as well as the various historical exhibits. The shrine gift shop offers many unique gifts based on the Greek Orthodox tradition. As an added bonus, if you like exploring old houses, this structure known as the Avero House was built around 1748.  

St. Augustine Lighthouse

This is just one of the Lighthouse complex’s many exhibits, and shows a model of the original lighthouse which guided ships at sea until the 1870s. This first lighthouse began as a Spanish structure and was gradually enlarged. When the new lighthouse was constructed, the original one became defunct, and was destroyed by the wash of the tide less than a decade later. 

(c) 2016 St. Augustine Fridays