Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 24, 2017

Castillo de San Marcos

Here we see the second Spanish guardroom. Once upon a time, this room and the guardroom directly beside it were part of one large room. They were separated during wide-scale renovations in the 1730s through the 1750s. There are no bunks here currently, but there’s some interesting colonial graffiti. Note the rustic fireplace. Directly to the right and out of view is the carcél or prison, a fascinating place (if undeniably creepy).

Fountain of Youth

This is a tropical paradise if I ever saw one. The palms, the Spanish moss on the ground, the tiki torch, the ancient pottery and rusty anchor . . . what's not to love? You can tell it was a dreary day, but as long as it’s not raining, it’s not a deal-breaker. Also note the benches where you can sit and reflect on the Florida beauty all around you. Did they invent teleporting devices yet? I’d like to go right now, please.

(c) 2015-2017 St. Augustine Fridays

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