We went to St. Augustine, FL... the oldest city in the US. We only stayed for the weekend. DH's plans involved sight-seeing on Friday, and relaxing at the resort on Saturday before returning home on Sunday. But apparently he forgot about what a history buff I am! There was no way to experience everything in one day! So... the relaxing around the resort on Saturday? Yeah, that kind of didn't happen. We spent two whole days walking all around historic Old Town, St. Augustine (we did ride the trolley some of the time) learning about lots of history that you never read in your textbook education at school. And even two days wasn't enough time to see it all. I told dh that we definitely have to plan a vacation here now so the kids can experience all that we did!
St. Augustine is a city built on the dreams of explorers, colonists and railroad men. This city has so many stories to tell, so much history to learn of the Timucuan, Spanish, British and early American residents. The museums are bursting with artifacts. I tell you, two days is not enough time to explore this city rich with heritage!
beginning our tour on the Old Town Trolley
The trolley conductors are excellent tour guides! The Trolley Tour is a must for visitors to this historic city.
the historic Bridge of Lions
Connecting the city of St. Augustine with Anastasia Island, this bridge opened in 1927.
view from our balcony
Sadly, we only had a dip in the pool and the hot tub once. This is definitely the kind of place you'd want to stay for a week, or at least a few days!
Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth
The place where it all began... this is the birthplace of St. Augustine where Pedro Menendez de Aviles established the first colony in 1565. Here we were able to explore the site of the very first fort, Fort San Juan de Pinos, a Timucuan Indian village and burial grounds, as well as drink from the legendary waters of the Fountain.
I was only able to take a sip of my water from this spring... the horrible sulfur smell was too much for me!
statue of Ponce de Leon
I might add that it is a life-size statue of the man. He was only 4 feet 11 inches tall.
memorial marking the site of the first fort in St. Augustine
Flagler College today, this used to be the grand Hotel Ponce de Leon. Built in 1887 by Henry Flagler, this hotel for the elite cost $900 per night (in today's dollars) and you had to book a minimum 3-month stay. I can't remember all the names the tour guide mentioned, but the Rockefeller's and some of our earlier presidents were regular clientele at this hotel for the rich and famous.
Castillo de San Marcos. This fort has been occupied by the Spanish, the British and Americans.
The Lions statues, one on each side of the road, guard the historic Bridge of Lions.
I also learned how to take pictures the way our teens do!
I obviously cannot say enough about this wonderful history-filled city. DH and I had a fabulous time exploring it together, but needless to say, we will be making another trip back to St. Augustine, with the kids in tow, in the near future!