St. Augustine/Daytona Beach
After a quick overnight in Tallahassee, we were on our way to St. Augustine. I do want to show you a photo of the park in Tallahassee. We are learning a lot about RV parks. Like everything else, they are not always what they advertise. This park was nice, clean with good facilities, power, cable, water & sewer. Down side, you are close to your neighbor. The old saying in the RV world is that if you sneeze, your neighbor says. ‘Bless You!’ Fortunately, our ‘patio’ side was not inhabited, so we had enough room.
Once we arrived in St. Augustine, we headed for the beach. After all, this is supposed to be a beach tour! St. Augustine beach was really nice. It was surprisingly deserted.
On our way home, we found out why. Apparently everyone but us had looked at the weather! Here is our view as we drove away from the beach. It was followed by an hour of heavy rain.
St. Augustine is know as the oldest city in America. It was founded in 1565 and will be celebrating its 450th anniversary in September. There is a wonderful historic district that has the oldest pharmacy in America as well as the oldest wooden schoolhouse. We concentrated our visit to two of the favorite attractions. The first is the Castillo de San Marcos. It is the oldest masonry fort in America and was built in 1672 with construction taking 23 years. It is made of coquina, a stone similar to limestone that is made of compressed small shells.
The ‘laminated’ structure proved effective in absorbing cannon shot from attacking ships. When the English attacked in 1720, the 1,500 residents sought refuge in the fort and held off the English until support could arrive from the nearest Spanish Mission. At that time, it was in Havana Cuba and it took 2 months for the reinforcements to arrive. When the Spanish fleet arrived, the English were easily defeated.
Within the walls of the fort, there is ancient graffiti. The occupants, whether Spanish or English prisoners, scratched drawings into the walls.
There are park workers that dress in authentic uniforms and do reenactments. Several times a day, they recount the history of the cannon brigades, including their success against the English fleet and actually fire a cannon in demonstration.
After the fort, we went looking for some shade. Walking down St. George Street, we did a bit of window shopping. The street is a pedestrian mall with lots to see and do. After a brief stop for a cold beverage, we went to see Flagler College.
The college was founded in 1968 but it gains its notoriety by occupying the Ponce de León Hotel. The hotel was one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in North Florida. Built by Standard Oil co-founder, Henry Flagler in 1888, the hotel is known for its extravagant art and decor. Interestingly, it was also wired for electricity during construction, with Flagler’s friend, Thomas Edison, supplying DC generators.
Can you imaging going to college here?
For food in St. Augustine, we chose a restaurant recommended to us by our daughter, Jennie. The Floridian is in the historic district and will soon be moving to a new, larger location. They need the room because they open at 5 pm and when we arrived at 5:10, we got the last available table. They boast farm to table fare and list their local vendors on the menu and on their website. They were recently featured on an episode of ‘Emeril’s Florida.’
The food and service were fantastic! I had the Southern Belle Salad, fresh grilled shrimp over local lettuces with fresh peaches, roasted sweet potatoes, candied pecans and GA blue cheese tossed in a lemon-basil vinaigrette and drizzled with FL honey. Fabulous!
Jimmie Kay had the Veggie Dixie Burger with a fried green tomato. Also a great choice. A little different from our usual choices, with JK eating a burger and me choosing the salad!
As we were checking out of our site in St. Augustine, we saw the following which answered an aged old question for RVers. Should you buy a Class A, B or C? I guess, if you can, you buy a Class A AND Class B. These folks were riding in their Class A and towing their Class B behind them. Nice setup!
As we work our way down to Key West, our next stop was Daytona Beach. Known for its wide beaches with firm packed sand, we took advantage went for a little ride down the beach. We were in the CR-V, we didn’t try the coach on the sand!
Daytona was more of a rest stop than anything else, we took advantage of the weather and had some good beach time.
As we head to Ft. Pierce, we have our eyes on Erika. In the Atlantic, headed this way. No hurricane has hit Florida in 10 years. All it takes to change that is for us to be headed to Key West!
Next up-Ft. Pierce, FL