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Robin & Jim


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Posted By Robin & Jim

This trip south has been about trying new places and doing some of the "I always wanted to..." things in familiar places.  We've stopped in St. Augustine a few times before, but it was always a quick visit.  This time we were determined to see the town properly, so we took a mooring ball for three nights.

I had never been to the Castillo de San Marcos - the oldest masonry fort in the US, so that was the first stop.  The Spanish started building the fort in 1672 and it's now a National Monument.  There are a few paid staff and a host of volunteers who dress up in period costumes and they fire some of the cannons throughout the day. 

cannon firing

Another thing on our list was to take a tour of the gorgeous Flagler College - which was originally Henry Flagler's premiere hotel.  Henry Flagler may be most famous for building the Florida East Coast Railway that linked the islands of the Florida Keys together, but Henry was actually a hotel man who realized that he needed to build railroads in order to bring people to his hotels.

The Ponce de Leon hotel was built in 1888 for the ultra wealthy, and a winter season there could cost about $250,000.  The buildings, architectural details, artwork, and Tiffany stained glass windows are amazing, and the College has maintained a lot of the details beautifully.

flagler college lion

flagler college

Across the street, Flagler built the Hotel Alcazar which catered to the wealthy (as opposed to the ultra-wealthy), and it boasted the world's largest indoor swimming pool.  It is now the Lightner Museum with a varied collection of Victorian things, but the old swimming pool is a cafe where you can have an elegant lunch.

lightner pool

Another thing on our wish list was to climb the 164' tall St. Augustine lighthouse.


The spiral striping is distinctive, and was originally done to make each lighthouse unique so mariners would know where they were along the coast.  St. Augustine was the first lighthouse in Florida, built in 1824.  Just imagine the Keepers carrying heavy buckets of lamp oil up all those stairs several times a day, even in the summer!

For us, the views from the top were worth the effort of the climb, and we could even see ADVENTURES in the harbor - the little black speck of a boat to the left in this photo.

st. augustine view

We had a grand time exploring the town and its long history, and it's fun to learn new things.

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