We still had a few days in St Augustine before Hurricane Matthews path could be determined. There are so many ships, old buildings and brick roads to explore here. The city was established in 1565, making it is oldest city in our nation.
**Plus, it was Willows Birthday. We needed to celebrate. What better way than a European history lesson, lunch, drinks and dinner in St Augustine!
We made our way straight to the Flagler College. We didn’t get to check it out last time and was reminded by one of our sailing friends what a great historic site it is. (Thank you, Zach)
Walking inside the college was like stepping back in time. It was like something out of a Harry Potter movie! There was so much history and energy here.
The Dining Hall shimmered with beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows. Looking up from the Grand Parlor, you can see the beautiful murals on the ceiling, that were designed by Italian artist Virgillio Tojetti.The architecture outside of the college is as stunning as it is inside. The grounds are well- kept, with beautifully trimmed palm trees spread across the grounds.
The private Liberal Arts college was once the Ponce de León Hotel. It sits on the grounds in the Spanish Quarter section of St Augustine. It is well worth the time it takes to walk the grounds to see the detail that was put into the Spanish design of this historic site.We decided to head back to the boat and take a break for a few hours. We spotted the Schooner Freedom ship docked by the Municial Marina during our dinghy ride back. I was excited; I found Sierra another mermaid hanging out under the bow of the ship.
**The Schooner Freedom offers sailing trips for visitors to tour here, ocean view style!We made our way back to land in search of lunch. We passed the Casa Monica Hotel as we were on our way. It is one of the oldest hotels in the United States, first opening in 1888. The building is extraordinary in its Spanish influenced design.
We decided on lunch at Pizza Time. It has great reviews for their per slice pizza. We quickly realized why this little restaurant is voted the second best pizza place in America. They have, by far the best Brooklyn Style pizza I have ever ate! We will surely be back again.After lunch, we stopped by to check out the oldest masonry Fort in the United States; Castillo de San Marcos. Construction on the fort began in 1672 when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. It was deactivated in 1933 and turned over to the park service, who make it possible for everyone to tour the grounds.
The fort played a huge part in several wars. It was amazing to see this much history in one city.We made our way back to the historic district area. We toured the local shops on George street and found the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse.
The schoolhouse was built sometime in the early 1700’s and has an anchor and chain attached to it, in case a hurricane comes through. Hopefully, it makes it safely through Hurricane Matthew.
We found a few side roads with less tourists to walk through before we headed over to meet up with some friends for drinks.Our friends, Hope and James, suggested to meet up at a local bar, Odd Birds. We hadn’t been here before but quickly found it was perfectly unique. We enjoyed some great drinks and down time in the rustic style outdoor patio.
We later joined them at their house for some grilled turkey burgers. We enjoyed their hospitality and checking out their beautiful artwork throughout the house.
After dinner, we walked down the street to see the huge St Augustine Cross, light up at the end of a huge open field. It was a breathtaking view with so much peace and quiet, as if we weren’t even in a city. It reminded me of home for those few minutes we stood there looking at the beautiful view.
St Augustine has so much to explore but we needed to make plans and prepare for safety. Discovering the history of this European establishment was an honor, as there was so much of it I didn’t know.
Hurricane Matthew is now headed straight our way with forces that threatens the entire eastern coast. We determined we would have enough time to make it to Jacksonville before it makes its way to Florida. It would be a safer anchorage than where we currently were.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”.