Our first tour was at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The castle was built by the Spanish to protect their empire in America. Construction was started in 1672, which makes this one of the oldest standing structures in North America.
Some of the cannon could shoot 3 miles out to sea. Unbelievable.
A very successful fortress, the castle was never taken in battle. It changed "hands" several times, but always through treaties.
I highly recommend a stop at this monument if you find yourself in St. Augustine.
We did a walking tour of St. George Street, the best known street in the city. The city streets were laid out by the Spanish in 1598. Paul said, "Take a picture of an old teacher in front of the old school building." Do you think they had a music department in that school?
In addition to the historic Spanish section, we also walked around the Flagler Buildings. Henry Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil Company fell in love with St. Augustine during a winter visit in 1883. He made a huge impact on the architecture and economy of the city, building hotels and homes for his family and company executives. The "flagship" of his buildings was the Hotel Ponce de Leon. The structure was built in 1887 as a luxury hotel and is considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture in America. It now houses Flagler College, a small four year liberal arts school. What a beautiful campus!
We also enjoyed the Lightner Museum, which was built by Flagler in 1889. It was originally the Alcazar Hotel.
The grounds were absolutely beautiful. St. Augustine's city hall also is housed in a portion of this building.
Paul was fascinated by the Lightner Antique Mall, which used to be the hotel's pool. At the time, it was the world's largest indoor swimming pool. The floor of the mall slopes from the shallow end to the deep end.
We spent a morning touring the St. Augustine Light House and Museum as well. It has gone through an incredible restoration.
What a great view from the top!
We also enjoyed walking through the restored keeper's quarters.
The walk down was much easier!
When we weren't on historical walking tours, we spent time at the beaches. Here is the public beach. People were out enjoying the beautiful weather.
We didn't stay there long. We much preferred the solitude at the beach at Anastasia State Park, where we stayed.
One morning, we walked for two miles down the beach. We had stretches of the shoreline all to ourselves.
On the other side of the dunes we spotted the lighthouse. Time to stop and turn back!
We also enjoyed some good meals back at the camper. Come to think of it, we never did try a restaurant. Found some good shrimp, though! I'll post this recipe when I get chance.
Jim and Mary and Kent and Margie stopped for lunch at out campsite on their way to Augusta for The Masters. Of course, we had to go check out that beach before they left!
So, our stay in Florida for 2010 has come to an end. I decided on Tuesday I was ready to pack it up and head for home. But, Paul convinced me to stick to our original plans and visit a few spots up the east coast before we turn west. And, you know, I am glad he did! I'll keep you posted!