The charms of St Augustine

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By Paul carbutt

Posted on May 15th, 2006

If you thought that Florida was just sun, sea, sand and Disney then think again. Whilst our visit at the end of April we decided to head North up the 95 to US Hwy 1 and the quaint historic city of St Augustine. This city boasts the claim of being the nations oldest city dating back in parts to the 16th century and before the pilgrim fathers. The city in its past has been fought over between the Spanish and the British and was also famously burnt to the ground by Sir Francis Drake.

Take a walk down George Street which starts at the city gates and take a look in the Spanish Quarter living museum which shows the world of colonists in a garrison town in the 18th cenury. There are plenty of old interesting buildings including the oldest house and school house as well as the old market where a market has been held since 1598. Take in the splendour of Henry Morrison Flaglers famous hotel now a college as well as a number of churches and missions. Well worth a visit is the Castillo De San Marcos which is an impressive building which has held many prisoners including the peoples and wives of the famous native american Geronimo.

For the ice cream lovers amongst you the cafe de hildago comes highly recommended with twenty flavours of home made ice cream. They also do good coffee as well as a range of exotic hot chocolate drinks. If there are any real ale drinkers amongst you walk to the bottom of the plaza near the market place where the A1A ale house boasts a range of home made brews. Upstairs in the restaraunt you can sit out on the balcony and take in the spectacular views of the Bridge of Lions and the River Mantaza. If you cross the bridge of lions you find yourself on Anastasia island where the St Augustine lighthouse stands.

After your evening meal why not take one of the many ghost walks and hear tales of lost souls. Every house seems to have a friendly unearthly visitor.

Accommodation ranges from the New Hilton hotel on the front to a variety of Victorian styled bed and breakfasts. For travellers on a budget why not stay at the Pirate Haus Inn and Hostel where you can rent a bunk in a dorm or have an ensuite private family room with a pirate theme and a free pancake breakfast thrown in.

This is just a taste of what there is to see in St Augustine and we shall be returning again during our visit in November.

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written by Andrea Carbutt
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