Road Trip: St. Augustine

Fort Castillo de San Marcos

Our third stop on our road trip, was St. Augustine.  Having both grown up in Florida, we had never made it to St. Augustine.  It is a place I have always wanted to visit, so when we were planning our road trip, we figured we should stop in the oldest city in the United States.  Funny, when you think of oldest cities you don’t usually think of Florida.

 

St. Augustine was first settled in 1565 by the Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles.  The Spanish built Castillo de San Marcos, a fort to protect the city.  It was originally made of wood and since has been reconstructed in stone.  So how the name St. Augustine?  Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles supposedly first saw land on the Feast Day of St. Augustine.

 

From the fort we decided to walk to the Mission of Normre de Dios.  Jon trusted me to take us off the beaten path, which resulted in walking through a neighborhood into the back entrance of the Mission.  We walked down Shenandoah and Water streets, if you feel like exploring a bit more on your trip, take the side streets.  Thankfully The Great Cross at the Mission is 208 feet tall, so you can easily find your way.



The Mission has been preserved into a wonderful park on an inlet.  It was so peaceful walking around and would be a perfect spot for a picnic.  What looks like a mission style church is actually a shrine to Our Lady of La Leche.  The Mission is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Historic City Center, but well worth the time.  It was our favorite spot in St. Augustine.

Shrine to Our Lady of La Leche

St. George is the main drag through the Historic City and is pretty touristy and kitschy.  It is directly through the old City gates, but a nice spot to find some snacks or a restaurant.  At the end of St. George Street is the Basilica of St. Augustine.  The Cathedral has a Spanish feel to it, with Spanish tiles and a red tile roof.  There is some beautiful artwork and mosaic work in the Cathedral and worth the walk through.

St. George Street

Next we walked down to Flagler College, which used to be an old hotel until the 60s when the College took it over.  It had to have been beautiful in its prime, since it still has an impressive feel to it today.

Flagler College

Overall, we were expecting St. Augustine to have more of a Spanish feel with authentic Spanish restaurants. The main drag has definitely been Americanized.  There is beautiful Spanish inspired architecture, but be prepared it is also a tourist town.

Next Stop

We are continuing our trip in Florida and our next stop is visiting family in the city with 100 lakes.  Any other clues would be too easy!  Any guesses?

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