Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Downtown St. Augustine, Florida

Last weekend my husband and I drove from the middle of Wisconsin all the way down to Orlando, Florida to spend Thanksgiving with our kids and enjoy a great vacation as well!  It's a twenty four hour drive for us and we broke up the trip into three travel days because of the Midwest blizzard that hit that weekend.  We spent our first night in Rochelle, Illinois and we had hoped to have missed the blizzard but no such luck.  We woke up at about 3:30 a.m. and had to drive through it for several hours before we were out of it.  We then hit minor traffic jams in both Nashville and Chattanooga before we arrived at our next hotel in Cartersville, Georgia fourteen hours later.   The next day we drove another six hours to meet our children Ashley and Jason in 
       St. Augustine, Florida!

To say I was excited to go here would be an understatement.  I had seen pictures of this city for years and just ached to see it.  It looked so beautiful!  

If you have never been to Europe, and may never have the opportunity to cross the big pond, you have to see St. Augustine.  It's in my opinion, the closest thing to Europe you will ever see in the United States.  

It is America's oldest city, founded in 1565 by the Spaniards.  You can see the Spanish influence in all the amazing architecture throughout this gorgeous place.  We took over five hundred pictures in just a few hours and it was so hard to narrow it down to just twenty photos for today's post.

 I can't possibly share with you everything I want to in one post, so I decided to break it up into several different posts.  Today's post will feature just the gorgeous architecture of this fabulous city.  I will do separate posts on the fort, Rollins College, food, and plants in later travel posts. 

This beautiful building is the Casa Monica Hotel.  I can only imagine what a nights rest would cost in this place!  Is this lux or what?  

There are so many fascinating, old buildings in St. Augustine it is almost overwhelming.  I just walked and soaked in all the interesting details for hours.  We came across this old building which had a working water wheel on the side.  As much as we loved the algae covered water wheel, we were intrigued by the sagging roof and plant matter growing on top of it.  "How could this roof possibly not leak inside?" we wondered.

This building is America's oldest wooden schoolhouse.  Isn't it just adorable?  It had the loveliest side garden too, but I'm saving that picture for Sunday's garden post.

St. Augustine is a labyrinth of small, some brick-lined streets that weave and wind around shacks, cute homes and businesses, and restaurants.  I could get lost in this place exploring every nook and cranny.

Notice the cute picture of the manatees in the foreground?  Florida is known for these amazing creatures and we had the wonderful opportunity of seeing them in their natural habitat while we there.  I can't wait to share that story with you in future travel posts!

In addition to winding and weaving streets, there were plenty of beautiful Spanish courtyards to enjoy as well!

I saw so many fountains the week I was in Florida that I said to my husband I could do an entire post on the water fountains of Florida alone!

This home/business was one of our favorites.  We loved the colors, the red shutters, and the stone foundation.

There were so many great restaurants in St. Augustine.  Many of them had outdoor seating and a lot of ambiance like this one.

We ate before we arrived because we weren't sure if there would be an affordable place to eat.  And then we really regretted our decision when we saw all the amazing food!  So, we just ate again!  We found an Italian restaurant that made the best pizza.  I will share more on that magnificent place in a later post.

The streets were filled with people that seemed to increase as the night went on.  I was amazed at how busy it was for a Sunday night.  It was also quite cool (66 degrees) and overcast that day.

I loved the palm trees lining the streets.  I still can't get over my surprise at seeing palm trees, even though I have been to Florida twice in the past three months.

This is The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.  We were blessed to go inside after waiting for a private service to end.

The rich colors of the interior was surprising to me.  I absolutely loved it!

The Government House of St. Augustine.  According to Spanish law, every colony must set aside a plaza for government, church, and public use.  Since 1598 a government building has stood on this site.

Here are some examples of the long and narrow streets.

This house is a bed and breakfast.

 This gorgeous building is the Lightner Museum.  It use to be the Hotel Alcazar but now three of it's floors house antiquities, mostly Gilded Age pieces.

I couldn't have asked for better timing when this horse and carriage had to stop for a light right in front of me!

 We didn't go inside of the museum for lack of time, but we did step in and enjoy this beautiful courtyard.  Look at this lush, tropical garden!  They even had koi in the small ponds.

Of course the bridge was the perfect spot to take romantic pictures.  That is my daughter Ashley with her husband Jason below.

Visiting St. Augustine was a dream come true for me,  I only regretted not being able to spend more time there.  There are so many museums and historic sites to explore!  I hope to someday go back and perhaps spend a weekend or a few days with my husband there.  It was such a romantic city.

I will leave you with this picture of me in one St. Augustine's lovely plazas near the Visitor's Center.  Next week Wednesday I will focus on an old Spanish fort in St. Augustine called Castillo De San Marcos.  What a fun place that was!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE and Travel Tuesday!


  1. That looks like such a beautiful place to visit! :)

    Glad you had a lovely thanskgiving, got to do some sightseeing and weren't stuck in the blizzard!

    Away From The Blue Blog

  2. WOW what an amazing city and gorgeous sites, St. Augustine has. Thank you for all these lovely photos and the history behind them. Living in the Midwest myself, palm trees always excite me and surprise me too. Look how stylish you are in your knee-high boots with the mini skirt. Love that wrap. It looks like such an amazing trip. I would love to visit some day. And I agree, Florida has so many gorgeous fountains.

    Happy Hump Day Amy!

  3. Wow LOOKS VERY COOL :)))

  4. Nice photos! Sounds like a fun trip! We went to Albuquerque, and had to drive through the ice and snow in NM, Okla., and Texas...wild ride! We took two travel days for our trip. Glad you were blessed with family time! Hugs...

  5. Glad to hear you had a fantastic trip and got through the snow storm safely. Fun photos! Looks like a great place to visit, definitely very different from IL. Hope to be able to go there sometime.

  6. Fantastic photos from this wonderful place, Amy! Lots of things to see, history and your great photos make me want to visit there.
    Many thanks for taking part in the Travel Tuesday meme.


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