Add St. Augustine, Florida to the list of places I could live happily if we ever hang up the keys. It has everything we could ever want – nice weather, good restaurants, friendly people, access to beaches, all of the services one could ever need, and history around every corner. As the oldest continually occupied European settlement in the country, the city is a living time capsule.
And one of the best ways to get an overview of St. Augustine is with an Old Town Trolley Tour. I know, because that’s how we spent yesterday. With 23 stops and more than 100 points of interest, riders can get on and off anywhere along the route to visit interesting places, and since another trolley will be coming along every 15 minutes, you won’t have long to wait to hop back on the next trolley.
We parked at the Old Jail, stop #1, and before we boarded the trolley we took the jail tour. When railroad and hotel magnate Henry Flagler built his first hotel in St. Augustine he didn’t like the idea of the jail being so close, so he convinced the city father’s to build a new jail a mile from town in 1891, which he financed. The only problem was that the finished building was so handsome that when people arrived at the railroad depot and stepped off the train, they thought it was a hotel and came knocking on the door seeking lodging!
While it may look welcoming on the outside, trust me, this wasn’t a place you would want to spend much time.
This is Deputy Clyde, and he let us know that scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells were not welcome in town and would soon find themselves staying at the gray bar hotel.
I don’t think this fellow is enjoying his time as a guest of the state.
Our trolley driver, Sherry, was a lot of fun and she had so much knowledge to share that it was impossible to take it all in. As impressed as we were with her skill as a tour guide, I think we were even more so with her ability to navigate the narrow streets of the old town with the trolley and two passenger cars attached.
Our tour took us past the historic Castillo de San Marcos fortress that protected the old Spanish city, the González-Alvarez House (the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling in Florida), Flagler College and all of the interesting highlights of the historic district.
We also stopped at the Fountain of Youth, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Nombre de Dios Mission, and the 204 foot tall Great Cross.
After our trolley tour, we spent some time touring the Oldest Store Museum, where an amazing young lady named Hattie, who obviously loves her job, was our tour guide. The museum has a fascinating display of everything from patent medicine to primitive washing machines to tools, and even old time canned goods.
Our trolley passes are good for three days, and we had so much fun that if the predicted winds are not too bad, we plan to do it all again today!
Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rift in the Races Book 2 in my friend John Daulton’s Galactic Mage Series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
My friend Meghan Ciana Doidge, an accomplished author from British Columbia, just released a new paranormal romance/urban fantasy called I See Me the first book in her new Oracle series. Check it out and leave a review.
Thought For The Day – Don’t let your worries get the best of you; Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
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I spent my first days in London and Olso on a bus/trolley. And I agree it’s one of the best ways to experience a new place and figure out where you want to spend the rest of your stay. 🙂
Yes. We always do the trolleys, and St. Augustine is one of the best.
Looks like my kind of place!!! My only question would be …. what’s their tornado/hurricane rating!!! You know I’ve already crossed Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and most of Texas off my “I Could Live Here” list!!! Glad you are enjoying your stay!!!
Nick: just read your story in the News letter about Waldo of Alton, Il. When I was about 10 yrs old we went to a county fair and there he was in a lounge chair. I did not know what to think of him being SO TALL. I now live within 3 miles of his statue and drive by it on a daily basis. His one shoe was always on display in a shoe store in Greenfield where a friend of the family owned. Thanks for the great article.
One of our daughters, Heather, Eric and newly adopted, daughter Serenity 4 and son Kinsel 2 live in St. Augustine and love living there, as we love visiting them! We plan on spending their first Christmas as a family, with them this year and are sure to enjoy!
The archecture is beautiful and the food is unique in many of the downtown shops. There is also a “haunted” lighthouse on the coast!
Enjoy your stay!
Russ & Debbie
@Nancy … I wouldn’t worry about tornados or hurricanes. The city has been there for a LONG time. It knows how to hold on! Nick … don’t forget to go to the Pirate Museum!! Aaarrrgh!
Love, love, love St. Augustine. If I could stand living on the East Coast, it would be on my “I could live here” list. I would visit anytime however. You gotta go to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Check out the model ship builder’s in the adjacent building. So talented. We talked to them for about an hour. One of the hidden treasures for sure. Enjoy your time there. As for me, I will stay in my remote outpost of Port Orford on the west coast by the ocean and the lake.
We also took the trolley tour and really enjoyed St. Augustine. Whenever we took a trolley tour, we would ride the whole trolley route and then decide where we wanted to get off first. As mentioned above, the lighthouse is definitely worth the trip and the beaches are wonderful. Another plus side is its proximity to Jacksonville which also has so much to offer.