Its been a while since I posted. This has been due to hand surgery that I had earlier in 2018. I had arthritis of the thumb and it required removing a bone in my hand and a bunch of therapy. But all is better now and importantly the pain is gone. Now on about this trip.
Carol flew out from California. Its been a while since she was able to join me on a trip and we decided to drive over to St Augustine. Believe it or not, with all the years I have lived in Florida, I had never been to St Augustine. I have driven by it on the freeway a number of times, just never stopped.
To start our trip, I booked a room at the Victorian House B&B.
This is a lovely B&B not far from the main part of the old village. Everything was within walking distance. The day we arrive was the day of a cold front sliding through, which brought dreary skies and drizzle. But once we checked in, off we went to see a little bit of the town. They were preparing for the lighting of St Augustine to happen on Saturday. We were going to miss this, but it was nice to see the lights going up. And of course, Carol likes to photograph the flowers as we walked. Though the breeze was making it difficult as the flowers didn’t stay still.
We walked the alleys to the center of the square outside the cathedral, finding cute things along the way. The Spanish Military hospital was a short block and a half walk.And then the governor’s house – The Plaza de la Constitucion, St. Augustine square, and gazebo park square was being setup for the Christmas tree –
We saw the statue to the St Augustine Foot Soldiers. This is for those brave souls who marched for the civil rights in the 1960s. I was unaware of Doctor Martin Luther King’s activities in St Augustine. St. Augustine didn’t have the best reputation during the Civil Rights Movement– it was the only town in the state of Florida where Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested, and has a prominent, and extremely violent Ku Klux Klan presence well beyond the Civil Rights era. In the front of the Wells Fargo bank is a portion of the Woolworth’s lunch counter that refused service.
In July 1963, this movement spread to St. Augustine through the brave action by four teenagers who decided to participate in a sit-in at the Woolworth and were denied hamburgers directly from the “whites only” lunch counter, where as “blacks” would order at the counter or around back at a side kitchen door and pick up their orders there. These four teenagers, Audrey Nell Edwards, JoeAnn Anderson Ulmer, Willie Carl Singleton, and Samuel White, eventually became known as the “St. Augustine Four.”
Well it was drizzling and time for us to find a place to eat. We then headed back to our room where we sat on the balcony safe and dry and watched the clouds blow by and enjoyed the time to relax. We had gotten our tickets for the trolley and some stops for tomorrow, so now was to stay dry and wait til the storm front passes.
The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast served by Anthony and Marilyn at the Victorian House and off we went on our way. I being silly, left my jacket in the car as I thought the sun was coming out and it was to get warm. Yes, but not until noon, so I somehow managed to not freeze on the open air trolley.
First walking to get to the square to get the trolley – some interesting sights –
Avila Street – which leads to our B&B.
We rode the whole route, which included going to Ripley’s – formerly a nice house – 9 bedrooms but only 1 bathroom – though we didn’t go inside there were a couple of things to see outside. I only photographed the mustang made out of 1950’s and 1960’s car bumpers for the 1987 Denver Bronco’s Superbowl appearance. The Broncos lost but the statue is now part of Ripley’s attractions. It is 20 ft long and weighs over a ton.
We did go to “the Fountain of Youth” park. And though Carol did not drink of the fountain – she did check it out. There was a number of different areas there explaining the involvement of the native Americans and their interaction with the Spanish. What surprised me was to see a totem. From this park you get a good view of the “The Great Cross”. The plaque at the base of the cross, which is 208 feet high, says that it “marks the approximate site where in 1565 the cross of Christianity was first permanently planted in what is now the United States.” In 1565, a Spanish admiral named Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed along the shoreline where the Great Cross stands today. After sending soldiers to fortify the area, Menendez himself came ashore, planted a wooden cross and celebrated the first actual Thanksgiving on American soil. And it was there he would establish a city, thriving still today, that we call St. Augustine. “The Great Cross” was erected in 1965 to mark the 400th anniversary of that momentous day. It’s built of 70 tons of stainless steel plates, packed with concrete in its lower third to prevent toppling by hurricanes. It’s part of the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, and its height was designed so that everyone near St. Augustine could see it, and be reminded “of the religious beginning of our nation,” according to the plaque.
After leaving there, we rode on to “The Old Jail”. It was built in 1891 and held prisoners until 1953. and of course they had gallows. We toured the jail and learned about the hardships of the men and women who found themselves in there. The shackles were not meant for people with large ankles. Here was our jailer explaining how it was going to be for us in the jail. We then went on to tour the old store – what a collection to be found inside of there.
The next day after another wonderful breakfast, we did a little walking – and went to get a photo of Flagler College, who was instrumental in the building of St Augustine, bringing trains and goods, opening hotels, etc.
It was a good trip and 2 nights was just about right. Yes, there was a lot more we saw, but this is already long enough. Time to head back across the state to home and give Carol’s feet a rest.
More trips in 2019 – 4 or 5 planned so far, so it will be a busy year. Stay tuned.