Monday, July 21, 2014

Tour de Coast '14: St. Augustine

Hello darlings! The hubs & I made it back safely from vacation. This week, I'll be recapping our three stops on what I've dubbed the "Tour de Coast '14" vacation. First up, a look at our nation's oldest city, St. Augustine.

We arrived Saturday to a bit of rain, so after a quick nap (since we woke up early and had been in the car for 7 hours), we  decided to visit the local winery for a free tour and tasting. After that, the rain seemed to have let up, so we decided to scope out a few of the city's beaches and eat dinner at what turned out to be my favorite spot of the trip, Mango Mangos.

Sunday, we awoke to sunshine, so we decided to take in some of the city's history. First, we started off with the Castillo de San Marcos where we even got to hear a live cannon demonstration.

Next, we walked over to visit the two historic recreation ships that are visiting the city in honor of its upcoming 450th birthday, El Galeon (which is featured in NBC's Crossbones) and Nao Victoria, the only ship to survive Magellan's circumnavigation. Afterwards, we dined at the nearby Santa Maria restaurant where you can feed the fish (and birds). However, while we were eating the skies opened up. During a break in the rain, we raced back to our car and our hotel to figure out what we wanted to do.

After studying the radar, we decided to take the beautiful, scenic A1A south towards Daytona, which is where I vacationed every summer. Once there, we visited the pier/boardwalk and enjoyed playing in the arcade with games like original skee ball and poker roll. However, our hopes of nice weather were soon dampened as the rain seemed to follow us. After dinner at Norwoods in New Smyrna Beach, a restaurant I've loved since I was a child, we headed back up the coast and stopped in at Matanzas Inlet (quick fact...Matanzas means massacre in Spanish) where we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset and walk along the beach.

Monday, we spent the morning on the beach soaking up the rays and catching waves. After lunch, we took a quick shower and headed back into old town for some shopping. Again, as is typical for Florida, it started raining on us, so we ducked into a little bar to wait out the rain and traveled down to the famous Columbia for dinner once it was drier. That evening, we took our chances that the rain would stay away, and we went on a ghost tour of the nation's third most haunted city. Luckily for us, the sun came out and created a beautiful double rainbow.

Tuesday was our last day in St. Augustine, and we spent the morning finishing up visiting the shops and taking pictures of Flagler College. We decided to dine at Henry's, a restaurant we had learned about during our ghost tour (although we had no ghost encounters), and were very pleased with our dessert choice of fried oreo beignets. 

After our meal, we made one last final stop at the city's Lightner Museum, which contains a multitude of different collections from the gilded age in one of the city's oldest and grandest hotels.

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