Photography,  Travel

36 Hours in Historical St. Augustine, Part One

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Long distance friendships are hard and for some, they’re not even possible. I’ve never been very good at long distance anything. But, when Ashley and I met almost three years ago and became fast friends, it also became impossible to imagine us not staying friends for the rest of our lives. Change happens though and less than a year after we met, she moved to Kentucky. Then the next summer, I was standing next to her at her wedding.

With several states between us, there’s no denying that long distance changes things as we grow and change into our adult lives. No matter what, I’ll always look forward to two hour “catch-up” phone calls and FaceTime dates and hopefully now, we have something else to look forward to, an annual girls weekend!

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My first time to St. Augustine was about three and a half years ago, but Ashley had never been there! Being the oldest city in the nation, there is an immense amount of history there and 36 hours isn’t nearly enough time to get a full, complete picture of everything. However, we wanted a little taste of a road trip and it felt good to make some memories away from Tampa Bay. St. Augustine ended up being the perfect choice for the amount of time we had.

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The nicest thing about a short trip like this to St. Augustine is that everything there, except Anastasia Island, is within walking distance. When we arrived on Friday morning and checked into our hotel, we parked the car and didn’t get in it again until we left the next day.

Here’s a little simple timeline of the trip:

Thursday – Picked Ashley up from TPA Thursday evening.

Friday – We drove to St. Augustine early morning and spent the rest of the day exploring. It’s about a 3 hour drive to St. Augustine from Tampa.

Saturday More exploring after breakfast and then left St. Augustine after a late lunch. We split up the drive back to Tampa by stopping in Orlando.

Day 1
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Friday Stop #1: Visiting the Castillo de San Marcos

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Visiting the Fort was the main historical thing we did. Tickets were $10 each and you can spend as little or as much time as you want walking through all the rooms and reading the plaques. They also have tours, but we chose the self-guided option. Not to mention, if you’re there longer than one day, entrance tickets are good for up to 7 days.

The best time of day to visit the Fort depends on whether or not you are trying to avoid crowds. We were there around noon, so probably the worst time of day to go, but we didn’t mind the people and the weather was beautiful. There are also specific times during the day when they have cannon demonstrations so you may want to go around those show times. Otherwise, the historical movie shows on rotation and the rest of the Fort is self-guided.

Other options for an overview of history while in St. Augustine include trolly tours or walking tours, but they cost a bit more.

There is also the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Historical Museum. The first time I visited St. Augustine with my mom, we went to the Lighthouse, located on Anastasia Island. It was amazing. I may be biased by my love for all lighthouses, but also, walking through the museum shared a different perspective on the history of St. Augustine. If you do go, be prepared to climb the stairs all the way to the top–you don’t want to miss the view!

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Stop #2: Lunch at the Floridian Restaurant

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The Floridian is so yummy. This was the second time I’d been there and if I get to go back to St. Augustine, it’ll always be my go-to for a good meal. I had a refreshing salad with apples, cranberries, butternut squash, nuts, and tempeh, and this delicious honey mustard dressing. Ashley got a southwest-style wrap with homemade chips. We were ravenous by the time we got to lunch and it was most satisfactory!

After lunch, we stopped and grabbed tickets for a ghost tour that evening. Ghost tours may not be your thing. If they aren’t, don’t give it a second thought. In all honesty, would I recommend this particular ghost tour? Probably not. We chose a walking tour and were glad to discover that we weren’t the only people in the group that evening. However, the experience was a little too literal for my taste, with detection devices and such. The best ghost tour I’ve ever been on was in Savannah, Georgia and it was a trolly tour. The majority of the tour was spent driving around the entire city and our guide shared a TON of ghost stories.

There are also trolly ghost tours in St. Augustine so if you’re a ghost tour fan, check out one of those! If I make it back to St. Augustine, that’ll be my pick.

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Tickets for a Ghost Tour that evening!
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Stop #4: Popsicles at the Hyppo!

 

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A trip to St. Augustine wouldn’t be complete without a popsicle from the original Hyppo. End of thought, you must get one.

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Stop #5: Exploring more of Old Town before dinner

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Welcome to Aviles Street, the oldest street in the USA!

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Stop #6: Two Sparrows

We were pleasantly surprised to discover this retail store, the Two Sparrows. It’s a local retail store with women’s clothing and accessories. I wasn’t as interested in the clothing as I was about what they called a “Prayers and Praises” wall, located in the middle of the store. Ashley and I both started tearing up reading a couple of the things individuals had left on the wall. If you make it to St. Augustine, stop in at the Two Sparrows and share a prayer or praise here. You never know how you might effect someone else’s day with a reminder of God’s love.

“Praise be to God, the Father of compassion and of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from Him.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

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I’m splitting up this trip into two different posts, otherwise it would be way too long! Part Two includes the Lightner Museum, dinner at the Columbia, perusing Flagler college, and lunch at Crave Food truck, so stay tuned!!

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