Playing Tourist

We hit the road on Tuesday to celebrate our anniversary.  This time, the house stayed behind at the campground.  We have visited Savannah for our anniversary many times.  It’s time to explore new places – so we chose Saint Augustine.  Just an hour and a half south of Mayport, so it’s pretty much in the neighborhood.

It is definitely worth the visit!  So much history and beautiful architecture!  Today we did the Old Town Trolley tour to learn about the area.  The weather was perfect for exploring – in the 80’s, a peek-a-boo sun, and lovely cooling breeze.

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Castillo de San Marco National Monument was a “must see” on our list.  It is much smaller than many of the other forts we have visited.  It is made of coquina – a limestone and seashell mixture.  Here is a close-up of what it looks like.

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It is used in many of the buildings in this area – and tolerates the weather well.  Used in the Castillo – it was well suited to creating a protective structure – it absorbed the impact of cannonballs instead of sustaining damage from them.  Here are a few more pictures from the site – including the little gecko and a pair of pigeons “necking” on the structure.

We strolled through St. Augustine entering through the old city gates, then continued on a pedestrian walkway, choosing to stop for lunch at Taberna Del Caballo.  Bill had a Cubano and I enjoyed roast pork nachos.  We made our way through the streets, stopping at a Greek Orthodox shrine – beautiful!

Then we visited Flagler College.  These pictures don’t begin to do it justice.  The tours were sold out, so we only glimpsed a small portion.  I see the potential for making a return trip to do the tour in the future.

Next stop on our walking tour was the Whetstone Chocolate store.  Fortunately (?) it was hot outside, and knowing that we weren’t done exploring, purchasing chocolate was not a good plan.  We arrived too late to do the factory tour and tasting, but did take time to check out the retail store.

Finally, we did the Saint Augustine Distillery tour and tasting.  The tour focused on bourbon – I found it interesting since I have little knowledge of how spirits are made.  It whetted my appetite for learning more about the process.  Tasting was….interesting.  We sampled cocktails made with their spirits and mixes.  First was a Florida Mule – a riff on a Moscow Mule highlighting their Vodka made with Florida Cane Sugar.  Next up – a Rum Tiki.  Their New World Gin and Tonic highlighted their craft gin.  Apparently instead of using a paste of Juniper berries, they use them whole along with several botanicals.  We finished with their version of an Old Fashioned.  We finished the tour enlightened in regards to bourbon, and no new spirit favorites.

Jumping back on the trolley, we headed to the truck.  One quick visit to the Tea and Spice shop added several intriguing finds to my “to try” list in the kitchen.  Time to head back to the hotel – and we chose to stop and pick up supper to take back to our room.  Our room has a bath tub – something we forfeited when we moved into the Northpointe – and we are each enjoying soaking time.

Tomorrow is our anniversary.  We will make our way back to Mayport in a lazy fashion.  It’s about time to start planning our next adventure.  Until then…Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

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