Saint Augustine. Put it on your bucket list. Mac and I have deemed it our new favorite city. In the spirit of New Orleans,Pensacola ,Savannah and Charleston it has history galore and architecture that is unique. From the minute we arrive on Friday we see the influence of the Spanish history in the terra cotta towers and rooftops of hotels and churches that make up the historic area. There is a great municipal marina in the heart of it all so we opt to moor there.
The past three days have been fairly long cruising days. We left Vero Beach on Wednesday morning along with some new pals aboard the Meridian. They are bound for Savannah and Beaufort. Terry dingied up behind the Pelican while we were in Vero and introduced himself. They are from Michigan but have been living on board five years. Unbelievably he was raised in North Olmsted and went to St. Ed’s his freshman year. Small world!
Wednesday night we dropped the hook behind the barrier island at ICW mile 909 in Palm Shores. It blew like mad all night but we had good protection since we were tucked in on the north east side of the bridge. Luckily it laid down for Thursday’s cruising up to the Ponce da Leon inlet area, near Patrick AF base. Terry and Donna joined us for dinner on Pelican: pork tenderloin and asparagus off the green egg. Yum! This was a perfect Anchorage. You could see out to the Atlantic but the inlet was protected. It got five stars from me.
Friday was another long day of cruising but with very cool areas to see. Palm Coast will be a stop over on our way back around. It was a very quaint but classy area. Close water, no big threats. Perfect.
Our arrival into St Augustine found us pretty worn out from three long days with wind in our faces so we tucked in early with the plan to explore over the next few days. We are smitten by this town. First of all the history is rich. Dating back to 1565 it is the oldest continuous settlement in our country. There are historical markers at every turn. We went to Mass on Sunday at the first US parish, The Cathedral of Saint Augustine. Flagler College is a beautiful campus in the heart of the city. It’s main buildings were originally the Flagler Hotel, built by the NYC tycoon Henry Flagler who found this enchanting place and decided to create a winter retreat for other northern millionaires. It is opulent to say the least.
History isn’t all this town can boast though. Food. Fun. Friends. We experienced them all. Saturday day Mac and Terry headed to Sailor Exchange, a place Terry knew about that sold lots and lots and lots of salvage boat stuff. Cheap. Donna and I strolled the shops and she got me oriented to the town. We meet the guys for pizza at Pizzatime cause that is one food I am craving being on board. Mac has his backpack full of finds from the salvage yard and does a show and tell over lunch.Rain was threatening so we headed back to our boats to shut things down and secure the decks. Mac and I don’t waste any time heading back to land and we tuck in to The Public House just as it begins to pour rain. The young couple flanking us at the bar are celebrating an anniversary so just as they are closing their tab to leave we offer to buy them an anniversary round. Hours later we are new friends with Bonnie and Buster. She intrigues us with her abilities in canine agility showing us an amazing video of her dog on the obstacle course. He is a big outdoors guy who works as a regional manager with Pepsi. We thought they were staying in town but it turns out they are driving home to Jacksonville! Maybe we shouldn’t have bought them that last drink…or two!
After the skies clear we walk on down the historic winding streets and check out the area. That night we pulled a late one at Prohibition Kitchen where great music was on stage and the Cavs on tv. We scored prime spots on the bar and settled in for the long haul. Even though we are not big NBA fans it was fun to see an exciting finish by the Cavs. The dingy ride back at midnight was interesting, but we made it.
Sunday’s Mass had a fabulous choir sending soprano tones into the rafters. Between the setting and the music we had goosebumps. Maybe this made up for our missed Mass in Moorehaven.
Sunday Funday was what we found after spending a couple of hours in the museum and on the Flagler campus. Thirsty as we are we stop into Scarlett O Hares, a crusty outdoor place we happen across. Our bar companions are a precious young couple from a few miles inland. Mac chats it up with Austin and Kaitlyn while I befriend Patty to my left. Hours pass and now we all are gabbing and moving on to other bars. Could we have started a pub crawl? I’m thinking we did.
Patty tells me there’s a wine store two doors down where I can grab a bottle to take back to the boat. We pop in there and I grab a couple of bottles but the two gals working there say “Why aren’t you doing the tasting? It’s only five dollars for four nice pours!” Of course we join in on the tasting. Four nice pours and another purchase of a good red later and we now have Laney in our group. She locked up the Twisted Cork and lead the way to an outdoor courtyard where the music was great. Unfortunately it was almost closing time so off we go after just one round to our final stop where the music was even better. We all end up on the dance floor including Mac who has no less than ten women shakin it with him at one time. I’m sure glad we didn’t have to go to work on Monday like the rest of them did!
Monday is spent walking about the rest of the historic sights and ends with a trek back to Sailors Exchange to buy a gas tank Mac is all hyped up about. It’s for the dingy and is just what he has been looking for. I’m in awe of this place. It has every possible item a boat has on board, on deck, or under deck. It’s a little sad to see all this stuff in such a disrespectful manner, all tossed into bins and boxes when clearly they used to shine on the decks of amazing vessels. The owner offers to drive us and the tank to the marina and Mac goes to work refitting his dingy.
Tuesday we disconnect the mooring and head north to hook up with Dave and Aimee who are flying in to Jacksonville from Chicago to hop on for three nights. Those adventure will be a new day.