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Celebrate the Season in St Augustine!
St Augustine in December - The Perfect Time of Year!
As Floridians, one cannot presumptuously expect cooler temperatures simply because we've flipped the page on our calendars to December. Grass is still green, flowers abundantly seen, palm trees remain queen, and yes… beach babes (lean and mean) still applying that coconut sunscreen! Sound like Christmas? Not exactly!
Okay, so we may be seasonally challenged, but annually my mind goes on a mission to somehow duplicate (or find a reasonable facsimile) of that 'Northern' Christmas spirit I took for granted for 42 years. I'm happy to report the lost has been found in a charming little Southern city called Saint Augustine.
Welcome to the First Coast
…the oldest city in our nation!
Located in Florida's northeast corner, and just 45 minutes south of Jacksonville, is our nation's oldest city - St. Augustine. It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish, and is also the oldest port in the continental United States.
The city's narrow cobblestone streets are best explored by foot. In fact, our car was valet-parked in our hotel for 4 days and we didn't need it until check-out. Self-guided and 'themed' walking tours abound; everything from notable historic sites to ghostly tales. The lodging of choice for many visitors is the plethora of charming bed and breakfast inns. And, of course, the Spanish Colonial Architecture is a photographers dream-come-true!
Top 10 in the World!
St Augustine's 'Nights of Lights' was named by National Geographic as one of the Top 10 places in the world to see holiday lights!
Historic Casa Monica Hotel
St. Augustine was the culmination of a 6-city trek celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We love the Florida coast anytime of year, but as the weather plummeted from the mid-eighties to high-sixties St. Augustine became even more charming.
Here, it was easy to lose ourselves in the history of the 'Old City' as we explored the enchanting, walkable neighborhoods. Our hotel, The Casa Monica, was within the quaint historic district and only a few blocks away from fabulous fine-dining options, beautiful Matanzas Bay, art galleries, nightlife, and sensational little shops all decked out for the Season.
Photo Tour - Opulant Casa Monica Hotel - Here, romance can blossom at any old time!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Have you had the pleasure of visiting St. Augustine?
Vittles and Vino VIP Carriage Tour!
Eat, Drink, and be Merry!
The Vittles and Vino VIP Carriage Tour is one of many tours offered by 'The Tasting Tours Company.' Hubby and I gave up drinking decades ago, but participated since this was gifted to us for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. For the 'Foodie' in your family, we would highly recommend this tour as a unique special occasion gift.
Our Tour Included:
3.5 hours of food and wine
5 food tasting venues (at 5 different restaurants in the historic district)
4 wine sample venues (including a wine tasting to begin the tour and a bottle to enjoy on the carriage ride or take home)
A fun and informative guided tour (Jennifer, our tour guide was the best! And our carriage driver was a wealth of knowledge regarding all the historical facts of the city)
This was a delightful way to spend our Saturday afternoon, and we were not hungry again until very late that night. No dinner was necessary!
Okay, so we didn't go dashing through the snow, but we were in a one-horse open carriage. And, after the second or third stop on the tour, we were most certainly laughing all the way! I don't remember any bells on bob-tails ringing… but they could have been, by then our spirits were very bright.
Tis the Season to be Jolly - Food, New Friends & Folly on our Tasting Tour!Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Tasting Tours
Ranked in the Top 20 Best Overall Food Tours in the U.S. by TripAdvisor
St. Augustine Tasting Tours
- The Tasting Tours
If your considering traveling to St. Augustine in the near future, check out the current available tasting tours. Book early, as they tend to fill up fast!
My Favorite Southern City for a Romantic Carriage Ride is...
The 47th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes
Presented by The Garden Club of St. Augustine
One of my favorite things to do in any city is a 'Tour of Homes.' In St Augustine the Christmas Tour of Homes is an annual tradition that typically sells out - and this year was no exception. Tickets go on sale in early October, and it's best to purchase them well in advance, as we did.
Our tour included six private residences. Three of them were located in the Military District along the beautiful Matanzas River. We toured the homes of Major General Emmett Titshaw, Colonel Perry Hagaman, and Colonel Joseph Duren. Another highlight for me was the former Kirkside Estate, winter home of Henry Flagler. It was a special treat personally meeting the owners of each home who graciously paused for photos upon my request. Our tour concluded with Tea and Cookies, a Unique Boutique, and a Raffle at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, an historic landmark. Henry Flagler and several relatives were laid to rest in a mausoleum on the church grounds.
For five short hours Sunday afternoon I felt like I was 'home' for Christmas. Each home had their own version of snow, mistletoe, and presents under the tree. Okay… so I wasn't really home for Christmas - but I was in my dreams!
- Photo Album Tour of Homes - 2014
Are you ready for some new decorating ideas? Grab a cup of eggnog or hot mulled cider, have your notebook handy, sit back and enjoy the slideshows from the 2014 St. Augustine Christmas Tour of Homes!
St Augustine Nights of Lights Annual Christmas Event
Don't Miss a Thing in St. Augustine! This Book is a Bargain at .99 Cents.
There is no better way to see St Augustine than on foot, like we did. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with this walking tour.
This walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to aid in your discovery. It's a bargain at .99 cents!
All photos in this article taken myself with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150
© 2012 Glenda Motsavage
© 2012 Glenda Motsavage