Saturday and Sunday Most Recent Posts:
December 10 & 11, 2016 Last Days at Disney world in which Winnie the Pooh Wishes Me Happy Birthday
Anastasia State Park It’s My Birthday
St. Augustine, Florida
During our 2nd year of full timing, David was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma which has increasingly impacted our life style. His main doctors are in Florida and Virginia and we have spent winters in Florida and one long summer in Virginia. We have also had stretches where we were able to travel fairly freely becasue his medications were all oral. But lately we have been pretty restricted to the east coast. As those who follow along with us know, I am itching to spend a winter in the west. I was hoping that was going to be this winter so I didn’t make our reservations for Florida the full 11 months out that one needs to get spots in some of the parks. So our usual stay of 2 weeks every where we go, but Disney, is not happening this winter. We’re much more on the move.
Thus on Saturday we head back to St. Augustine for another but shorter stay at Anastasia State Park. Another lovely campsite.
On Sunday we spend the day in the historic city enjoying the feel of its narrow streets and coquina walls and buildings.
The owner of this 1948 Nash Ambassador has it parked for all to see and is standing nearby to accept all the oooohs and ahhhhhs of passers by. But one young fella stops to chat for a long time about antique cars, this one and a 1950 Ford he once owned.
Comes complete with vintage bumper sticker in the rear window.
Memories of another election the press got completely wrong.
The balconies practically hang over the streets. You’d better have a navigator if you are even thinking of driving a car here and aren’t familiar with the area. Every street is one way and it’s going the way you don’t want to go.
Do what we did, either bike over or park your car and walk. We’re walking down this street when we see the Nash.
Further along we pass what is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings in St. Augustine other than Flagler College, which I showed in great detail in a previous post. It’s the Grace United Methodist Church. Dedicated in January of 1887, the church and parsonage are excellent examples of the Spanish Revival type of architecture. It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It really is simply gorgeous.
The poured concrete construction with coquina shell and sand aggregate combines locally available materials and resonates with St. Augustine’s colonial heritage.
Terra Cotta detailing in precise areas stands in vivid contrast to the wall planes which I’m told is a charcteristic of this architectural style.
We reach the Gates of the City and head through to walk down St. George Street.
We stop for lunch in a plaza with this lovely fountain in the center. I do love the Spanish courtyards surrounded by a building or a complex. They have such an intimate feel. Many of them have balconies and or colonnades. I wish this style had made its way further up the east coast.
At the next table I spy this fun basset puppy. He was all around and getting his leash tangled. Finally he sat still so I could get this prototype sad picture of a definitely not sad basset. He’s a cutie! His name is Watson. Perfect I think!
David stops to admire the coquina walls which have been preserved. If you haven’t guessed already, we really like coquina, one of Mother Nature’s best building materials.
Through this doorway along St. George is a hidden courtyard which leads to the National Shrine of St Photios which is quiet spiritual respite created by the American Greek Orthodox Church.
You can spend a lovely quiet time in the courtyard or inside the shrine itself.
The magnificent St. Photios Chapel is filled with exquisite Byzantine style frescoes of many apostles and saints of the Christian church. Adding vibrant luster to these extraordinary examples of the centuries old Byzantine art is an abundant use of 22 Karat gold leaf on the highlights of the frescoes. It really is quite amazing.
A meditative moment – a candle in prayer for remission.
As you leave the shrine there is a small seating are and a video presentation entitled “Our Plymouth Rock,” dedicated to the first colony of Greek people who came to America in 1768. It depicts the life of early Greeks in America and the development of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. the video is about 15 minutes long and takes you from the shores of ancient Greece to America. It tells the story of Greek immigrants finding themselves in a hostile and unknown land. You can view the video here if you like.
The Shrine is a place out of time and moving back outside is an adjustment.
Many outdoor cafes are along St. George Street which appears to be the only one of the very narrow streets closed to traffic.
St George’s window displays are in the holiday spirit. A shirtless merman is a first for me.
Here as everywhere it seems there are doggie shops. The sign says Faux Paws: Gifts for Dogs and Dog Lovers My friend Pam would love it.
Since we’ve just spent a week with them, they catch my eye in this window.
Seriously? Two Hundred Fifty flavors of popcorn at Kernel Poppers.
The afternoon is waning and sundown is near as the lights begin to come on for St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights Celebration It traditionally begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s. St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights feature millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s Oldest City.
In the dusk we walk through the park and past the statue of Juan Ponce De Leon to the Bridge of Lions.
The tour buses will drive you all a round town during the Nights of Lights. For a fee of course.
We walk out half way on the bridge and get these shots of the city behind us.
The further out the bridge we go and the darker it gets, the more beautiful the city by the river looks.
We are beyond the first tower when I take this picture and shortly after that, the gates at the second tower go down and the draw bridge goes up for a lighted boat to go through..
The lights are more spectacular the darker it gets.
Back on land we take this diffiuclt selfie in the dark to remind us what fun we are having.
The park is all aglow now. Behind us Juan Ponce is surrounded by lights.
The park trees are twinkling.
Before heading back to the car we wander over by the Lightner Museum which is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built by in 1888 one of St. Augustine’s favorites, millionaire developer, Standard Oil Co-founder and railroad man Henry Flagler . The Alcazar closed during the Depression, and in 1947 the building was purchased by Otto Lightner as the perfect place to house his Victorian-era collection of antiques. He opened it as a museum two years later and turned the building over to the City of St. Augustine. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and today is home to both the Lightner Museum and City government offices.
Tonight it is looking wonderful.
Across the street is Flagler College the former Ponce De Leon luxury hotel also built by Henry Flagler in 1888 in the Spanish Renaissance Style of the Methodist Church. The hotel also was wired for electricity at the onset, with the power being supplied by D.C. generators supplied by Flagler's friend, Thomas Edison. We have previously toured this stunning building. You can find that post here.
It’s certainly electrified tonight.
On our way back to the car where we have purchased parking for all day long for $10, we walk by many homes aglow. This one is right across from Ruby.
As you can see we got very carried away with photographing St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights but for good reason. It’s a great holiday light show. If you are coming to Florida, try to make time for it.