While Sarah and Deborah are enjoying the Washington DC inauguration all bundled up, Chris and Ed are enjoying 60 to 70° weather in St. Augustine Florida.
Our evergreen hosts made two particular trips suggestions to enhance our tour in St. Augustine. The first was to visit the Villa Zorayda which would also provide us with free parking. This first museum was built, by anothr rich nurthener, modeled after the Alhambra in Spain. The Moorish and Spanish influence extended to the art and architecture of this fantastically, visually beautiful building
We walked many blocks, enjoying the 500 year old town. We visited the St. Augustine Cathedral, the oldest Catholic Church in the United States. We walked down Aviles Street, which is the oldest continually used street in the US. The Brazilian restaurant our host had suggested had not opened yet for lunch so we went across the street to a Greek and Polish restaurant. Chris had pierogies and Ed had golumpkies (sp?) -stuffed cabbage.
After lunch we toured Flagler college. This college began as a women’s institution in 1968 It now has 2600 students and is co-ed. Room, board and tuition are only $23,000.. However, we did the tour because it was built around the Ponce de Leon Hotel constructed by William Flagler in the late 1800s. The tour explained the dramatic impact Flagler had on St. Augustine, as well as much of Florida.
The hotel was built as a major resort destination for wealthy northerners. Thomas Edison personally installed electricity. Louis Tiffany personally designed numerous stained-glass windows for the hotel. The architects were two young men on their first major assignment. While they went on to major projects elsewhere in the US, it was a risk to hire them for this assignment. The building has stood the test of time as it is the hurricane evacuation center for St. Augustine.
Flagler was a personal success story. Born poor, grew wealthy, lost his riches, made more money again. He then joined with John D Rockefeller and was a major investor in standard oil.
Our next major stop was the Castillo de San Marcos. For hundreds of years this fort guarded St. Augustine successfully. It’s design characteristics allowed it to never be subdued.
We wrapped up the day by having dinner looking west over the inter-coastal waterway observing the sunset. The restaurant was another recommendation by our host.