St. Augustine is an amazing city steeped in history. It’s much more than beautiful beaches and a spectacular ocean. We learned so many things about this area that we did not know before. It was officially established in 1565 making it the oldest continually occupied city in our nation.
There are a couple of train like (trolley) services that take you all around the city of St. Augustine. We took the red train and bought a 3 day ticket. It makes over 20 stops along an 8 mile route. They come every 15-20 minutes. You get off to see what you want, and then get back on when you’re finished, going to the next thing you want to check out.
The city gates are the first stop on the Red Train ride. These are the original gates to the city. The pillars that remain were the supports for the draw bridge that was the single entrance to the city.
Across from the gates is the Huguenot Cemetery, the Protestant burial grounds from 1821-84 most dying from the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Some expressions we use today were coined in this cemetery. In order to help those who were mistakenly buried alive during the epidemic they tied a string with a bell to the finger of each person. If the bell rang, the person was a “Dead Ringer” and when they were dug up they were “Saved by the Bell”!
The Love Tree is a live oak tree with a palm tree growing out of it. It is said that if you kiss you loved one under the tree you’ll be in love forever! We just road by it so I’m not sure what that means for Roy and I!!
I, and probably you, have never heard of Henry Flagler but we know lots about him now! He was a self made millionaire with a vision for what St. Augustine could be in the 1800s. He wanted to make it the South’s playground for the rich and famous. He built or donated land and money to build Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches and grand hotels.
Flagler College is in St. Augustine. It was originally one of Flagler’s hotels, the Ponce de Leon. He built it with running water and electricity. The guests, unfamiliar with electricity, were sure they would be electrocuted when flipping the light switch. Flagler solved the problem by hiring servants to lead the guests to their room and switch the lights on for them.
The dining room at the college has the largest collection of Louis Tiffany glass in the world valued at more than $40 million dollars. It is exquisite and even has bullet proof glass on the exterior to protect the Tiffany glass.
The rounded part of the building below is where the indoor swimming pool is located. It is now used as a restaurant but I found the building shape accommodating a pool to be interesting. The buildings on campus are all beautiful as you can see from the other building picture below.
The Fountain of Youth is in St. Augustine and WE DRANK FROM IT!!! I’m feeling younger already!!! To get there you travel down Magnolia Avenue which National Geographic magazine declared one of the most beautiful streets on earth. While magnolias originally lined the street they died almost 200 years ago and were replaced with live oaks which now are huge and have Spanish moss hanging from them making for a beautiful scene!
The fresh water springs up within the park while surrounded by a salt water ocean. The people in the area lived much longer (like 80 years compared to the life expectancy back then of 30 years) so they believed the water was the cause from which the name Fountain of Youth came. The grounds have free roaming peacocks, a cannon and old time gun shooting demonstration, a planetarium and several other demonstrations of the use of old tools and their lifestyle. Really a wonderful placed to learn about the folks who came here so many centuries ago!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s original Museum is in St. Augustine and we toured it. It now houses three stories of odd and unusual exhibits collected from around the world. Many of these are part of Mr. Ripley’s personal collection. We had fun touring this one and took pictures of all the weird things we saw.
The Red Train has been a great way for us to get around and see the most we can of St. Augustine. Russ and Annie have told us so much about this place and we can see now why they love it. I know this posting had way too many pictures but I wanted you to see all the stuff we liked. The really gruesome stuff in Ripley’s was way to scarey for me to photograph……. sorry!
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!