Saturday, March 26, 2011

St. Augustine

Breakfast on the porch of our Inn
We went down to St. Augustine, Florida this week and it was beautiful, and hot!  It's only about 2 and 1/2 hours south of here and I don't know why we haven't gone before, I'm  pretty sure  it's been more than 25 years since we've been there, but I'm pretty sure a return trip will be made sooner than that this time.
Our Balcony
 We stayed in a B and B on the waterfront named Casablanca Inn.  Our room was lovely and included a balcony overlooking one of the streets in old town where we sat in the evening and Mac played guitar, people probably thought he was part of the local scene.

Our Room

St. Augustine is a small town, only a little over 12,000 people live there (but I think there were at least that many tourists there), and it is the oldest continually inhabited town in America.  It was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles  in 1565 where he established the Castillo.   The Spanish held Florida till 1763 when the British took it.  Then in 1783 the American government gave it back to the Spanish in repayment for their help in our War of Independence.  In 1821 Florida was given back to the Americans and it became the 27th state in 1845.
Castillo Canons
St. Augustine, and all of Florida in fact, retains its Spanish identity and character so going there is almost like visiting a foreign country.  My sister-in-law visited Miami a couple of years ago and complained that all she heard was Spanish.  And I told her that the only difference between Miami and Cancun , Mexico is that they speak English in Cancun.
Old Town St. Augustine
Well you don't hear that much Spanish in St. Augustine, but the architecture is definitely Spanish and many of the people are of Spanish descent or Cuban.
We ate in a Cuban restaurant called Habana Village Cafe and the meal was excellent.  Mac had Lechon Asado which is pork roasted Cuban style while I had Pollo a la Plancha which is grilled chicken.  Both meals came with black beans and rice and fried yucca.  We also had large salads with house dressing.  It was all so good, particularly the black beans which were cooked in an adobo sauce.  Cuban food is different from Mexican food, spicy, just not hot spicy, and more like Spanish food with a Caribbean twist.  We almost didn't eat there having walked by the front, seen their limited menu and passed on.  Then as we were walking down the street behind it we could smell the food cooking in the kitchen and knew it was the place for us and it did not disappoint!
The next day deciding to give the beach a miss because we go to the beach several times a year we instead headed to the zoo at Jacksonville, as did every school kid in northern Florida.  But once inside everyone spread out and it was lovely.  A warm, not hot, morning and we stayed till noon.  As before our favorite part was the amphibian/reptile house which is also home to the bats.  Mac is in love with the poison arrow frogs, they had red, blue, green and yellow ones.

Japanese Gardens at the Zoo
At noon we had a hot dog and headed home--always happy to go and even happier to come back.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't realize St. Augustine was such a small town. It sounds like a fine time!


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