Stéphane and I have been told if there’s one place in Florida worth seeing it’s St. Augustine. And after spending a week in Jacksonville, a place definitely not worth seeing (but thank you very much for the free dock), we felt we owed it to ourselves and to Florida to explore one of its more authentic, historic towns.
Our awesome anchorage right in front of the Castillo de San Marcos (really cool old fort).
We arrived in St. Augustine just in time for “Nights of Lights”. All of the buildings, the bridge, trolleys, pirate ships, trees – anything and everything in St. Augustine is covered in lights. If you stand still for too long, you might end up wrapped in bulbs, just saying’ – move along!
The view from our anchorage. Lots o’ lights!
The Bridge of Lions (also a view from our anchorage).
This historic sailboat gives tours along the river in front of the old town riverfront.
We arrive on a Saturday afternoon, drop anchor and hang out on board for the rest of the day / night. We like to make sure the anchor has set properly and that we don’t drag before we leave Free Range for an extended period of time. Sunday we dinghy ashore and explore the town. Old town St. Augustine feels Cumberland Island-esque with live oaks draped in Spanish moss; there are balconies overlooking warped cobblestone alleys, rusty wrought iron gates choked with vines; crumbling coquina walls. This place is old and parts of it still look and feel old.
Lush courtyard garden.
Wrought iron gate.
Bearded clay man face.
Crumbling coquina wall. Coquina is a locally quarried soft shellrock – it is, literally, just pieces of shells mushed together. Great texture!
Rusty old “Grinnell” fire alarm – “G”. Made me think of Gina 🙂
Cat on a car.
I told Stéphane, “look at the decorative pillows on that wicker couch! You must pose in front of them!” (I keep telling him that we need decorative pillows on the boat. Yes, I know that they perform no function other than looking cute, but still…I dig a decorative pillow or two, properly contrasted).
Et aussi, pour Frieda!
After a few hours of walking around and exploring, we walk past a free winery tour/tasting. Free wine, you say? Yes please.
Wine tasting at San Sebastian Winery.
San Sebastian is a local winery that has been around since 1996. Their wine tends to be more white / sweet / sangria-type and also desert (ports).
And we hit the jackpot with 1/2 off a case day! We bought a case (mixing and matching some of our favorites from the tasting) and then each hefted our 12-bottle boxes the (long) mile back to the dinghy dock.
Look! The wine holder in the table is finally fulfilling its purpose in life. We’re sorry for denying you for so long, wine holder. It’s just that wine-in-a-box is cheap and it isn’t glass…
We checked out a magic show! It was cool until I realized that it was all about selling the magic. You could buy a “levitation kit”, “magic dust kit”, “crazy cards”, a wallet that lights on fire when you open it, etc.
Guy playing didgeridoo on a side alley. Note the very patient, bearded sidekick rocking the aviators and santa hat.
We stop for lunch at Mojo’s BBQ and split a sandwich and some beers. We both love the art at this place- really fun!
Total AOD: Ball & Chain
The other half.
One skull, two skull…
Nights of Lights!
We hop around to a few different places- here’s our final stop: an Irish pub overlooking the river (and Free Range). Santé to a great day!!
The next day we gave Free Range some loving – I scrubbed her decks and Stéphane made some noises (drilling, banging, scraping, etc.) in preparation for our new auto pilot (“Super Mark”). We took the dinghy for a ride to check out the surrounding area and got some great beta on a PERFECT spot to provision for the Bahamas: the local town dock is free for four hours and a Publix grocery store is three short blocks away. This is the most perfect scenario we’ve seen yet for provisioning, so we are going to take full advantage before we leave.
Next day, we spend a rainy day at the marina lounge doing laundry and downloading movies and music. I got a nice run in and a hot “land shower”. Another great day in St. Augustine.
A special friend joined us on our dinghy ride to shore.
Stéphane gave him a lift and made sure he got to a leafy green tree.