Old World Charm: A day in St. Augustine, FL


Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

When I first visited Savannah, GA in high school I was mesmerized by its charm and historical landmarks. The old homes and tree lined streets made for a truly breathtaking landscape and it soon became one of my favorite places to visit. This year, I seem to have fallen in love again, but this time itโ€™s with an entirely different place: St. Augustine, FL.

John and I spent Friday night and Saturday in St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the US. We were able to see and do so many things so I thought Iโ€™d share the experience and photos with you to make you want to visit, too. Disclaimer: this is the longest post EVER, sorry ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy!


Exterior of the Raintree

Bruschetta, Mango martini, Lemon Chicken

Friday night we decided to take it easy and walked to the Raintree Restaurant, a Victorian home turned classy restaurant. The food was amazing, especially the bruschetta, and it was the perfect way to start our mini-trip.

On Saturday, we started our day with Old Town Trolley Tours where we got a trolley ticket (good for 3 days!) along with tickets to Villa Zorayda, Flagler College, Lightner Museum, The Old Jail, The Oldest Store Museum and The St. Augustine History Museum, all for a mere $63. We decided to ride the trolley for the full 90 minutes to get the history of the city and its attractions instead of getting off on 1 of the 22 stops.

Snapshot outside the Greek Shrine (off St. George Street)

Fountain on our way to Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

We got off at St. George Street where we were surrounded by restaurants and shops. We wandered into a Greek Shrine and a few art shops and spotted a frozen yogurt shop to try later (because a trip isnโ€™t complete without froyo you know). We then wandered to the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church, which was an architectural wonder. Henry Flagler built the church as a memorial to his daughter and is buried here (learn more).


Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

After taking a million photos of the church, we decided to actually use one of the tickets we purchased and took a short, guided audio tour of Villa Zorayda. Villa Zorayda was especially unique as it is a 1/10thscale replica of a portion of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was loaded with artifacts (including a crazy Egyptian cat rug which apparently curses all who walk on it) and many of the original furniture was still in its original location.


Villa Zorayda Museum

Next to Villa Zorayda was the Lightner Museum, originally built as a hotel. We were just in time for a music demonstration in which we got to hear all kinds of mechanical music boxes in action. We spent about an hour wandering the 3 floors of the museum and the most impressive was the collection of Tiffany stained glass and the Grand Ballroom.


Exterior of the Lightner Museum

Casa Monica Hotel across the street from Lightner Museum

Just across the street was Flagler College (originally the Ponce de Leon Hotel), which was also an architectural wonder considering it was built in 18 months (art included). ย The tour lasted about 45 minutes and was probably one of my favorite things we did.ย  After the tour we picked up some fuel in the form of frozen yogurt and started walking toward our last stop for the day.


Flagler College

Flagler College

Ceiling in Flager College, Glass chandelier and Thomas Edison clock

Our last stop was the Old Jail where we got a guided tour of an authentic old jail and were treated as if we were arriving prisoners. The tour guides were in period specific clothing, which added to the ambiance of the experience. After the tour we were starving so we paid a visit to Carmeloโ€™s (we were enticed by the photo of their calzones in one of our visitor guides) where we had some of the best pizza Iโ€™ve ever tasted.


John being a prisoner

I don’t think this one needs an explanation

All in all it was an amazing day and I canโ€™t wait to go back to visit some of the attractions we couldnโ€™t squeeze in (Castillo de San Marcos, San Sebastian Winery, The Oldest Schoolhouse). Since almost all of our vacations this summer have involved the beach it was nice to visit such a historical and beautiful place. I 100% recommend St. Augustine to all of you as it is a truly unforgettable place!

Don’t forget to keep up with me on Facebook where I’ll be posting more images from our trip over the next few days!

What’s your favorite vacation destination of all time?

37 thoughts on “Old World Charm: A day in St. Augustine, FL

  1. Kristina

    Wow, all of these photos are stunning. I had no idea St. Augustine had so much history, I thought it was just another beach town. Thanks for sharing!

    Kristina

    kristinadoestheinternets.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Thank you Kristina! I hadn’t even heard of St. Augustine but my boyfriend mentioned it and we decided to go since we were in Jacksonville for a few days which is super close to St. Augustine. You should definitely visit if you get the chance someday!

      Reply
  2. albucco10

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, Stephanie! This looks like the perfect little city to me–cozy, with a load of charm and slight European flavor. I must make a stop there next time I’m in Florida!

    xo,
    Alyssa
    The Glossy Life

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Haha, I wish! Maybe I should look into it ๐Ÿ™‚ You and Gpa would just love St. Augustine, it would be perfect to travel there for a weekend in October/November when the weather gets cooler.

      Reply
  3. Maria

    Great pictures! I lived in Jacksonville for 4 years so my husband and I liked to go to St. Augustine a couple times a month. Love the food especially Sangria’s and Columbia! Of course the outlets aren’t too far away also ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  4. Emily grapes

    These photos are so great!! you make me want to go there. I went to Savannah for the first time in 2010 and loved it there. The charm and all the beautiful buildings and parks are the best. I’m sure St. Augustine is equally beautiful! I didn’t know anything about it until today! ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad you had a great time there.

    Reply
      1. Emily grapes

        No, we didn’t get to go there. We were driving cross country and he knew I’d always wanted to go to Savannah, so we stayed the night there and headed out the next day. it was very short. ๐Ÿ™ Maybe we’ll get another chance.

        Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Doesn’t it?? I was surprised at all of the amazing architectural details, I truly felt like I was in another country. Glad it’s been added to your visit list, it is definitely worth it!

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Yeah, Savannah is gorgeous and St. Augustine really reminded me of it, it has a very similar feel and the history/architecture is just incredible. Hope you get to visit one day!

      Reply
  5. Rachel @ Making Life Fabulous

    These pictures are gorgeous! My family used to live in Florida, and I always wanted to visit St. Augustine, but we never made it there! I’ll have to make a trip down sometime though, it looks so pretty, and I love historical places like that.

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Aw, I hope you get the chance one day! It’s perfect for a weekend getaway and I told my boyfriend if we go back I’d love to stay in a bed and breakfast…I think it would add to the whole experience and charm of the place. I love historical places too, it makes for a fun and different travel experience.

      Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Seeing all of the architecture was definitely one of my favorite things about the trip, what’s even more amazing is that most of the churches/buildings were built incredibly fast (18 months or less). I was in awe!

      Reply
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