Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St. Augustine, FL--Day 1

Getting to Florida from NY a few days ago, after nearly two months, felt like a real arrival. Then I looked at the map again and noticed how freakishly long Florida is. In fact, its coastline is 1350 miles, versus California's 840 miles. (Granted, it's a peninsula.) We need to get to West Palm Beach or Miami before we head over to the Bahamas, and that is a long nautical distance away.

Luckily for us, Florida is a nice place. The light is golden and our hours on the ICW are lined with palm trees, dolphins, herons, egrets, and turtles.

We spent a few days in St. Augustine, the oldest continually-settled city in the U.S. We visited a fort on the water, Castillo de San Marcos National.

The fort has, since 1672, hosted Spanish, British, Confederate, and Union soldiers, plus "relocated" prisoners of war Western Plains Indians.


One might never know the homesickness and utter despair the POWs felt, but their drawings of the homeland and life they were taken from convey all that one needs to understand how inhumane "relocation" was.

After the fort, we rented bikes and explored the city, trying not to run into or get run over by the ubiquitous tourist-trollies.

We did see the Oldest House in St. Augustine, dating from around 1706.

And I went into the oldest schoolhouse in America, too! (Evan the truant skipped out.)

Naughty boys go here...
Highly entertaining animated wax-figure history lesson
Old schoolteachers
There were a couple more highlights of the day. The Mission Nombre de Dios was the first Catholic mission established in the U.S.

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche
The grounds were beautiful. However, they also served to remind us that it's not just Christian fundamentalists who are vociferous in their anti-abortion vocalizations.

The last highlight of the day could probably be blamed for some of the sins that the Mission combats, but I liked its look nevertheless: a Howard Johnson motel that could have sprung from the pages of Nabokov's Lolita, with a famous, incredibly gigantic oak tree in the middle of its parking lot.

Here's the full slideshow...


  1. anna e9:05 AM

    Love the blog Jane, amazing pics too!!!

  2. Thanks Anna! Glad you like it. See you online!