Time to head South and travel to St. Augustine, Florida!
This is an old…as in founded in 1565…historic city on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.
It sits directly on the inland waterway. It is, of course, very residential but also has become a tourist destination. There are lots of hotels, inns, and B&Bs both in the town and along the beach. Parts of the city have been preserved very well: there are pedestrian friendly streets; the water is always present and it is very walkable. On the other hand, there are the usual commercial areas and storefronts selling to tourists. As with so many places these days, it pays to do your homework and get a feel for what you want and where it is located.
We were right in the old town but took a drive out to the Lighthouse and then down along the beach for many miles. Lucky for us it was mid-week and a rainy day…no crowds at all and so peaceful.
Here is a short video of some of the sights:
We stayed at the BayfrontWestcott House which is part of the
Select Registry group of hotels. They have hotels and inns in many states and parts of this country as well as one in Nova Scotia and one in England. We have stayed in several of the inns in several Eastern states and are generally pleased. The prices are reasonable, which is one reason we keep returning, and the locations are always good.
However, sometimes we do wonder if the standards have slipped, or the oversight just is not there 100% of the time, or maybe it’s just the local owners/managers who are not quite paying attention. In this case, while our room was a nice size and perfectly situated within the Inn (lovely veranda with comfortable seating outside the room), the lighting in the room was amazingly bad. Yes, we were surprised at just HOW bad. No reading light at all on one side of the bed and two dim table lights in the rest of the room! They seemed genuinely surprised that we raised this issue the next morning, but nothing was done to correct it.
How about the food scene you ask next.
Fabulous! We had recommendations from two people and had made reservations for two nights. Both restaurants were above and beyond, and yet each very different from the other. The first one is
I LOVE risotto and order it often, comparing the many different versions. Well, this risotto with blackened shrimp just might win first place. Superb. The restaurant was much smaller and informal than we had imagined which made for a more intimate experience. I also ordered a Mojito (very unusual for me!) which was not only enormous, but so minty and wonderful. Five stars for this entire meal and restaurant.
The next night we walked to
We sat on the lovely wraparound porch, with our own personal gas heater, where it was quiet. Service was impeccable: not too intrusive but always there. The mussels were superb; and oh the apple tart with blueberry jam!
The house has a long and interesting history and has been carefully “preserved” and restored. It was owned by Thomas Jefferson’s great-granddaughter in the late 1890’s but fell into complete disrepair by the 1960’s. And now it is gorgeous; I highly recommend a visit. And sit outside on the verandah if you can.
Of course we searched out galleries, and I am happy to report we found one we really liked:
The gallery also had fabulous jewelry and at a very reasonable price! I can’t show it here as I just sent a surprise to my daughter!
I’ll leave you with one last image that I love: lots of greenery growing out of the gutters in this 200 year old house.
One last note about hotels. We did find one we liked a lot and would definitely go to on our next visit:
The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens
We spent a few hours on the property, sitting in the huge courtyard; even went back in the evening to sit by the firepit. The rooms and suites look lovely; the hotel is in the old historic section and very walkable to everything.
Hope you have enjoyed the trip: I have more travel for you in the next few months!