Sunday, August 18, 2013

St. Augustine

We had another bit of serendipity when we were able to arrange to meet Larry and Kristin in St. Augustine on Saturday.  

They traveled north while we all traveled south.  Since we all  have been to this city before, we opted for the 22 stop tram tour to see everything again and then decide what we would like to go back to visit. Everything seems to have a charge anymore which certainly dampens enthusiasm for the families visiting the area.  Even the fort which is run by the National Park Service charges.  We didn't go there but our trusty Senior Pass would have gotten us in free.

We passed the Ligthner Museum which houses three floors of hobby collections of  Mr. Lightner.  This gives you an idea of the architecture of the area.  It was originally a hotel.


It takes awhile to circle the route and on the second go round we decided to visit the Presbyterian Church built by Henry Flagler in 1890 to house the mausoleum for his stillborn granddaughter and only daughter.

Henry Morrison Flagler, founding partner of the Standard Oil Trust along with John D. Rockefeller.

His first wife is on the left; his daughter and granddaughter on the right.  The mirror reflects the dome of the crypt.  You cannot enter so it is not visible to visitors without this reflection.

There is a fourth empty tomb meant for his third wife but her family buried her in their own family plot.

The church is Venetian Renaissance style inspired by St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy.  There are 92 stained glass windows, the lighting fixtures and pews of mahogany are original.  The baptismal font  is a solid piece of marble.  Bronze double cross chandeliers and torch lights at the end of the pews were originally gas and were electrified in the 1920s.


Mr. Flagler also built a church for the Methodists, helped rebuild the Catholic cathedral destroyed in a fire and gave the Baptists land where they built the Ancient City Baptist church which still stands today.  It is the only yellow brick building in the area.

Our next stop was the San Sebastian winery.  We watched a movie on the family and making of wine.  Then there was a tasting room.  I think there were at least eight different wines to try.  I liked the Vintner White the best but that is no surprise.  However, we didn't want to carry bottles around so no one bought anything. 

We decided since we already had happy hour, we would get the cars and drive to Anastasia Island to O'Steen's for dinner.  Our last tram stop gave me an opportunity to take my "flower picture of the day" and get a photo of the statue of David.  He is encircled by vegetation because his nakedness caused an uproar at City Council.

There is usually a very long line at O'Steen's but we hit it right and waited just a few minutes.  All the ladies had chicken and dumplings (not a lot of chicken in there though!) and the fellows had shrimp.  The consensus was it is the best shrimp they ever had.  I tried one and it was really good, more of a tempura coating than the ordinary one used on fried shrimp.

We then crossed back to St. Augustine hoping to attend Mass at the Cathedral but there was absolutely no place to park.  It was hard to even get around to look so we just decided to wait until Sunday morning to go.

We parted with hugs and headed north while Larry and Kristin went south.  There was another rain storm in the evening. 

A school chum contacted me when he saw that we were in Jacksonville.  I attended grade school with him in Cincinnati and the last time I saw him was 2001 when he and his wife drove to our home in Florida from Tampa for a visit.  Ted had already left for Texas at that point.

He invited us to his house tonight and then we plan to all go to his favorite Mexican restaurant.  There is something very special about him and his wife and I will share that with you next time!


1 comment:

Carol said...

Looks like you have had a wonderful time on your summer adventures - I love all the history of St. Augustine and Williamsburg - the last time we were in Williamsburg was 2002 and I can't remember when the last time we were in St. Augustine - maybe we need to think of a weekend trip for some R&R. Have safe travels.