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A beautiful destination

sunny 85 °F


This blog combines two days as the trip up to St. Augustine from Cocoa was uneventful. We pulled into the St. Augustine Elks Lodge in the early afternoon. It is a large, active club with 1,300+ members. They recently up-graded their RV park with new 50 amp power outlets, something important to larger RV's as they enable both a/c units to operate. A single a/c unit in the FL heat does not do the job. After getting set up we headed into town and discovered a charming historic district. St. Augustine dates back to 1565, our nation's oldest city. The city has done a wonderful job in preserving its history. There are numerous museums, the old Spanish fort which protected the city from pirates, the English, and profiteers. The Spanish Empire lasted nearly 300 years and St. Augustine was ideally located on the 30th parallel. Early mariners discovered that navigating this parallel by sextant brought them across the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of America utilizing the trade winds to push their sails. The sailing ships loaded with gold, silver, and jewels from Central & South America would rendezvous at St. Augustine, protected by the fort's cannons, to begin their journey back across the ocean with their treasures, to Spain.
Another chapter in St. Augustine's life is the development of the area as a tourist destination. In the 'Guilded Age' of the 1880's & '90's a man, Henry Flagler came to the small town of St. Augustine. He was a man of great wealth accumulated in a partnership with John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil Co. fame.
He owned railroads and saw an opportunity to expand his railroads to Florida to create a southern 'Newport' for the wealthy northerners to stay during the cold northern winter months. To achieve this he bought a number of small rail lines along the eastern seaboard, standardized the rail gauges to 39 1/2" (today's std.) so his trains could travel non-stop from New York to Florida. Flagler embarked upon building a luxury hotel, named the Hotel Ponce De Leon, with two firsts, running water and electricity in every room. Before the construction was complete a long waiting list of patrons developed. Flagler, then started construction on another hotel, 'The Alcazar' across the street and both buildings were finished about the same time. His venture became an instant success. Concurrently, he worked with community leaders to build or refurbish 3 churches, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Catholic church. A Baptist church soon followed. Flagler continued his facination with Florida and continued building his rail lines further south to the Florida Keys and Key West and with it a string of hotels. His railroad brought an unlimited number of northern guests to fill his hotels.
Facinated by the story, I bought 2 books on Henry Flagler, the man and his entrepreneurship. Any further info I learn I will pass along in this silly blog.
We found, among the many restaurants, a place called 'Harry's' Seafood Bar & Grill', and learned after that it is one of the most popular establishments in St. Augustine. We ate there on night #1, then returned hot & tired after a day long tour of the city in day#2. Great food and wine!

Tomorrow, we will head toward Perry, GA skipping Amelia Island due to time contsraints as we have to be in Minneapolis/St. Paul for Pat's granddaughter's birthday on the 20th.


Posted by dixter 05:59 Archived in USA Tagged st. augustine

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