Since moving to Florida in 2002, we’ve enjoyed exploring the sunshine state. One of the spots we wanted to visit was St. Augustine so last week my husband & I planned a day trip there.
Did you know St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and is the oldest established city in the US? St. Augustine became part of the USA in 1819 and became the capital of the Florida Territory until 1824. This historic city serves as the headquarters for the Florida National Guard.
We started the day early since we had a two hour ride ahead of us. It was a beautiful morning with hardly any traffic along State Road 20.
When we got to St. Augustine we decided to start with lunch and there are dozens of great restaurants in the downtown area. We chose New Orleans-inspired Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille, which overlooks the beautiful Matanzas Bay. I had the grilled Mahi Burger with fresh cole slaw and it was juicy and delicious!
Billy ordered the Bacon Jam Burger. The burger is topped with their signature sweet and smoky bacon jam, which my husband fell in love with. He’s going to try to re-create it at home.
After lunch we spent a few minutes watching the sailboats in Matanzas Bay before heading to the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is part of the nation’s oldest port. A Spanish watchtower built in the 1500’s and a series of other wooden watchtowers, evolved into the present St. Augustine Lighthouse. This functioning lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level, contains 219 steps and contains 14 stories. At the top of the lighthouse is the original first order Fresnel lens that still serves as the beacon.
As we began our 219 step ascendent to the top of the lighthouse, we stopped at the landings to take in some amazing views
219 steps later, we reached the top. Breathtaking!
Climbing down 219 steps mentally harder than going up and I needed some caffeine and chocolate to make me feel normal again. We decided on local favorite Cafe Eleven. I ordered a brownie which was delicious. My husband had Chocolate Trilogy which is layers of dark, milk, and white chocolate mousse, topped with with dark chocolate shavings and finished with chocolate genoise.
We spent a little time on St. Augustine Beach taking in the sights.
Our last stop of the day was Castillo de San Marcos fort, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Construction began in 1672 and lasted 23 years. The fort came under siege by British forces in 1702 and then again in 1728 and 1740. They burned the city but couldn’t penetrate the walls of the fort and the British were never able to take the city of St. Augustine by force. In 1763 Florida became a British colony with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which began a 20-year period of English rule. The Castillo de San Marcos was used as a military prison during the Revolutionary War, and at one time held three signers of the Declaration of Independence within its walls.
By the time we got to the fort, the inside was closed for the day but we plan on returning check out the rest of it.
We had an amazing time in the seaside city of St. Augustine. If you find yourself in Florida take some time to visit these historic sights and enjoy some great food!