May 15, 2012 Our next stop south is a city we have visited countless times through the years. St. Augustine is not only a city with great historical significance, it also happens to be the home to one of our favorite eating haunts, The Columbian Restaurant. The restaurant actually started in Ybor City (near Tampa, FL) in 1905. The family owned business has since expanded to 7 Florida locations. Authentic Spanish cuisine, freshly baked Cuban bread and wonderful sangrias and mojitos are provided in a beautiful setting. The St. Augustine restaurant was built in 1983—so it has no historical significance, but we always enjoy the food and the ambience.
|Castillo de San Marcos|
Castillo de San Marcos, finished in 1695, is probably one of the most famous historical landmarks in the city. Built to protect the city and its residents through the years, the masonry fort was never taken by force. The City Walls were started in 1704 to provide additional protection for the citizens of St. Augustine following repeated attacks. The wall (or Cubo Line as it is called) was constructed of earth and palm logs, part of the wall can still be seen. The City Gate, which is still standing, was built in 1808 as part of the reconstruction of the City Wall. The Gate is located at the north end of St. George Street. This is the beginning of a pedestrian area for historical buildings, shops and restaurants.
Down the street from the Plaza, there are two building originally constructed by Henry Flagler, the Standard Oil co-founder, who also built the Overseas Highway to Key West in the 1930’s. The Hotel Alcazar was built in 1887, as a luxury hotel. Three floors of the former hotel now house the Lightner Museum. Publisher, Otto Lightner purchased the building in 1946, to house his collection of antiquities. Musical instruments, furnishings, paintings, sculptures and other decorative pieces from the 19th century fill the museum. If you have time, this museum is definitely worth a visit.
At the end of St. George St. lies the Plaza de la Constitucion, the oldest public park in the US, which was laid out in 1573. The Cathedral-Basilica of St Augustine, completed in 1797, faces the Park.
|Plaza de la Constitucion|
|Hotel Ponce de Leon/ Flagler College|
|Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine|