Judith here. The BEST She-Crab soup and Shrimp and Grits for lunch In Charleston!
In St. Augustine, we booked a site at the Anastasia State Park campground , which is just across the bridge from the old city and on the beach. The trailer tucks into the site and is surrounded by palms, ferns, complete Florida forest. We can’t see the trailers on either side of us! And look what we found in the tree outside our window!
Day one was on and off rain, so we took the trolley around the city for an overview. There is so much great history here, and the city is preserved beautifully. We loved it!
During our visit to the Lightner museum we managed to avoid the downpour that drenchd the city. This was originally the Alcazar Hotel – Flagler’s party house for the rich. The highlight of the building is the third floor balcony/ballroom that looked down on the indoor swimming pool. And at night the ceiling retracted, so you could dance to the tunes of 2 bands under the stars, while watching the swimmers below. The pool is now a restaurant! (The water is gone so you can go to the deep end – LOL)
The museum was purchased by O.C. Lightner, who was the founder of several periodicals (magazines). His most famous was “Hobbies” and he was an avid collector of EVERTHING. Four floors of amazing stuff, from cigar wrappers and buttons to rooms full of crystal, furniture, oddities (a real shrunken head, ugh), and a collection of old music making instruments. We got a history lesson and a concert at the same time.
Then took a mini wine tour of the San Sebastian Winery and enjoyed some samples!
Day two was perfect weather,77 degrees, slight breeze, NO CLOUDS, so we decided to take a walk on the beach. Although the beach is a distance away from the campsites, once there we had 4 ½ miles of gorgeous sun and sand practically all to ourselves.
Later we visited the Lighthouse and it’s museum, and climbed all 219 steps. On top the view was spectacular and a couple had just gotten engaged, so that was fun! The mechanism for lighting the lamp involved climbing the steps with 30 lbs. of hot oil, and every two hours winding the mechanism to turn the light – a fascinating contraption like a grandfather clock, going down the center of the lighthouse.
Then on to the fort. Castillo de San Marcos, finished in 1695. It went back and forth between the Spanish and British, but was never “taken” , only exchanged through treaties.
From St. Augustine to Winter Haven (near Orlando) and on to Destin (in the Florida panhandle) to visit family & friends.