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A Fort, An Old City, and Gelato = Perfect Day

Posted by on March 8, 2010

Outside the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida

Well, hello there! It’s been awhile.  We’ve been tending to some personal matters, making important plans, etc. so I fell behind on my entries and realized I never posted about my glorious afternoon in St. Augustine, Florida. Oops! 

Our three weeks in Jacksonville were wonderful.  We went for  strolls on the beach and around the campground’s lake.  We enjoyed the sights and sounds of a family reunion, kids playing on the playground, and a very happy puppy playing in the ocean and running in the sand.  At the top of my “To Do” list was to see St. Augustine but I don’t think  it was on the top of Chris’ list.  He had already seen St. Augustine and I think had other things on his mind.  But, on one Sunday, he graciously agreed to my request and off we went to see this historical city. 

"Cover your ears!"

It was a spectacularly sunny day. (As it should be, after all, this IS the Sunshine State but lately it has been cold and un-Florida like…probably because I’m trying to live my life as a snowbird now and winter is not pleased with me.)  We were quite happy to put away our fleece jackets and sport our short sleeved shirts.  With the weather being so nice, the city was packed.  Luckily, we found a tight and somewhat overpriced parking spot for our monster truck, grabbed a map, and set off on our exploration.

The oldest wood schoolhouse in the USA

Our first stop was the fort, Castillo de San Marcos, which was constructed in 1695.  Here we enjoyed the benefit of having a National Parks Pass. We were able to walk up the ticket booth, flash our Pass, and gain access to the fort so easily!  Seriously…this pass is totally worth it! Go out and get yours today.  I love forts. My love of forts dates back to my childhood.  I have fond memories of visiting Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia.  Additionally, I excelled at building forts in my backyard out of pinestraw, or in my living room out of bedsheets and blankets, and even as an adult, building forts out of snow.  I’m all about the forts.  We walked in and out of the different rooms of the fort, listened to the park ranger tell about the history of the fort and read the various exhibits posted around the fort grounds.  It was very informative and interesting. But, we were anxiously awaiting 3:30 p.m. 

Cathedral of St. Augustine

Finally, at 3:30 p.m. we rushed up to the second level of the fort and watched as men decked out in 17th Century Spanish Colonial uniform marched from the courtyard up to the second level and over to one of the many cannons that lined the wall of the fort.  For the next five to ten minutes, they demonstrated how a cannon is prepped for firing.  And, then, the moment all the children (and most adults) were waiting for: the uniformed men shout, “Cover your ears!” And, with that, the cannon is fired sending a puff of smoke into the air.  It was very exciting. 

After our tour of the fort, we walked over to the historical city streets and strolled along with the thousands of other tourists noting the nice cafes, shops, and churches.  There is a definite charm to St. Augustine and if I could have, I would have plopped myself down on a bench or at a cafe table and passed the remainder of the day by simply watching the happy tourists and enjoying the quaint surroundings.  Instead, we headed back to the truck to return to our campground but not without me finally giving in and stepping foot inside one of the many chocolate shops.  And, lo and behold, this one had gelato.  It was meant to be for this pregnant lady has been needing some gelato.  For anyone who cares, I chose the mixed berry flavor and it was fabulous. Oh happy day!

10 Responses to A Fort, An Old City, and Gelato = Perfect Day

  1. marlene

    oh, it sounds like you had lots of fun. this place is on our list too. can’t wait for the cannons… and gelato!

  2. Lani

    It is definitely worth a stop! I wish we would have made time for a trolley tour of the city – that is probably a great way to learn more about the history. Where are you guys headed next?

  3. Eric Stephenson

    What a great post-loved the photos, especially the schoolhouse. That’s a campground I’ve just got to put on my list!

  4. James Schipper

    We were sitting on the closest wooden platform along the wall just out of the frame of the “Cover your ears!” picture above.

    Growing up in CA, I had never even heard of St. Augustine, but we had a great time there. We camped for 3 days at Anastasia State Park, but exploring all the history of the city was fascinating.

    Here’s a pic where I was sitting:

  5. Lani

    Ah! You had a much better view than I did! Glad you had a nice visit as well. The history is fascinating and one with which I am not too familiar so we learned a lot that day on our brief tour. Too bad we couldn’t meet up – pretty funny that we were there at the same time! Safe travels!

  6. Lani

    Thanks, Eric. We had a really enjoyable time at the campground and visiting St. Augustine. Definitely recommend it!

  7. lotus

    I can’t decide which I am more envious of – your trip to the fort or the gelato! Both sound wonderful!

  8. Lani

    Yes, the fort was fun but I have to say that the gelato was quite fabulous! :)

  9. marlene

    hi again lani!

    we are headed to florida tomorrow night. we have no idea where! lol. probably somewhere near panama city.

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