Historic Sites in Florida
It’s the first day of summer. The neighborhood pool is open, and my husband and I decide it’s high time to drag our pasty-white selves outside and get a little Vitamin D! I grab my stack of Southern Living Magazines which have been piling up for a few months, and settle in for a nice afternoon of relaxation. And boy howdy do we need it! One college graduation and one high school graduation in 6 days, and we are exhausted!!!!!
As I’m flipping through my magazine stack, I stumble across a tiny blurb about St. Augustine, Florida. I earmark the page, and me being me, when I get home, I consult The Google. This gorgeous costal city is rich with historic sites in Florida. And y’all know me…I’m all about a destination with interesting history!
A History of St. Augustine
According to the Visit St. Augustine website: “The culture of North America changed forever in the year 1513. In April, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed while searching for the fabled isle of Bimini. The exact landing spot where Ponce and his men came ashore remains unknown, but it was apparently somewhere between the Cape Canaveral area and the mouth of the St. Johns River. Searching for this historic site, archeologists have conducted numerous [historic sites in Florida, including] “digs” at the Fountain of Youth, a National Archeological Park, where a Timucuan Indian village called Seloy was located and where the city of St. Augustine had its beginning.”
For the History Lovers: 3 Sites in St. Augustine
I am really intrigued with Castillo San Marcos! It’s managed by the National Park Service, which I love, and you can read about another important American History Site managed by the National Park Service by clicking here. It’s the oldest masonry and only extant 17th Century fort in North America.
The former teacher in me is always interested in seeing old school houses, and The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse claims to be….well, the oldest. The founder was a former indentured servant from Greece, who wanted children in the area to learn to read and write.
The Basilica of St. Augustine represents the oldest Catholic Parish in North America, as well as simply gorgeous Spanish architecture. According to the Visit St. Augustine web site, “The cathedral walls are adorned with exquisite murals that depict scenes from the history of the Catholic Church in the development of the New World. There are also stained glass windows showing scenes from the life of Saint Augustine of Hippo, for whom the city was named.”
For Museum Lovers: 2 Museums in St. Augustine
Not gonna lie, when I first stumbled across a picture of the Villa Zorayda Museum, it looked kinda…hokey. But, as I read about its importance among historic sites in Florida, I quickly added this museum to my list of must-see places in St. Augustine. I could write for days about it, but here’s a teaser. Once a private home, it was also a Supper and Dance Club, a Casino, and it now holds among its impressive art collection a rug that is over 2400 years old and made from the hairs of ancient cats that roamed the Nile River. Yup. I gotta see that!!!
I am SUPER interested in visiting the Lightner Museum! Formerly the Alcazar Hotel built in 1885, today the museum houses an amazing collection of fine and decorative 19th Century art.
Historic Sites in Florida are not just about old buildings, churches and museums. Where there’s history, there’s also antiques. And y’all know Will and I are going to poke around in as many places as possible, looking for hidden treasure. And not the pirate kind. Throwing no shade at Captain Jack, y’all.
Shopping in St. Augustine
Two streets really stand out as places I’d like to do a little shopping. The first is St. George Street, which offers not only antique shops, but also many restaurants and historic homes. Aviles Street also looks really cool! It’s a cobblestone street, where many artisans have set up shop.
Have I whetted your appetite for historic sites in Florida? There’s certainly a lot to see! But, as a Texan who is always looking for a way to beat the heat, Florida is not necessarily the place to escape heat and humidity. BUT….it is the PERFECT place to go in Winter. Highs in the 70’s sounds pretty dreamy during those cold Texas months of December, January, February and March.
So….who’s down for a group trip to St. Augustine??? I can assure you I’m going!!!!