SHHHHH, I’m on vacation….

I’m one of these people that just want to chill on vacation. I want to see things, learn things, and just relax. No time line to follow and no one to entertain. If I go with a group, great, but I don’t have to do everything with the group if I don’t feel like it. I also like to know about the place I am going to, so I can weed out the things I want to see down to the things that I have crossed off my list.

St. Augustine, Florida is one of my favorite cities to visit. If you are on a budget try booking at the pirate haus Inn . It’s clean, great breakfast, fantastic people, and great if you have kids.

If money is no object then there are a ton of bed and breakfast, as well as the Hilton and Best Western to checkout. For a great place to visit without the kids is the Tini Martini Bar. You will know you are on vacation with a Martini in one hand sitting outside relaxed around the tiki torches.


A horse drawn carriage ride is worth it before or after that Martini bar visit or in between the visit to the martini bar works as well also. Tell your driver what kind of experience you want. They will focus on history, ghost stories and legends, or just shut up and drive you around. Every time we go to St. Augustine we have taken the horse carriage ride and every time we have come away with a different and unique experience. Personally we look for the American flag carriages, but they are all just as good.

st augustine horse carriage

Things School wants you and your kids to know about the city of St. Augustine:

  • It is the oldest city in the United States
  • It was founded in 1565 by Spain
  • Pedro Menendez de Aviles names St Augustine after a saint
  • The city was 107 years when construction of the fort began
  • The fort Castillo de san Marcos was a military fort used by Spanish and British troops

Things that Schools won’t tell you about St. Augustine:

Not all of the buildings in the town are old. Most of the buildings have a plaque that read, “Recognized as a restored colonial structure by the city of St. Augustine.” This means it was built on the spot and has the same size and layout as the original structure. Read the plaques to know which ones are old and which are rebuilt.

The City is not the oldest in the US, it is the oldest occupied city in the US, but that is too long for t-shirts.

Because of the age of the city it comes with great history and great ghost storied along with great urban legends. Sometimes it is hard to separate the truth from the fact.

The city is known for many things, but did you know that the Spanish freed slaves from the Carolina’s? Slaves would escape and head to Florida to join the Spaniards. They took on Spanish names, and converted to Catholicism. In 1738 Florida Governor Manuel de Montiano granted some land to the slaves. They built a settlement named Fort Mose and it became the first free black settlement in North America. You can visit what is left of Fort Mose.

The Spanish had slaves but they had rights. The Spanish view slaves as human beings, so they were allowed an education, right to marry, they could buy their freedom, and they had rights in court. Slaves were not allowed to be taken away from their families either. So if you bought a slave and he was married with children you took on the whole family. The English on the other hand treated slaves as property with no rights.

The Spanish and black settlers got along great with the native Indians. They married them, traded with them, and even had feasts with them. Some historians would say the first Thanksgiving was actually in St. Augustine.

So when I go to St. Augustine, I get my room, book in, head to Pizza Dina on St. George St. Great pizza pie and we can snack on the left overs in our room when we get the munchies. After we eat we hit the shops on St. George street. Up and down the street to get any purchases out of the way or on the back burner to see if we really want it by the end of the visit. If there is enough time in the day we can hit a ghost tour. There are a lot to choose from and they are all a hit and miss. It really depends on what kind of a tour you want – walking, riding, fun, historical, just research what you want to experience and choose one. They are all worth it in their own ways.

During the next week I’ll take you on a journey to St. Augustine for you to see and view it for yourself, fall in love with and go, or return to it.


Impress your Friends and Family

Treasury Street is the narrowest street in the country. It is seven feet wide.

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