Have you ever been to St. Augustine?
That quaint city is only a few hours driving from my home in Ft. Lauderdale. To think I’ve been roaming the world and admiring foreign landmarks without realizing that I have a historical place within close proximity.

St. Augustine boasts several American first or oldest sites. It was the capital of Spain’s La Florida and a thriving coastal town before the first English settlement was established at Jamestown, VA.

Built in 1672-1695, the first fortress in America, Castillo de San Marcos, helped protect Spain’s treasure fleets from the English and pirates. Designed by Cuban Engineers, it is the oldest fort in the United States and was designated as America’s first national monument.
Government House, built in 1598 served as the residence of the governors of Spanish Florida. In 2001, spanish King Juan Carlos gave a speech from its balcony.
The Oldest House was built in 1702. It was the home of St. Augustine mayor.

In September 8, 1565, Don Pedro Menedez de Avilles came ashore and founded the first permanent settlement in what is now the United States. On that date, Father Francisco Lopez offered the first Mass here--a site that became the home of the first Catholic parish in the nation. Our Lady de la Leche is the oldest Christian site in the United States.
Plaza de la Constitucion is the town square.

The Oldest School.


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31 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // March 3, 2011 at 8:09 AM  

    I like it! It's funny how easily we forget that history happened in our own back yards! Thanks for the reminder, I must head down to Macon to the Indian Mounds again, then Fort Polaski, near Savannah and Tybee Island then.....

  2. Nightingale // March 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM  

    Your post brought back many happy memories. I've participated in Drake's Raid at Castillo de San Marcos and rode in parades down those narrow streets on my horse. Thanks for a trip down memory lane, Mona.

  3. Autumn Jordon // March 3, 2011 at 10:47 AM  

    Visiting St Augustine with my grandparents is one of my most treasured memories. I remember the fort, the cobblestones streets and spending time in Ripley's Believe or not museum. I hope to visit there again.

    Thanks for the memories and sharing your lovely pictures.

  4. Beth Trissel // March 3, 2011 at 11:17 AM  

    What a wonderful post. I love the history and the beautiful pics.

  5. Patrice // March 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM  

    Hi Mona,
    Nice pictures and information, but you didn't mention all the wonderful restaurants on the main street, and they have some interesting tours - it's a fun place to visit. PS - love your bi-line.

  6. Pamela Varnado // March 3, 2011 at 12:38 PM  

    For twenty years I traveled to many wonderful international cities with my husband while he was in the military, but I've never done much sightseeing in the United States. Buying and RV and traveling across the US is what we plan to do when he retires from his second career. I can't wait. There are so many wonderful things to see in America!!

  7. Judy // March 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM  

    Yes! I have been to St. Augustine. It's a charming, historical town that is lots of fun to visit. It's only about an hour or so from where I live on the Spacecoast of Florida. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them! You always do such a nice job of taking photos.

  8. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:47 PM  

    Hi Mary, I passed by Savannah once years ago and would love to go back for a longer time.

  9. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

    Linda, I wish I could have seen you on your horse riding along the Castillo. You should post pictures if you have them.

  10. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

    Autumn, we didn't have enough time to visit the Ripley's museum. I heard it was a lot of fun.

  11. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:51 PM  

    Beth, I was thinking of you as I took pictures of one of the oldest trees and the beautiful street shaded with magnolias.

  12. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:53 PM  

    Patrice, the food was fabulous. i had grilled shrimp with a wine sauce and we shared a pecan ice-cream. I'll post pictures of the cafe where we had breakfast on my blog tomorrow.

  13. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:54 PM  

    Pam, I totally understand you. I told my DH I am sick of flying. It's time to discover the special sites in the US.

  14. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM  

    Judy, if I go back and I plan to I will let you know. maybe we can meet.

  15. Celia Yeary // March 3, 2011 at 4:47 PM  

    MONA--wonderful photos. We almost had a trip planned there in the spring, but have since changed our plans.
    Our kids from MI will tour the Alamo when they get here and spend a day and night in San Antonio. We do tend to forget about our own local treasures.
    Celia

  16. Keena Kincaid // March 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM  

    St. Augustine has been on my list for years now...now that I'm in Florida, maybe I'll get up there one weekend, although it's a bit of a drive from Tampa.

  17. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

    Celia--the kids will love St. Augustine. There is so much to see.

  18. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 5:19 PM  

    Keena, you are closer than I am. It took us 6 hours. You can be there in two to three hours and spend a wekend.

  19. Nightingale // March 3, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

    Mona, I'll try to find them and post them one day. I have pix from the parade and from the Raid where we would go galloping across the park!

  20. Maggie Toussaint // March 3, 2011 at 7:39 PM  

    Hi Mona,

    St. Augustine is a few hours south of me! Next time you get an urge to go there, let me know and I can meet you for a meal or something. How cool would that be?

    I love visiting St. Augustine. My grandmother lived there all of my childhood and we often walked from her house on Waters Street down to the fort and played there. I can't tell you how many times I was a mutinous pirate wielding a stick-sword.

    Thanks for jogging those pleasant memories!

    Maggie

  21. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM  

    Mona, I visited St. Augustine with my family as a child and remembered the fort Castillo as the highlight of the trip. A few years ago I went again with my own children and grandchild. It was a wonderful trip. I have lovely pictures.

    Scarlet

  22. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 10:35 PM  

    Linda, look for those pictures, sweetie. I want to see them.

  23. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 10:36 PM  

    Maggie, deal. I'll email before going to St. Augustine and we'll meet.

  24. Mona Risk // March 3, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

    Scarlet, I think I will take my grandchildren in a few years when they are old enough to appreciate the historical significance of this lovely city.

  25. liana laverentz // March 4, 2011 at 7:36 AM  

    Beautiful pictures, Mona. St. Augustine is on my wish list of places to visit. Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Mary Ricksen // March 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

    I have been there and I love it. I didn't get to see much but it's a wonderful city!

  27. Joanne // March 4, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

    Mona,
    I am also not far from St. Augustine, as Charlotte, NC is about a 4 hour drive.
    I, too, saw St. Augustine for the first time a couple of years ago when we did a home exchange in St. Mary's, Georgia. I loved St. Augustine and plan to return. (We also loved St. Mary's!)

  28. Mona Risk // March 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM  

    Liana, your son wil have a blast there.

  29. Mona Risk // March 4, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

    Mary, I toured it quickly too, but I hope to go back for an in -depth visit,

  30. Mona Risk // March 4, 2011 at 12:46 PM  

    Joanne, I think it's close enough from Charlotte to go back.

  31. StephB // March 5, 2011 at 1:40 PM  

    Mona, I loved your pictures. They really helped to caputure the flavor of the city and give someone like me perspective. Thanks for taking us there today!
    Smiles
    Steph