Monday, January 2, 2017

Hidden Season in St Augustine

So why is January such a great time to come to Saint Augustine? Well, besides the cooler weather, it’s right after the holidays and most don’t have the extra cash to hit the streets to shops & Restaurants.  So the upside is the Nights of Lights are still up (thru the month of January, actually), room rates are discounted over 20%, and no lines at your favorite attraction.  So if you stay during this month, not only do you and your Honey-Bunny have the city to yourselves, almost, you also get the nights-of-lights guiding your way each evening!

Check January’s Availability Now

While the Christmas decorations are coming down, the little white lights of Nights of Light, outlining all the little buildings (Think Paris in winter time) are still up and shinning.  Plus: Not only is the city at its lowest occupancy (No lines at the bars, or no waits at restaurants), Room-Rates are at the lowest of the year too.

So while the holidays are still fresh, and your credit card statements are piling up, think about the best time for the two of you to getaway. Book a room at the Inn on Charlotte for your reasonably priced romantic rendezvous. Come see us this January.

Friday, September 9, 2016

2016 Holiday Tour of Bed and Breakfasts

This is the perfect time to see over 20 bed and breakfasts, all decorated in a holiday theme. This year’s theme of, “Christmas through the years” will charm tour goers and guests alike. The Southern half of the Inns will be open Saturday, and the Northern half of Inns will be open on Sunday, with the doors on both days opening at 1:00 pm each day, and close at 5:00 pm.

What’s more, each B&B will partner with a local restaurant to bring tour goers a taste of what St Augustine restaurants have to offer. This year the Inn on Charlotte is partnering again with the fabulous La Pentola who offers fresh and uniquely inspired food and wine. They are neighbors as well as friends, and a place we always recommend to guests.

So get your tickets now because, 1) we sell out every year, and 2) they are on sale until October 1st..  If there were one Christmas event for you to go to this holiday season, this is the one. Not only will it help get you into the spirit of the Christmas, you also get a chance to sample some of the city’s best restaurants. St Augustine Historic Inns (SAHI) association presents their annual Holiday Tour of Inns, December 10th & 11th 2016, and you and your friends are invited!

This is the perfect event for large groups of friends such as church groups, social clubs, neighborhood groups, or work groups. The nights of lights will be in full-swing by this time and making a day of it, with friends, in the ancient city will feel only natural. So gather your good book in advance to some money. When you are coordinating your large group, please contact them directly at the website.
In any case, please read all about this year’s holiday tour of historic inns here at the official website, and book your room at the Inn on Charlotte for your holiday today.

Other Holiday events this year in St. Augustine:
-November 19th: is the 23th annual Light-up Night!
-November 19th through January 31: - Nights of Lights, the city is ablaze in millions of white lights for the season. 
-December 3rd: The 62th Annual Christmas Parade
-December 3rd: (evening): Grande Illumination – British Night Watch
-December 10th: Regatta of Lights - St Augustine's annual Christmas Boat Parade sails on historic Matanzas Bay at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

After 451 year St Augustine is Beautiful

Saint Augustine is approaching its 451 first birthday in September and she could not be in better
shape.  And if you want to come stay in St Augustine, at a bed and breakfast, to see how great our old city is doing, you might want to see the free annual historical re-enactment of Menéndez' landing, or the Founding Event as we call it, this coming September 10 at the Mission Nombre de Dios (Mission Name of God).

Way back in 1565, Pedro Menendez landed here in Florida and without a great Bed & Breakfast to stay at, he began building his colony for the King of Spain. And now each September we have a large group of re-en-actors who enjoy participating in the monumental event while in full period costume. Many of the re-en-actors stay at the local B&Bs.

The location of the re-enactment, the Mission Nombre de Dios, is as vital to the story of St Augustine as anything else because the first Catholic Mass in the new world was held right here. After landing, Menendez asked that a mass be held to thank God for the safe passage, and it was very close, if not in the exact, at same spot.

So if you’re coming to stay at our B and B and looking for something fun to do in St Augustine FL this or any September, come see the free annual, historical re-enactment of Menendez' landing at the Mission Nombre de Dios.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What makes a great restaurant?

Is it the setting?  Up-high in the mountains with views of snow covered-peaks in the background, or maybe down on the water front with boats out your window? Or maybe it’s just fancy lighting and ultra-modern furniture? Or even, maybe it’s the higher the price – does that make a better restaurant?  

Well we think it’s none of that rather the freshness and quality of the food served on your table. And if you agree, then Saint Augustine just got a GREAT restaurant on Hypolita Street.   Mam Thai & Sushi Bistro opened yesterday (6/16/2016) in a building just around the corner from the Inn and we stopped by for lunch today and OMG (as the kids say) it is amazing!  You have got to give it a try.

We wanted to order everything but, since we are trying to loose weight, we limited it to about 5 dishes.  We started with Chicken Satay – moist and delish, with a great peanut butter/pepper side-sauce! Then we tried the Crispy Shrimp rolls – crispy deliciousness, with a great minced peanut/pepper side-sauce! As a gift, the owners sent out the Fresh Summer Roll with shrimp, veggies, rice noodles in a rice wrapper – another amazing side-sauce! We had to try the Sushi, so we got the Sashimi Appetizer with very fresh White fish, Tuna, and Salmon.  Triple-yum! 

Okay, now time for the main courses; Panang curry Chick – a staple in my Thai diet – and what they call Tiger Cry, grilled Flank Steak (marinated in some amazing Thai spices) with large cut veggies. Both were done to perfection and something we will order again, no doubt.  The whole menu makes you want to start all over again.  

Mam Thai & Sushi Bistro at 21 Hypolia Street in Saint 
Augustine is simply a great restaurant! We recommend it. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Romantic St Augustine

We ask each guest as they leave, ‘how was your visit?’ and in the numerous answers, we always hear her say, ‘It’s so romantic, here in St Augustine.’  And she says it as if it’s the best discovery since Florida was discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513.  And so if you guys are listening, here’s a great tip for a romantic weekend… If you are looking for a bit of romance, and who isn’t, go to Saint Augustine Florida.

Yes. It’s as simple as that. But what makes it so romantic? Well, the city is actually a beautiful little European village, it really is. It was founded by the Spanish and streets were laid-out in the late 1500’s and they have not changed since. Oh sure, buildings have come and gone with each city fire or ‘improvement’ project but, we still have about 18 colonial structures. And through it all (450 years) this old city still holds its original romantic charm it got from Spain.  That and, with a little help from Henry Flagler, too.

So what does a master of business during the Gilded Age like Mr. Flagler of Standard Oil have to do with St Augustine? Well it was here he moved and then poured millions of dollars into building world-class hotels in the late 1800’s for America’s wealthy who wished to avoid the cold winters of the north. He loved this romantic city and so employed European craftsmen to create some of the most beautiful building of their time to blend in. I think this is the most use of terracotta in one city, in the USA.  It’s spectacular, and a must see. 

And in keeping with the Romantic theme, the city made an effort, 50 years ago, to turn back towards their Europeans roots with new building ordinances, some colonial reproduction buildings, and creating a pedestrian only shopping street – St George Street - where one can discover nice shops and fine restaurants and yes, even souvenirs.  But there is more than just Saint George St to shop on; there are shops and restaurants on all the streets, as well as homes, hotels, and of course Bed and Breakfasts.

So men, for a no-brainer, bring your honey to St Augustine, the most romantic city in the country, and a little slice of Europe (without updating your passport, and flying over there) here in North Florida for your next romantic getaway. Who knows, you might even like it too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

El Galeón returns to Saint Augustine, her home port

El Galeón, Saint Augustine’s own authentic replica of the ship Pedro Menendez traveled to coast of Florida over 450 years ago, has returned to her St. Augustine home this morning, its North American home port. She is docking at the city's Municipal Marina.  Here are the facts:

  • She  is a huge 170-foot, 495-ton amazingly authentic wooden replica of Span’s famous galleons.
  • She is owned and operated by the Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville, Spain.
  • She has Twenty-eight crew members must maneuver more than 9,600 square feet of sail area in the same fashion as 16th century sailors.
  • She first arrived in St. Augustine in June 2013 and has been back on multiple trips. During its departures, the ship has visited ports along the east coast including New York City and was used in the making of the television series Crossbones on location in Puerto Rico.

The first ship like El Galéon to arrive in St. Augustine was the flagship of founder Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Named the San Pelayo, the 650-ton ship, one of the most powerful ships of its day, carried 800 colonists and supplies to St. Augustine, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1565.

During its approximate two-week stay,  El Galeón will be open for tours and tickets may be purchased at the ship at the Municipal Marina, 100 Avenida Menendez.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sinners & Saints - It's Spring in St Augustine

Now that the nights of lights are far behind us, we look forward to the coming spring and all the fun that comes with it – from pirates sacking the city of Saint Augustine to the romance of Saint Valentine ’s Day, to the foot tapping and beer drinking of Saint Pat’s Day – you have best say your prayers.

Beginning with the most romantic of all days, Saint Valentine’s Day kicks off our high-season with flowers, chocolates, and reservations at the finest restaurants. If you do not book early, you are out in the cold. But there is always a room to be found in St Augustine at one of the B&Bs. Check out their Availability page where you can see a list of the 26 B&Bs in the Association and whether they have available rooms for your date, or not.

Shortly after the pedals fall off the stem of the roses, the pirate Searle’s will, yet again, sack the city of Saint Augustine. Back in 1668, Robert Searle, the dreaded ‘privateer’, sacked and burned St Augustine marking the last of the successful attacks on St Augustine. Because after Searle and his men, “slipped into the harbor and attacked the sleeping town, killing sixty people and pillaging government buildings, churches and homes. “ This action forcing the powers that be to finally build serious defenses, including a fort made of Coquina. And Castillo de San Marko still stands undefeated to this day.  But there will still be a sacking, re-enacting the original, which includes (loud) period-firearms fire, running with knifes (swords) and calling of names. Nothing like 17th Century verbal taunting (Reminds us of our high school years)  but it’s still worth seeing at least once.

The final event of spring is a practically a national convention / Super bowl / New Years / all wrapped up into one week. The Saint Augustine Celtic Fest!  Starting the weekend before, but going through St Patrick’s Day at one Irish pub or another, is the St Augustine Celtic Festival!  This March 11th - 13th is the St Augustine Celtic Festival that includes: Highland Games, Whisky Tasting, Song, Dance, Parade, gathering of the Clans, and so much more.   It was only 5 Years ago that our neighbor and friend, the late John Meehan, started this amazing festival, St Augustine’s largest, and his sprit is still felt each year when seeing everyone enjoying this tremendous event. If you miss the Festival, all week long until St Pat’s day all the Pubs (Meehan’s & Barley Republic) of town are filled with music, beer, and good cheer.  It’s hard to explain, so please come and see for yourself and raise a pint to John – he would appreciate that.

And Speaking of John Meehan, he is – again – a sponsor of

St. Augustine Race Week March 31st – April 2nd. As the website says, “Three-day offshore PHRF regatta This Class will have daylight ocean racing March 31st and April 1 and 2. Spinnaker and non-spinnaker classes with PHRF scoring..”  We personally love watching the youngsters competing in bay racing – always fun to watch from the bay front, or Meehan’s front-porch.

So be it for the pirates, or for a Saints, be sure to come see these exciting spring events here in America’s oldest city, Saint Augustine Florida; which is the most romantic city on the eastern seaboard, if not the most romantic city in the country.