National Geographic puts us on another list, the “Must See Destination” list. Yup, it’s true. Four out of the twenty cities listed are in America, and St Augustine is one of the four. But then, if you’ve been here before, you know why.
For starters, it’s America’s only Spanish town. Yup, think about it. Charleston, Savannah, Boston, Annapolis… all English towns. New Orleans – or what’s left of it - is French. So if you want to enjoy a little touch of Europe on American soil, St Augustine is your town.
Another reason I think St Augustine is such a great place, it’s history. This is the oldest continuously occupied city on the North America continent. So forget Plymouth, forget Jamestown, St Augustine was established years before them.
The history continues in the old city with the British period. Yup, after the Spanish lost French and Indian war and the peace treaty – Treaty of Paris, I believe, the Spanish lost this out-post of their empire. That was critical because it was the last fort that defended Spain’s gold laden galleon ships on their way home to Spain.
Before the second Spanish period, an influx of Minorcan refugees came up from a fail plantation to the south, which brought a strong middle class. Merchants, craftsmen, and other skilled laborers moved to the city at this time.
But yup, you guessed it, it gets better! Standard Oil’s Henry Flagler tries to make St Augustine the playground of the rich and famous in the 1880s when he builds – for the times – the world class hotels Ponce de Leon, and Alcazar. These properties brought American’s new wealthy to Florida for the first time, starting the great American migration of rich old-folks moving south, at a certain age.
So it’s no wonder Nat Geo named us a Must See Destination. Come stay at the Inn on Charlotte and see for yourself why so many, for so long, have been so happy, in such a small town. Read all about it here.