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.

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