Florida getaway

We headed down to the St. Augustine area last weekend, just in time for the Grande Illumination re-enactment of the 1763 British takeover of Florida from Spain.

Old Town was all lit up for the holidays, and everyone was feeling festive. Our friend Karen came up from South Florida, and we had a great time riding around in her convertible car. :)

The weather was perfect and the food was delicious. We ate a lot of really great food! I particularly enjoyed the Columbia Restaurant (excellent "white" sangria made with cava, and the paella is amazing). "The Columbia" has been in operation since 1905, so it's probably the oldest restaurant I've ever been to . . . in this country, at least.

Of course, we checked out some of the historical stuff, like the Castillo San Marcos.

Saint Augustine is the "oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the USA" with that establishment occurring in 1565.

The first Europeans were from Spain, and it was the Spanish who established a city here and built the Castillo San Marcos.

Ponce de Leon discovered the Fountain of Youth here.

OK, so that last statement was stretching it a bit.

The Spanish controlled this area for some two hundred years. Then the British took over. (Hence, the aforementioned Grande Illumination.) But about forty years later, the Spanish took over again. St. Augustine (and Florida) was part of Spain again -- until it became a territory of the United States.

Anyway, historically speaking it's all a little bit confusing, especially since the Union Jack was flying over the fort when we were there.

Boats in Matanzas Bay.

It takes about seven hours to drive to St. Augustine from Charlotte (less time if Sandy's driving - haha!) If you've never been, I highly recommend it -- especially if you stay in Old Town. There are lots of restaurants and shops, plenty of stuff to do, and there's lots of interesting people-watching.

I'm thinking we need to do more weekend getaways. Maybe next time, we'll head in a different direction. To the mountains, perhaps?

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