We decided to spend the morning in St. Augustine, which is about 25 minutes south of us. I had been to St. Augustine once before, many moons ago with my dad and sister. I didn't remember much about it, but I remembered I liked it so much that I actually considered going to Flagler College there, just because I was enchanted with the little town. Ultimately, I can't say I regret my choice to go to the University of Florida instead (my student loan balance isn't upset I went public instead of private, either), but I was still excited for the opportunity to get back to St. Augustine.
And so, off we went. It was just a quick visit, and we do plan to go back again later to do more exploring. On this trip, we just saw two major sites: the Castillo de San Marcos and St. George Street.
We parked at the fort and went there first. We wandered through the rooms and up to the top of the fort, reading our guided tour as we went.
Welcome to the Castillo de San Marcos!
Ready for some fort fun
The world's most comfortable beds
Heading up to the top
Atop the fort
Apparently this is the place to be if you are a bird of St. Augustine.
The fort walls looking out over the bay
We were also just in time to catch a cannon demonstration. Eric stayed close and recorded it while I took Ellie further back and helped her cover her ears. She barely startled at all when the cannon went off; she was far more excited about the birds flying away than the loud noise. Crazy kid.
Volunteers/Park Staff heading upstairs to fire a cannon
VIDEO: The cannon demonstration at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
Ellie is super impressed.
After the cannon-firing, we did a little more fort exploration.
Ellie and Eric
Looking across the fort to the cannon
Then we left the fort and went across the street to St. George Street, which is a stretch of shops and restaurants in restored old houses. We didn't do much shopping, aside from one children's shop with a rather large stuffed Elmo that struck Ellie's fancy. We also stopped for ice cream - Ellie's first taste of ice cream with sprinkles, which she loved!
St. George Street
The oldest wooden school house in the U.S.
This gate was once the only entrance point to the north side of St. Augustine
Signing for "more ice cream!"
We also walked out to the Bridge of Lions, which afforded us a nice view of St. Augustine and a different perspective for the next cannon demonstration.
Bridge of Lions
Another cannon fired, as seen from the Bridge of Lions
By then we had a pretty sleepy baby on our hands, so we decided to wrap things up and head back home to get Ellie down for a nap.
All this history is exhausting.
So, it was a quick trip but a very nice way to spend our morning, and the highlight of our Labor Day weekend! I'm looking forward to exploring more of St. Augustine soon!