Coasting: Parting shots — St. Augustine

Strolling St. George Street, St. Augustine, Florida

Strolling St. George Street, St. Augustine, Florida

As we prepared to say good-bye to St. Augustine, a town of many surprises, we remembered the sites that have become must-see’s for tourists:  Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler College, the Oldest Wood Schoolhouse in America, etc.  But we found ourselves leaning more and more toward an appreciation of the ordinary as much the tourist-book notables.

Ordinary is relative, we suppose.  But we mean ordinary in the sense that simple things can tell you about a place as much as its celebrated landmarks.  It’s what you see when you drive down a side street where people live, garden, and decorate for holidays.  The ordinary doorways, windows, and fretwork that have become worn by time.  The out-of-the-way things you share with each other as a way of enjoying “the find” as much as the check-off list.

One of the must-see buildings:  Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Augustine

One of the notables: Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Augustine

So here are some of our parting shots.  Some are ordinary.  But all hold special meaning. Maybe just because of where we were in our journey to “do” St. Augustine.

Sometimes the back of a place can be as interesting as the museum inside.  At the Gonzalez-Alvarez House (the Oldest House in America), the walkway behind the house was adorned with statues representing the seasons.

Walkway behind Gonzalez-Alvarez House, St. Augustine

Walkway behind Gonzalez-Alvarez House, St. Augustine

Further to the right of the walkway, a little house of aging stone held artifacts of a simpler time.

And in the garden, peaceful statues stand among the vines.

Peaceful setting along a garden wall, St. Augustine

Peaceful setting along a garden wall, St. Augustine

Harbor walks offer another side of life as there are usually boats and/or people coming and going.  Here’s a shot taken from the sidewalk that runs along the harbor leading to Castillo de San Marcos.

Harbor scene, St. Augustine

Harbor scene, St. Augustine

And at the Castillo, we marveled at the detail on the aging bronze cannons as much as we stood in awe of the size and strategic position of the fort as a whole.

Cannon detail, Castillo de San Marcos

Cannon detail, Castillo de San Marcos

Some buildings typified the old St. Augustine as no others could.  It wasn’t just one feature — the grillwork, the Spanish moss, the discolored walls.  But rather it was the whole of it that spoke to us.

Spanish moss, windows with balconies -- St. Augustine

Spanish moss, windows with balconies — St. Augustine

St. Augustine came to represent what we think of in terms of a city with history, but also a city of beauty and a city of fun.  It may have just what you’re looking for, but it also may surprise you by showing you what you never knew was there.  At least that’s how it was for us.

For more posts in our Coasting series, click here.

For more information: 

Florida’s Historic Coast

Twitter: @FLHistoricCoast

St. Augustine 450th Commemoration:

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About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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15 Responses to Coasting: Parting shots — St. Augustine

  1. I haven’t been to St. Augustine, as my friend Madge would say, “since Rome burned!” These pics make me want to go back.

  2. dunelight says:

    Great photo essay. People have told me before that St. Augustine was cool and worth the trip. Your photos conveyed that quite well.

  3. Loved the visit. I’ve been to St. Augustine, but not to savor it like you have. I definitely want to visit again. As for today, I so wanted to check out what was behind the grillwork gate. –Curt

    • Gates like those always are enticing. In New Orleans and Charleston, we’ve often tip-toed to look over the gates and peer into the courtyards beyond! Lovely. Hope you get back to St. Augustine. I’m pretty sure there’s even more to see that what we shared.

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    What a fabulous variety of photos you have captured in this town! You are so right that often what seems ordinary, on closer look is quite extraordinary. My favorite photos is the old wooden window. Imagine everything the shutters have held in and when opened how much they have exposed.

    • Sue, you’ve selected one of our favorite shots, too. We love architecture — frequently look up to see windows, fretwork, cupolas, etc. Travel involves seeing the “biggies” on the tourist map, but also the “smalls” of the real world! Thanks for your comment.

  5. cindy knoke says:

    So gorgeous, even though my like won’t stick! Happy Valentine’s Day you two~

  6. Ordinary is beautiful

  7. lexklein says:

    I loved the old stone houses photos.

    • Thanks for the comment. We loved those old stone houses, too. In fact, I’ve asked God if he could just help me acquire an old historic home with the money required to fix it up and enjoy. So far, I haven’t gotten an answer!!! 🙂

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