Our RV friends, Bill and Gisela told us this was a nice town to visit, so we found the Elks Lodge just south of town and stayed for a week. They were right. We really enjoyed our visit here. First off, whenever there is a town Trolly Tour available we like to take that to get our bearings and learn about the history of the town. So again we boarded “Old Town Trolly” like we did in Savannah. They do a good job and you can hop off and on wherever you want during the day tour. Parking is Free when you take the trolly.
St Augustine is the nation’s Oldest City, Founded in 1565.
The First Morning we took a walk on the beach
Just south of the bridge a couple of miles is the Alligator Farm. We decided to visit there after we noticed many birds were flying into the trees in that location in the evening. By the way they do have TONs of Alligators laying around, but honestly I have seen more than my share of alligators all across the gulf states, WILD ONES. These alligators just seem to be locked in a very small space and a few times a day they were fed just to thrill a crowd of tourists. I was there to see the birds. Just as the sun was setting, about an hour before they closed they arrived in numbers to many to count. Spoonbills, Snowies, Great Egrets, Ibis, Black Crowned Night-Herons, Wood Storks, Tri-colored Herons and many more. It was amazing. I understand that visiting this farm in the early spring gives you a “Birds Eye” view of all the little babies. A Bird Nursery. Why do they choose these trees and this location? Anyway, here are a couple of the pictures I took while I was there.
A tour around the town included the the Castillo de San Marco which is now owned and managed by the National Parks System. A quick tour through this historic fort send you back in time. This fort is over 330 years old and cost Spain over $30 million dollars to construct. It is one of only two fortifications in the world made out of a rare form of limestone called coquina. The other fort is Matanzas, just 14 miles south of fort Augustine. Bring your Park pass for free admittance. Parking is metered.
The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine
Spoonbills in St. Augustine fly to the tree tops just before sunset each day.
The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse is a wooden structure located at 14 St. George Street in St. Augustine near the city gate. It is touted as being the oldest wooden school building in the United States. The exact date of construction is unknown, but it first appears on tax records in 1716
Fort Matanzas was designated as a National Monument by President Calvin Coolidge on October 15, 1924. Fort Matanzas is a monument that commemorates the Spanish phase of Colonial American history in Florida. The name Matanzas comes from the root word mata, meaning to kill. Hence, Matanzas refers to “the place of many slaughters.” Fort Matanzas was made of coquina, a natural fragile shell-stone. Its main strengths were its strategic location and its armament supply. In 1750, five cannons were mounted to cover all approaching directions. Today, two cast iron cannons, mounted in 1793, remain. At the rear of the gundeck there was a water cistern that was capable of holding 1,500 gallons of water.
Fort Matanzas was built on an island less than two acres large. Today, due to time, tides and man, the island now occupies more than 200 acres and is referred to as Rattlesnake Island. The fort is accessible by boat only. The Matanzas Queen II, a ferry capable of holding 22 passengers, makes trips from the Visitors Center to the fort daily. Free with your park pass. This is well worth visiting. The guide was dressed in period clothing and gave a detailed description of the activities, it sends you back in time. Take the time to climb up the ladder to the top of the fort and see the sleeping quarters and the view they had of the waterway they guarded.
We camped at the Elks Lodge just south of town. A great place with lots of trees and the lodge is very nice too.
The Elks Lodge was just a stones throw away from the Farmers Market that they have each week. It was a great market with Fresh seafood, Breads, tons of vegetables and unusual items like boiled peanuts, and other delicacies.
Since the Elks RV Parking area backs up right against the St. Augustine State Park, you have the opportunity to see many of the colorful birds, raptors and other wild things. One morning I was walking with Lily, (my Wheaten Terrier) whom we had rattlesnake trained about a year ago; she alerted me to something in the bushes and I was sure it must have been a rattlesnake. So we walked back toward the camp area and a few feet further from where she alerted me, I spotted a small snake coiled up under a few leaves. Sure enough it was a PIGMY RATTLESNAKE. I called Mark on the cell phone and he brought the camp host over to have a look. They moved the snake with a shovel to the back area so it could be move into the state park. Here is the picture I got of it.
Off to TITUSVILLE, and Merritt Island FLORIDA today.