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St. Augustine, FL-A Great Place To Get Away To

Castillo de San Marcos, St.  www.oldcity.com


As much as I like the 'city life', it can be exhausting. Between traffic, crowds and noisy neighbors, it's not hard to see how being in the city can make you want to pull your hair out. Sometimes you just want to go to a place that is smaller and quiet, but where you can still have a good time. If you've just gone through something stressful like planning your wedding, you'll need to get away to preserve your sanity! My husband and I found such a place-St. Augustine, Florida. I hadn't heard of it before, but it's really just a great place to relax. If you want to go to a charming town with lots of stuff to do, that's a good place to start.
     If you ever visit St. Augustine, I highly recommend staying near the bay. My husband booked the honeymoon suite at a bed and breakfast called the Bayfront Marin House. Their 'honeymoon package' included a nighttime ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Since Florida has mild winters, the fact that our wedding was in January wasn't a problem! It was actually quite beautiful. There are all kinds of great restaurants within walking distance-High-end Cuban, Irish pub, seafood, you name it. I think our favorite was a 'mom-and-pop' seafood restaurant across from our suite. Having grown up on the beach, I have an appreciation for seafood that isn't from one of the 'big chain' restaurants.  The fact that it was on the end of a pier made it even better, because you had a beautiful view of the bay! I've never seen a Red Lobster with a view like this...have you? :)
     St. Augustine is also a lot of fun for history buffs. Being an early Spanish settlement, it's the oldest city in the United States. You can go on narrated historical tours of the town if you'd like, but you can also wander around on your own. The Spanish watchtower at Fort Matanzas and the Castillo de San Marcos (the government center of the empire) are very well-preserved, so you can get a good idea about what life was like in the early days of the city. The architecture is simply stunning, especially considering that it's over 400 years old! There is also the Lightner Museum and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, which are good places to go if you have an affection for the truly unusual. I'd suggest skipping the 'shrunken head' exhibit if you've just eaten, but the stained-glass and crystal items are simply gorgeous! If wax figures are your thing, there is also Potter's Wax Museum. The figures of people are so life-like that you just want to go up and touch them. We have a friend who is a dead ringer for Earnest Hemmingway, so it was kind of creepy seeing that statue! :)
     For people who just like to shop, St. Augustine has a very nice historical district with all kinds of small shops and eateries within walking distance. Like many waterfront towns, there are the cute little shops that sell gaudy souvenirs, salt-water taffy and homemade fudge. What was exceptional, though, was that some of them held classes on how to pull your own taffy or make your own candies! If you're into the paranormal, you can take one of the 'ghost tours' through some of the haunted buildings and alleys. They aren't 'silly-scary' like the haunted houses at the county fair, but there is definitely a fun 'creepiness' in the air!
     If you want a great honeymoon destination or just a fun place to relax, St. Augustine is a quiet Florida town with plenty of variety. Unfortunately we were only able to stay a few days, so we didn't get to do everything. If you want to know more about the city or plan a vacation, visit www.oldcity.com.


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