St. Augustine, Florida
March 2009

Tues./Wed. Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

We had to change camp sites in the morning because we couldn't get one site reserved for the entire stay. I was dreading the hassle, but it only took a few minutes with our minimal gear, and it got us a little further away from the horde of children with lousy parents.

Again it was too windy and chilly for the beach. Every time I checked the weather (via text message) the report changed - it was supposed to rain, then not. Supposed to be warm, then not. We decided to do more indoor and town-related fare, hoping for beach weather later.

Across the street from the park entrance is one of my favorite attractions in St. Augustine, the Alligator Farm. I took a ton of pictures but I'll just give you the highlights.

We returned to camp and had sandwiches. We had intended on a picnic on the beach but when we headed that way it was like being hit by a sand blaster.

 

Everyone else was abandoning the beach as well. The wind was coming so hard new dunes were being formed before our very eyes.

So we returned to town and visited Flagler College, once an opulent hotel with Tiffany windows and fountains everywhere. The architectural details are astounding - mosaics, gargoyles, turrets, domes, gardens. Christ, the entrance has a portcullis! Like the Alligator Farm, I took a ton of photos but I'll just give you a few highlights.

We meandered around town, starting with The Way We Were, a second-hand shop much like Stefan's here in Atlanta but with slightly cheaper prices. I had meant to do some actual thrift shopping over the weekend but we were having too much fun. The Way We Were has more women's clothing than men's, a fine selection of jewelry and a few other trinkets. The proprietor could not be talked into selling the whisky bottle pictured here, the one-eyed dame holding a .45. Badass.

We headed back down the tourist strip of St. George to find the fantastic Panama Hat Company. Not only do they have some great hats but the lady really knows her trade. I was in search of information about hat restoration for a hat I inherited from my grandfather that has seen its share of abuse over the years and the lady handed me a card for a guy right here in Atlanta. I was grateful, and in search of a good souvenir, so I bought a new hat myself. It got a lot of compliments at St. George Tavern, our next stop.

This was the last of the three bars recommended by the waitress at Madre's that we visited. She had described it well - a mix of tourists and locals. But that describes much of St. Augustine as a whole. Though it is a tourist trap of a town, there's still plenty of leathered-hippie and chipper-golfer locals about.

For our last supper in town we headed to Gypsy Cab Restaurant, just over the bridge. I'd dined there before, back in the dawn of time, and remembered liking it. There was a short wait, but a bar to wait at so we didn't mind. We split a massive "appetizer" of blacked shrimp over a plate of nachos and a plate of seafood scampi.

I had mentally planned to party hardy on our last night but we'd abused ourselves too thoroughly on Friday and filled ourselves to capacity at dinner so we retreated to the camp and settled in for the night.

Tues./Wed. Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

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