Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Great Escape

My friend, Diana, and I have been planning a girl's only trip for about a year now. We had originally planned on going to Key West but when we looked at prices, we opted to go to the other end of the state to St. Augustine. I have been there twice. (The first time was when we evacuated from Hurricane Wilma and the second was when we met our son there last January.) Diana had never been there and was looking forward to seeing it and I was happy to introduce her to a most fascinating and beautiful city. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites where Mr. Snowbird and I have stayed both times before. A beautiful hotel, super friendly staff, very clean, big rooms and of course, Reggie, the little old Englishman who takes care of the big continental breakfast. Reggie has been there for years and you can just tell that he loves his job.

A look down St. George's Street

We arrived Monday afternoon, checked into the Hampton, then headed into town and meandered down St. George's street, checking out the shops. We ate at Harry's, a highly rated restaurant. We ate out in the courtyard under the twinkling lights. Delicious food, great service, and beautiful atmosphere.

Tuesday, we headed to the Red Tram and bought our tickets. You can ride for 3 days for $18.95 getting on and off all over town whenever you want and for as long as you want. Plus you can park in their lot free. What a deal!

Inside the Oldest House Museum

We went to the Oldest House which was built in the 1600's, Old Augustine Village which is a collection of old houses, the Fatio House, an old boarding house and The Spanish Quarter where Diana got to help the leather worker and got a certificate from the "church scribe" . That evening we went on one of the many ghost tours. Very informative and fun.

Diana helping the leather worker.

Yesterday, even though it was supposed to be cold and rainy, it was sunny and in the 80's. Fantastic. We took the tram shuttle to the lighthouse (only made it to the 3rd of 8 levels!) and the Alligator Farm on Anastasia Island. Then off to the Winery for a tour and Diana's first wine tasting. Yum. Love sampling those adult beverages.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse.

Not my idea of a fun job.

Lots of Adult Beverages.

We had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant, one of the older restaurants in St. Augustine. We had--(the following taken from the menu)--"Cannelloni de Langosta “Setes Portes Catalan favorite of tender cannelloni pasta filled with Maine lobster meat, shrimp, pan seared scallops and Saute├ęd Shallots blended with a lobster sherry cream reduction, smothered with a lobster sherry Mornay cheese sauce." Oh yum!!! We had planned on taking a different ghost tour last night but given that her age 60 something legs and my age 70 legs had been tromping all over St. Augustine for two days and having a VERY full tummy, we decided to head back to the hotel, get comfy, put our feet up, and eat the outrageously good chocolate we got at Kilwin's.

We packed up the car this morning and headed home. It is about a 5 1/2 hour trip not including the lunch stop at Cracker Barrel. (Yum--fattening, fattening food just like my mom, stepmother, aunts, and grandmother used to make--but oh so good. ) It was a great escape (not sure what I was escaping when I already live in Paradise.) and we are already talking about next year's getaway!!

Some more neat shots from St. Augustine

This balcony reminded me of my deck. Same decorator?

A view in a house in Old St. Augustine Village

A fountain in Old St. Augustine Village

OK, I don't know that this is a neat picture of St. Augustine but it does show that I was there.


Shama-Lama Mama said...

Welcome Home!

I am so glad that you guys had a great time! The Columbia Restaurant looks just so beautiful. Hope you didn't go too overboard on those adult beverages.

Did you bring one of those barrels home for Dad?

Snowbird said...

The restaurant was beautiful but I really liked Harry's better. Actally, I didn't have all that many adult beverages and no Dad didn't get a barrel. He did get a Tennents Beer glass though. Unfortunately, I came home with a cold. Ugh!!