Catch the Holiday Spirit in St. Augustine
Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 10:18 am
Catch the Holiday Spirit in St. Augustine
Five Places to Get Your Jingle On
By Nancy Moreland
In St. Augustine, like other parts of the nation, some big-box retailers began overlapping holiday inventories in September. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, stacked aisle-to-aisle, created a surreal display of seasonal whiplash. Next thing we knew, Christmas tunes began belting out of our radios before Turkey Day. And while most of the country was covered in snow, the Old City stayed stuck in 80 degree weather.
It's enough to make a Scrooge of anyone.
Yet, even before National Geographic ranked St. Augustine one of the top 10 places to experience holiday lights, our town was a special spot to celebrate the season. Certain aspects of St. Augustine's personality protect it from falling completely under the spell of over-zealous commercialism: a strong sense of place and history, Southern hospitality balanced by an influx of cosmopolitan residents, a multitude of small, locally-owned businesses.
Here are five ways to boost your holiday mood, St. Augustine style:
1. Soak up the Nights of Lights on a Country Carriages tour. Viewed from a horse-drawn carriage at a 19th century pace, the display is especially magical. If the weather turns chilly, drivers provide cozy blankets. Private tours are $85/up to four people. Insider Tip: Share a carriage with another couple and you may be able to trim the cost of your fare. Ask your driver.
Nights of Lights tours run through February 2nd and depart nightly from the Bayfront.
2. Sip a cocoa concoction. On weekends from 5:30-close, The Kookaburra hot chocolate bar allows patrons to mix and match cocoa toppings with glee. The bar includes everything from white chocolate sprinkles to caramel, cherry, blackberry and peppermint flavorings. Overlooking the Plaza, Kookaburra coffee shop is the perfect pit stop. A cup of cocoa will fuel several strolls around town to admire the lights.
Want to sample a sophisticated cocoa drink a bit closer to what the colonials imbibed? Visit Casa Maya, at 22 Hypolita Street. Your server will whip up a mixture of Abuelita brand Mexican chocolate, with just enough nutmeg and chipotle pepper to make it intriguing. It's hot cocoa for grownups, deliciously different from the instant variety.
3. Inhale the scentual delights of Southern Lights Candle Company. As the sign reads, "Come in for the smell of it," and you'll discover tapers, pillars and votives instilled with a variety of exquisite aromas. All are handcrafted onsite by owner Susan Bradley a veteran candlesmith. Housed in an 18th century cottage at 12 Cuna Street overlooking Castillo de San Marcos , the shop comes by its historic patina honestly. It's one of St. Augustine's most enjoyable shopping experiences, akin to Williamsburg's colonial ambience. Insider Tip: Susan's bayberry tapers with jaunty bows make budget-friendly hostess gifts for holiday parties.
4. Indulge your silly side. Only the most hardened of humbugs could ride the Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley without smiling. Hop on, slip into the 3D glasses that turn millions of holiday lights into Santa's face and sing Christmas carols as you roll through a city high on holiday happiness. Fun for families, the trolley's a bargain at $9/adults Sun-Thurs; $12/adults weekends; $4/kids, 6-12. Tours run through January 4th and depart 6-8 p.m. from the Visitors Information Center, 10 Castillo Drive.
5. Attend St. Augustine's signature holiday event, The Nutcracker. Staged by the St. Augustine Ballet, this year's production features guest artists from the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet. December 21 and 22. Tickets are $25 and $30.
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Photo credits: Nights of Lights: OldCity.com; Casa Maya cocoa: Nancy Moreland; Southern Lights Candles: Susan Bradley.
St. Augustine Art: Sept. – Oct. Gallery Exhibits
Wednesday September 21, 2011 @ 12:00 am
Enjoy some of St. Augustine’s great artists by visiting these events going on in September and October:
“Walk in Peace” art exhibit ¦ St. Augustine Art Association
The St. Augustine Art Association will launch its 88th season this September with the premier of Don Trousdell’s “Walk in Peace” exhibit. A collection of colorful paintings and interactive installations, the exhibit chronicles the history and imagery of peace, as interpreted by the internationally acclaimed artist. A shoe drive will last throughout the month of September, and the “Walk in Peace” exhibit will be on view through October 2.
22 Marine St, St. Augustine
Event Pricing: FREE
Now through Sunday, October 2, 2011
Marianne Lerbs Painting Series “Menagerie” ¦ Taylor & Taylor
“Menagerie” is a word used to describe animal figures other than horses, in the old carrousel figures. But make no mistake, There is no intention of making “cutesy” in these images. A collection of impressions loosely inspired by antiqued archetypical zoomorphic figures is no strange subject matter for artist Marianne Lerbs. The works are contemporary, both old and new in a fresh revision of the mythical entities.
125B King Street, St. Augustine
Now through Friday, November 04, 2011
Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The P.A.ST.A. fine arts gallery`s featured artist for the month of September will be local artist Maricarman.
The show entitled : ” With All Colors ” will feature the artist`s work in acrylics. Born in La Mancha Spain, her work still bears a Spanish influence, but the contrast of a quiet relaxed lifestyle and bright light of St. Augustine are now her primary influence. The subject matter will consist of still life, figurative and paintings of Spanish villages.
The show will run through the month of September. The gallery is open seven days a week, Mon.- Fri. 12 to 4:00 p.m. and Sat.& Sun. 12 to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 214 Charlotte St., St. Augustine.
“Molting-It’s a Process” Mixed Media Painting Exhibit By Kathe O’Donnelly ¦ Hospitality Gallery -Center For Spiritual Living
1795 Old Moultrie Rd., St. Augustine, Florida
Paintings inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Myth & Spirit plus a retrospective of past paintings.
Gallery is open Tuesday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.. Sundays 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Now through October 30th
David Ouellette Contemporary Paintings ¦ Rotunda Gallery at the St. Johns County Admin Building
Renowned artist, David Ouellette will exhibit a collection of original pieces in the Rotunda Gallery located in the St. Johns County Administration Building.
St. Johns County Administration Building
500 San Sebastian View, St Augustine
Event Pricing: Free
Now through Friday, October 21, 2011
Gallery is open Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
5 Things You Need to Know About the
St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Monday August 15, 2011 @ 10:37 am
This weekend features not one but TWO concerts at one of Northeast Florida’s premier music venues, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Grammy winning bluegrass artists Alison Krauss and Union Station will play to a sold out crowd on Friday night while acoustic rock and reggae group Slightly Stoopid will take the stage on Sunday night. In its fourth year of operation since a major overhaul was completed in 2007, the amphitheater has become a favorite stop for musical acts from a variety of genres, as well as the preferred venue for St. Augustine residents and visitors.
So what is there to know about the amphitheater? Plenty! We’ve got five pointers for you that will make your next visit to the amphitheater the perfect night out:
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre has seating for just over 4,000 people, that's a lot of cheers when the lights go down!
1. Parking: On the day of an event, limited parking is available at amphitheater itself, but if you don’t make it in time to snag a space in the venue’s lot, go next door to the Elk’s Lodge. Behind the main lodge, the rear parking lot at the Elk’s Lodge is connected directly to the amphitheater’s lot, allowing for a very short walk to and from the concert. Parking is also available in satellite lots at the St. Augustine Pier and R.B. Hunt Elementary with a shuttle that provides a quick ride to the amphitheater. Please respect the rest of the community and do NOT park in the residential areas surrounding the amphitheater, there are plenty of other options!
2. Vending: Once inside, you’ll find vendors stationed on the platform prior to your entry into the seating area of the amphitheater. Most shows feature your typical concert staples–pizza, hot dogs, nachos, sodas, beer and cocktails. Frozen margaritas and daiquiris are usually on hand as well, both at the entry vending and in the lawn areas on the outside edges of the upper level sections. Most musicians also have a merchandise area under the stands in the entry area.
3. Restrooms: This may seem like a silly thing to point out, but if you’ve ever missed half a concert standing in a bathroom line it’s worth noting that there are two sets of bathrooms at the amphitheater, one of which few people actually know about. The main facilities are located off the entry concourses at the top of the amphitheater, but there are also men’s and women’s facilities plus porta-potties positioned to the right (east) of the stage. These are accessible to everyone, not just people seated in the pit area.
4. Weather: The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is an OUTDOOR venue. A canopy covers the lower two sections and pit, but it does not protect from heat or mosquitoes. Dress accordingly and bring bug spray. Patrons in the upper levels (sections 301, 302 and 303) are not covered by the venue’s canopy, so if it looks like rain you may want to bring along a poncho. In colder weather (it’s rare but it does happen in Florida) blankets are also permitted.
5. Seating: The seat numbers at the amphitheater can be just a tad confusing. If you ordered your tickets and were unclear why your two seats weren’t next to each other, you’re not alone. In the odd number sections of the amphitheater (101, 103, 201, 203, 301 and 303) the seat numbers are either evens or odds. So for example, the seat numbers in sections 101, 201 and 301 go 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc. so if you have seats 2 and 4 you are next to each other. In sections 103, 203 and 303 the seat numbers are odd, going in order 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, etc. In the center sections, however, (102, 202 and 302) the numbers are sequential. If you’re still confused, fear not, the amphitheater has a knowledgeable crew of volunteers on hand to help you find your seats.
That’s all you need to know to have a great time at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre! Come out this weekend for either of the concerts going on or stop by Saturday afternoon for the Back2School Beach Fest!