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Holiday Tours a St. Augustine Tradition
Tuesday December 3, 2013 @ 7:15 pm
Holiday Tours a St. Augustine Tradition
Historic homes and inns open their doors during December
By Nancy Moreland
Every December, visitors and residents get a special gift: an invitation to step inside the garden gates and into the
private courtyards of St. Augustine’s prettiest properties. This
month, Saint Augustine Historic Inns and the Garden Club of St. Augustine stage separate, one-weekend tours
of historic bed and breakfast inns and private homes. It’s a chance to see
dozens of historic places decked out in their holiday finery, while supporting community causes.
Now in its 20th year, the Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour happens December 14 and 15, 1-5 pm each day. To reflect this year's theme, "Christmas Around the World," 24
inns will feature the holiday traditions and cultures of different
countries. The $25 tickets are good for two days and include refreshments at
each stop. Tours are self-guided and easily navigated by walking. Free shuttles, courtesy of Old Town Trolley, also stop at locations along the
tour route. Tickets are still available at: www.StAugustineBandBTours.com Rembrandtz Gifts at 151 King Street and Metalartz Gallery at 58 Hypolita Street.
Partial proceeds of ticket sales will benefit the Betty Griffin House, a resource for victims of domestic violence.
Party Like it's 1513
The Garden Club of St. Augustine has a tradition of outdoing itself, year after year, with the quality and beauty of its holiday home tours. Another Garden Club tradition is the sold-out tour. For the last three years, tours sold-out in advance. Unfortunately for procrastinators, this year was no different. Before you yell at this blogger for featuring a sold-out tour and end up with coal in your stocking, mark your calendar for next year. Tickets generally go on sale in early October.
This is the 45th year the Club has held a holiday home tour. This year's theme, "La Navidad en la Florida," celebrates the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida in 1513.
One of St. Augustine's most venerable institutions, the Garden Club was founded in 1926, to promote beautification and conservation, concepts that are especially important today, with the growth of the Old City.
Proceeds from this year's ticket sales will help fund Club activities and scholarships to Camp Wekiva, a summer camp that teaches kids to appreciate nature.
Insider Tip: December in St. Augustine brings changeable weather - windy and rainy one minute, sunny and warm the next. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. Even with shuttles, you'll walk some distances, up stairs and over our beloved, but uneven brick lanes.
Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information on City Blog, we recommend that you verify hours, prices and important information before embarking on your Old City adventure.
Sharing and re-posting this blog is encouraged. Please credit OldCity.com
Photo credits: Saint Augustine Historic Inns and The Garden Club of St. Augustine.
Will the Real First Thanksgiving Please Step Forward?
Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 10:36 am
Will the Real First Thanksgiving Please Step
The first European-Indian feast happened in St.
American school child learns the facts about the first Thanksgiving: Indians,
pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, 1621. Right? Not
so fast. The legend we learned in grade school has come into question.
this: St. Augustine, Florida, was founded 56
years before Plymouth Rock. When Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
landed here on September 8, 1565, he and his crew of soldiers, sailors and civilian
passengers held the first Catholic mass in this new land. Meanwhile, the native
Timucua Indians watched the ceremony. Afterwards, everyone gathered for what appears to be the
first feast between Europeans and Indians on North American soil. The Spaniards
brought beans, salted pork, hardtack and that ever-popular St. Augustine beverage,
wine. The Indians would have contributed whatever fish and fowl they had on hand, which could have included wild turkey. The inaugural potluck was held
in the vicinity of the Mission of Nombre de Dios, overlooking the Matanzas
Tingley, senior research librarian at the St. Augustine Historical Society,
believes this first Euro-Native meal was motivated by gratitude for a safe voyage and to honor the founding of a new town. According to Tingley, the
Spaniards sang Te Deum Laudaumus, the
"Song of Thanksgiving" as part of the day’s activities. “Singing or more likely, chanting Te Deum Laudaumus was
standard operating procedure for Spanish explorers,” Tingley says. Mission Director Eric Johnson concurs. "The 1565 event meets every qualification one would use to define a Thanksgiving feast."
fascinating bit of history was brought to light by two Florida authors. In his
book, Cross in the Sand, Dr. Michael Gannon argued that the St. Augustine feast should be considered the real first
Thanksgiving. Among his many honors, Gannon is a Distinguished Service Emeritus
Professor of history at the University of Florida and a former Mission director.
Inspired by a Gannon lecture and
determined to bust the Plymouth Rock myth for new generations of school kids,
Robyn Gioia wrote America’s REAL First Thanksgiving, a children’s picture book.
James W. Baker begs to differ with Gannon and Gioia. His book Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday, states,
"despite disagreements over the details" the event in Plymouth in the
fall of 1621 was "the historical birth of the American Thanksgiving
of where the experts stand, we can all be grateful that history is alive and
well in St. Augustine, Florida.
Insider Tip: Stage your own feast where history
happened. Small picnics are permitted on the grassy waterfront area by the
Mission parking lot. Grills and tables are not available, bring your own picnic blanket or enjoy the benches.
Mission de Nombre de Dios
Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche
27 Ocean Ave
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9-5 Saturday/Sunday: 10-5.
Disclaimer: While every effort is
made to ensure the accuracy of information on City Blog, we recommend that you
verify hours, prices and important information before embarking on your Old
and re-posting this blog is encouraged. Please credit OldCity.com
credits: Cecile Browning-Nusbaum, OldCity.com
Tasting Tours a Favorite with Foodies
Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 10:21 am
Tours a Favorite with Foodies
St. Augustine history, one bite at a time
By Nancy Moreland
city can’t survive nearly 450 years without developing some cooking skills
along the way. St. Augustine’s food scene is a literal melting pot of
multicultural tastes and traditions. For a community of its size, St. Augustine has a
remarkably diverse selection of restaurants. A fun way to discover places you might not
find on your own is by taking a food tour. There are several tours in town, including The Tasting Tours and St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours that combine food, libations and learning. This month, we're featuring the Savory Faire Food Tour a 2.5 hour walking tour of four Old City eateries, with some
history on the side.
It’s one thing to experience the past
through mind-numbing textbooks. It’s entirely different to stand in the spot
where history happened. Even if you slept through American History class
in high school, you’ll enjoy this tour. Affable guide Alan
Hudson presents a narrative of historical high points – from the Menendez landing to Flagler's Gilded Age. Strolling
through downtown, Hudson’s bite-sized history lessons are more like listening
to a well-informed friend than a guide who has memorized all the spark out of
his spiel. Hudson encourages questions and strives to present an accurate
picture of St. Augustine's complex history while reminding tour-goers that, “History
is a living, breathing thing,” with multiple perspectives.
Fortunately, you won’t be quizzed on
dates and battles at tour’s end. Your biggest challenge is pacing yourself as
you taste and sip your way through four restaurants and a couple “bonus stops” at food specialty
shops. Routes change throughout the year to keep the tour fresh for repeat
customers and to suit the season (summertime gelato stops are popular). And
although you’re dining next to people you’ve never met before, the atmosphere is
casual and convivial.
On my tour, the first stop was Old City House Inn and Restaurant, a 19th century horse stable turned B&B
Under new ownership, the establishment has retained its intimate ambiance
and attention to detail in each dish. Next, our group headed to Athena Greek Restaurant, overlooking Plaza de la Constitucion. Of the four tour stops,
Athena’s fare seemed most closely connected to St. Augustine’s culinary
history. The city’s multicultural flair was represented in the staff, including
Greek cooks and a Czechoslovakian waiter who urged tour-takers to shout “OPA!”
as he set Saganaki (Greek cheese) aflame. Saganaki is actually much better than it sounds, particularly if you like tangy, tart Mediterranean flavors.
Moving along to Meehan’s Irish Pub,
we sampled a noteworthy chowder, Guinness beef sliders and a Reuben disguised
as a spring roll. We also learned that the Irish had a presence in St.
Augustine from the start. “The Irish came to St. Augustine in 1565 with the
Spanish and five of our colonial mayors were Irishmen,” Hudson said.
Tour-goers were pleasantly satiated
at this point, but the eating wasn’t over. Thankfully, our last stop, Gourmet
Hut, served lighter fare – a small salad and bruschetta, followed by a tasty
dessert morsel. Selections reflected Hut’s preference for farm-to-table
food. Seated in the eatery’s eclectically-furnished garden overlooking Cuna
Street, this spot was an appealing end to an appetizing afternoon.
Faire Food Tour departs daily from Tour Saint Augustine at 4 Granada Street.
Price: $49/person; wine pairing (3-4 glasses) additional $15. (Sharing is
permitted on wine pairings.)
- The Villa Zorayda lot at 83 King Street is the closest parking to the tour departure
point. A bit farther down Granada, you’ll find cheaper parking.
comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.
- Food tours
are recommended for ages 12-up. Bringing a baby? Call ahead so tour guides can
Disclaimer: Every effort is made to
ensure the accuracy of information on City Blog. Change is inevitable, so
please verify hours, prices and important information before embarking on your
Old City adventure.
and re-posting this blog is encouraged. Please credit OldCity.com when sharing.
Photos: Old City House appetizers: Stacey Sather/St. Augustine Visitors & Convention Bureau; Preparing Saganaki: Nancy Moreland.
Lincolnville Heritage Festival
Wednesday November 2, 2011 @ 12:00 am
Long after the era of Spanish conquistadors clashing in battle along our coast, St. Augustine became known as something else: a destination on the underground railroad. Formed in 1866 by a group of freed slaves, this historic neighborhood of Lincolnville was a place of refuge for African Americans seeking to carve out a life of their own. Always a place ripe with political participation, later members of the Lincolnville community played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960?s.
This weekend, for the 31st year in a row, we come together to celebrate this tremendous part of St. Augustine’s history at the Lincolnville Heritage Festival. Held at the Special Events field in downtown St. Augustine, this three-day festival was started in 1979 by Jazz musician Doug Carn (one of the performers at the festival this year) and businessman Christopher Lightburn. The festival helps fund the restoration of Lincolnville which continues to preserve and restore Lincolnville’s great history to this day.
Take a look at the schedule of events below or visit the Lincolnville Heritage Festival website for more information on the music, food and vendors who will be represented at this year’s event. And make sure you join us this weekend to honor this tremendous part of St. Augustine’s history!
Friday, November 4, 2011
- 4:30: PM DJ Dr. Doom
- 5:00 PM Gates Open
- 6:00 PM BILLY BUCHANAN
- 7:00 PM ELISHA”ATLAS” PARRIS with A`Jaze
- 8:00 PM SOUL TRAIN LINE featuring DJ Dr. Doom
- 9:00 PM DOUG CARN
- 10:00 PM Gates Close
Saturday November 5, 2011
- 10:00 AM Gates Open
- 11:30 AM DJ Dr Doom
- 12:00 PM YOUTH SHOWCASE
- 12:00 PM FREE TOUR Lincolnville & Fort Mose
- 12:30 PM EBONIRAMM JAZZ SALON Workshop
- 1:00PM MORTON PERRY
- 1:30 PM DANCERSIZE Workshop **Learn the Cha Cha Slide & More** with Dr. Dawn McDermott
- 2:00 PM FREE TOUR Lincolnville & Fort Mose
- 2:00 PM CELLUS BROWN
- 2:30 PM EBONIRAMM JAZZ SALON Workshop
- 3:00 PM JARRELL HARRIS
- 4:30 PM DANCERSIZE Workshop ** Learn to Wobble** with Dr. Dawn McDermott
- 4:00 PM CELESTIAL
- 6:00 PM DOC HANDY
- 7:00 PM Community Wobble & Cha Cha Slide with DJ Dr. Doom featuring Dazzling Diamonds
- 8:00 PM SPECIAL FORMULA
- 9:00 PM BRICK
- 10:00 PM Gates Close
Sunday, November 6, 2011
- 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM GOSPEL & BLUES BRUNCH featuring BAATIN
- 2:00 PM FREE TOUR Lincolnville & Fort Mose
- 2:00 PM Prince Rod & Praise Dancers
- 2:30 PM Ritz Voices
- 3:00 PM Minister Roosevelt Forehand & Oneness
- 3:30 PM St. Paul AME Choir
- 4:00 PM Lawrence Flowers & Intercession
- 4:30 PM Jones Sisters
- 5:00 PM Gospel Best 2011 Winners
- 6:00 PM Gates Close