May 1-4, 2010 We stayed at North Beach Camp Resort, just a few hundred feet from a long stretch of sand and 4.5 miles from St. Augustine.
Lunch at Aunt Kate's, in the campground, by the busy intercoastal--wee boats, mega yachts, a skittish turtle, raucous gulls, white and blue trimmed clapboard bait and tackle shop, and a tabby cat mean enough to warrant it's own warning sign at the pier.
Blackened fish soft tacos with sweet potato fries, pico, spicy ranch sauce and sweet potato puree. YUUUUM!!!
Our first stop in St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the U.S.: Crucial Coffee Cafe, a tiny old wood shed-like structure with tricky sloping floors, great java and the coffee condiments resting inside an old brick fireplace.
St. Augustine has a busy waterfront (even a pirate ship), three great used bookstores, many heritage buildings, boutiques and much history around Spanish (first explored in 1513) and French exploration and settlement attempts followed and overpowered by British and English American attacks, then British rule, then a second Spanish rule and, finally, American settlement. That's the short, short version. Spanish colonial buildings still remain, including St. Augustine's most popular attraction, the Castillo de San Marcos national monument, the fortress, which we did not tour. In fact, we chose a leisurely route and only read about the city's historic highlights.
Music drifts from patio bars and grassy courtyards as we wandered the main streets.
No shortage of kitschy art and other vibrant sights:
We're not shoppers yet we found some charm in the area, worthy of a day, but I was eager to get back to the beach.