Florida Life: St. Augustine - The Oldest and Most Romantic City in America

April 15, 2018


It's no secret that for generations people have been flocking to to Florida to get away from every day life, grab some sun, fun, and adventure. Destination weddings and family vacations are definitely not strangers to this warm peninsula. And  recently, more and more Americans have decided to make Florida their permanent residence, with many Florida cities being moved to at the highest rates in the country. And while the warm weather and beautiful beaches are definitely a selling point, there is much more to Florida than the subtropical ambiance. Florida has a rich history that many do not know about. And that history comes with a romantic ambiance like no other. Where can you find it? In the oldest city in America, St. Augustine, Florida.



Historic Romance

What makes St. Augustine so romantic? You ask. Step one foot inside the Colonial Quarter along A1A and your eyes will tell you all you need to know. Taking in the sights and sounds of what is left of an old world fills your heart with a sense of adventure. The street is lined with old colonial buildings with intriguing shops and educational experiences. The smell of fresh foods, sweets, and popcorn, wafts into your nose as you traverse the quaint street side. As you gaze out across the road, you can see a pirate ship in the bay. Next to it, cars traverse an ornate bridge like something out of a movie. The warm breeze carries the fresh scent of the sea into the village as you take it all in. Museums and experiences offer you so many options, that you can't run out of things to do and see. 




But where will you stay? Well, St. Augustine offers a number of reasonable to lavish overnight or weekly accommodations. For our beach lovers, you can stay ocean side at one of the hotels on Vilano Beach, not far from the St. Augustine light house. I recommend the St. Augustine Beach House. Each one of their rooms has an ocean view. The staff are very friendly. And the rooms are both romantic and cozy. If you are lucky enough, you will experience a night of extremely low tide. When the tide is out and the sky is clear, the lights of the city are far away. And as you walk the beach and look up, it feels as if you are inside a starry snow globe. The view is almost unreal. As you make your way south down the beach to the edge of a small, rocky pier, you see the light house beaming across the bay. At low tide, you are are able to venture out into the bay on foot. With the water out to sea, you can traverse the meandering sand and tide pools. Within them, an array of little sea critters present you with such a grand nature experience. The stars above you provide all the ambiance you need for this fantasy like experience. You will feel as if it's been painted on a canvas. Like something out of a dream, it takes your breath away. 





Not a beach lover? Not a problem. The historic district has quite a few cozy, little bed an breakfast options as well as hotels. Whether you're looking for a bargain or a lavish experience, there are plenty of options from the economical Days Inn - St Augustine Historic Downtown to the luxurious Casa Monica Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection. There are also numerous hotels down the main drag facing the gorgeous sparking may of the Matanzas River. No matter who you are or what level romance you're looking for, St. Augustine has it. 


Great Eats

When it's time for that romantic dinner, you've got loads of options. But my favorite is Cellar 6 . As you walk down the quaint brick road of Aviles St, you feel as if you are walking down the streets of a small, European village tucked far away from any large city. As you stroll down the sidewalk, you pass other small, but delicious and authentic eateries. Couples and families laugh and banter as they eat at their charming little sidewalk tables. At the end of row, you finally reach your destination, Cellar 6.



When you walk inside, you're greeted by the smiling hostess. Of course, you've already made a reservation because you never know if there will be any opens seats. You're not the only one who knows the value of the ambiance and food at this place. And did I mention their drinks? They are amazing. So much so that they're great taste may leave you a bit more tipsy than you anticipated, because it tastes like candy. And if you go on a Tuesday, they have 1/2 price appetizers and house martinis that come in many flavor varieties. But no matter when you go, the music, the food, the lighting, and the experience will bring out that lovin' feeling, no matter who you're with. 


Night Caps

While there are plenty of fun and entertaining drink spots in the colonial quarter, if you're looking for a sweet treat and a special experience, your only stop should be the Tini Martini. Nestled inside and out onto the beautifully decorated porch of the Casablanca Inn, enjoy the smooth breezes and beautiful view of the Mantanzas Bay while you sip on a novelty martini, favorite glass of wine, or mixed drink. If you weren't already feeling like falling in love at Cellar 6, you're head over heals by now. Any flavor, any time. You'll fall in love.




There isn't enough space to go on and on about the things you and you're partner can do while in St. Augustine, so I'll name a few of my favorites. Number one being Fort Matanzas. Talk about a blast from the past. If you want to feel like a real pirate of the Carribean... I mean, Atalantic of course, take a tour of the water front fort. Trust me, if you had landed where the Spanish did, you too would want to protect your 1565 gem. The most powerful of Europe wanted a piece of St. Augustine heaven and the battles that ensued, are proof of that. 



Later on in St. Augustine history, legend has it that the later new "Americans" fashioned a Spanish watch tower into a beautiful beacon that we call The St. Augustine light. The light house in right on the water and has since been turned into a museum, but it offers such a beauty and nostalgia that is sure to put some romance in your daytime activities.



And yes, while I realize that alcohol excursions have been a topic of conversation here, I have yet another adventure that will knock your liquor socks off! Of course, it involves history, and alcohol is a part of our history, is it not? Prohibition... am I right?  I digress. The St. Augustine distillery is both a modern and historic beacon. The people of St. Augustine banned together to save a historical beacon and create a modern establishment. Instead of selling it off to those who would tear the old factory down, the community help local farmers to find a new place to sell their sugar cane.



 At the St. Augustine Distillery, local agriculture combines with the art of distilling to provide not only an enlightening and entertaining historical tour, but a restaurant experiences that will make you feel like you're back in the days of prohibition. And when you're done with your tour, you may be hungry. And if you are, be ready to transport to another time. The ambiance of the days of prohibition. Come grab a bite and a refreshing cocktail made of local and tasty liquor at the Ice Plant  restaurant, attached to the distillery. 



So Many Ways to Fall in Love

All in All, there are so many thing to do in St. Augustine that there isn't enough room to talk about each one individually. And each experiences is different for everyone because you get to pick and chose what really excites you. But if you are looking for romance, you can't go wrong in St. Augustine. Whether is hitching a night time ride in a horse drawn carriage, seeing all the historical sites, museums, visiting the glow of the brilliant lighthouse, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying a romantic dinner, St. Augustine has something for everyone. The historical atmosphere cultivates such a wonderful romance. If you aren't in love before you come, you will be when you leave. 







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