A Great Touristy Day … Right Near Home

How many of us have tourist attractions right near where we live that we almost never go to?  I live in between Disney World and Daytona Beach and rarely get to either.  When I lived in Chicago, I stayed in suburbia and seldom ventured down to State Street or Michigan Avenue.  Granted, I am only home one to two weekends per month, so I usually do not want to venture anywhere away from my beloved home.  But it is really nice to spend the day as a tourist in one's own hometown once in awhile.

St. Augustine was my touristy experience this weekend. It's about a 90-mile drive from my home, and it was a sunny, beautiful day to drive north on I-95. My daughter, Jenn, was in town from Chicago and her girlfriend Rachel joined us. 

St. Augustine is the oldest U.S. city, first sighted by Spanish explorer nter Don Juan Ponce de Leon on Easter, March 27, 1513. He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, meaning "Land of Flowers". The oldest wooden schoolhouse in the U.S. is here, built over 200 years ago.

The schoolhouse is on St. George Street, which is also the main shopping avenue of St. Augustine. Our goal was to get our Christmas shopping started and we found some great things in the unique shops along St. George Street and the surrounding area. Music was playing from various restaurant decks, and there was a festive feeling in the air. 

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Lunch was a special event at Columbia Restaurant. A pitcher of Sangria and fantastic 1905 salads were enjoyed at this Florida tradition  (their restaurant in Ybor City near Tampa was founded in 1905).

All in all, it was a great day in Florida. Tourist attractions, great lunch, wonderful Sangria, shopping and time with my daughter … what more could I ask for?

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Rachel, Jenn and I

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