Amelia and Cumberland Islands - St Augustine - Jacksonville
Touring the beautiful coastal areas north and south of Ponte Vedra.
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The next day we drove south along the ocean drive on route A1A to St. Augustine which is only about 40 minutes from Ponte Vedra, and, as every schoolchild should know, Ponce de Leon landed here in 1513 – 500 years ago – taking possession of the region for Spain. Now firmly in U.S. hands, of course, the town is a major tourist attraction, with an old city historic district featuring narrow pedestrian streets, walled gardens, and many outdoor bars and restaurants.
It is a little bit touristy, but charming and fun. We had lunch at a place called Scarlett O’Hara’s, which had been recommended by the bride and groom. We didn’t make it to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (not so sure that Ponce de Leon actually found the fountain, but there is a little natural spring there). We visited the old fort, and then our last stop was the former Ponce de Leon Hotel, a grand, Moorish-style palace with Tiffany-stained glass built by Flagler in 1888; it’s now the focal point of Flagler College, a small liberal-arts institution that has thrived in the heart of downtown St. Augustine.