St. Augustine, Florida
There is a charming little Spanish town that sits on the northeast coast of Florida, about a two-hour drive north of Orlando called St. Augustine. While all Floridians know it because of its historical value, I am always shocked by the amount of non-Floridians who haven’t heard of it. To me, it has such a unique charm on top of its overflowing rich history. It’s my escape from the hustle and bustle of Orlando, and my sweet, cultural retreat that gives me the feeling I’ve gone back in time with its quaint yet stunning Spanish colonial architecture, the old Castillo de San Marcos fortress and its narrow cobblestone streets.
This past Saturday when I was burnt out from the Orlando traffic and craving different scenery, I hit the road and headed north for St. Augustine with a good friend. Our excuse to make the trip was that there was a small, free music festival going on with local acts from all over Florida playing but because it was St. Augustine, it didn’t take us much convincing to go.
St. Augustine is said to be the oldest continuously occupied city and port established by Europeans in the United States. The city was originally built by Spanish settlers who claimed the land in 1565 and you can feel it. Many original buildings and roads have been preserved for the education of visitors and thank goodness for it because its historic charm is a wonderful escape from modern life.
Our day in St. Augustine was as lovely as ever, filled with music, sangria, a light sea breeze, desserts and cobblestone streets. We started with a delicious but overwhelming filling lunch at MOJO BBQ and then made our way to the music. The festival was called Sing Out Loud Festival and used a number of venues around the city to showcase local Floridian artists.
Eventually, we arrived to the Colonial Oak Music Park, where the main stage was located. It was a beautiful and unique setting with a huge oak tree standing next to the stage and a number of decorative lights hanging from the tree over several benches and picnic tables for show-goers to enjoy the sounds from. It was pure bliss sitting there listening to beautiful vocals and instrumentals by awesome local bands and sipping on red sangria from the bar next to the big oak tree. I fell in love with that music park and hope to be back the next time I decide to escape for St. Augustine.
My friend and I ended our day with a couple of chocolates from the sweet shop, an iced coffee and a walk by the old fort. It was a short day but oh so sweet. I always hate to leave the gorgeous Spanish oasis but alas, back to the grind in Mickey Mouse town.