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North America’s Oldest City, Part 1…

Posted by on April 5, 2017

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA. As we prepare to leave Florida after so much time in the state, our last stop is St. Augustine, located on the Atlantic coast of eastern Florida. It’s the oldest city in North America. In fact it predates Jamestown and Plymouth by decades. It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Mendez de Aviles. And nowhere else in the world can you taste the waters of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park where Ponce de Leon may have landed. Who knows, if I can drink enough of that water, this may turn out to be the best stop of our entire Great American Adventure!

SO LONG, BEN AND SUZANNE. We’ve spent the last five months in three different locations with Ben and Suzanne, our friends from North Bay in Ontario, Canada. Yesterday they headed home and we said our goodbye’s. It was difficult because we’ve become close. Ben’s knowledge of American history and politics astounded and impressed me on a daily basis, as did his sense of humor. And Suzanne is certainly the kindest most caring person I’ve ever met. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see them again soon, as they spend about six months a year in the States to avoid the extreme winter weather in Canada. And who knows, we may even visit them in Canada some day. That seems improbable, but so did our Great American Adventure at one time, and just look at all the places we’ve explored and the people we’ve met in the last few years!

Our good friends from Canada, Ben and Suzanne.

LIGHTNING STORM. We arrived this afternoon and by nightfall we were greeted by a lightning storm that looked like a Fourth of July fireworks show finale! We’ve seen more weather extremes in the last few years than in all our lives before we left home in San Diego. We’ll be here for the next four days and nice weather is predicted for most of the time. So, we should have a chance to show you all around this old, well-preserved and very popular city.

                                               

ABOUT THE CITY. The city’s story is a tale of exploration, innovation and survival marked by several milestones that have shaped the America we know today. It was the first permanent European settlement, the site of the first Catholic Parish church, the first city government and home to the first free Black settlement. St. Augustine Bay was the first port for transatlantic trade and commerce and the town was the site of the first hospital and tavern. The oldest streets and squares in St. Augustine are part of the first European town plan established in 1592.

Some interesting facts about the state of Florida.

Historic downtown St. Augustine. What a beautiful city by the sea.

A LITTLE MORE HISTORY:  In the late 1800’s the city became a world class resort an in the the mid-1960’s a battleground in the movement for civil rights and equality. Woven into the city’s rich history is the very birth of our nation and American culture. America’s first colony was established at St. Augustine in 1565 when the founder arrived with 800 colonists…Spanish, Africans and others…and lived together with hundreds of indigenous Timucuan Indians. When the European colonists stepped onto the soils of what would become the oldest permanent American settlement, they became Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans for the first time. Together with the Indians, they formed the genesis of American culture that characterizes our country to this day.

Spanish-style architecture and old patio gardens are everywhere you look.

Cobblestone streets and specialty shops. 

 

 

Artisan’s shop in a tiny alley.

You almost need a map to locate this little restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all the friends I’ve made while traveling in this part of the country.

 

 

Town Square

 

Beautiful Catholic Church near the Town Square.

 

 

The “rules” allowed photography but required that I remove my ball cap. “I was good with that.”

 

 

COMING UP IN PART TWO OF THIS SERIES. We’re going to be here a few more days and there’s lots to see, so I’ve decided to publish two separate posts about St. Augustine. In the next one, I’ll show you one of the beautiful beaches, where we can drive our Jeep to a remote spot and introduce our puppy Molly to the ocean. Many of you know Molly and how very tiny she is. I think it’ll be a hoot to let her run around on the sand and perhaps even a little bit in the water. Stay tuned.

 

I’ll continue my story next time.

2 Responses to North America’s Oldest City, Part 1…

  1. Randy

    Yes, let Molly cavort to her hearts content, she will have her own Great American adventure.

  2. Greg Alford

    Yep, I’ll show you pictures of how it works out! Take care, my friend.

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