We left Chattanooga driving southeast through the Appalachian Foothills on I 75 heading towards St. Augustine Florida. Approximately 30 kms from Atlanta traffic slowed to stop and gp....all3 lanes. By accident we got off on the Georgia Peach Pass only express lanes....but only for 1 stretch. We exited as soon as we could. We will get a bill with a fine. We've stayed off all other express lanes since.
We got to St. Augustine....0 ft. above sea level...around 2p. We found a small Mom and Pop hotel.....The owner used to work for Intercontinental and was fired because he refused to go to Chicago. So he moved around, fell in love with St. Augustine and the rest is history.
Here shuttle buses, red trains or green trolleys pick you up at your hotel and take you downtown. The shuttles are the only service to work past 5p.
We went downtown by shuttle and walked around. The narrow side streets run perpendicular to the wide street along the coast. There is a protected bay with a narrow outlet to the Atlantic. Of 11 forts only 1 has survived as it was made of cocina....little shells...It looks like concrete. The other forts were made of wood and rotted.
All restaurants were busy. We found the Floridian had seats at the bar, the same menu and ordered. Dinner was delicious. After we walked more along the pedestrian street stopping to listen to live bands play blues, jazz or heavy metal. In one bar/restaurant we had a dance. In another we sat and listened to the blues. All the venues were busy. Many had lineups out the door. It was after 10p that we caught the shuttle home.
Today we caught the red train down town. It is a hop on hop off train. It took us around the town explaining some of the history, showing us 'love' trees, places to shop and eat and stopping at museums and attractions.
Love trees are oaks with palm trees ggrowing in them....so that you see palm fronds above and the palm trunk growing out of the oak part way up.
We got off at the Fountain of Youth. We had lunch and then went to see the fountain of youth. It is an artesan spring that bubbles up out of the ground. Nearby a cross made of cocina shells made by Ponce de Leon in 1513 was found in the early 1900's and preserved. We had our glasses of water from the fountain, went to see the Globe and the Planetarium.
The Globe explains the routes taken by the explorers while the planetarium explained how the astrolab, quadrant and sextant were used. They showed us the night sky visible in 1492 when Columbus sailed across the ocean when he thought the world was flat. We walked around the park seeing the first church, the watchtower, listened and saw cannons booming,
After we caught the red train back around town.....it seemed to go in circles more this time...to the marina. We made a res to go on a sunset cruise and then went to dinner...early....at Harry's. Another excellent dinner. This time blackened scallops in a parmesan cheese sauce. Gord enjoyed padta with a shrimp, chicken and bacon sauce.
We then walked to the pier and waited to board the ship. We talked to other passengers finding they came from nearby and North Carolina. A local lady came along, took a shine to Gord, and invited him to stay with her when we next come to town.....yes she knew I was his wife sitting next to him. She was a little different.
Our cruise was pleasant however the sun had dipped below the horizon before we left the dock. We cruised around the bay, went to see the lighthouse on Anastasia Island and returned slipping easily under the historical lion bridge. A history of the bay was given.
It is part of a protected intercoastal waterway connecting Virginia to Miami.
We disembarked just after 8p. We walked to Harry's and called the shuttle service. Back at the hotel we journalized and then settled.