We enjoyed our stay in Anastasia State Park two years ago but had no idea how much fun we would have when we booked our trip for this year. Robert & Marcia Babb joined us for four days & we all had a blast. Lots of walking & seeing the historical sites, balanced with great restaurant meals and lots of local music. Marcia had already done a bit of research & knew a few things she wanted to do. Edward & I were happy to have a tour guide.
St Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied city in the US, settled in 1565 by the Spanish Admiral, Pedro Menendez. That’s 40 years before the English landed in Jamestown. Florida was traded back & forth, before finally being given to US in 1821. Lots of history & changes in three hundred years!
My favorite discovery this trip was the St Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine. Beautiful white walls & a sunny courtyard beckoned me off the main tourist street. What a discovery! Beautiful Byzantine style frescos have been hand painted in this stunning chapel. The shrine is dedicated to the first Greeks who came to America in 1768, hoping for a better life. Lured to America by Andrew Turnball, 1400 pilgrims left Smyrma, Crete, Corsica & Minorca to escape poverty & political oppression. They were offered land & freedom after seven years of indentured service. The colony was a dismal failure, conditions for the Greeks were no better than slavery & many died from disease & starvation. Most eventually relocated to the St Augustine area & became successful merchants.
Good restaurants & food shacks lured us with easy delicious food & the local musicians kept us happy. When we tired of the historic district, we headed back to Robert & Marica’s B &B, to play music & eat more yummy food. Their company was a wonderful change of pace for us, hope we can do it again soon!