The date was March 6, 2007. On that day we were on vacation in St. Augustine, FL.
We hung around our hotel room until 9:00 AM, at which time we left to tour the Fountain of Youth. Even though it was not that far of a walk we chose to drive to the Fountain of Youth. We learned that there was free parking at the attraction and figured that we would be doing a fair amount of walking about the grounds.
Our tour of the Fountain of Youth included The Discovery Globe, The Planetarium and The Spring House. A tour guide took us through each of these buildings.
The Discovery Globe was an 8 minute presentation in which we were immersed in total darkness. With the aid of an immense two story globe and black light, the journeys of the early explorers and other items of historical importance were mapped out.
In the Planetarium we embarked on a 15 minute journey through storm and stars to track the voyage of Ponce de Leon to the New World. The stars reset themselves to appear as they appeared to him on the night before he came ashore in 1513. Lobby exhibits referenced instruments used for celestial navigation and life aboard a Spanish galleon. Bob and I found the Planetarium to be a fascinating experience.
The Spring House protects a landmark cross and the original spring.
The landmark cross, discovered at the turn of the 19th Century, is made of 27 coquina stones and is believed to have been placed there by Ponce de Leon at his historic landing. The cross remains today in the spot where it was originally discovered. The spring, located adjacent to the landmark cross, sustained the Timucuan Indians for thousands of years before Europeans explorers arrived. As a preservation measure, the spring was welled up in 1875 to keep it from collapsing in on itself. We were invited to participate in the tradition of drinking a cup of the unique water as millions have done in the past, while viewing the animated dioramas of the Indian village of Seloy and the historic first landing. And, yes we did drink from the Fountain of Youth. I haven’t noticed, though, that our youth has been restored.
On our own we viewed the first Christian Indian burial grounds and explored the 15-acre park site. We saw statues of the Timucuan chief and Ponce de Leon, a monument marking the landing site, various cannons and anchors, and HUGE water urns.
According to a placard located near this statue, Chief Oriba was Chieftan of the Timucuan Indians Village located on the Fountain of Youth grounds, when Ponce de Leon landed there in 1513. Chief Oriba was a big man, over 7 feet tall! He had great influence on the relationship between the Spanish and Indians.
As we were leaving the park we saw a flock of peacocks.
From the Fountain of Youth we drove downtown. We lucked out and found a place to park along Avenida Menendez. We ate lunch at the A1A Brewery.
We enjoyed our meals. Bob ordered battered salmon with fries. He had a couple stouts too. I ordered a grilled chicken salad.
After lunch we drove to Vilano Beach to see the ocean one last time.
We spent the rest of the day in our hotel room, relaxing and watching TV. We watched the movie “The Prestige”. “The Prestige” was about rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London who battle each other for trade secrets. The rivalry is so intense that it turns them into murderers. The title refers to the product of a successful trick. The movie was good but difficult to follow. We both want to watch the movie again.
We departed St. Augustine at 6:15 AM on March 7. We ate breakfast at Shoney’s in Kingsland, GA. We were back on the road by 7:49 AM. Our next major stop was at New River Gorge, WV, where we walked 200 ft down a boardwalk to see the longest arch bridge in the U.S. The sun was not in the greatest position, so the pictures are just OK. At 5:08 PM we were back on the road. We stopped for the night at a Sleep Inn in Sommersville, WV, which is located 25 miles north of New River Gorge. We ate dinner at Applebees. Our meals were good and not expensive. We saved 10% by showing the waitress our hotel key.
On March 8 we departed Sommersville at 6:45 AM and returned home around noon. I kept track of the miles that we drove during our St. Augustine vacation. We added 2,220 miles to our odometer.
This concludes a look back at our St. Augustine vacation in March 2007. In the event you missed reading the first three blog posts, I have provided links to each one.
Now that I have concluded a look back at our St. Augustine vacation, you can probably guess to where I would like to make a return trip. After all, it has been 9 years since we were last there!