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Destination of the Month: St. Augustine, FL

Saint Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European established settlement within the borders of the continental United States. The city is located in northeast Florida. It was founded on September 8, 1565, by Spanish Admiral Pedro Menedez de Aviles, who was the first Governor of Florida. He decided to name the city “San Agustin” because his ships had first spotted land 11 days earlier on August 28, which is the feast day of St. Augustine. The city was the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years. From 1565 until 1821, this city went from being Spanish territory to an English territory in 1763, following the French and Indian War, where they divided the state into East and West Florida.  After the American Revolutionary War, England ceded Florida to the Spanish again. Eventually West Florida was gradually occupied and annexed by the United stated from 1810-1813. Spain ceded what remained of West Florida and East Florida in 1819 with the Adams-Onis Treaty. West Florida and East Florida eventually became the 27th state of the United States in 1845.



Since the late 19th Century, its distinct historical character has made Saint Augustine a major tourist attraction. It started when Henry Flagler, co-founder of Standard oil company spent the winter of 1883 in St. Augustine and found the city charming. The only issue he saw was that the hotels and transportation systems were inadequate. He had the idea to make Saint Augustine a winter resort for wealthy Americas from the north and to them he bought several short line railroads and combined these in 1885 to form Florida East Coast Railway. He also began construction in 1887 on two large ornate hotels in the city, the 540-room Ponce de Leon Hotel and the 250-room Hotel Alcazar. He also purchased Casa Monica Hotel across the street. In 1888 with the opening of the Ponce de Leon Hotel became the winter resort for American high society for a few years, until the early 20th Century when the Florida East Coast Railroad was extended to Palm Beach and Miami. The rich abandoned Saint Augustine for the warmer weather in the south. Eventually though with the invention of automobiles and hew highways, Americas took to the road for summer vacations, and the tourist industry became the dominant sector of the local economy in Saint Augustine.



Being the nation’s oldest continually occupied European settlement, there are many historical landmarks that tell of the city’s storied past. The oldest relics date back to the 1500s, which is when the city was established. The Castillo de San Marcos is one of them, this is the oldest and largest masonry fort in the continental United States. Construction because in 1672, 107 years after the city was founded. Tourists can visit this fort now when they visit the city. Another historcal location that can be visited is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. This park is home to the "magical fountain" that Juan Ponce de Leon went in search for in the early 1500s because the water is said to return youth to all that drink from it. You can also learn a lot about the history of Floirda and this city by visiting this park.



There are also many attractions in Saint Augustine including, ghost tours, historic walking tours, the Saint Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, Airboat adventures, carriage rides, and more.There are museums, the Lightner Museum was one of Flagler’s hotels that was is now a museum with a variety of artifacts including an ancient mummy as well as a stuffed tiger that once belonged to Henry Flagler. You can also visit the St. Augusting Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. This lighthouse allows to get breathtaking views of Northeast Florida. You can also see artifacts recovered from our ancestors' vessels. There are centuries of history from ina nd around St. augustine at this museum. There are 42 miles of beautiful beaches that you go to in this city, if you aren’t into history. There are also many restaurant and bars, and a vibrant night life. This city has something for everyone. 




Written by Natalie Bedia

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