St. Augustine. What can I say about it? Well, it’s the oldest city in the United States and before you argue with me. It only holds that title, because it is the longest continuously inhabited city. There are plenty out there which are technically older, but they haven’t remained inhabited the whole time.
With such a claim it of course becomes a huge tourist attraction, and there is plenty to do if you have lots of money. Ghost tours, pirate attraction, original colonial towns, a pretty cool fort, famous boats and of course plenty of bars and restaurants. The one thing it did lack however which is not so friendly to the cheapskate traveller like myself. Grocery stores. There are none. So unless you have a car, you’re pretty screwed if you wanted to pick up a few bits and bobs. It’s eating out every lunch and dinner.
So where was I staying? Well there was only one place I wanted to stay (plus it was cheap), and keeping with the theme of the town, The Pirate Haus Inn. Unlimited pancake breakfast and pirate themed rooms, why would you not? Now this was one of the better hostels I’ve stayed in. Some typical groups who just wanted to do nothing but drink, but also some very interesting middle aged men and women who clearly still hadn’t figured out what exactly they were doing with their life. It all leant to some interesting conversations though. One of which, a young guy who completed the 3,500 mile journey from Seattle by bike (yes, a bicycle!) on his own. Mucho respect for this guy, thats quite a journey to do on your tod, and it only took him 2 and a half months..
Now I know I’ve been frequenting several breweries while over in the states, but this town has its own distillery and what a great place it was. St. Augustine Distillery is still an infant at only just over a year old, but by the sounds of it, they are certainly making some waves. Especially in Florida anyway. The uniqueness of this distillery is excellent. Their main aim is not only to produce some awesome spirits, but also become the hub of the local farming and production community. All their ingredients and waste products are from and go back to local farmers. I was impressed. Tours of the distillery are currently free AND you get some free alcohol at the end of it. I went back for seconds.
So would I recommend? Well yes and no. If you’re travelling on a budget, it’s a great city to drop into and soak up some history and the feeling of witnessing something out of Pirates of the Caribbean with the American Wild West. If you have a bit more disposable money then sure, this town can certainly get hopping at the weekends and with 2 colleges situated in and around the city limits, there is certainly a very young crowd. Now don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to do for the older generations as well.
Next stop is Orlando where I’ll be basing myself (and currently writing from) for the next week or so before undergoing the trip to the magical tropical wonderland that is Miami! Enjoy.