Things to Do in St Augustine
For thousands of years, people have journeyed the earth in search of a so called "Fountain of Youth," hoping that a single sip from the spring will restore them to full health and vitality.According to legend, the famous Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon came to Florida in the 16th century in search of this miraculous fountain. He claimed the land for the Spanish crown, and soon afterward, another explorer arrived and founded St. Augustine- the oldest continuously occupied European settlement within the continental United States. It wasn't until 1901 that an enterprising woman bought an estate in St. Augustine and began to charge people to drink from the fountain located on the property. She claimed that it was Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth, and patrons immediately began flocking to the site. Whether or not you believe in the legend, it can't hurt to to see what happens if you take a sip from the fountain.
Housed in a gorgeous former hotel built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style, the exterior of the Lightner Museum is reason enough to visit. The real treats though are the various antiquities located on the inside of this three story museum.
The first floor houses a Victorian village, with shop fronts offering Victorian era wares. Take a look at the Victorian Science and Industry Room and its eclectic array of artifacts including model steam engines, stuffed birds, a small Egyptian mummy, and a shrunken head. The second floor contains samples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and stained glass work. The third floor, housed in the ball room's upper balcony, exhibits paintings, sculpture, and furniture from the time period. Overall, the museum's careful attention to details and rustic recreation of the time period make it a fun place to visit.
More Things to Do in St Augustine
The oldest masonry fort in the United States, the Castillo de San Marcos has exchanged many hands and undergone many name changes throughout the years, but has evolved into a symbol of the cultural clashes that ultimately unify the United States today. Occupying 2.5 acres (101 km²) in downtown St. Augustine, it was first constructed by the Spanish starting in 1672 in order to protect Spanish territories in the New World. Over the next 23 years, the fort was fashioned from a stone called coquina (Spanish for "little shells"), made of ancient shells that have bonded together.
Throughout the years, the fort changed hands between Spanish, British, and American owners, changing its name each time. It also played a vital role in many famous conflicts, from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War. Today, it is a site worth visiting because of its storied history and impressive stature.
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