Comfort Suites Downtown
42 San Marco Avenue
Saint Augustine, FL 32084
Phone: (904) 829-2292
Fax: (904) 584-0004
This was St Augustine's original place of interment for the residents of the old colony and from its days as an early American city. The headstones are a veritable chronicle of St Augustines early history and show the transition from one national affiliation from the next in many cases. Located just outside the old city gates, this makes an interesting quiet detour on a walking tour of the colonial quarter.
Step back in time as you visit the oldest extant Spanish fortification in the United States, a bulwark that remains as a monument to the European colonization of America. The Castillo de San Marcos dates back to 1672 and is a fine example of military architecture built in defense of the Spanish crown. The fort's masonry is called coquina and for more than 200 years of battle, this limestone withstood countless strikes among European powers. The dearth of traditional materials in Florida forced the Spanish to use this porous, yet resilient material, much to the dismay of their enemies. It was declared a national monument in 1924 and today, San Marcos remains a fascinating, eerie place. At the visitor's center you can join a ranger program, see a live re-enactment or just walk around and explore the fortress, whatever you choose, the fort definitely merits the trip.
This drug store is nothing like today's pharmacies. Located on Orange Street at the corner of Cordova, this old-time spot sports wooden floors, old cash registers and a wood and glass apothecary filled with bottles of old remedies, elixirs and tonics. In the adjacent gift shop, you can find collectibles, jewelry, pewter figures and Christmas items.
The Old School House is a national treasure said to be the oldest surviving wooden schoolhouse in North America. Built more than 200 years ago, it made its debut as a schoolhouse until 1788, when Spanish rule ended. Sturdy construction has enabled it to withstand the ravages of time, it's held together with wooden pegs and handmade nails! Animatronic robots are dressed in period costumes, designed to depict schoolmaster and students on a typical 18th Century day.
Spanish conquistador Pedro Menéndez Avilés founded this mission in 1565 and it's the first of its kind in the Americas established for the Spanish cross and crown. Historians allege that it was this spot where Avilés kissed the wooden cross presented to him by the chaplain of his expedition. Some of the highlights include a bronze memorial to the same Father that stands on the lagoon's eastern bank along with the Great Cross, erected as a memorial of the Mission's 400th anniversary. One other highlight includes the casket of Avilés inside the museum. Admission is free.
Visit a bit of the old world at St. Augustine's historic St. George Street and Spanish Quarter Village. The entirety of St. George Street is a quaint pedestrian strip and it's closed to all motorized traffic. Most of the buildings are reproductions of homes and shops that visitors would have seen in St. Augustine centuries ago. Inside some of those buildings, shops and restaurants are available and a myriad of street performers provide the entertainment—you can meet with and talk to colonists and soldiers as they go about their tasks, mimicking daily life during the mid-18th Century.
Flagler's Legacy, affiliated with the nearby college, offers a god jumping-off point for tourists interested in the history and culture of St Augustine. They offer discounts and information on tours in the St Augustine area, with an emphasis on wineries, golfing, historical sites, and other points that might interest the more well-heeled visitor. They also feature a modest gift shop, including photo books, local artwork, and other souvenirs.
Resting in the parking lot of the Howard Johnson hotel, The Old Senator Tree is a 600- year old oak tree that is one of Florida's oldest trees. Catch a glimpse of this divine tree with a large and magnificent canopy.
Juan Ponce de Léon never did find the fabled 'fountain of youth' which it was alleged he sought in 1513. In fact, some historians say he actually sought Spanish loot. Nevertheless, the contingent of his compatriot, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés did land on this spot which has been converted into a kid's archaeological park. Subsequent excavations have confirmed Avilés' expedition and even though he landed here, the park plays upon de Leon's name instead. Inside visitors will find a cornucopia of colonial America circa 1565. The park has exhibits of both the Spanish arrival as well as those on indigenous peoples, most notably the Timucuan. The Village, Settlement, and the replica Burial Grounds make it a great place for kids, especially when the actors fire off the cannons and archaic Arquebuses.
Vino del Grotto specializes in what it calls Florida tropical fruit wines, which, though generally made of plain old grapes, are often flavored with exotic fruits other taste agents. There are also some varieties made purely of other fruits as well as distillations and other concoctions unique to a tropical setting.
Built in the year 1750 by the Spanish King for his royal treasurer, the Pena Peck House is one of the most beautiful Spanish- styled architecture in the city of St. Augustine. Visit this house, which is replete with vintage furnishings revealing the 18th Century antiques. Learn more about the Pena and Peck families as you take a tour of this place.
This building which housed the Old St. Johns County Jail is an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture. It was built in 1891 by the same firm that created Alcatraz and during its use as a jail, it gained a reputation as one of the most violent places in Florida. The jail ceased to function in 1953 and since then it has become quite the tourist attraction due to the rumored ghosts that walk the halls. In fact, the jail executed eight prisoners over the course of its history. The tours are guided and after the visit, the jail is a good place to catch a ferry or train to other points of interest around St. Augustine.