Things to Do in Saint Augustine
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish explorer- Pedro Menendez de Aviles. It is the oldest European settlement in the country, as well as one of its most popular tourist destinations. History lives and walks in St. Augustine’s many museums, historic streets and Spanish architecture. The subtropical climate ensures a year-round pleasant weather and cold spells are usually short-lived to only a few weeks. For the more gastronomically inclined, St. Augustine also offers a concise assortment of dining alternatives, in the form of charming old-world restaurants and cafes. Before you plan your next trip to this quaint, historic city, make sure to first check out our list of the best things to do in St. Augustine.
Hotel Ponce de Leon
This historic hotel is famous for several reasons – it was built by Henry M. Flagler, a millionaire developer, in the year 1888, and was designed by the globally acclaimed architects- John Carrere and Thomas Hastings. It was also the first structure that was entirely built in poured concrete and to be fitted out with electricity, courtesy of Thomas Edison, a friend of Mr. Flagler. The hotel was later accompanied by an artist colony that attracted several prominent artists including Martin Johnson Heade. The hotel was also used as a World War II coast-guard training center. It is now the property of Flagler College and is open to visitors via guided tours. A visit to the hotel is definitely one of the best things to do in St. Augustine and also one of the most interesting ways to learn about St. Augustine’s prolific past.
The museum is located in the exquisite 'Hotel Alcazar'- another property developed by Henry M. Flagler for wealthy tourists. The hotel was built in the year 1887 and is designed in a Spanish Renaissance Revival style. It currently serves as a museum for artifacts from the American Gilded Age. The first of the museum's three floors is fashioned after a Victorian village. This floor also has a music room that has numerous mechanized musical instruments that date back to the 1870s. The second floor is dedicated to cut and stained glass works, while the third floor has paintings, furniture and sculptures. Expect to see oil paintings by Paul Trouillebert and Leon Comerre, and sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Randolph Rogers, among others.