Archive for Attractions

Celtic Festival Saint Augustine, Fl – 2016

Celtic Festival Goes International
St. Augustine’s Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is
making headlines in London and Dublin this month
St. Augustine, FL – The 6th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is set for March 11-13, 2016, when Celtic heritage and music takes over the Ancient City.
The word is getting out the St. Augustine is an important destination for Celtic heritage tourism.
London, England: The St. Augustine Celtic Festival will be featured at Covent Garden on Sunday, January 10, thanks to the month-long “London Sunburst” promotion by V isit Florida. The promotion lasts the whole month of January and features a dozen Florida Attractions including Disney WorldKennedy Space CenterDaytona International Speedway, and the St. Augustine Celtic Festival … an exclusive list! The London promotion also includes a groundbreaking TripAdvisor video hub site, which will run January through February. Go toTripadvisor.com/InfoCenter-a_ctr.VisitFloridaUK
Dublin, Ireland: The St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival will also be featured at The Holiday World Show at the Royal Dublin Society on the weekend of January 22-24, thanks again to Visit Florida. The Holiday World Show is organized on behalf of the Irish Travel Agents Association and promises to chase away the January Blues. It offers lots of deals, on-stand competitions and expert advice from a vast range of experts representing destinations across the globe – all under one roof.
St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is also being featured in many international publications including: Celtic Family Magazine, Celtic Life International, Highlander Magazine, Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine, Scottish Life Magazine, and the Pipes of Christmas!
Find the CELT in YOU in America’s Oldest Celtic City
The three-day St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is “arguably the finest collaboration of Celtic artists in the United States”. In addition to Dublin’s Irish Tenors & The Celtic Ladies on opening night March 11 at Memorial Presbyterian Church, the March 11-13 event in downtown St. Augustine features internationally acclaimed Celtic bands, a pre-festival Whiskey Tasting on Friday evening, Highland Games athletic competitions, Celtic shopping and food, live music, two stages, and a variety of entertainment.
There’s also the ONLY St. Augustine St. Patrick’s Day parade in Northeast Florida kicking things off at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 12.
Festival tickets are available at  CelticStAugustine.com . Tickets may also be purchased at Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 23 Orange St., or at Barley Republic Irish Pub, 48 Spanish St., downtown St. Augustine.

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies- March 11th 2016 Saint Augustine, FL

DUBLINS-IRISH-TENORS-CELTIC-LADIES-24x36-200x300Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies
Special Event will open St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage  Festival at Memorial Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Augustine
St. Augustine, FL – Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies will perform one-night only in downtown St. Augustine. This headlining concert for the St. Augustine Celtic  Music & Heritage Festival will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11 in Memorial  Presbyterian Church, 32 Sevilla St., downtown St. Augustine.
Seating is limited for this event. Tickets are sold separately from the Celtic Festival  passes. Tickets are $25 to $60. Purchase tickets atwww.celticstaugustine.com/special-friday-night-event/
The 6th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is set for March 11-13, 2016, when Celtic heritage and music takes over the Ancient City.
In addition to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12 in downtown St. Augustine, the weekend event is filled with live entertainment, Highland games, clans from Ireland and  Scotland, whisky tasting, and other Celtic activities – all at Francis Field, 29 W. Castillo  Drive, in downtown St. Augustine across from the parking garage. Read More→

The St Augustine Distillery Tour is a Fun Thing To Do in Saint Augustine FL

Looking for a great Tour? Check out the St. Augustine Distillery. If you’re riding the green or red trolleys, you will find it’s one of the stops on the tour. If not, they have plenty of free parking or you can walk from town.

The Distillery is in the old Ice Plant building on Riberia Street in Saint Augustine, Florida. They have painstakingly refurbished it into a real historic gem.

 

The tour is free and includes a tasting of their artisanal handcrafted spirits. At the time of our tour, they were only serving their cane  vodka (safe if you’re going gluten free). We had a taste straight up and in a mixed drink, The Florida Mule. Delicious!!  It was a combination of  Cane Vodka, ginger, lime juice and simple syrup. They serve those up everyday next door at the famous Ice Plant Bar in an authentic copper mule cup. Read about the Ice Plant here.

 

My tour guide was Diana Lee. She is a consummate professional in the industry and has a wealth of knowledge about St. Augustine. The tour starts off in the Museum where you can learn about  the distilling process along with the history of the old Ice Plant building. From there, you enter  the theater to view a movie featuring a behind the scenes look at the making of the product and  the “farm to spirits” approach. They really have focused on supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture. Next up, you get to see the distillery itself and  the beautifully crafted copper stills and equipment. The day we visited you could smell the sweet aroma of the mash fermenting that will eventually become bourbon.

Now you are on to your tasting and a lesson in craft cocktail making the old fashion way. I loved the vodka and ended up buying 2 bottles from batch number one.

The Distillery also has a gift shop where they sell anything & everything for a well stocked bar. You can purchase their spirits here as well!

 

 

I think it’s a fun thing to do in St. Augustine. It’s not every day you can tour a distillery, taste some terrific handcrafted  vodka  and get a history lesson all in the same spot.

Go check it out.

Want to know more details  about the Distillery click here.

Tours hours are Monday – Saturday  from 10:00 – 6:00

Sunday -11:00 – 6:00

  • 112 Riberia Street
  • Saint Augustine, Florida 32084
Phone (904) 825-4962

The St Augustine Distillery Will Raise Your Spirits the Old Fashioned Way

When you drive by the old Ice Plant building on Riberia Street in Saint Augustine, Florida, one phrase comes to mind, “you’ve come a long way baby.”

Not only does it house The Ice Plant Bar, it is now the home of the St. Augustine Distillery Company. Inside this incredible building with its rich history, they are now crafting fabulous artisanal liquors.  It is the first craft distillery in Northeast Florida. Read More→

El Galeon and the Nao Victoria are Must Seas While visiting St Augustine FL – Tallships

As if Saint Augustine’s Bay front wasn’t beautiful enough, now these two magnificent  ships have sailed in and made it spectacular. This opportunity is as rare as two ships passing in the night. If you haven’t checked them out, you still have time to “SEAS” the day. Read More→

Ripley’s Red Train is a Fun Way to See the Nights of Lights in St Augustine

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The Locals’ Guide to Saint Augustine may be compensated through the links in the post below, but the opinions are our own.

Ripley’s Red Trains Nights of Lights Tours

Get your tickets early! Click here to buy.

Looking to get into the holiday spirit? The Ripley’s Red Train is a great way to do just that. They offer tours every night of the week. We recently took the ride and had such a great time on board! The Red Train is a fantastic way to see St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. The ride is complete with Christmas carols, a bit of history, candy canes and best of all your magic glasses! Read More→

Pet Friendly Attractions & Things to Do in St Augustine FL

 

I’m Marley Burke, The Local’s Guide’s “Local Dog.”  Some days I just get tired of  going for a boring old walk or another day of fishing.

There are lots of fun things for me to do in Saint Augustine, FL. On the days I feel like drifting at sea, I go for a ride on the Scenic Cruise. (Read Review). You can purchase beer & wine on board but I lean toward a bottle of water and some goldfish crackers for treats. It is a lovely, relaxing, narrated scenic cruise around the bay area. You have to keep your leash on and they only allow well behaved dogs, so no barking on board. I don’t mind, I have plenty of time to bark at the dog across the street.

I have seen some other dogs kayaking and one on a Hobie Cat at Anastasia Water Sports (Read Review) it looks like a lot of fun but I haven’t  tried it.  The beach is my favorite place. Dogs are allowed on almost all beaches on a leash except for Anastasia State Park.  (Beach Info)

 

 

 

If you like history, a great spot to walk around is the Colonial Quarter on St. George Street. They have a lot of reenactments and demonstrations there.

I like to go to the Fountain of Youth and check out the peacocks. They actually beg for peanuts. What self respecting dog would beg for a tiny peanut? They seem to get a lot of folks to feed them though. The grounds are beautiful to walk around and kids love it too.  I drank the water and people still say I look like a puppy. I’m really 8 years old.  I believe it really works. (Read about The Fountain of Youth here)

If you like music, the summer concerts at the Plaza and Pier are pet friendly. Bring a picnic a chair and some doggie treats.

Some days I tag along for a wine tasting at San Sebastian Winery. People love the local wine here. It is a very popular attraction. You can’t be really big though. I saw a Great Dane get asked to leave once but he may have had one too many.

If you love the water (it must be the Lab in me)  and nature like I do, check out St. Augustine Eco Tours. Join the Captain  for a professionally guided 2-hour sailing excursion in the estuary. You’ll board the ultra stable 27-foot Stiletto catamaran. You can see all kinds of wildlife on this adventure.  How about Dolphins? I love to watch the dolphins. I wish I could swim that fast. St. Augustine Eco Tours also has an educational Dolphin Tour. This trip takes place on a 6 passenger boat and  combines dolphin and bird watching with marine ecology, historic sights, and an amazing boat ride. A great way to spend a dog day afternoon.

A big day out on the water can make a dog really hungry. Check out our list of Pet Friendly Restaurants.

Marley’s words of wisdom:

If you’re a cat, stay home!

If you aren’t part Lab you may want to wear a life jacket. The current can be really strong here even for me.

Don’t swim in the Intracoastal.  The oysters are everywhere and will cut your paws.

Have your parents bring you some shade to the beach. Florida sun is too hot with no shade.

Nap often.

Most importantly, don’t drink the ocean water at the beach. Trust me.

I hope you enjoy your stay & all these fun things keep your tail waggin’.

Maybe I’ll see you at the beach.

Marley

 

 

 

 

A Biplane Ride is the Thing To Do in St Augustine

Captain Dave in the back and two passengers

So what does a ride in a open cockpit biplane feel like? Imagine driving down a scenic highway  strapped in a high end convertible sports car. Now imagine that car lifting off and ascending over the intracoastal waterway as you pass 1,000 feet in the air with the incredible view unfolding beneath you.

That is the closest comparison I have for the sensation of being in the cockpit of a 1935 Waco biplane.  Read More→

Enjoy a Scenic Boat Ride to Explore Fort Matanzas in St Augustine FL

Fort Matanzas was completed in 1742 by the Spanish to protect St. Augustine from an attack by their enemies, both England and pirates.  It fell to ruin in the 1820’s, was stabilized by the War Department in 1916 and 1924.  The National Park Service took it over and rebuilt it in 1935.  It is an under visited gem in the NPS system. Read More→

The Fountain of Youth in St Augustine FL is a Pet Friendly Attraction Worth Seeing

Ponce De Leon’s World Famous Fountain of Youth is one of my favorite places in St. Augustine, FL. This attraction is very dear to my heart. My grandparents Joe & Nan Deuschle met and fell in love there in 1927. My grandfather was the gardener who discovered the skeletal remains of the Timucua Indians in 1934 while he was planting orange trees on the property.  This incredible discovery led to research conducted by the Smithsonian Institute and The University of Florida Museum of Natural History and is a large part of the parks history today.

 

 

 

The Park is located on 15 beautifully landscaped waterfront acres. This beautiful piece of property is home to many friendly peacocks. They love to display their colorful  feathers in hopes of being fed peanuts by the many guests who come through the Parks Gates. I visited the park recently and although I have been there many times before  I never tire of the gorgeous grounds. I ran into several locals that day who were all enjoying the Park and its views of the Intracoastal.

The Park is most famous for its springs, also known as The Fountain of Youth. About 60 years ago, they built a beautiful Coquina structure around the spring with a gorgeous fireplace to warm yourself on a cool winters day. The spring water comes directly from Florida’s aquifer and is said to contain over 30 minerals. I have been drinking from the spring since I was five years old, my first visit to the fountain of youth. Here they have cups of water so you too can drink from the springs magical waters.

The Park is a combination of an “Old Florida tourist attraction” and a world-class Archaeological Park.  The owners have gone through great lengths to preserve its’ history and to continually improve the Park and the exhibits. Even if you have been here before,  it’s worth coming back to see the new exhibits that are constantly added. On my recent visit, I was there to enjoy the new Founders River walk. The Park has recently added a 600 foot dock out into the gorgeous salt marsh. Here you have spectacular views of the inlet and the Bay. They have even included some benches to sit down and relax on while you breathe in the salt air and watch the wildlife out in the marsh.  This particular day I also took some time to learn more about the reconstruction of the Mission Church.  The structure was built using historically correct methods wherever possible using local cypress, which was known to 16th century Spaniards to be durable and resistant to wood-eating insects. The Mission church features a choir loft and rustic altar, and uses a palm thatch roof. The floor is crushed coquina, as is the area around the church.

 

The Park has living history exhibits performed by knowledgeable reenactors. One of my favorite demonstrations is the cannon firing. A crowd had gathered  to see this in depth demonstration of the firing of a Breech Cannon. BOOM! Hold your ears for this one. This is a beautiful Cannon and you don’t get to see one of these in action very often. I loved this demonstration and so did the rest of the visitors. We were also shown how to shoot a Crossbow that was of Spanish influence. That was a big favorite of all of the kids watching, but I loved it too. I think I’ll be adding one of those to my Christmas list.

All of the Reenactors at the Park are phenomenal. They are friendly, professional and have a wealth of knowledge. They are happy to answer your questions and teach you about the history behind the particular demonstration. The day I was there, they also had someone making  pottery, and someone carving a canoe out of a hunk of pine using the burn and scrape method. These reenactments were taking place in the Timucan Village.  The things they do here are amazing and so interactive.

 

Archaeologists have been excavating at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park for over 80 years, and in that time the discoveries have rewritten history textbooks time and time again. Since 1934, archaeologists have made a long list of major finds at the Park, and excavations continue to this day. You can see some of these archaeological treasures on display within the Park.

If you go hungry, they have a great snack bar where you can grab an appetizer, hamburger, sandwich or one of the coldest beers in town. They also have a fantastic gift shop if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir. The Park is a pet friendly attraction too. 

So whether or not you love history or archaeology, lush landscaping and views of the Bay or friendly peacocks looking for treats, The Fountain of Youth has something for you. Take a few hours and be transported in time, enjoy and explore!

 

 Discover something old,

 discover something new,

 discover something beautiful 

 in a park with the perfect view.

 

 

 

 

The Fountain of Youth is open 9-6 daily and the last ticket is sold at 5:00pm.

 

 

Adult (13-59 yrs): 12.00
Child (6-12 yrs): 8.00
Senior (60+ yrs): 11.00

 11 Magnolia Ave  St. Augustine, FL

Phone: 904 829 3168

“Know What The Locals Know”

 

Relax and See the City from the Bay on a Delightful Boat Ride in St Augustine FL

One of my favorite things to do in St. Augustine, Florida is to hop aboard The Victory III Scenic Cruise Line. I love to go with my husband at sunset and take all of our friends and family as well. We have even celebrated my sister Christine’s birthday aboard eating LuLi’s Cupcakes.

The one hour and 15 minute tour Read More→

Historic Military Sites on the Southern Bayfront

   Our “Historic Military Site” Contributor Harry Metz has shared some great “local” insight about our southern bayfront. This is great information to read if you are headed down to see the Saint Augustine National Cemetery.  

   

Take a drive down Marine Street south of the Bridge of Lions along the new (2013) sea wall. The wall has been extended twelve feet into the Bay to protect the historic coquina wall built in the 1830’s and offer better protection from flooding.  As you make the right and then a left turn you are looking at the St. Francis Barracks, now the  Florida National Guard Headquarters and one of the few not located in a State Capitol.  The earliest portion of the structure dates to the 1730’s.  South of that building are Officers Quarters built in the 1880’s.  Across the street is the only remaining building constructed in 1768 by the British during their occupation of the City (1763-1784).  It was their Bakery and is now a garage.

Just past the houses is the St. Augustine National Cemetery, which began as the military Post cemetery and in 1881 was designated a National Cemetery.  The Post was established in 1821, when Florida became a Territory, and the first recorded burial there was in 1828.  At the south end you will note three pyramids, beneath which are the remains of an unknown number of soldiers who died during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).   These remains were gathered from battle grounds, hospitals, forts and encampments around the state and ceremoniously reinterred here on August 14, 1842.

 

Parking is a problem during the National Guard duty days, which include the first two weekends each month,  from 0800-1700 (5pm).  If you want to walk in this area for a closer look at the tombstones, etc., turn right on San Salvador at the end of the cemetery then right on Charlotte St at the other end of the wall.  You can park on the right side of the street if you can find a place.  It is patrolled, so don’t park at a yellow curb.  If you cannot find a place to park go to the end of the street and jog left into the St. Augustine Historical Society’s parking lot.  The signs say it is for visitors to the Oldest House or the store.  To remain honest, go to their store and check out their extensive collection of books on St. Augustine and Florida history and gifts.  You can also take their tour of (one of) the oldest houses in town.

 

 

Saint Augustine National Cemetery

Contributed by Harry Metz

 

Anastasia State Park- A Great Place to Stay or Play

Anastasia State Park is a little slice of paradise located near historic downtown and the beaches in St. Augustine. Whether you are visiting for the day or camping for a week, this beautiful Park will appeal to all. I personally have camped there since I was a small child and I visit the park now on a regular basis to take advantage of all this little slice of paradise has to offer.

The campsites are truly reminiscent of old Florida. The breeze off the ocean has created some of the most picturesque, gracefully bent Cedar trees I have ever seen, to shade you from the Florida sun. It  Features 139 Sites with electric and water hookups for both RVs and tents. The park offers all amenities including a communal dump station, hot water showers and laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi hotspot. The campground is pet friendly for well-behaved pets.

 

 

The park itself is open daily from 8 AM until sunset all year round. There is an $8 entrance fee per car. The park allows fishing, boating, swimming and fires in designated areas.

 

The Park  is home to over 4 miles of beaches to walk, jog or bike. There is a store and a snack shack that sells beach sundries and  camping and fishing supplies. You can also rent bicycles, beach chairs and umbrellas. If you’re looking to picnic there are three different picnic areas, some with tables under pavilions with grills and a beautiful private hilltop gazebo with a table and grill. The picnic areas are  handicap accessible. The park also has plenty of public restrooms, showers and playground areas.

 

 

 

The beaches are absolutely gorgeous!  Cars are not allowed to drive on these beaches and  you can’t bring your pets either.  These are some of the most beautiful unspoiled beache you will find  with gorgeous sea oats covered sand dunes. There are lifeguards on duty to protect you during the summer months.  Here’s a locals’ tip for you …. they always fly a purple flag which means dangerous marine life. This is standard in all state parks to protect them as well as you. Don’t be discouraged by this, you can always ask a lifeguard before you swim if they have seen any dangerous marine life that day. If the tide is out, this is also a great beach to go shelling.

If you love water sports, Anastasia Water Sports is located within the park. ( see my review ) They rent kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, paddleboats, Hobie cat, Sunfish, and stand up paddle boards.  It’s best to make a reservation but if you can’t, just stop by, they will do their best to accommodate you. Some rentals are dependent on tides so it’s good to check with them first.

You can walk for miles at Anastasia State Park  enjoying the wildlife, ocean views and salt air.  It is truly a wonderful way to spend a day.

 

 

ENJOY!

Painting with Dolphins

One of the most unique and educational attractions St. Augustine has to offer is Marineland Dolphin Adventure. There are a few places in the US where you get to interact with dolphins. They offer several programs to choose from to fit almost any budget.
 
 
 
General admission guests are able to view the dolphins through 6 x 10 ft acrylic windows as they swim, play and interact with guests in other programs. Admission fees are:
$9.95 for adults ages 13 and above, $5.95 for children (ages 3-12), $8.95 for seniors (60+)
I have personally experienced the Dolphin Designs Program and the Touch and Feed. I received the Dolphin Designs program as a birthday gift one year. As a dolphin lover, this experience BLEW me out of the water. You get to interact with the dolphin, with a canvas and paints and with your help, he creates your beautiful masterpiece. You hold the canvas and the dolphin holds the paint brush in her mouth.
 
 
 I have swam with dolphins before in the Dominican Republic and it was a wonderful adventure. However this is something you have to do if you love dolphins and  it is a completely different interaction. You  must be at least five years old to participate in this program. The cost is $90 per person and I highly suggest making reservations as this program sells out quickly. The experience is about 15 minutes long with the dolphin, about a half hour total, including picking out your paint colors and the instructions with your trainer. Of course you get to bring your picture home too. My dolphin’s name was Dazzle and here is the picture we painted together.
 
 
The touch and feed program is about five minutes long. You or your child will get to feed the dolphin some fish and pet him after he introduces himself to you.
You must be three years old or older to participate in  this program. The cost is $29 per person. You do get wet during all of these programs so wear a bathing suit or dress accordingly.
 
 
So far these are the only programs I have participated in.  I can’t vouch for the Immersion, the Discover Dolphins or the Trainer  for a day prgrams. I do want to try these  sometime in the near future and update this review.
All in all, I would have to say that if you or your child loves dolphins you really should stop in at Marineland. If you just do the general admission, the viewing area is small enough that you can really see what’s going on with the other programs and the huge glass windows give you a great view of the dolphins playing below the water. Marineland is located right on the beach so you have beach access and gorgeous views while you’re interacting with dolphins.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
9600 Oceanshore Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Phone: 904-471-1111 or 877-933-3402