Got up at 6:25 and hurried up down to the beach area…sunrise was at 7:05. The wind was from the west, and although I was in short pants and shirt, I was very comfortable. I had the beech area to myself for a good twenty minutes, and no one came to the overlook area I was at until I was leaving. It was a very peaceful morning watching my first sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.
To the west was a near full moon (hence, 'foolish moon' in title). I set the camera on a ledge and got this nice picture even though it was still pretty dark when I took this shot. My car was the only car in the lot.
To the north was the St. Augustine Lighthouse, built in 1874 and still an active lighthouse.
By 7: 15 I was on my way back to the motorhome.
Sometimes an Atlantic Sunrise needs more than water to really look nice!
On the way back I take a few pictures of the 2 minute ride back to the motorhome. Although we did not have any problems with our size motorhome, I did notice that there are very few 40 foot motorhomes or 5th wheels in the park, due I am sure to the heavy canopy of limbs one has to encounter.
Here is a look at a few of the camping spots. Many are deep, but you do have to watch your height.
Not even gone an hour, and my welcoming party acted like I had been gone forever…of course, needing to go out for their morning activity might have had a lot to do with the wagging tails.
By 10 am we had eaten breakfast, taken the dogs out again, and headed for our day at St. Augustine. Our first stop was the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, but gave it a pass since there was an entrance fee. We figured that if we wanted to visit the pay attraction, we should do it with a combination pass with the trolley which is good for three consecutive days. Seeing everything in one day is not going to do it, so we will be back.
Our first real stop after we parked the car was the Visitor’s Center, where they have lots of interesting items on display…such as this sword in the enclosed case which was recovered from an old ship wreck. The Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a Spanish Galleon, went down in the Florida Keys in 1622, full of gold, silver and other valuables, including the sword which was later gifted to the City of St. Augustine.
In places like this one can find their own little treasures…as I did when I confirmed to Marcia that I had been pronouncing the city’s name right all along! (see previous posting if you don’t understand.)
We then headed down St. George Street, which is a pedestrian only area…even bicyclist have to walk their bikes. Marcia, in her GoGo pictured left, is passing the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse building in the USA, pictured to the right.
Our main goal of the day was to visit St. Photios National Greek Shrine. In 1768 400 Greeks arrived to settle the colony of New Smyrna, south of St. Augustine. After ten hard years, the survivors sought refuge in St. Augustine, and they gathered at the Avero House for worship. These pioneers comprised the first permanent settlement of Greeks on the continent. The Avero House is now the location of the St. Photios National Greek Shrine.
Pictured above is the alter within the Shrine, which the Greek Church considers one of its Chapels. The alter area is roped off because it is considered a Holy Area.
There are many frescos in the shrine, including in the ceiling. Above are the other six which are in walls leading up to the alter area. I did not get any ceiling shots. They are very pretty and magnificent examples of Byzantine art.
Smyrna was an ancient city in Greece, now located in Turkey and is currently called Izmir. Old Smyrna was the initial settlement founded around the 11th century BC, and later in the 4th century BC moved and its foundation was inspired by Alexander the Great. This is where the current city of Izmir is now. The area has traded hands between Greece and the Turks for many centuries, and the Turks have occupied it since 1922. So when the Greeks came to America and settled first south of St. Augustine, and later within St. Augustine, you can see that they were fleeing the history of a very volatile area. As many others who came to America, they were seeking freedom to live the type of life they had envisioned the New World could give them. Marcia’s first husband’s mother came from Smyrna to America after her family was forced out of Smyrna to the Island of Chios, which is still controlled by Greece and borders Turkey which is across a narrow sea channel called Steno Chiou.
After leaving the Shrine we walked a few more doors down to the Bull & Crown for lunch. Splitting a half pound burger with no bun, veggies instead of fries, we enjoyed some outdoor eating and people gazing. We had no problem getting a table right before noon, but by 12:30 people were like hawks looking for an empty table to grab as we departed.
Top left is a picture from our table of the front door, picture right is the pedestrian street. With no vehicles going by, it was nice and quiet, and the umbrella gave us shade in the 74 degree heat.
At the end of one block there is a small park, enclosed by a iron fence, and all the entrances are locked. I guess they want to keep their park in pristine condition…seems like a waste of space if they are not going to allow for it to be used. However, we found the basic condition of the older city of St. Augustine to be very clean, in good repair, and they have attempted to keep the buildings looking as realistically old as possible.
Next time we come, and there will probably be a next time, we will plan to stay longer, and to get tickets for the trolley, some of which are equipped to handle the GoGo. Put a three day pass on the trolley together with some tickets for some of the fee sights, and that would be the reason for a return visit…hopefully when they are not as busy as they are now.