This morning, I prepared a breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee for the mother of my three children. Afterwards, we walked two or three blocks to the oldest protestant church in Florida, Trinity Episcopal Church for worship. This church also has some of the oldest and most beautiful stained glass windows of any Episcopal church in the state. We were thankful to be able to worship in such a beautiful edifice. The liturgy was beautiful as well.
After our time of worship, we walked several blocks up King Street to have lunch at Carmelo’s Pizzeria, reported to have the best pizza in St. Augustine. We were not disappointed. The Carmelo’s supreme was wonderful, although we ate so much we didn’t feel so wonderful when we left. Caddy-corner from the pizzeria was the San Sebastian winery. Some say that this area is the birthplace of American wine dating back to 1562. The primary grapes used in the making of San Sebastian wines are hybrids and muscadine. We took a self-guided tour and wine tasting. We were impressed with the sherry and port, so we purchased a bottle of port for aboard Beatitude.
On our way back toward town, we stopped at Whetstone’s Chocolate for a little dessert. We also stopped in a couple of art galleries, of which there are many in St. Augustine. We ducked into the gorgeous lobby of Flagler College, which once was Flagler’s Ponce De Leon Hotel. Multiple presidents and others who were rich or famous have stayed in this building. Afterwards, we walked into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, originally established in 1565, making it the oldest church is Florida. When Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés first spotted land in Florida in 1565, it was the Feast Day of St. Augustine of Hippo. He, therefore, named his first settlement, St. Augustine. The parish is the oldest parish in the United States. The Cathedral was beautiful, with stunning stained glass windows, primarily depicting events in the life of St. Augustine.
We continued our leisurely stroll through the city by turning left on St. George’s Street, which becomes a pedestrian thoroughfare a block or two off of King Street. We enjoyed the crowds and the shops as we made our way to our dinner destination. Cindy and I decided to stop in a shop and have an “old-time” photo made of the two of us. It had been almost 40 years since we’d done such a thing. It was quite amusing. After resting for a soda, we continued up St. George’s street. Not too much further along, we stumbled across the St. Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine, dedicated to the first colony of Greeks who came to the United States in 1768. The shrine is lavishly decorated in the Byzantine style. It was heavenly to stand inside, affected by the visual beauty, while Orthodox chanting and music was being played in the background. What a refreshing interlude from the heat and busyness out in the street. The building also contains a museum with exhibits about life among the first settlers, as well as the development of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
After another half mile of walking, we arrived at the restaurant which I had reserved for Cindy’s Mother’s Day dinner, The Raintree Restaurant. It resides in a century-old Victorian building and serves fantastic food. Since we were celebrating Cindy’s special day, we both had the filet, which was heavenly. By the time we were finished with dinner, the heat of the sun had subsided, making for a refreshing mile-long walk back to the marina along the waterfront.
What a great day in St. Augustine!