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October in St. Augustine is Amazing

October in St. Augustine

Nothing says pumpkin spice and everything nice in St. Augustine like cool Autumn months. To be completely honest fall weather in St. Augustine isn’t much different than summer weather; it’s just a tad cooler and the nights are fantastic!!!!

In St. Augustine we always tend to have some sort of fun event or festival but October has some of the best! In October we have a little bit of everything to celebrate. From harvest mazes to Halloween ghost tours. I’ve taken the liberty of sharing my top three October annual events with you here:

  • Origins of Halloween and Haunted Pub Crawl – is available the month of October. If you are into finding ghosts and learning about the history of Halloween with a complimentary cocktail, than this tour is a must for you. The tour takes place in the historic district. You can learn more here.
  • Corn Maze at Sykes and Cooper Farms – Whether you have kiddos or not, this event is pure good old fashion fun. This corn maze changes every year and offers clean honest fun for people of all ages. They have hayrides, viewing of farm animals and games like sack races! To find out more about this local favorite click here.
  • St. Augustine Greek Festival- This festival lasts about a week and varies each year. If you like Greek food and everything Greek then this is a must for you. They have homemade Greek foods to try and items to purchase as well as traditional Greek music and dancing. I have found this festival to be a ton of fun! To see dates click here.

Of course we have more events like the farmers market every Wednesday morning at the St. Augustine pier and various festivals that celebrate children, history, wine, etc. It really depends on what you are used to. Do you want to know what my favorite event of all is in October?

Nightly walks on the beach at Beacher’s Lodge and listening to the peaceful sounds of Crescent Beach. The moon is full, the water is lapping on the beach creating a nighttime lullaby as the cool breeze whisks across your face and tickles your toes. Doesn’t that just sound amazing?

Of course if you come visit St. Augustine in October you know there are plenty of tours, events and venues that have a ghost story or two; but you won’t hear of one here. If you are into strange occurrences or looking to be frightened download the ghost finder app on your phone and just walk around the historic district at night. You will either find it comical or frightening.

Here’s another fun October tip that you will only hear about from a true local. As you know St. Augustine was primarily built by Henry Flagler. What was once the famous Flagler hotel is now home to many college students and is now called Flagler College. Go to the entrance of the college and in the foyer there to the left of the door you will see that one of the small tiles looks like it has an imprint of Mr. Flagler himself. Many thought it was a myth, but it is true! I have seen it with my own eyes.

I hope to see many of your visit us in October so you too can enjoy fall in paradise.

Crescent Beach Warning Flags and What They Mean

Crescent Beach Warning Flags

We have guests from all over the United States come stay with us and many of them don’t know what our beach flags mean. There’s always a sign that explains what they mean but not all notice it. I can’t tell you how many times I am asked what the flag means, and I am always happy to answer as I want all of our guests to stay safe at all times.

When you see double red flags that means the beach is closed to the public. You might be asking why. Most of the time it is because we have a horrible storm out there or an environmental issue that is presumed to be unsafe. Officials only close the beach when absolutely necessary.

One red flag means that the surf is high and or strong currents. Even if you are an excellent swimmer it is still advised to stay out. Rip currents and under toes can take out even the strongest of swimmers. The main people that you will see in the water during a red flag are our local surfers. They never want to miss out on a chance to experience some tubular surf.

The yellow flag. This means moderate surf and/or currents. If you are not a strong swimmer it is advised to enjoy the rays and sand between your toes instead of going for a swim. The water is usually extremely chopping during a yellow flag and the chance of strong currents developing is likely. Again you’ll probably catch a few surfers trying to hang 10 on a yellow flag day.

When you see a green flag that is a great thing. This means the waters are calm and more ideal for taking a dip and enjoying. No matter the color of the beach flag you must always use caution when playing with mother nature.

Purple flag means dangerous marine life. Usually this sign is used the most during peak jellyfish season. Nobody enjoys a jellyfish sting so the flag is used to prevent people from being harmed from various dangerous marine life.

Now you might be asking, “what if I don’t see any beach signs?” The absence of beach flags on Crescent Beach doesn’t mean it is safe or dangerous. It just means that you need to err on the side of caution. If the water is choppy or wind is strong then you will want to treat it as a yellow flag or higher. We must all use caution and keep our wits about us when playing in mother nature’s paradise.

Back to Business as Usual

We are grateful to report that the property is back to business as usual! Visitors are enjoying the pool and beach.  The rooms were basically untouched by the storm.  We will have a roof repair in the upcoming month, still yet to be determined but we encourage coming to enjoy Beacher’s Lodge.  Cable, phones and internet for the property has been restored.  Stay with us and enjoy over 100 restaurants that are ready to welcome you in the St. Augustine area.  Great music festivals and opportunities to enjoy abound, so come visit and show your support for our nations oldest city!

We have Power & the Pool!

Power was restored several days ago and our team is working hard to welcome you back to a restored Beachers Lodge.  As of today, 9/16, our pool is open and ready for enjoyment.  The pool will be open daily from 8am until dusk (half an hour before sunset).  We are still without phones, cable and internet, so we hope that Comcast is working as hard as our team is to get things back up and running.  All calls to our main number 904-471-8849 are being routed to cell phones, so please be patient with us in phone communications.  Currently, the north end elevator is down for repairs, but our south end elevator is working.  We are inviting guest to come back to the beach, with so much going on these past few weeks, it might be just what you need to unplug, step away from the news and enjoy the beauty that’s all around us.

Crescent Beach Mandatory Evacuation

St. Johns County has issued a mandatory evacuation for the barrier island for 6am on Saturday, September 9th.  Our offices will be closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  We will not be able to return to the island until we have been cleared by the county for re-entry.  We hope that will be on Tuesday, but at this point we will just have to wait and see.  This island will be without water and probably without power, so move inland and stay safe!

Currently Without Power & Phones

As of 9/12/17 We are waiting for power to be restored to start welcoming guests back to the property.  Our phones are also down.  Many rooms look like they made it through without any damage.  It may be a while for our pool and property to be back in working order.  You can follow us on facebook for updates, or check back with us when we get the power and phones in working order.  Email any questions to:  reservations@beacherslodge.com

Take a Trip to World Golf Village

World Golf Village

Every now and then Florida experiences a rainy day and I am often asked, “What would you do on a rainy day?” Personally, I like going to World Golf Village. Side note: I’m going to tell you a little Florida secret – we rarely have rainy days, but plenty of sunny showers, so they don’t normally last very long.

So what if you don’t like golfing? That’s ok, it’s still fun! I have a good friend that is not into golfing at all, she’d much rather go fishing in the Matanzas, but likes going to the World Golf Village for a few fun activities for those that would rather fish than golf. Of course if you love golfing, this is a must do while visiting us at Beacher’s Lodge.

The IMAX Theater at the World Golf Hall of Fame is a must for a rainy day!!! Not only is the screen massive but it features 3D projection!!!! 3D experiences are always cool and the kids love it!!! The seating and atmosphere are very comfortable and inviting. I highly recommend you watch a movie here whether you have kiddos or not.

World Golf Hall of Fame is more interesting that you might think. Remember that friend that I told you about that is not an avid golfer, well she loves the section of the hall fame that displays golfers good luck charms! You’d be amazed at what is on display. For instance my favorite part is the Trophy Tower where the display the “Perfect Swing,” an art installation that displays 162 hand-crafted crystals!!! It is truly breathtaking and a sight to be seen!  In addition to being a fan of the “Perfect Swing.” I am a fan of Bob Hope. The tribute to him at World Golf Hall of Fame is something to take note.

While enjoying your day at World Golf Village you have to eat at Caddyshack!!!! Owned by the Murray Bros, as in Bill Murray. The Murray Brothers named the restaurant after Bill Murray’s movie, Caddyshack, and decided that St. Augustine’s World Golf Village was the appropriate place for their first restaurant of many. Bring an appetite as the portions are quite large!

I have told you everything to do there if you are not a huge golf fan. But, if you are a fan of the golfing game, than the possibilities are endless. You could spend hours in the museum or on the golf course. Want to work on your golf game? Then the PGA Tour Academy is just what you are looking for. They have state of the art training programs with some good instructors. They have different levels of packages, from beginners to private bookings. You name it, they thought of a package for it.

In a nutshell World Golf Village is a golfer’s dream come true.

Visit the Ravine Gardens

Ravine Gardens

Have you heard about the latest trend “day trips” for your next vacation? Many guests are talking about it and as we approach our version of fall and winter, many guests ask, “What do you do when it starts to “cool” off? I love the smell of nature, whether it be the ocean, the river or fresh flowers. If you love the outdoors, I highly recommend a day trip to the Ravine Gardens – a state park located in Palatka, a short 40 minute drive from Beacher’s Lodge.

On the way to Ravine Gardens you will notice that you are heading toward the country. This is something most vacationers don’t think about when they think of Florida, but we do have a country side to our beautiful state. The best part of going this time of year is that the weather is cooler and you still see some of the flowers in full bloom. I went once in January and flowers were still in bloom and the weather was perfect. There is an Azalea festival the first weekend in March which is really breathtaking.  

Upon driving up you will see an aisle of fountains and they are beautiful to see. You will often see children running back and forth, getting rid of all their energy. I just love the layout of the stones and listening to the fountains. There are gardens around these fountains with different flowers attracting butterflies from near and far.  Once you have had your fill of the flowers and  fountains, get ready for some hiking, Florida style.

 

Ravine Gardens Fountain

Hiking boots are not required unless you plan on running down the side of the ravine which I have seen some kids do. But no matter how careful you are, or how well made your hiking boots are, you still take a risk of getting hurt as the terrain does slope down into a ravine. I personally wear my flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt for comfort.

Remember it’s still Florida, so be sure to pack plenty of water! There are restrooms near the fountains, so go ahead and stay well hydrated.

One of my favorite spots, which is the same for many of the folks that come here, is of course the swinging bridge. It doesn’t really swing like you might think, but I would still use caution as you cross it. Occasionally you will see some adventurers bouncing on the bridge trying to scare others, but not very often as the area is highly patrolled by our local park rangers and they will get you for misbehaving.

Ravine Gardens Bridge

Be careful when going up the steps to various trails as they are uneven but so much fun to climb!!! However, I wouldn’t recommend running up or down them as they are not even. They do give you a sense of “yesterday’s past” with their worn appearance.

Ravine Gardens Trail Steps

One of my favorite sections of the gardens is a massive area that is full of bamboo. My last trip I was faced with what looks like a giant foot was placed in the middle of all this bamboo. Many of us were mesmerized by it.

If you are a big fan of flowers you will love the blooming azalea bushes. The Ravine Garden is full of them!!!! I can never get enough of them and the pleasant fragrances of all the botanicals in this park.

Ravine Gardens azaleas

If you want to make your adventure complete, I highly recommend packing a picnic and either eating by the stream or at the picnic tables that are located by the fountains. Either way, you will enjoy the soothing sounds of the park and the beauty that surrounds it all.  To get to the Ravine Gardens 1600 Twigg St, Palatka, FL 32177 from the Beacher’s Lodge,  head North on A1A and take a left onto 206. You will stay on 206 until it ends at 207 South. You will turn left onto 207, drive through the town of Hastings (Potato capital of Florida) until you come to 17 North. Take a right onto 17 North.  Next you will see that you are in a little town called Palatka. It’s pretty vacant these days but a pleasure to drive through. Turn left onto N. 3rd Street and continue onto River Street. Take a left on South 15th Street and a right onto Twigg Street. Go slow as you will miss the sign that signals you to take a left for the state park. Remember the first thing you see will be the line up of fountains. Don’t forget there is so much more to see!!!  

How To Survive A Summer Vacation With Extended Family

Summer Vacation - Extended Family

Summer is here and families are ready to hit the road to their summer vacation destination. Now more than ever, many families are spending their summer vacations with extended family. How much of an extended family you might ask? Everything from bringing grandparents to siblings getting back in touch as a group gathering. If you are traveling with extended family this summer, take note of these family vacation survival tips.

Choose a Destination for Everyone

Of course I would suggest Crescent Beach. The there is so much to do at the beach for all ages. You have the ocean to cool off in, the sand to build things in and the pure serenity that the beach gives everyone. The kids have plenty to do at the beach and tend to get worn out for an easy summer bedtime routine. Adults of all ages enjoy the beach simply because of its beauty, as well as the wonder of wildlife that is present. I am a St. Augustine native and I still get excited when I see the dolphins pass by in the early evening.

Choose a Place to Stay That is Family-Friendly

You will want to choose something that is accommodating to your needs. When you are traveling with a large family, you will want to make mealtime easy and not complicated. What do I mean by complicated? Think of how long the wait is when you are trying to seat a party of more than four at any given restaurant? The wait is long unless you go really early or really late, which is not an option when kiddos are involved. This is why many families, extended or not, tend to vacation in a condo. When you stay in a family-friendly condo, you will have either a full-service kitchen or kitchenette that can allow for quick snacks and easy to make meals. Not only does this fit into your schedule, but it also saves you money.

You will also want to consider a place that it is easy on the “family logistics.” What do I mean by that? We love our family and we enjoy their company but you also need your space. Condos are a great choice for “family logistics” in the essence that you can choose units near each other, as well as not be on top of each other when in the unit, unlike hotels, you often don’t get to choose which room and the only privacy you can get is the bathroom.

Schedule Family Breaks

You love your family and truly enjoy their company, but have you ever heard of that saying, “Too much of a good thing?” This is the same for family. To ensure everyone stays on speaking terms during and after the summer vacation, take a few breaks during your stay together. This works out great when family members want to see different things. While some family members may want to see the manatees in the St. Johns River, others may want to go shopping in the historic district of St. Augustine. Set up groups for these separate adventures. In case you don’t want to see separate sightings, perhaps you can choose at least one meal a day that you have on your own. A lot of our guests that travel with extended families tend to have breakfast alone. Nothing will beat the view from your condo for breakfast.  Lunch is usually spent on the beach together with fruit and sandwiches and dinner is a fun cookout in the bbq area.

Breaking Bread Together

There is something about bringing your favorite dishes together to keep the harmony going among family members. Many of our large group guests like to make a dish in their condo’s kitchen and then everyone meets around the grill for the main course. When they each bring something potluck style it not only brings them together but it saves on the cost of everyone going out to eat together.

These are just a few of my survival tips that I have learned over the years while listening to my guests, after all, they know best.

Join The Fun In Crescent Beach Florida

Beacher's Lodge Crescent Beach, FL

You’ve found the perfect beach destination for your vacation, but now what? Many of our guests truly enjoy throwing down a beach towel or their favorite beach chair and enjoying the mystical sites and sounds of the ocean while resting their toes in the sand. But did you know there’s more to do in Crescent Beach than simply enjoying the view?

Collecting Seashells

Collecting seashells on beautiful Crescent Beach never gets old. But did you know you can find more than just seashells. Yesterday a little boy ran up to me with pure excitement in his eyes! He had to tell everyone that he found a baby shark’s tooth. He was overjoyed and wanted everyone to know it. One of my favorite items to find on the beach are sand dollars, but not just any sand dollar, but the big puffy ones, AKA Sea biscuits. These are rare to find in their whole state, so when I find one, I feel like I won the lottery!

Surfing

I personally don’t surf, but I love to watch these athletic artists carve up waves either as a storm is brewing or when the surf is up after we had a storm roll out of town. Here is a special note, if you see the surfers out, it’s usually wise to stay out of the water unless you are a strong swimmer. The surf can get a little choppy and rip tides are favorable.

Just Floating

A few days ago a guest told me that “floating” is the cure to all woes! I had to think about that for a minute and then she explained. She loves to get either her tube or raft and just relax in the water as the waves gently rock her back and forth. She said the sounds of the ocean are better than any relaxation CD you can buy. I have to admit, just floating is very relaxing and everyone should try it now and then. Word of caution, don’t fall asleep and ensure you have a buddy on land that is watching you and making sure your don’t float out too far.

Sandcastles

No matter what your age might be, building anything in the sand is always loads of fun!! You don’t have to be an architect and build an extravagant structure, you can do other fun things in the sand as well. Have you ever just dug a hole in the sand and then jumped in it to see how far you could dig before water came in from the bottom? How about building a tunnel? This was an all time favorite of mine as a child! The best fun in the sand I have seen yet was a grandmother with her three grandchildren buring half of her in the sand. She said they were making her look like a mermaid and the sand became her tail. This overjoyed grandma said it was one of the most fun activities she had done with them in a while.

SUP – Stand Up Paddle Boarding

As a native of beautiful St. Augustine, there is something magical about gliding along the Matanzas River and enjoying the sites. The Matanzas River is on the other side of our little island and is something you should take a moment to see. We have had a few guests ask if this was the bay, and were sometimes shocked to learn it was an actual river. The river offers many things that Crescent Beach does like boating, tubing and yes, SUPing.

Dolphin Sightings

No matter how many times I see the dolphins make their journey either off of Crescent beach or in the Matanzas River, I still get excited to see them. Occasionally you can catch them playing and putting on a small show for you. Their show of acrobatics is a rare sighting, but it does happen!

Skimboarding

The best thing about skimboarding is the fact that you can do this any day of the week and during any time of year. You don’t have to wait for the surf to be up like surfing and boogie boarding, all you need is the board and some skills. I have seen many folks that wipe out and I am sure if I tried I would be one of them as well. Skimboarding is simply getting your skimboard to glide across the water as the water washes up the shore. If you are really good you can do a little trick as the waves crash upon the beach.

These are just a few activities that I, as well as some of our guests, have enjoyed when visiting beautiful Crescent Beach. I hope you have a chance to enjoy some of these adventures as well.