Bird Watching and Nature Photography in St. Augustine

St. Augustine has lovely beaches and some of the best wildlife you can find in Florida. Because of this, every year for 17 years straight people flock to the area for their internationally acclaimed birding and photography festival.
It’s no surprise either. You may only think of dolphins and alligators when you think of Florida. But there is so much more to see. Florida’s ecosystems are filled with wonderful species to identify and learn about.
Walking trails and bird watching areas are a few of the many great things to do here in town. There you can find some of St. Augustine’s many eye-catching species.
Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest is at the perfect time of year. Florida is already known for being sunny and warm and St. Augustine is no exception. Florida’s great weather makes it the place to be for everyone – young and old. So if you are an adventurer and being outdoors is your thing, this event is for you.

Get the Skinny on Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest

Starting on April 24th through the 28th, 2019
Headquartered at Celebration Hall at St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 5205 A1A South in St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080

Come and experience a day (or the whole week!) of bird watching and photography. This event is full of workshops, outside tours, kayaking and more. There will be over 110 scheduled activities for you to partake in.

Alligator Farm Events

The famous Alligator Farm is hosting before and after hours photography sessions for those who want to get pictures of the birds without all the foot traffic. With these passes you get the rare chance to be near these birds and have enough space to put your equipment. You can choose to come in one hour before opening at 8am or one hour after closing at 6pm.

Photography Contests

Are you craving a little competition? There is a Young Birder’s contest for the kids, and a seperate contest for the adults. Every year more and more world renowned photographers show up! That isn’t to say the atmosphere is not friendly and welcome to amateurs – the photo contest is open to all. Speakers will be present every day to give tips, advice, and support to those who need it.
The opening reception speaker Joe Brady is a full time photographer, educator, and author who shares his take on how to create the best photograph. There is a plethora of chances to hear from professionals with interesting and educational messages. They can help you learn how to take your photography to the next level.

Follow the Festival!

Are you a social media lover? The festival has created it’s own hashtag: #floridasphotofest. Take a peek at the photos from last year. This will give you a great insight into all the wonder visuals that await you. Or take a look at last year’s video gallery and watch the birds come to life!
Let St. Augustine’s beautiful scenes teach you and your family to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Get your tickets now, prices may vary the closer we get to the festival. Go and visit here to see what is available. You don’t want to miss it!

Pirate movies have made pirates look so cool. But were real pirates like Jack Sparrow, swaggering and charming? Pirates have been around in one form or another for hundreds of years, and in the 18th century there was a spike on piracy. This is why it was known as the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’.

St. Augustine has been threatened by pirates since its birth in 1565, when Pedro Menendez de Aviles came to the shores of St. Augustine and made it a colony. At the time the Spanish were in power but the English and French wanted to take the area for themselves.

The Spanish knew of the dangers lurking across the seas, so they build a fort. The Castillo de San Marcos was constructed between 1672 and 1695 and it protected St. Augustine’s Spanish residents from attacks and even from hurricanes.

As you can imagine, the Spanish were not fond of pirates and executed them whenever possible. St. Augustine became incredibly important for trading because of its connection to the Gulf of Mexico. It was easy to travel to in comparison to going through the coast and risk losing  goods due to unpredictable weather patterns. As trade became a huge part of life in St. Augustin, so did the threat of pirates. To counteract some of these threats, the Spanish were known to hire pirates themselves to fight off enemies!

Do you want to know more about Pirates and how St. Augustine dealt with them? Here are a few places to come and experience their history!

The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum

Located at: 12 S Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Fl 32084

Hours: Daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum has a wonderful outdoor courtyard overlooking the Matanza River and the Castillo de San Marcos. With Educational tours, group tours, and a treasure shop, it’s an exciting trip back into the 1800’s!

The Pirate Ship Black Raven

Located at: 111 Avenida Menendez St, St Augustine Fl 32084

Hours: Daily from 8:00 am- 6:00 pm (weather could affect the hours)

Come aboard the Black Raven Pirate Ship, at the Municipal Marina in Downtown St. Augustine. This tour offers a variety of packages, from birthday parties, to late night adult cruises! Cupcakes, souvenirs, and beverages (alcoholic and non) are available on their on-board gift shop. With a treasure hunt and a rum runner, adults and children alike will have plenty of entertainment. You just have to come and experience it for yourself!

Colonial Quarters

Located at: 43 St. George St, St. Augustine, Fl 32084

Hours: Daily Tour 10:30 pm, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and self guided tours Monday- Friday 10:30 am- 5:00 pm

Explore the 18th century in Colonial Quarters! It’s a journey into the past history of St. Augustine. Walk through the boardwalk, marvel at all of the flags, and experience a live musket demonstration. This demonstration will show you how residents fought off the invading pirates!

Castillo de San Marcos

Located at: 1 S Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, Fl 32084

Hours: Monday- Sunday 8:45 am- 5:15 pm

The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the United State. It sits on the Western shores of the Matanza River. Come to experience over 340 years of history and see where the Spanish fought and conquered pirates. Standing on it’s limestone floors, looking out at the water, you could easily imagine pirates coming over the horizon on their ships!

There is much to see and experience in St. Augustine. It’s a place with a rich history, so come and see what the city can teach you and your family about the pirate life!

We are scheduled for needed repairs for the beach end of our property board walk.  We will have to close the boardwalk for these repairs on Wednesday, 2/13.  It is estimated that it will take 1 – 2 days to finish, so it is likely the boardwalk will also be closed on Thursday the 14th.  There will still be access to the beach during this time, we will redirect visitors to the the public beach access adjacent to our property and can be accessed by way of the path between the conference room and front office.  Click here for a map to reference for  Our Beach Boardwalk Closure Info .
In preparation for this project, WATER WILL BE SHUT OFF TO THE SOUTH END OF THE PROPERTY ON TUESDAY, 2/12.  This interruption in the water supply is ONLY going to effect Condos in the 01-07 stacks.  The interruption is estimated at 3 hours and will begin around 10am.

There are a few new rules at Beacher’s Lodge

Our guests are our priority. In order to guarantee a pleasant stay at Beacher’s Lodge for everyone, we are sometimes required to implement regulations. Let’s work together to make sure Beacher’s Lodge remains the beach paradise it is!

Pool Regulations

Our pool is currently under renovation but will open again soon.

  • Once renovation is complete, the pool will be open from 8am until 30 minutes before sunset.
  • We know many of our guests have enjoyed night swimming in the past, so we are working with an engineer to see what lighting can be implemented to accommodate night swimming while still being safe for our turtle-friendly environment. It’s our utmost priority to keep our wildlife safe for generations to come.

Please be patient while we spend time making our pool area the fun, safe area we know you all enjoy.

Pet Regulations

Beacher’s Lodge is one of the few vacation condominiums that allows your furry friends to stay. We would love to keep it that way.

  • As a reminder, Beacher’s Lodge allows a maximum of 2 pets per unit.
  • If any pets are found to be disruptive, even in the owner’s absence, the owners will be required to correct the situation – even if it means returning to the unit to do so.
  • Nobody likes stepping in a mess left by a pet. Out of respect for your neighbors, please kindly clean up after your pets.
  • Our property has one designated outdoor pet area, and it is behind the conference room. Please note that the grassy area in front of the first-floor patios is not a designated pet-walking area.

We love having Fido over to visit with us, and we know it’s important to you, our guests, to be able to bring them along. We want to make sure everyone’s stay is comfortable, relaxing, and memorable. Please help us by following these rules.

Smoking Regulations

We want our guests to have a safe and clean environment in which to enjoy their vacations.

  • In order to ensure that, the property has just passed a policy stating there is no smoking allowed on balconies, walkways, or in the pool area.
  • We do offer a designated smoking area right next to the pet-walking area behind the conference room.

Some of our guests are very sensitive to cigarette smoke, so please help us make their stay just as enjoyable as yours. As we all share Beacher’s Lodge outdoor space, it’s imperative that we keep smoking in the designated areas.

We would like to thank all our guests for their cooperation in adhering to our new policies. Here at Beacher’s Lodge, we pride ourselves in making everyone’s stay one to remember. If you have any questions regarding the new policies, please let us know and we would be more than happy to assist you.

St. Augustine is full of great places to visit, play, and shop. Rich in history, it’s one of the most beautiful places to come for vacation. As you come and get to know the town, you can take advantage of all the interesting shops and get a unique gift for your loved ones this holiday season. Shopping in St. Augustine is a fun experience! Supporting these shops will help them grow, so they can continue serving the city and supporting our local tourism. Here are some of the places to find unusual and delightful items for everyone on your list:

For the Foodie Friend

Whetstone Chocolates of St. Augustine

Located by 139 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Hours: Open 7 days, Sun – Thu: 10:00am – 8:00pm, Fri – Sat: 10:00am – 10:00pm

The Whetstone’s Chocolate founders are Florida natives and lifelong residents of Northeast Florida. Family run, they enjoy chocolate and ice cream like no one else and they’ve made it their mission to serve the best. They saw the need and a demand for ice cream in the area and were more than happy to become part of the community. Esther opened their small ice cream store on St. George Street in the historic business district of St. Augustine in 1966. Many years later their store has become a local staple for sweet treats.

For The Art & Jewelry Lover

Churchill & Lacroix, Antiquaire

Located: 75 King Street, Suite 121, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Sun – Sat 11:00am- 5:00pm

Churchill & Lacroix specializes in works of art, china, and jewelry. Churchill offers the largest inventory of fine estate jewelry in the St. Augustine area. Customers can come and browse through the store and find antiques, porcelain, and paintings. You can also find fine crystal from Baccarat and Steuben, plus fine silver! The assortment of items available includes everything from antique clocks, lithographs, and fine art.

Rembrandtz

Located at 131 King street in St Augustine

Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 am to 5:00pm

This mom and pop shop has been around for 20 plus years. They sell unique handmade stained glass, mosaic pieces, and jewelry. They offer monthly exhibitions which highlights a variety of crafted pieces from different local artist. They also offer lessons for the public on how to make their own mosaic art! If you are looking to gift a unique and artsy item, come check them out.

Sunburst Trading Co

Sunburst Trading Co was founded by Michael and Pam Pounds in 1979. Their mission has been to sell fine accessories and jewelry to the St. Augustine public. They have two local businesses in the area, the Shell Shop and the Around the World Marketplace.

For The Beach Bum

Shell Shop

Located at 148 Saint George Street Saint Augustine 32084

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 7pm  Friday – Saturday: 9am – 9pm Sunday: 10am – 7pm

You can’t forget the ocean when you’re shopping in St. Augustine! This shop is your complete shell and coral provider! They offer coral, shells (large, small, and every size in-between!) and sea-life. They also have specimen shells and megalodon fossil shark teeth! They carry a complete line of shell and coral jewelry so you can give the gift of the ocean for those not able to come and visit themselves.

For The Old Soul In The Group

Painted Lady

Located at 72 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Sun: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm  Tue – Fri: 11:00 am – 5:30 pm Sat: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

This great boutique offers found items for the home, including hand-painted furniture, distressed decor, and vintage items. Find dressers, dining room tables and chairs, lamps, mirrors, and so much more! Each piece has an artistic flair, and will make a pretty addition to any household!

The Way We Were Vintage Boutique

Located at 74 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Sun: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm  Thu: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

The Way We Were Vintage Boutique offers a wide collection of vintage items, clothing, accessories, and more. They offer decorative hats for men and women as well as crushed velvet coats, rings, bracelets and more. They specialize in clothing from the 70s and 90s, though some of their non-clothing items are older than that. This boutique offers antiques and other hard-to-find items to visitors.

Eclectica Vintiques

Located at 317 State Road 16, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tue – Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

A vintage antique shop with home decor, art, cultural oddities and more. They offer stained glass art, collectibles, and religious icons. There is also an assortment of dishware and custom or vintage signs. Eclectica Vintiques is not your normal vintage shop. It also offers repairs and refurbishments. So even if you are not shopping, trading, or selling interesting finds to them, they’re still available for furniture repairs, neon sign repairs, and stained glass repairs. Vintage candy and soda are available for sale and makes the perfect stocking stuffer!

For The Scholar Or Cultural Attache’

Spanish Main Antiques

Located at 1080 N Ponce De Leon Blvd, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Tue – Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

St. Augustine’s largest selection of shipwreck and treasure coins can be found at Spanish Main Antiques. With a wide variety of unique items and friendly knowledgeable staff, it’s almost like shopping at a museum!

Around the World Marketplace

Located at 21 Orange Street, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm  Friday & Saturday: 10am – 7pm Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Around the World Marketplace in St. Augustine is the place be to buy the perfect conversation piece. This shop has amazing works of art, gifts, souvenirs, and house decor items from around the world. Here you can browse their wide variety of products to find that perfect something. They offer artwork, pottery, furniture, and more!

No matter if your friends and loved ones are hard to shop for, there’s something for everyone shopping in St. Augustine! These shops are the perfect spot to find that something special for that someone special.  Enjoy a shopping experience that will give back to the giver, bring a friend and make the most of your time shopping here in America’s oldest city.

December is usually associated with snow – white Christmases, ski trips, and snowball fights. Here in St. Augustine’s Winter, the only white you will see is the millions of tiny lights downtown and our pure, sandy beaches! St. Augustine has lots to offer in the winter and you’ll find that the holiday spirit doesn’t only belong to the snowy North!

Here are some of the fun events we have going on here in America’s oldest city:

Peter White’s Christmas

When: December 11 at 8:00pm

Doors at 7:00pm / Show 8:00pm

Where:Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 A1A North Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

Starring Smooth jazz guitarist Peter White, trumpet maestro Rick Braun, and saxophone journeyman Euge Groove, check out Peter White’s Christmas! Come to the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Tuesday, December 11th to get in on the fun. This annual concert has packed fans into halls and arenas coast-to-coast year after year.

Peter White is an extraordinary and fluent acoustic guitarist whose skills are world-renowned. Over the years, he has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, White combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience.

Rick Braun is a masterful trumpet/flugelhorn player whose warm tones transform the simplest melody into a work of art. Steven Eugene Grove, better known as Euge Groove, is a smooth jazz saxophonist with a strong Top-40 background. They have each separately sold millions of records and their combined fans will surely appreciate this special performance of Christmas Chestnuts!

Visit the Ponte Vedra concert Hall for more information and to purchase or reserve your seating tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at their box office and at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre box office. Prices may vary.

Apex Theatre Studio Presents: A Christmas Story

When:

Friday, December 14 — Doors Open 6:30pm / Show 7:00pm Saturday

December 15 Matinee — Doors Open 1:30pm / Show 2:00pm Saturday

December 15 — Doors Open 6:30pm / Show 7:00pm  

Where: Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

Cost: $25.00

Celebrate the holidays with a comedic twist when Apex Theatre Studio presents “A Christmas Story”, a full-length comedy based on the beloved film. The production is under the direction of Ian Mairs, managing director of Apex Theatre Studio and features a combination of faculty, students, and guest artists from the Northeast Florida area. Humorist Jean Sheperd’s memoir of growing up in the midwest of the 1940s follows Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas.

All the elements from the classic motion picture are here: the exploding furnace, the school bully, the boys experiment with a wet tongue on a lamp post and the infamous leg lamp. You don’t have to have grown up with 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his ache for an air rifle under the tree to think of ‘A Christmas Story’ as a Christmas must. And this version is just as kindly and just as hilarious as ‘A Christmas Story’ is meant to be.

Visit the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall website for additional information and to purchase your Reserved Seating tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at their box office and at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre box office.

Holiday Faire at the Colonial Quarter

When: December 14 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Where: Colonial Oak Music Park, 21 St George St. Augustine, FL 32084

Cost: Free Event!

The Gamble Rogers Music Festival is sponsoring a Holiday Faire at the Colonial Quarter. Join us at the Colonial Oak Music Park for live holiday music, caroling, crafts, & gifts! The holiday craft & gift market will have handmade gifts for all your last minute shopping needs. Stay warm and cozy by the fire pits while enjoying the Nights of Lights. Food, drinks, baked goods, hot cocoa, and s’mores will be available for purchase.

Turning Point at Calvary Presents: The Light of Christmas

When: December 14- 16, 17- 25, 2018

Where: 3500 State Rd. 16 St. Augustine, Florida 32092.

Cost: Free Event

Turning Point at Calvary Baptist invites you to come and enjoy their Christmas display of lights. This event allows you to drive in through the light display and be dazzled. The Festival of Light offers you a variety of light displays, from your traditional Christmas lights, to the nativity scene, and more. Come and enjoy music and flashing lights!

Brunch with Santa 2018

When: Sunday, December 16, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m

Where: TPC Sawgrass is located at 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, 32082.

Cost: Price for the brunch event is $55 for adults and $22 for kids ages 5 – 11

The whole family can enjoy a delicious brunch at this special holiday event, and the kids get a chance to visit with Santa and make sure their Christmas wishlist is on record.

Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tours

When: December 22 – January 5@ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Villa Zorayda Museum 83 King Street

St. Augustine, FL 32084

Cost: Tour with Refreshments: Adults  $19.99 / Children ages 7-12 $9.00    Tour without Refreshments: Adults — $17.00 / Children ages 7-12  $8.00

Villa Zorayda’s 9th Annual Candlelight Tours of the Museum are offered on select evenings during St. Augustine’s “Nights of Lights” celebration. The Zorayda is beautifully decorated for the holidays with a spectacular Christmas tree decorated in the colors of the Zorayda, red and gold, located center stage in the Court of Lions. Over 100 candles are aglow throughout the museum as the docents lead you on your tour of this historic former home.

Candlelight Tours typically last about 1.5 hours and include an in depth overview of the history of the Villa Zorayda, its previous owners, and the art and antique collection inside. Come early and enjoy refreshments of homemade Christmas cookies and punch, included with select Candlelight Tour dates. Refreshments include homemade Christmas cookies and punch.

Limelights Theater: Foxfire

When: November 30 to December 23, 2018. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Where: The Limelight Theater is located at 11 Old Mission Ave. in the Uptown San Marco district. Free parking is available on the street and in the parking lot behind the theater.

Cost: admission tickets are $26

Foxfire, written by Susan Cooper, with music by Jonathan Brielle, tells the story of a 79-year-old widow Annie Nations, in Southern Appalachia. Annie Nations lives on her mountain farm all alone, but only if you don’t count the ghost of her husband Hector. Their relationship drives the action of the play, as Annie is forced to deal with a ruthless real estate developer who wants to purchase her land and the return of her adult son, a country singer who is now responsible for his two children after his wife ran away. The play pays tribute to the resiliency and spirit of hardworking country folk.

This production is directed by Harolyn Sharpe, with Shelli Long as music director. The cast includes Meganne Johnson as Annie, Brian Johnson as Dillard, Rich Nowell as Hector, Carrington Tate as Prince, Elizabeth Gerhardt as Holly, and Ron Price as the doctor. Visit the website to purchase tickets online.

St. Augustine Film Festival

When: Thursday to Sunday, January 17- 20, 2019

Where: Several Locations in the Historic District

Cost: Prices may vary

The St. Augustine Film Festival will be hosting films from all different countries – shown at all three theaters in the Historic District Area: Lewis Auditorium, the Gamache-Koger Theater at Flagler College, and at all three viewing rooms of the Corazon Cinema and Cafe.

*More information will be available as the event day nears.

For more information please call: (904) 461-3993.

Come and enjoy all the events St. Augustine’s Winter has to offer, from history to holiday fun. Make a new winter tradition by visiting the oldest city in America – you will never want to leave!

Christmas in St. Augustine

Ah, the holidays! Whether you are in snowy paradise or on sandy beaches, the spirit of the holidays is still the same. Some people might believe that the snow and cold weather makes it the holiday season. But St. Augustine has proven for many years that the holiday spirit is still the same here, whether there is snow or not! With a wonderful display of light and magic that bring the city to life, there’s plenty of festivities to enjoy! But how did these traditions begin?

Let us take a look into the past, to see how tradition has changed or improved throughout the ages. The Minorcan’s came to the new world from the Mediterranean and embarked on a journey to North East Florida. This was one of the largest groups of European immigrants to settle in the New World. More than 25,000 descendants of these Minorcans still live here in the area. They celebrated their holiday by lighting and putting a white candle on the windows of their houses to guide Mary and Joseph to their homes and let them know they are welcomed. As the time and modern technology advanced, the city of St. Augustine continued the traditional white light display.

Night of Lights 2018- 19

  • Nov 2018- Feb 3, 2019 at Plaza de la Constitución

The night of lights festival turns the City of St Augustine into a dazzling holiday display.

The 25th Annual Night of Lights, lights up the city with about three million lights, adorned in every corner of the historic district for two months!  

This award-winning holiday light display runs from November, 2018, to February 3, 2019, in historic St. Augustine. During the seasonal display, businesses downtown stay open later, letting you dine in view of the lights and browse the shops of the decorated buildings.

The trains and trolleys offer special seasonal tours that take you through the best areas, and there are also a variety of specialty tours. Everything from walking tours, to horse-and-carriage tours, and even tours to see the lights from the water and the air!

Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights Tour

  • Nightly Tours – Visitor Information Center

Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights Tour is an excellent way to see St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. Now the lights are electric and not traditional candles, but they remain white, and they are dazzling to see as they decorate the wonderful old buildings, historic homes and bayfront vistas in the nation’s oldest city. National Geographic magazine included St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights in its recent list of the ten best places in the world to see holiday lighting displays.

The 25th Annual Nights of Lights begins on the evening of Saturday, November 17, 2018, when the Mayor turns on the lights in the annual Lighting Ceremony. On the following evening (Sunday, November 18), the Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights Tour will begin touring visitors around the historic district to see the best of the Nights of Lights displays.

The trolley tours depart from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. continuously every night of the holiday season from November 18, 2018, through February 3, 2019. No reservations are required. The tour departs from the Visitor Information Center at 10 West Castillo Drive. (See below for other parking locations that offer free shuttles to the Visitor Information Center.)

General admission tickets are $13.99 for adults and $5.99 for children 3 – 12, while kids under 3 are free. No reservations are required or accepted for general admission seating.

This year, Old Town Trolleys is offering a Fast Track Pass for their Nights of Lights Tour. With this ticket includes:

  • A separate line with a shorter wait time.
  • Ability to pre-select a reserved check-in time.
  • Priority check-in that is valid up to one hour following your reserved time.

The cost is $16.99 for adults and $8.99 for children 3 – 12, with kids under 3 riding free. The Fast Track Pass does require reservations, which may be rescheduled up to 24 hours in advance of tour time by calling (904) 826-3663. To purchase tickets online and to make reservations for the Fast Track Pass, visit here.

The Tasting Tours – Night of Lights

  • November 2018- February 3, 2019 at The Tasting Tours

See St. Augustine’s Night of Lights from horse-drawn carriage or an old fashioned roadster with The Tasting Tour.

The Tasting Tours offers three holiday tours during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights celebration, beginning on Saturday, November 17, 2018, and continuing nightly through February 3, 2019.

Their Wine and Carriage Ride Tours are a wonderful way to experience this world-renowned festival of lights in the nation’s oldest city. Guests can experience the festival lights on the horse-drawn carriage and enjoy some excellent wine and great company on these 45-minute tours. There are two versions of the Wine and Carriage Ride Tours available each night: a group tour for up to 12 people and a private tour for 2 – 4 people. Both tours include a bottle of wine (red or white) and souvenir glasses.

Additionally, The Tasting Tours offers a nightly Rockin’ Red Roadster Ride. This is a family-friendly 45-minute tour that does not include wine, but features great holiday music and lots of Christmas cheer.

Admission: $49 per person (21 years and up) for the Group Wine and Carriage Ride. The Private Wine and Carriage Ride is $159 per couple (can accommodate up to 4 guests for an additional $35 per guest). $25 per adult and $15 per child under 12 for the Rockin’ Red Roadster Ride (with option to book private roadster tour of up to 7 people for $135). Tours depart from 47 Cordova Street.

Please call (904) 325-3911 or visit here to check availability and book a tour.

The Nutcracker Ballet 2018

  • Sat. & Sun., Dec. 22 & 23, 2018 | 1:30 & 7 p.m. each day at the Lewis Auditorium

The St. Augustine Ballet presents their annual production of the holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” with four performances over two days.

The St. Augustine Ballet performs The Nutcracker every holiday season at Flagler College Lewis Auditorium. This year, there will be four performances over two days: at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 22 and 23, 2018.

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a traditional performance to see during the holidays, and one of the most loved Christmas stories based on E.T. A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The St. Augustine Ballet production is directed by Artistic Director Luis Abella. The St. Augustine Ballet offers performance opportunities to ballet dancers from the St. Johns area and surrounding locations. The company brings in professional dancers to perform in the two large shows they produce each year, including The Nutcracker. The St. Augustine Ballet is a nonprofit performing arts organization founded in 2010.

Admission: Prices range from $20 to $30 for adults, children, and seniors, depending on seating. Visit here to view options and purchase tickets.

Call (904) 824-1746 for additional details.

Old Wooden School House- A Traditional Menorcan Christmas

November 17, 2018 – February 3, 2019 at Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

Visit the oldest schoolhouse in St Augustine and experience a traditional Menorcan Christmas.

The Oldest Wooden SchoolHouse, located in the old Menorcan quarter of historic St. Augustine, presents a traditional Menorcan Christmas display this year.

The museum and garden will be lit up with the white lights of the Nights of Lights, a tradition that stems from the white candles used during the holidays in Colonial times. Inside the School House, Menorcan decorations and a fully decked-out Christmas tree will set the stage for visitors to experience what it was like to celebrate Christmas in the late 1700s in St. Augustine.

Admission: $5.00 for adults; $4.00 for children ages 6 – 12; kids under 6 are free.

For more information, call (904) 824-0192

No matter where you come from, you will enjoy Florida’s holiday celebrations, without the inconvenience of snow storms but with the same holiday spirit that makes the holidays festive and enjoyable.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s beloved here in America. But, How did it all get started? Who brought it into this land? How much has it changed throughout the years?

First Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated by many for as long as we can remember. Getting the perfect turkey and putting it in the oven as you watch the Macy’s Day Parade, playing football while you wait for everything to be done, and then sitting at the table with your family enjoying good times and good food is what it’s all about.

But how did this tradition get started? By whom? According to historians, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October, 1621. It was celebrated by the pilgrims after their first successful corn harvest in the New World. Their guest, the Wampanoag Tribe, also shared food with them. This is what the history books teach school age children.

The Real First Thanksgiving

Let us rewind 66 years before this event, on September 8 1565. Spanish explorers landed in what was deemed the ‘New World’. Don Pedro Menendez Aviles landed in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. The Spanish Colonists were in celebration mode after traversing the dangerous seas and making it out unscathed. Their arrival fell on the Catholic holiday of “The Birth Of the Virgin Mary”, which added to the celebratory air of the day.  The Native Tribe of the Timucua were invited to this event (sounds similar to the traditional Thanksgiving story, doesn’t it?).

This Thanksgiving feast did not have a turkey as part of the menu. In fact, they had the food the Spanish brought on their ships. They made a stew containing beans and salted pork from what we can gather.  The record does not show if the natives brought any items but if they did, it most like was vegetables, seafood and possibly even had gator meat! Check out more of the story here.

There’s a lot of history here in St. Augustine. The rich heritage of this city continues to surprise and captivate visitors and locals alike. Let us see how we honor that heritage and look at what there is to do this Thanksgiving around town.

Thanksgiving in St. Augustine

4th Annual Turkey Run 5K

Want to start the holidays off healthy? Join an early morning Thanksgiving day run to get the family out and running before the big feast! The 4th Annual Turkey Run 5K will take place in World Golf Village just north of St. Augustine. The course will take runners along World Commerce Parkway. The registration fee for the 5K varies depending on the time ordered. On the day of the race, registration will be payable in cash or check only. Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 7:35 a.m.

  • Perks: All runners will be given a unique long-sleeve T-shirt, a custom medal, and post-race refreshments including fruit and cranberry sparklers.  Kids will receive a short sleeve shirt. Shirts and medals only guaranteed by Thursday, November 15.
  • Awards: Massage gift certificates will be given to Top Overall Male and Female finishers and the Top Overall Masters. The top three runners in the following age groups will receive awards: 9 and under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80 and over.

World Golf Village is located at 500 S Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, FL, 32092. For more information on this event, visit the website or call Ultimate Racing at (904) 710-2458.

St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival 2018

Don’t miss the 53rd Annual St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival, a premier outdoor art fair that is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition attracting thousands of visitors, art collectors, and savvy shoppers. It features over 150 top national and regional artists exhibiting paintings, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, glassware, fiber art, photography, mixed media, and more! This is a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping started!  The event also includes live music, food and beverages, a kids art zone, and a historic village featuring the Textile Arts Guild of St. Augustine.

Times:

  • Saturday, November 24 — 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Sunday, November 25 — 10:00am-4:30pm

A $2 entry donation entitles visitors to free tickets for a drawing for entry into select area attractions or specialty gifts.  All day parking is available in the Historic Parking Garage. There will be a free park & ride shuttle service on Saturday that starts at 1pm from the St. Johns County Health Department and San Marco Avenue, north of town.

Check out the event website for more details or call the Art Association at 904-824-2310.

Night of Pints

You may have heard of the Night of Lights, but have you tried the Nights of Pints? This event is a bar-hopping special offered by four local St. Augustine breweries during the Nights of Lights season 2018-19. Participants can enjoy a seasonal pint on the house at any time between November 17, 2018, and February 3, 2019, from any of these four breweries:

  • Ancient City Brewing Downtown Taproom, 18 Cathedral Place
  • Bog Brewing Company, 218 W King Street
  • Dog Rose Brewing, 77 Bridge Street
  • Old Coast Ales, 300 Anastasia Boulevard

For $30, participants receive a commemorative T-shirt and a passport that entitles them to a free pint at the four local breweries above at any time during the Nights of Lights event.

Dining out on Thanksgiving? Here’s a list to help vacationers find local places in St. Augustine that offer Thanksgiving meals with all the good food you get on Thanksgiving and a few extras. Choose from traditional sit-down meals, buffets, and special menus.

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving

Maybe you are visiting and staying at a resort on the beach and don’t have the resources available – or maybe you just want to avoid cooking for hours straight – but it’s nice to know where you can get a warm meal with the family this Thanksgiving. Luckily, St. Augustine has some great restaurants open this turkey day! Here’s some to check out:

 

Restaurant                   Phone  Hours Information

La Pentola (904) 824-3282 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Traditional plated dinner and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.
Reef Restaurant (904) 824-8008 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Brunch buffet. Reservations strongly suggested.
Raintree Restaurant (904) 824-7211 12 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Traditional plated dinner and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.
Old City House Inn Restaurant (904) 826-0113 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Traditional meal and limited menu items available. Call for reservations.
Costa Brava (904) 810-6810 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Breakfast buffet and brunch, then Thanksgiving dinner station starting later. Adults $69, Kids $25. Call for reservations.
Columbia Restaurant (904) 824-3341 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Traditional plated dinner and menu items available. Call for details and reservations.
O.C. White’s (904) 824-0808 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Traditional meal. Call for details and reservations.
Aviles Restaurant (904) 829-2277 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. & 6 p.m. Holiday buffet. Call for details and reservations.
TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse (904) 273-3238 12 – 7 p.m. Thanksgiving buffet featuring traditional favorites. Call for reservations. $78 for adults, $39 for children. Kids 5 – 11 are free.
Athena Greek Restaurant (904) 823-9076 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Holiday menu with Greek specials. Call for details and reservations.
Georgie’s Diner (904) 819-9006 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Holiday specials along with regular menu. Call for details and reservations.
Aunt Kate’s (904) 829-1105 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Traditional plated dinner available. Call for details and reservations.
Le Pavilion (904) 824-6202 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Call for details and reservations.
Gypsy Cab Co. (904) 824-8244 1 – 8 p.m. Holiday menu. Call for details and reservations. Walk ins are welcome.
Zaharias Restaurant (904) 471-4799 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Special Thanksgiving menu. Walk-ins welcome, no reservations.
La Cocina at Castillo Real (904) 461-8288 12 – 7 p.m. 4-course holiday meal. Call for details and reservations.
Oak Room (904) 825-1923 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Complete holiday meal. Reservations recommended.
The Conch House (904) 829- 8646 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Special Thanksgiving meal in addition to regular menu.
Casablanca Inn (904) 638-7104 7:30 a.m. – 12 a.m. Regular brunch food menu at Restaurant Brunchfrom 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tini Martini Bar open from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m. for cocktails.
Villagio Grille at Renaissance Resort (904) 940-8696 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day Buffet. Call for reservations.
Barley Republic (904) 547-2023 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. Limited Holiday Menu. No reservations accepted or needed. Walk-ins only.
Romeo’s Italiano Cafe (904) 679-4785 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Regular menu with holiday specials. Walk-ins welcome.
Sangrias (904) 827-1947 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. Regular Menu

For details or more information contact the restaurants.

You can enjoy these events and more through the season. Just come out to good old St. Augustine! As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, remember that Thanksgiving meals have changed through the ages.  As the years go by and more people come to Florida from all different walks of life, they add new food items and new traditions. But Thanksgiving remains the same in spirit.

We are so happy the north end elevator is back in service as of 11/13/18.

Trick or treat and Happy Halloween! October is here and with it you will find a variety of fun reasons to be out and about. One of the best places to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve in particular is America’s oldest city, St. Augustine Florida. Full of history, it’s the perfect scene for all activities involving haunting and mystery.  Let us journey into this legendary city to find some thrills and chills, with some fall family festivities .

The Haunted Barn

Location:

Rype and Readi Downtown Farmer’s Market

115 La Quinta Place, St Augustine, FL

Dates and time:

Fridays and Saturdays from October 5 – 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 9:30pm

If you and your 13+ year old are looking for a haunted and challenging adventure, come on and check out the haunted barn. It has a creepy cemetery full of scare jumps (don’t worry; the people doing the scaring will not touch you). So pay them a visit to see what kind of scary stuff they have up their farmer’s sleeve.  

Don’t have teens? At the same location, they also host a “Not so scary night” for kids 12 and under. This event will take place on Friday, October 19th and Sunday, October 28th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Come let your younglings see the barn without jump scares, and instead enjoy the trick or treating. They will be serving food and treats for your little monsters as well!

Admission price: $5 plus 2 cans of food

The Haunted Barn is also hosting a canned food drive fundraiser for the benefit of local charities. Not only will you be getting spooked, you will also be helping the community. Every night they collect goods for different charities.  If you happen to forget your cans of food you don’t have to worry, as they have a store for you to purchase some.

For all of you eager beavers out there who don’t feel like waiting in line, you can purchase your tickets prior to the event.  Visit their website here for more information and go have some fun with your crew while helping the community!

Scarecrow Building Contest

Location: Ryde and Readi Downtown Farm Market, 115 La Quinta place, St Augustine, FL

The Rype & Readi Downtown Farmer’s Market is not only doing haunted barn, it is also hosting scarecrow building sessions at the Downtown Market on Saturdays and Sundays from September 22 through October 14, 2018. This activity will require reservations for the building sessions, so make sure to sign up for it as soon as possible. Registration will take place from:

9:30am to 12:30pm on these dates:

September 22, 23, 29 and 30 and October 6, 7, 13 and 14, 2018.

Rype & Readi will provide a pole, clothes, straw, tools and fasteners for participants to embellish their scarecrow with. You can bring your own add-ons to create a unique scarecrow!

This opportunity is open to civic organizations, school groups, sport teams, and anyone who’d like to flex their creative talents.  Photos of all the scarecrows will be posted on Rype & Readi’s Facebook page and website, where visitors can vote on their favorites. Votes will be tallied on Tuesday, October 30, and prizes will be awarded to the best in these categories:

  • Best in Show
  • Most Creative
  • Scariest
  • Most kid friendly
  • Funniest
  • Rype & Readi Staff Pick

Don’t forget the admissions fee of $10.00 with reservation, as it’s required to participate. For more info and dates to pick from, take a look here.

Pumpkin Patches

Want to find a good pumpkin to carve this year? Check out all the pumpkin patches in the St. Augustine area.  There are plenty of activities for the whole family! There are children’s activities, plenty of food to try, and of course hayrides! There is a number of locations to get a pumpkin to carve, decorate, or donate to someone else. Here are some of them listed below:

Sykes & Cooper Farm

Location: 5995 Brough Rd. Elkton FL 32033, (904) 692-1370  

Sykes and Cooper Farm hosts its annual challenging and unique Corn Maze. The farm will also have hayrides, duck races, a kids area, and a tube slide. That sounds like a lot of fun! They may have that perfect pumpkin you are looking for.

First United Methodist Church

Location: 118 King Street, St. Augustine Fl 32084, (904) 829-3459

Every year, The First United Methodist Church hosts their pumpkin patch sale beginning on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 10:00am to 7:00pm. The church has pumpkins of all prices and sizes. In addition, at the end of October they will be holding a special “Trunk or Treat” at the church from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. For those who don’t know what a ‘trunk or treat’ is, it’s a sponsored event by the community of churches to provide a safe way for children to trick or treat. People will gather and park their cars in a parking lot, open their trunks, decorate them in fun ways and give out candy to all the children.  

Shores United Methodist Church

Location: 724 Shores Blvd., St. Augustine FL 32086, (904) 797-4416

Shores United Methodist Church will be selling pumpkins right after church on Sunday, October 7, 2018. The patch will be open daily from 12:00pm to 7:00pm throughout October. The Church will also hold its Fall Festival, featuring children’s games, a bounce house, food, and live music. There will be a ‘Trunk or Treat’ on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 from 5:00pm to 7:00 pm.

Halloween in St. Augustine is a great time! You don’t have to go too far to find places that will give you the sense of what Halloween is all about, or how St. Augustine celebrates it. The haunted history of the city sets the stage. Are you looking for some Halloween fun with a side of history? Come to St. Augustine to find a bit of both.