|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 4/19/2019
|Topics/Keywords: #65thBirthdayTrip #Florida #St.Augustine #Travel||Page Views: 1707|
|All about the eleventh day of my 65th Birthday Trip.|
There is one thing about my home town of St. Augustine that makes it different from every other town in the world: its unique "Historic Section", a place where ancient houses and wine shops have been physically restored and now serve as living museums, shops, and even a cigar factory (open to visitors curious as to how cigars are made). And, yes, a few are actually inhabited and serving as…homes.
|Point of Interest||OC White's Restaurant|
|Point of Interest||Historic Section|
|Point of Interest||Castillo de San Marcos (at night)|
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After our long drive of the previous day, we were relieved to be able to take a day or two off and just visit with my sister, Louise, and her husband, Mikey.
Louise has done such a beautiful job of gardening and landscaping her yard, both front and back. Even though there are neighbors close by, the place still "feels" like it did when it was one of the first homes to be built on Mac Road.
However, we did have an apointment: We were to meet some of my high school friends at a restaurant called OC Whites, which specializes in seafood (as so many St. Augustine restaurants do).
Keith loves seafood so had a hard time picking out just one dish from the menu.
After a truly scrumptious lunch (the size of which would have satisfied me for dinner), we took a drive so I could show Keith my old haunt. For example, this house, the last one I lived in with my mom and grandmother, on 15 Sevilla Street. The color has changed (the trim used to be green) and the windows that used to turn the porch into a bedroom—my bedroom—are gone, turning the space back into a porch.
And then, of course, Keith had to see the beach. (Sadly, it was too cold to swim but I knew we'd have opportunities later on our trip.)
This was my neighborhood (and house) just before the one on Sevilla Street. 504 B Street, St. Augustine Beach, it was. As we drove by, a Marine working on his car noticed me looking at the place; so I stopped and explained I used to live there; that, in fact, the house had been custom-designed and built for my mom and grandparents. I was surprised to learn there had been only three owners: us, the Adelspergers who bought it from us, and this guy, who'd owned it for the past 23 years.
We were then treated to a visit from my nephew Kevin, his son Zack, and Louise's and my other sister, Mary Joan.
I have no idea how many years it's been since we got a photo of us three siblings together. And I have no idea how many years it's been since I got a photo of Mary Joan smiling.
After one of Louise's famous dinners, we hopped in Mikey's truck for a nighttime visit to St. Augustine's Historic District. This area was "restored" (though, in some cases, "reformed" might be a better word, since the buildings were not all restored to the same year). When I was 19 or so, I used to work for "Candlelight Tours" by lighting the candles and candelabra in each of the restored buildings in the tour before the visitors arrived, and putting them out after they'd gone. My then-girlfriend, Mary, often accompanied me; while waiting for the tourists, I'd sit with her in the candlelit gardens and play my guitar. (There's no one like a gay guy if you want romance!) I always thought that St. George Street at night was a truly magical place.
We then walked over to the Castillo de San Marcus, known locally as "the old fort". It's now a National Monument. I'd been in it many times, but this was the first time I ever walked around it at night.
Mikey noticed this crack in one of the parapets, that it seemed to be "getting bigger". I didn't remember it at all. Mikey said they had recently done a patch/restoration job on the fort, but it didn't seem to "take".
We then headed for the Bridge of Lions, which had also been restored (during the Clinton Administration). How I remember walking across it!
The town Plaza was also alight.
The Exchange Bank building, in which used to be the offices of WAOC, the radio station for which I used to be a disk jockey, back in 1972.
As we approached Mikey's car for the return home, I noticed the moon was positioned so that I could take a photo that some would find inspiring, while others would find it cheesey.
Never one to shy from controversy, I took the photo.