Friday, March 3, 2017

Spring is in the air - It's Festival season

If you and your lover don't have enough to do this spring, come to Saint Augustine and enjoy one or more of these fabulous festivals. Many of these festivals have become St Augustine traditions. Along with a romantic bed and breakfast, weekends in St Augustine have been pleasing visitors for decades. 

Grab you honey, book a room at the Hemingway House B&B, and see what all the fun is about....

St. Augustine Lions Club Seafood Festival, Friday-Sunday, March 3-5
Location: Francis Field, W. Castillo Dr.
Expect heavy traffic in the vicinity of Francis Field including Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1) and San Marco Ave. during the event. Free satellite parking and shuttle service available on Saturday.
More information: Click here 
St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage Festival, March 10-12
Location: Francis Field, W. Castillo Dr.
Expect heavy traffic in the vicinity of Francis Field including Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1) and San Marco Ave. Some downtown streets closed on Saturday, March 11 from 9:00am to 11:00am to accommodate the St. Patrick's Parade. Free satellite parking and shuttle service available on Saturday.
More information: Click here

St. Augustine Race Week 2017, March 24-26
Location: St Augustine Bayfront, Inshore water ways, and Offshore - out at sea.
This annual Spring sailing event combines large boat ocean racing and spectator-friendly small boat racing along the historic Saint Augustine Bayfront. On Thursday & Friday evenings, there will be FREE music concerts, brought to us by Meehan's Irish Pub. 
More information: Click here
Rhythm & Ribs, March 31-April 2
Location: Francis Field, W. Castillo Dr.
Expect heavy traffic in the vicinity of Francis Field including Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1) and San Marco Ave.  Free satellite parking and shuttle service available on Saturday.
More information: Click here  
Festival of the Chariot, April 8
Location: Plaza de la Constitucíón and several downtown streets.
Expect traffic interruptions along parade route (Cathedral Pl., Cordova St., Orange St., Avenida Menendez) from 10:30am until 12:00pm.
More information: Click here 
Old Town Art & Craft Show, April 8-9
Location: Francis Field, W. Castillo Dr.
Expect some traffic congestion in the vicinity of Francis Field including Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1) and San Marco Ave. during the event's hours.
More information: Click here 
St. Augustine Easter Parade, April 16
Location: San Marco Ave., Avenida Menendez, Cathedral Pl. Cordova St.
Road closures and detours are in effect from before the parade's 3:00pm start until its conclusion at approximately 5:00pm.
More information:  Click here 

Friday, September 9, 2016

This is the perfect time to see over 20 bed and breakfasts, all decorated in a holiday theme. This year’s theme of, “Christmas through the years” will charm tour goers and guests alike. The Southern half of the Inns will be open Saturday, and the Northern half of Inns will be open on Sunday, with the doors on both days opening at 1:00 pm each day, and close at 5:00 pm.

What’s more, each B&B will partner with a local restaurant to bring tour goers a taste of what St Augustine restaurants have to offer. This year, our neighbor the: Inn on Charlotte will be partnering again with the fabulous La Pentola who offers fresh and uniquely inspired food and wine. They are neighbors as well as friends, and a place we always recommend to guests.

So get your tickets now because, 1) we sell out every year, and 2) they are on sale until October 1st..  If there were one Christmas event for you to go to this holiday season, this is the one. Not only will it help get you into the spirit of the Christmas, you also get a chance to sample some of the city’s best restaurants. St Augustine Historic Inns (SAHI) association presents their annual Holiday Tour of Inns, December 10th & 11th 2016, and you and your friends are invited!

This is the perfect event for large groups of friends such as church groups, social clubs, neighborhood groups, or work groups. The nights of lights will be in full-swing by this time and making a day of it, with friends, in the ancient city will feel only natural. So gather your good book in advance to some money. When you are coordinating your large group, please contact them directly at the website.
In any case, please read all about this year’s holiday tour of historic inns here at the official website, and book your room at the Inn on Charlotte for your holiday today.

Other Holiday events this year in St. Augustine:

-November 19th: is the 23th annual Light-up Night!

-November 19th through January 31: - Nights of Lights, the city is ablaze in millions of white lights for the season.
-December 3rd: The 62th Annual Christmas Parade
-December 3rd: (evening): Grande Illumination – British Night Watch
-December 10th: Regatta of Lights - St Augustine's annual Christmas Boat Parade sails on historic Matanzas Bay at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The E. Hemingway Special Daiquiri

Do you know the E. Hemingway special daiquiri recipe? Well I didn’t until I published a book for Roger Shadow,Weekend at Hemingway’s, were I learned that little tidbit and so much more about the great writer. Heck, I even learned the history of the daiquiri! It’s an amazing book that any Hemingway lover should have in their collection. You can buy a copy here

Roger met Hemingway in Cuba, back in 1958, spent the weekend with him (hence the title) and the two men spend the whole time talking, drinking, and eating their way through a slew of topics. From Geo-political topics of the day (before my time) to what Papa thought of the actors/actresses who played his parts in the movies (now part that I liked). They talked of fishing, of course, and boats – well, one boat, the only boat Hemingway owned: Pilar. 

Mary Welsh
But back to daiquiris; it was in Havana, a place called El Floridita de Cuba, La Habana Vieja where the very first daiquiri was created and they keep pouring them.  And wouldn’t you know it that was Papa’s hang-out when he and his last wife, Mary Welsh, would spend the winters down there in their villa in San Francisco de Paula. It’s just a sleepy village in the hills outside of Havana. 
But back to Hemingway’s daiquiri!  Papa loved La Foridita calling it, ‘one of the world’s truly great watering holes!’ Papa made friends everywhere he went and La Foridita was no different. Papa befriended the friendly, and talkative, bartender, Jesus.   So when Roger walked up to the La Foridita’s bar and ordered a cold beer from Jesus, Jesus talked him into an E. Hemingway Special daiquiri instead. Jesus assured Roger that it was truly Papa’s own recipe. Which Rodger wrote down and confirmed with Papa because, before the day was done Roger had an appointment to meet Mr. Hemingway, and spend the weekend with him at his villa in the hills that very next day. 

El Floridita de Cuba, La Habana Vieja

So what is the E. Hemingway Special Daiquiri recipe?  You can buy the book and you will have it and, so many more great stories of the Man, the Legend, the once Way of Life, that was Hemingway. Or, you can come stay at Hemingway House B&B and read it our copy of Weekend at Hemingway’s.

Friday, June 17, 2016

New restaurant in Saint Augustine

And it’s great one.  In the location where Spy was on 21 Hypolita street, is Mam Thai & Sushi Bistro is a new, freshly painted, modern & clean feeling family owned restaurant run by husband & wife (cooking in the kitchen) that makes authentic Thai food. With a unique menu that has lots of options on it, (and extra add-on items that today’s foodies like to eat) it's easy to share plates with friends.

The most important thing is freshness and quality of the food served on our table. So we think Saint Augustine just got a GREAT restaurant on Hypolita Street.   Mam Thai & Sushi Bistro opened only yesterday, 6/16/2016, and is serving top-notch items with only Sake being the one item they were still waiting on (Coming in later today). We stopped by for lunch today and OMG (as the kids say) it is amazing!  You have got to give this place a try.

We ordered several dishes just to get a taste of as much as we could.  Starting with Chicken Satay – moist and delish, with a great peanut butter/pepper side-sauce! Then on to Crispy Shrimp rolls – crispy deliciousness, with a great minced peanut/pepper side-sauce!  As a surprise,  the owners sent out the Fresh Summer Roll with shrimp, veggies, rice noodles in a rice wrapper – another amazing side-sauce! We had to try some of the Sushi: Sashimi Appetizer with very fresh White fish, Tuna, and Salmon.  Triple-yum! 

Time for the main courses;  Panang curry Chick – a staple in my Thai diet – and what they call Tiger Cry, it’s a grilled Flank Steak (marinated in some amazing Thai spices) with large cut veggies. Both were done to perfection and something we will order again, no doubt.  The whole menu makes you want to start all over again.  

Mam Thai & Sushi Bistro at 21 Hypolia Street in Saint Augustine is simply a great restaurant! We recommend it. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Saint Augustine means Romance

One of the biggest reasons guest come to Saint Augustine is how romantic it is here in St Augustine.
And not at first but, as if it’s the biggest discovery since Florida was discovered by Juan Ponce in 1513.  And so if the gentlemen are listening, here’s a great tip for your love life: Book a trip to St Augustine for a romantic weekend… If you are looking for a bit of romance, and who isn’t, you got to go to Saint Augustine Florida.

It sounds simple, yes, but what makes it so romantic? Well, the city is actually little European village, it really is. It was founded by the Spanish and streets were laid-out in the late 1565 and there has been no change ever since. Oh sure, some structures have come and gone with each new improvement project or city-wide fire but, we still have about 18 colonial structures. And through it all (450 years of it all) this old city still holds the original romantic charm it got from Spain.  That and, with a little help from Henry Flagler, too.

So what does a Robber Baron of the Gilded Age like Mr. Flagler (of Standard Oil fame) have to do with St Augustine? Well it was here he moved and then poured millions of dollars into building world-class lodging in the 1880’s for America’s wealthy who wanted to get out of the frozen north during the winter. Henry loved this romantic city and so employed a couple young architects and European craftsmen to create some of the most beautiful buildings of their time. This has got to be the most use of terracotta in one city, in the USA, ever.  It’s spectacular, and you must see it.  

And in keeping with the Romantic theme, the city made an effort, 50 years ago, to turn back St George Street - where one can discover nice shops and fine restaurants and yes, even souvenirs.  But there is more than just Saint George St to shop on; there are shops and restaurants on all the streets, as well as homes, hotels, and of course Bed and Breakfasts.
So men, for a no-brain-er, bring your honey to St Augustine, the most romantic city in the country, and a little slice of Europe (without updating your passport, and flying over there) here in North Florida for your next romantic getaway. Who knows, you might even like it too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

El Galeón returns to Saint Augustine, her home port

El Galeón, Saint Augustine’s own authentic replica of the ship Pedro Menendez traveled to coast of Florida over 450 years ago, has returned to her St. Augustine home this morning, its North American home port. She is docking at the city's
Municipal Marina.  Here are the facts:

  • She  is a huge 170-foot, 495-ton amazingly authentic wooden replica of Span’s famous galleons.

  • She has Twenty-eight crew members must maneuver more than 9,600 square feet of sail area in the same fashion as 16th century sailors.

  • She first arrived in St. Augustine in June 2013 and has been back on multiple trips. During its departures, the ship has visited ports along the east coast including New York City and was used in the making of the television series Crossbones on location in Puerto Rico.

The first ship like El Galéon to arrive in St. Augustine was the flagship of founder Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Named the San Pelayo, the 650-ton ship, one of the most powerful ships of its day, carried 800 colonists and supplies to St. Augustine, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1565.
During its approximate two-week stay,  El Galeón will be open for tours and tickets may be purchased at the ship at the Municipal Marina, 100 Avenida Menendez. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pirates & Saints – Yup, it's Spring in St Augustine once again

Now that the nights of lights are far behind us, and St Avalentines day is done, we look forward to the coming spring and all the fun that comes with it – from pirates sacking the city of Saint Augustine to the to the foot tapping and beer drinking party of Saint Pat’s Day – you have better say your prayers.

To begin with, our high-season is here so we suggest booking your room early; else you may be out in the cold. If Hemingway House & the Inn on Charlotte are full, check out our Association Availability page where you can see a list of the other 22 B&Bs in the Association and see it they have available rooms for your date, or not.

Shortly after the pedals fall off the stem of the roses of Saint Valentine’s Day, the pirate Searle’s will, yet again, sack the city of Saint Augustine.  Back in 1668, Robert Searle, the dreaded ‘privateer’, sacked and burned St Augustine marking the last of the successful attacks on St Augustine. Because, after Searle and his men, "slipped into the harbor and attacked the sleeping town, killing sixty people and pillaging government buildings, churches and homes. “ This action forcing the powers that be to finally build serious defenses, including a fort made of Coquina. And Castillo de San Marko still stands undefeated to this day.  But there will still be a sacking, re-enacting the original, which includes (loud) period-firearms fire, running with knifes (swords) and calling of names. Nothing like 17th Century verbal taunting (Reminds us of our high school years)  but it’s still worth seeing at least once in your life tine.

The Grand Event of spring is a practically a Celtic National Convention / Super bowl / New Years all wrapped up into one weekend. The Saint Augustine Celtic Fest!  Starting the weekend before, (but the fun goes through Saint Patrick’s Day at one Irish pub or another) is the St Augustine Celtic Festival!  This March 11th - 13th is the St Augustine Celtic Festival that includes: Highland Games, Whisky Tasting, Song, Dance, Parade, gathering of the Clans, and so much more.   It was only 5 Years ago that our neighbor and friend, the late John Meehan, started this amazing festival, St Augustine’s largest, and his sprit is still felt each year when seeing everyone enjoying this tremendous event. If you miss the Festival, all week long until St Pat’s day all the Pubs Meehan’s & Barley Republic) of town are filled with music, beer, and good cheer.  It’s hard to explain, so please come and see for yourself and raise a pint to John – he would appreciate that.

And Speaking of John Meehan, he is – again – a sponsor of St. Augustine Race Week March 31st – April 2nd. As the website says, “Three-day offshore PHRF regatta This Class will have daylight ocean racing March 31st and April 1 and 2. Spinnaker and non-spinnaker classes with PHRF scoring..”  We personally love watching the youngsters competing in bay racing – always fun to watch from the bay front, or Meehan’s front-porch.

So be it for the pirates, or for a Saints, be sure to come see these exciting spring events here in America’s oldest city, Saint Augustine Florida; which is the most romantic city in Florida, if not the most romantic city in the country.