Monday, September 21 – We had a big day planned sightseeing in St. Augustine this morning as we headed out before 9 a.m. One thing to warn anyone considering a visit to St. Augustine, FL, is the roads are narrow. Really narrow if, like us, you're driving a dually pick-up truck. Even in their visitor’s brochure it reads….With streets and traffic patterns established in the 1600s, St. Augustine is fascinating for pedestrians but often frustrating for drivers. The good thing is there is plenty of parking available. We paid $10 for all day parking. While sightseeing, we did see a nice lot on the Flagler College campus for $5 but on the other hand, we saw some lots for $12 too!
St. Augustine has plenty of history to explore -- 450 years of it, to be exact, so our first stop was Flagler College. Flagler College is a four year liberal arts college that resides in the former Ponce de Leon Hotel, a luxury resort built by railroad magnate, Henry Flagler in 1888.
What a magnificent building. It was built as a hotel for wealthy visitors stopping in St. Augustine. The college has pumped over $58 million into renovations over the years. It is truly a very beautiful building and campus. They do have tours, but the times did not work out for us. They main floor is the only place open to the public.
After stopping for a coffee and bagel at a nice little shop just off campus, we walked past many beautiful churches, as well.
Unfortunately for Marsha, all the churches were closed but The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine.
Mission Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine. It was here on September 8, 1565, 55 years before the pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the town of St. Augustine and Nombre de Dios mission. On the same date, Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales held high the cross and celebrated the first parish Mass. This is the site where western culture and Christian faith took root in our country. Amazing!
The bronze statue of Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales is 11 feet tall. The stainless steel cross in the background rises two hundred and eight feet high and stands as a sentinel over the Mission and a “Beacon of Faith” for all who pass.
The present chapel was reconstructed in 1915, and enshrines a replica of the original statue of Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto – Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery. Throughout its existence, the Shrine has remained a comforting place of prayer for mothers-to-be, for families, for special intentions and for those seeking to strengthen their faith.
This is just the beginning of our 7.62 mile walk around St. Augustine. We will continue the tour of this magnificent city in our next post.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!