The unexpected in St Augustine, Florida.

It had been a long drive from Kiva Dunes in Alabama but St Augustine was going to be worth it big time and I knew that for sure the minute I sat back in the rocker on the wooden deck of  The Edgewater Inn.

Just across the Ponce de Leon bridge the Inn does what it says on the tin quite literally and edges the water so you can dip your toes  and watch the herons and the fish jumping. There is nowhere better to sip a glass of wine and watch the sun go down watching the bridge lift to let a sailing boat glide by.

The best way to get an overview of this great little historic town is take a hop on hop off bus tour. Red Train or Trolley tours takes you through the city, taking in the fancy Flagler buildings with their grand terracotta rooves, the quaint narrow shopping streets and the waterfront.

I stopped off at the fort, where I learned about how the Spanish looked after the town to keep it safe from us Brits. I then learned about the antics of pirates in The Pirate Museum before heading to Ximenez Fatio House where we had a privately guided tour around a boarding house just as St Augustine was becoming popular with the gentry in the 19th century so these houses offered bed and board. Antiquities of the time in dining areas, bedrooms and lounges are there to see up close rather than in cabinets and it’s almost as if the guests are out for the day as you wander about. The lady who showed us round was knowledgeable and answered all our questions.

Of course all of this needs a wash down with a local cocktail and my favourite was served by the A1A Ale works on the waterfront. That cocktail was the kick I needed and The Mule did just that, served in a copper jug a mix of spirit, mint leaves and ginger ale.

I left St Augustine via a last glimpse of the sea and its lighthouse overlooking the sailing club. So many people believe Florida is just about theme parks and beaches but St Augustine is so much more.

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