Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some history and photos

We visited St. Augustine, the oldest city in the nation.  We arrived late and got directions to a small place in the old city area.  In the dark we managed to get lost in the tiny alleys, so we just parked and set off on foot.  We ended up at Harry's, coming in through a small courtyard to a lovely setting and great meal.
The next morning we headed to Castillo de San Marcos, the large military fort, that guarded the early settlement and built in the 1700's.  It is built in an odd star shape and originally had a moat.  The walls are of coquina, the native limestone that is made up of tiny shells.  

On the upper level, the bastion, where the guns were, I spotted a fern growing out of the wall of coquina.  You can see the tiny shell bits and even a piece of pottery embedded in this section of the outer wall.   
 Across from the fort was the old city settlement.  The tiny houses were built close and the streets are very narrow.   The area now is the usual tourist shops and places to eat, but the Spanish architecture is still evident.  Behind one shop we saw this small courtyard area...very lush and tropical, and I love the old brick paths.

We spent the afternoon at the lighthouse, and Russ made it to the top.  Originally the light was fueled by melted lard that the light keeper heated and carried up those 218 steps to get to the top.  I could barely lift the bucket, much less carry it up the spiral stairs.  He also had to do the cleaning and maintenance of the light.  I did not know that each light house had a distinct signal pattern, as well as  outer color paint to identify it.             
A final view of the light keeper's house.  The live oaks were absolutely huge and dripping with Spanish moss.....very old Florida.    
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a quilt shop....of course.   I had to check it out and purchase a couple of things!   There was a quilt on display called French Roses.  The pattern was no longer available or I would have grabbed it!  Actually it is a very simple raw-edge applique technique done in layers.  The stitching was about 1/4 inch from the edge of each layer of the rose and so it appeared very soft and shabby chic.  Another idea to file away to use at some future date.
Happy stitches!

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