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Posts Tagged ‘fountain of youth’

Casa Monica

Casa Monica

Lookout Hole just my size (5')

 
My favorite in the Lightner Museum

My favorite in the Lightner Museum

From rustic to pure opulence at Lightner Museum

From rustic to pure opulence at Lightner Museum

Be sure to look up at the Lightner

Be sure to look up at the Lightner

Beauty at the Lightner

Beauty at the Lightner

If you don’t know the meaning of coquina you have not been to St. Augustine, Florida. Take a trolley and you will hear the word until you giggle (or maybe that’s just us) – but with good reason. Coquina, made from tiny shells and cement was the building material of choice for many of the historic buildings and structures. How creative and “green” was that? Castillo de San Marcos, the fort dominating the Ancient City, is made of coquina. The material is so strong, yet soft, that cannon balls just made dents, leaving the structure intact.

 

Walls around the Fountain of Youth were made from coquina, with razon-like oyster shells added to discourage climbing. Even our favorite inn, The St. Francis, was built of coquina in 1791. We would have felt safer there than at home had Hurricane Gustav hit before we left.

 

Other buildings, such as what is now Flagler College and the Casa Monica Hotel were built in horizontal strips, so to speak. Long boxes were stacked on the dried cement below, filled, and allowed to dry before the next layer went up.

 

I would think the city is a shrine for creative builders, but we ordinary folks are mostly engrossed in another time, with surprises around every corner. Travelers interested in a rich slice of our nation’s past will find it here, layered by inhabitants from England, France, Spain, and of course, Native Americans. Those with an artistic eye will find beauty in the architecture, views and beautiful collection in the Lightner Museum.  And tourists who just want to be treated like welcome guests where ever they go, will feel pampered almost everywhere in the city.

 

I will post a few pictures over the next few weeks of objects and buildings that caught my eye on our recent trip. We did the rather frenetic MTV version that we tend to do on vacation, but you may savor tastes of the Ancient City in leisure. Enjoy.

 (Below I caught a boat sailing by the lookout hole at an opportune moment.)

 

 

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