Wish I were here…St. Augustine, Florida

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A few weeks ago we were fortunate to travel to the Sunshine State and visit St. Augustine.  This is one of our favorite travel destinations and we try to get here at least once a year if not more.  The sandy white beaches are beautiful and the area is fun to visit.  We never run out of things to do or see – except time.  St. Augustine is also rich with history as being the first city discovered when Juan Ponce de Leon set foot on this unclaimed land in 1513.  It also claims to be the oldest city in America.

We stayed on the beach (which I will share with you next week) but also managed to visit the fabulous Farmers Market.  It is located on St. Augustine Beach at the pier and the market is open every Wednesday.  On this particular day that we went it was raining but it didn’t deter us – but it did deter some sellers.  We were still able to buy great local products and meet some great sellers.

How cute is this?

Olive My Pickle was an exhibitor at the St. Augustine Beach farmers market

I especially loved their vintage brine bucket…

Vintage brine bucket for fresh pickles by Olive My Pickle at the St. Augustine Beach farmers market

How could we not visit and purchase some of this local honey?  Perfect name 🙂

Now come on :) of course I loved the Queen Bee Company and their local honey! Another St. Augustine Beach Farmers Market.

We purchased the Black Mangrove variety as it is very unusual and tasty.

We got to do a taste test of the Queen Bee Company honeys - fresh and delicious local honey

They offer free tastings – which my own Honey Bee participated in.

We got to do a taste test of the Queen Bee Company honeys - fresh and delicious local honey

All produce is locally grown.    These lemons and limes were picked that morning.

Freshly picked Florida lemons and limes

We couldn’t believe how inexpensive the produce was.  We found out at the register that these tomatoes were only .39 cents per pound!!  I ran back and got a few more.

Fresh picked Florida tomatoes

This is Chiaz, a Navajo Native American shaman.  His jewelry is beautiful and made 100% by hand.  He does all of the collecting of stones, rocks and gems in their natural, raw state.  All etching, bending, twisting, polishing and finishing is done by small hand tools – no machinery of any kind is used.  He was just as colorful and genuine as his beautiful jewelry pieces!  So glad we got to meet him.

Chiaz - a Navajo Native American.  He's a fabulous jewelry maker and wonderful character.

His personal cuff:

Chiaz - a Navajo Native American that makes fabulous jewelry - 100% handmade

Just a very small example of his wares:

More of Chaiz's jewelry designs - I love his display at the St. Augustine Beach, Florida farmers market

Even the preschool that shares the same parking lot as the farmers market grows their own herbs and vegetables.

Even the preschool has their own garden at the St. Augustine farmers Market

When we venture into the historic part of town, we have a few favorite places we like to eat and have special beverages.  The Columbia Restaurant is our hands-down favorite.  They have several restaurants in Florida and we look forward to visiting the St. Augustine location every time we are in town – sometimes more than once.

Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida. Fabulous Cuban and Spanish food

Beautiful handmade Spanish tile decorates the restaurant throughout.

Authentic Spanish tiles decorate the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida

Authentic Spanish tiles decorate the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida

Each time we go here we prefer the white sangria. It’s very  bubbly and refreshing and not too sweet.  It is served in their own pottery pitchers.

Beautiful pottery sangria pitcher made for the Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, FL

And it is made  table-side by your server.

Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida - sangria is made and served table-side

Also, each time we eat here we are sure to order the “1905 Salad” which is also made table-side. We love the smoky, tangy flavor.  The Columbia Restaurant is a family -owned business that began in 1905.

Columbia Restaurant - 1905 Salad - delicious smoky, tangy flavor

 

We usually have lunch at Osteen’s.  It’s a very casual place with the best fried shrimp platter I have ever had.  There are always lines outside so we try to get here for an early lunch at around 11:30 AM or a late lunch at 2:00 PM.  When we drive by in the evening starting at 5:00 PM there is always a huge crowd outside.

Osteen's Restaurant in St. Augustine, FL - wonderful shrimp platter

Osteen’s started out 65 years ago as a family restaurant.  When the family sold the restaurant, they sold it to a man who was their very first dishwasher and still worked for them.  There are three men who are the cooks at Osteen’s – they are each in their 60’s and have worked here since they were teenagers. I feel this really states a lot about why the food is so good and fresh and people love to eat here.

These signs sum up how casual it is:

Funny sign in Osteen's Restaurant - St. Augustine, FL

Florida Cracker also has great food.

Florida Cracker in St. Augustine, Florida - another favorite

 

When the weather is nice, its great to grab a table outside under a tiki hut.  If you ever dare to try gator bites this is the place to do it 🙂  They have fresh seafood – great shrimp too.  Also very tasty local brews from Mile Marker Brewing:

St. Augustine, Florida at Florida Cracker served Marker Mile Beer - so good and refreshing

The Sunset Grill is open and casual.  You can feel the breeze almost everywhere outside of the restaurant.  They also offer inside dining.

Sunset Grille at St. Augustine Beach - great roof top deck

We will just call this after-beach refreshers 🙂

Nothing better to cool us off after a day at the beach in St. Augustine at Sunset Grille

And they have this gorgeous view from their upstairs deck:

Roof deck view from Sunset Grille at St. Augustine, Florida

 

Shopping in downtown St. Augustine is fun and eclectic.  You can shop along the bay or venture down the alleyways and streets deeper in the historic area.

Shopping in historic St. Augustine

Fun coconut art:

Shopping in historic St. Augustine - who doesn't need coconut art?

Authentic Spanish pottery:
Shopping in historic St. Augustine - Authentic Spanish pottery

And old buildings:

Shopping in historic St. Augustine

 

Shopping in historic St. Augustine

 Americas oldest schoolhouse:

America's Oldest Schoolhouse - in St. Augustine, Florida

Thank you for following along as we visited the oldest city in Florida.  Have you ever been to St. Augustine?  If not, I hope you visit soon 🙂  I can’t wait to go back!

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