Six years ago when I retired from Allison Transmission two of my dearest friends and I came down here from Indiana. We were on our way to Kissimmee but chose to spend a few extra days in St. Augustine on our way down. Even though we spent only a day or two here, I was enchanted. I knew I’d return one day, I wanted so much to introduce Don to St. Augustine. And here we are!
We arrived on Wednesday and shall be here for a full two weeks. We’re parked at a very small, quite campground on US-1 about 17 miles south of St. Augustine. It’s called Pellicer Creek Campground and it’s a family owned and operated park. Pellicer Creek has 30 full hookup campsites in a lovely wooded area right on Pellicer Creek, ergo the name. Amenities are few. There is no bath house so only self contained units may camp here. The building that houses the office also holds a small meeting room, a compact kitchen and a laundry room with two washers and dryers. The park is gated and a security code is required to enter. The staff is some of the most pleasant and helpful we’ve come across during our travels. The campground is nicely landscaped and very well maintained. The camp doesn’t offer a playground, pool or any park activities but there’s a nice sitting area on the river and a boat ramp to put in a canoe or kayak. It’s peaceful here and we both like it a lot.
Pellicer Creek flows into the Matanzas River, which is part of the Intercoastal Waterway. The creek was named after Francisco Pellicer, an early Spanish resident in the area and large plantation owner. Some of the wildlife that can be found along the creek include alligators, Bald eagles and many, many other spectacular wading birds.
Old King’s Road was built before the American Revolution for the British. The road was once the main route into Florida and the seaport of St. Augustine. Today historians have determined that it runs along the same route or parallel to US-1.
Our campsite is spacious yet cozy. It’s nicely landscaped with flowering bushes that are just coming into bloom.It’s staggered so we’re not looking into our neighbors windows and they in turn, aren’t looking into ours. We will not hesitate to stay here again.
Once we were set up and had eaten lunch, we headed to Don’s favorite place….the beach! We’re a mere 10 miles from beautiful Crescent Beach and best of all, our little fur child can sunbathe with us.
The tide was out when we arrived. This made for a vast expanse of sandy beach. Wider than any we’d ever seen.No more crushed shells! It was good to be back on a beach that didn’t hurt your bare feet to walk on. Two young boys wanted to pet Tucker but our boy was on a mission, straining at his leash, he was focused on one thing and one thing only, the water. He couldn’t get there fast enough. Don and I let him romp in the surf to his heart’s content before returning to camp. We’re looking forward to spending some time here.
We did get an unexpected surprise while crossing the beach dune via the boardwalk. Off to the side I spied two Gopher turtles just outside a burrow entry in the dune. Best of all, it was a male and a female, and how do I know this? I watched the male’s courting routine work it’s magic on the female. First the male moves his head, much like a Bobble Head. Then he approached the female from the front trying to bite her, she tucked her head inside her shell but he succeeded in biting her leg twice. As she tried to retreat, he moved around her, then behind, finally achieving his goal. Does this make me a voyeur?
There is so much to do and see in St. Augustine I’m not sure if two weeks will be long enough to get everything in that we want to. We’ll give it our best shot though.
Today I took Don to see the Old City Gate and to walk the ancient streets of the old city’s historic district. There were more shops and restaurants than I remembered being here. We strolled into a few of them. Don bought a shirt in one and I may go back to another to make an earring purchase. We picked up a bottle of Key Lime BBQ sauce that we’d sampled and liked. We’ll try it on chicken later this week.
HISTORIC ST. GEORGE STREET
Gerry, our camp host had recommended we have lunch at Columbia Restaurant in the historic district. He suggested their Cuban sandwich with a cup of Spanish Bean soup. It was a favorite of his when he was on the police force and used to stop there for lunch. I’ve been wanting to try an authentic Cuban since we came to Florida so the choice was obvious. Don had some difficulty deciding what to have for his meal, he had a hard time deciphering the menu. Much of it is in Spanish and the extent of Don’s Spanish is “Dos cervzas por favor.” I did my best to translate but my Spanish is pretty elementary. He decided to have the Ensalada with turkey.
My meal was very good. I have never had a garbanzo bean soup before but it was tasty, especially so with the potatoes and sausage in it. Don said his salad reminded him of Olive Garden’s.
After lunch, Don suggested we visit the Pirate and Treasure Museum. Pat Croce, a pirate affectionado, started his first pirate museum in Key West, after a successful five year run there, he decided it was time to move to another pirate stronghold, St. Augustine. Pirates such as Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles frequented the old city and the Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos. The museum is meant to be educational and houses an ever growing collection of artifacts. There is a whimsical element to the exhibit that is sure to capture the imagination of young children and teens alike.
WHICH PIRATE IS THE SCURVIEST LOOKING?
THIS LATE 1600’S CHEST IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE INFAMOUS CAPTAIN WILLIAM KIDD
The coin affixed inside the chest is a King Charles II shilling from 1668.
In the section Below Deck, a Disney Imagineer designed a sound experience of Blackbird’s last battle. The museum calls in spine tingling, we called it fun.
A full day of sightseeing behind us, we returned to the Suite Pea where Tucker was awaiting our return. What shall we visit next?
WE HOISTED UP THE BLACK FLAG,
AND A PIRATE I BECAME;
I THEN COMMITTED CRUELITIES
TOO DREADFUL FOR TO NAME.
NOR SEX NOR AGE WE SPARED,
BUT ALL WE TOOK WAS SLAIN;
NO MERCY DID WE EVER SHOW,
FOR DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………………..