As we get acquainted with St. Augustine we are encouraged to see the resilience and determination of the locals. Everyone is still friendly, helpful, and patient with us "tourists" as they work to get back to normal.
St. Augustine is a great city; full of wonderful architecture, history, the fort, restaurants, bars, museums, and shops. Everywhere we look there is something interesting to see with historical plaques to explain it all.
We have seen some beautiful buildings in this town and we're particularly impressed with the Ponce de Leon Hotel, which was built by Henry M. Flagler in 1885-88. It is now Flagler College, but is still beautifully maintained and full of history. They offer tours which we intend to take when they are running again.
We also visited the Lightner Museum in the old Hotel Alcazar. This hotel was also an elegant showplace with a ballroom, beautifully landscaped grounds, and a huge indoor swimming pool. The swimming pool now houses a cafe on its sloping floor.
We also found the marker for the Old Spanish Trail that began here in St. Augustine and ended in San Diego.
But amid all this beauty we often stumble upon broken trees,
and piles of water damaged furniture. A sober reminder of the recent storm.
My favorite storm story (aka The Great Escape) regards these pumpkins at a local church.
They were all set out for sale before the storm, and the flooding carried lots of them away. They were found all over town and many of them magically reappeared afterwards; presumably returned by regular citizens because that's just what kind of town St. Augustine is.
I think we're going to like it here.