St Augustine for Christmas 2017 travel blog

Dome just inside Flagler entry

Flagler student dining hall

Memorial Presbyterian Church

Girls dorm rooms on the second floor above the entry

Cruising back into port

Dinner buddies

How can I be so exhausted when it’s “really”only 8 pm at home? Seems so odd that it’s 11pm where I am.

The whole morning was really all about Henry Flagler and his legacy. We are staying in his hotel, Casa Monica; we toured his college which used to be the ultra plush Hotel Ponce De Leon also built by Flagler, and toured the Memorial Presbyterian Church which Flagler had built to memorialize his daughter and granddaughter who passed away (the granddaughter lived only about 2 days and his daughter was not in good health even before the birth but failed quickly after the baby passed away). That is some college...the gold you see is genuine gold leaf, the tiles are hand cut and laid, the wealth is incredible. Painted ceilings, amazing carved pillars. Someone asked our guide, Trevor who is a senior at Flagler, if the students appreciate the beauty of their surroundings—he said a few don’t seem to, but most do. Their student dining hall has the largest collection of Tiffany glass still in use anywhere. The Tiffany Company has a larger collection, but it’s just displayed, the glass windows and chandeliers in Flagler College are all in daily use. Flagler had electric lights at this hotel 2 years before they were installed at the White House.

After the college we went to Memorial Presbyterian Church where we heard more about Flagler’s life and legacy. The Church is beautiful and we were thrilled to hear a stunning concert by their primary organist playing their 5,000+ pipe organ.

Then off to the marina to board a tour boat to cruise Matanzas Bay. Sadly, no dolphins were spotted, but the weather was perfect and the sunset and city lights as we returned to port were beautiful.

Then on to dinner. We were on our own for dinner so a few of us who have become buddies went to a place called Cap’s on the Water. There were 7 of us representing Maryland (a former nurse/Red Cross/Peace Corps), Florida (nurse/artist), Illinois (psychiatric nurse and care giver), 3 from Georgia (don’t know what they do/did), and me. We had a great time AND, I had flounder, a very delicious white fish common in Florida....hush puppies, so southern, and alligator bites! Meaning it was an appetizer we shared around the table, small pieces of alligator that were dipped in a batter and deep fried. Served with something like a honey mustard sauce (ala McDonalds McNuggets) and yes, they really did taste a lot like chicken. :-). Grouper is another fish very popular and commonly served down here. Otherwise, I haven’t found any particular dishes specific to this area.

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