Saturday- We left early to go back to St. Augustine for our final day on the Trolley tour. We took the Trolley to Flagler College. Flagler College is located in the Hotel Ponce de Leon, built by Henry Flagler. Here is a statue of Henry Flagler at the entrance.
Flagler first visited St. Augustine in 1883, and saw the need for a luxury hotel in the city. So he bought the land and built two hotels, the Ponce de Leon and the Lightner across the street. The Lightner is now a museum, which we did not have time to visit. Something for next time!
The hotel took 2 years to build, had 4,100 electric light bulbs and had electric before the White House did! It is built of Portland cement imported from Hanover Germany. The elevators are hydraulic, by Otis Elevators, and are powered by a turbine water-wheel.
The hotel cost guests $9k for Jan–Mar, in cash, each winter. The husbands brought the money in cash and went to the desk to pay. The women were immediately taken to the Ladies Parlor which we visited last. The women were not allowed to see the money! It they did, they might faint from fright or go blind! In town, the ladies were not allowed to use money. They just signed for their purchases, and their husbands received the bill!
Flagler College was opened in 1968 as a private Women’s Liberal Arts College. Men were admitted in 1972. The cost is all inclusive ( except for books) for $25K per year.
The tour started at 10 AM, and cost $8 each. It was worth every penny! We started in the Rotunda, which is 3 stories tall.
The towers are 135 ft. tall and housed the water tanks. There are 1,000 windows, 300 bedrooms, 2,000 doors, and the courtyard in the front is 22,200 sq. feet. 80 % of the rooms have fireplaces.
The rotunda was magnificent! In the center was a ceiling mural.
The mural was phenomenal. The artist, then, 10 years later, replicated it in the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress!
Below is the floor of the rotunda. Flagler’s father was a Presbyterian minister, so he thought nothing should be perfect as a result there are various imperfections throughout the building. There were several in the floor.
Our tour guide took us through the hallway that Henry Flagler always used. The floor is made of leather, so that his shoes would always be clean!
We entered the current cafeteria, which had been the dining room for the hotel. This is one of the original chairs. Needless to say, the kids use newer chairs. All the chairs that the kids use, match the original chairs.
This building was built at the beginning of Tiffany’s career when he was registering patents for his glass works and prior to him devoting his time to the lighting fixtures for which he is so famous! There are 79 Tiffany glass windows in the building, and it is the largest private collection of Tiffany glass. On the outside of the building, there is bullet proof glass covering the windows, as they are worth millions!
The floors are original. Below is one of the two music balconies.
Note the lights above. They are all in lions heads, with the lightbulb in the mouth to resemble shooting fire.
Flagler thought that his guests should have continuous music through dinner, so there were three bands that played. Your level of importance was shown by how close you sat to Flagler. BUT, the acoustics are so good in the room, that Flagler could hear what people were staying (about him) on the other side of the room!
We left and went to the Ladies Parlor. The only men allowed in the Ladies Parlor were suitors for the young ladies. They could visit, but were chaperoned when talking to the young ladies.
Here is a picture of Henry Flagler, when he was 71 years old.
His third wife was 34. So he had her aged in her portrait because of the age difference.
The chandeliers are Tiffany.
There are two Edison clocks in the building. This one is located in the Ladies Parlor.
The way that you can tell that this is a real Edison clock, is that his signature is on the face. Look at the number 4, it is not IV, it is IIII. He did that on purpose, as his signature. The clock does not work, as they cannot figure out how to fix it without breaking the decoration around it. It is located above the fireplace.
This clock was in the security office, which was the original front desk for the hotel.
Back outside in the courtyard. The fountain, as well as most of the building, has a theme of sets of 12 and 4.
There are twelve frogs where the water squirts out. That represents the 12 months of the year, and the twelve apostles. There are four fish around the center, which represent the four seasons. Also, themes around the entire building were the seasons, the apostles, and the sea. In the terra cotta, over the entrance to the building, behind the fountain, where seashells and other items, like mermaids, ships and fish.
We left and walked over to Scarlett O’Hara’s for lunch. This is a very old building, built to withstand the hurricanes.
After lunch, we walked over to Plaza de la Constitucion and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.
This is the main alter, but there were smaller ones on each side. The green one is St. Patrick.
There were the requisite stain glass windows.
And the original floors were interesting and very Spanish.
We left and walked across the plaza to catch the Trolley, without having to go around to several of the places we had been before. We took the Trolley to the fort.
We were able to enter for free, using our Senior National Park Passes.
We entered the fortress through the Sally Port, the only entrance to the Castillo.
The walls are from 14 to 19 feet thick at the base, but it are 9 feet thick at the top. They are made of:
There are 400,000 blocks of stone, all cut and set by hand. Because the stone is porous, it compresses under the impact of cannon fire, rather than shattering, making the Castillo practically indestructible.
We toured the fort.
Above were the sleeping quarters for the soldiers. In the next room, they played cards etc. On the walls, all through the fort, is graffiti left by the soldiers.
We went room to room. I had been here before, as a kid. The only thing that I remember, is below. I remember crawling through this hole into the next room, with my Dad. I was not doing that now!
Below are the officers quarters.
We climbed up to the top of the fort.
Below is looking out into the bay. Notice that the entrance, on the right, to the bay is very narrow. You can see the breakers to the left.
Above is the moat.
We could see Lion Bridge, which was open for a boat to pass thru…
The Old Town Trolley company has a shuttle to take you across the bridge to the lighthouse. The trip runs hourly and leaves you there for an hour. We decided to return to the car, and drive across, as we knew we would not take that long.
We drove back thru town, and crossed the Lion bridge to go to the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
We returned by crossing a different bridge, from the island. We drove past the Elks Lodge, where we were originally planning to stay, but the Lodge was closed. We found out too late, that the RV park was open. That was okay, as we liked where we were staying. We stopped at Aldi’s for a few items, then returned to the MH.
Sunday- Moving day! We left at around 10 AM and drove north on I-95 to I-10 west. We stopped at Madison RV Park in Madison FL. It was a PA park, $24 for FHU 50 amp. Even Passport America is expensive in Florida! We settled in for the night.
Monday- We left at around 8:30 and continued west on I-10. We drove about 60 miles, and the GPS instructed us to turn southwest on a back road. There was miles of construction on I-10 ahead of us.
The drive was pleasant, through Florida farmland and small towns. We eventually turned west onto Hwy. 98, which took us thru the beach cities, including Destin, and to the Elks Lodge in Ft. Walton Beach.
We had entered the Central Time Zone, so we arrived at a little past 12:00, after a 4 hour drive. The Lodge did not open until 3, so we settled into an RV site ( there are only 4), with water and 30 amp. We ate lunch and went grocery shopping.
We returned and went to the Lodge to pay the bartender. We paid $15 for each night.
We ate dinner and had a quiet evening, although, since we are close to the road, it was fairly noisy!
Tuesday- Happy Valentines Day! We did some tasks around the MH then went to Destin Beach for lunch. We stopped at Boshamps Oyster House. We thought that the restaurant was not that good and definitely over priced! After lunch, we walked down the harborwalk each direction.
We drove east a bit and took the Gulf Road, looking at all the nice houses on the water. We returned to the MH and took a nap, as neither of us had slept well the night before. We had a quiet evening at home with me finishing the Roadrunner Newsletter and getting that out to everyone.
Wednesday- We woke up at 4:43 when the MH started rocking. We knew that there was a cold front coming thru, and boy did it! The wind was hitting the MH broadside. The weather radio did not go off, so we checked on local TV station and there was no wind advisory, although they said that we might have 40-60 mph gusts!
Around 7:30 the rain came, but it was only a short shower. It stayed windy all day, although the winds lessened to more reasonable gusts. The temp dropped during the day and we turned on the heat.
At about 10:30 we left to go to the Post Office to mail the newsletter to the folks who request it via snail mail. We drove thru Ft. Walton Beach then returned to the MH for lunch.
After lunch we watched London Has Fallen on Netflix. We watched some more episodes of Grace and Frankie, season 2, on Netflix, ate dinner in, and settled in for a quiet evening.
Thursday- Moving day. Since check in was 3 PM, we decided to move slowly today. After lunch, we took off. We drove west on Hwy. 98 to Pensacola. We turned south west to go to the Pensacola Naval Base. We paid $25 for FHU, 50 amp, on a concrete pad.
We parked and set up. It was nice out, although a little chilly in the 60’s. I started the laundry and Bob took the sheets and towels to the laundry here at the park. The machines were cheap, at $1 to wash and $1 to dry!
We took the dogs out to the beach and let them dig and run! They had a great time, and met up with some new canine friends.
We had a quiet evening at home.
Friday- The weather was cooperating today, with sunny skies and less humid, so I was able to walk up to the Pensacola FL Lighthouse.
At 11, we drove into Pensacola and to my cousin Claire Laurion’s beautiful condo. We met up there with her sister Gloria and husband Walt Redmond. It was so fun to visit with my first cousins!
We went to lunch at a Chinese buffet. Thank you Claire for lunch. We spent several hours catching up with each others lives.
We returned to the MH, had dinner and a quiet evening.