|Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine, FL|
|Bridge of Lions|
|The Ballroom at Flagler College,|
now used as the dining room, original furnishings,
Tiffany windows and frescoes included.
Flagler's life was steeped in a strong work ethic, religion and tragedy. Son of a Presbyterian minister, he wove religious themes in the architecture of his hotel and he held high standards of everyone around him. When his daughter died in St. Augustine shortly after she gave birth to a daughter, he commissioned a memorial church be built with in the year to honor her. The results are a wonder when you consider the distance all materials and craftsmen had to travel, and of course, Flagler spared no expense. His first wife died soon after his daughter and all three are buried in the church. (Flagler did marry twice more, but the stories require a book!) Today the parish is thriving.
Our trolley tour fee included a ride to the beach so we took advantage of it. Clear skys, 80 degrees, surfers to entertain us. That should have been our warning the weather would change. The best part of our stay connecting with sailing friends, one set from Norfolk, another from the Chesapeake. We got caught up, shared knowledge and plans, and two great meals.
On Wednesday, we left for Marineland. That's actually the name of the town twenty miles south of St. Augustine, but it is also the name of the marina and a dolphin research/education facility. The marina is new, small and only a dollar a foot. Safe but only 7-8 feet of water, so mariners, weigh the tides carefully. We were challenged to get in here at 25 knots and low tide so, you guessed it, we cruised the river again until conditions were right, just in time for a storm to open up.
The Marineland center is across the road on the Atlantic and worth the stop. We wanted to have an "immersion experience" and get into the dolphin tanks, but temps dropped 40 degrees, yes, to 40 degrees, so we just toured the facility. Originally built in 1938 by some of the wealthy we are learning about, including Vanderbilt, Whitney and Tolstoy (Leo's grandson) as an oceanarium and underwater film studio, it was the first marine show in the country. Following a hurricane in recent years, it was completely rebuilt. There is a singular focus on dolphins now and in January the Georgia zoological system incorporated the center. It is now a nonprofit for education purposes; the dolphins do not present "shows" but they provide great research opportunities. Right next to the marina office is the Florida State auditorium and there was a free lecture each night, one on the history of Marine Land. If you have time, we suggest you take a day to stop here. If nothing else, it's a quiet rest.
Our son sent us the storage bag for our dingy and it arrived today. The deck is neater and safer now. The care package came with Christmas lights, an Advent calendar filled with chocolates (Rick won't share) and a pine tree air freshener in case we don't get a tree. Very clever!
We have a week of poor weather ahead. They call it a nor'easter, but I think it has different connotations than it does up north.