Valentine’s Day Date Series Part 1: St. Augustine

It’s that time of year, the month of love is almost in full swing! You can already see the Valentine’s Day decorations popping up at your local Target or Michael’s, we’re starting to be bombarded by the trailers for cheesy romantic comedies and the latest Fifty Shades installment, you can’t escape it! So we thought we’d hop on Cupid’s bandwagon, (or is it arrow?) so we decided to create a “date series” leading up to Valentine’s day that showcases some great date nights in different neighborhoods in North East Florida.

Our first date in this series is a quick trip down to the historic city of St. Augustine. St. Augustine is only about a 45-minute drive from Jacksonville. There is a plethora of activities to do while in St. Augustine. We chose to put on our tourist hats and decided to visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. The lighthouse is a great place for the couple who loves adventure, history and nature. It also provides scenic views in a unique setting.

General admission to the museum and grounds is $12.95 per adult. For more information check out their website here. Once you have paid for your ticket you are given a map and are free to explore! My boyfriend and I started by walking through what is now the museum housed in what was formerly the Lighthouse Keepers’ House.

img_4481The museum is interactive so you can learn all about lighthouse keeping in the late 1800’s. On the second floor there are hands-on options in the archaeological discovery lab. Here you can go down to the “ocean floor” and explore a ship wreck. How many dates takes you exploring a ship wreck? After meandering through the museum we climbed the lighthouse steps.

 

The St. Augustine lighthouse has 219 steps, there are small rest areas with history tidbits on every few flights of stairs, so feel free to go at your own pace! Once you’ve reached the top, the view is breathtaking. You’ll be able to see historic downtown, the river and  the beautiful beaches all from this height. You can just picture the romance this would create at sunset when the two of you reach the top!

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Other things to check out around the museum are the Heritage Boatworks, where you can observe small wooden watercraft being built for the water and the artifact conservation viewing where there are actual artifacts from shipwrecks on display.

After spending the afternoon at the lighthouse we headed to historic downtown St. Augustine for dinner. I’ve eaten at a few of these restaurants before- The Columbia Restaurant, Mojo Old City BBQ, Scarlett O’Hara’s, but tonight we decided to grab a slice of pizza at Pizzalley’s on St. George. Pizzalley’s is a quaint little pizzeria with cozy indoor and outdoor seating. The menu features a variety of gourmet pizzas, all also available by the slice.

 

After eating it’s great to just walk around downtown and browse the shops. The scene downtown adds to the adventurous and historic flavor of this date- in fact you may see people dressed in period costumes marching to a drum line! St. Augustine is also home to the Castillo de San Marcos and Flagler College, both beautiful facilities that showcase unique architecture with a lot of history behind them. These buildings are great for the couple who loves art and photography because they allow for endless conversation and photo opportunities.

 

We visited St. Augustine in early January when the lights from the city’s seasonal Night of Lights were still illuminating the area. We ended our date with a romantic stroll through the park underneath the lights.

 

Where to Eat:

On our date we grabbed pizza but there are countless restaurants in St. Augustine that are perfect for a romantic night out. One place we would recommend is Columbia Restaurant in the St. Augustine Historic District. The whimsical atmosphere is perfect for a date and they offer a variety of gourmet menu options, tapas, an extensive wine list and craft cocktails. The Marriott traveler put together a date night dining guide which can be found here that offers several more perfect dining options for your St. Augustine date.

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Photo Credit: Marriott traveler

Desserts: 

To grab something sweet with your sweetie at the end of the night we would suggest heading to Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar in downtown St. Augustine. They offer a variety of gourmet waffles with delicious toppings and creamy, rich milkshakes as well as espresso and waffle bites.

Other Attractions: 

The J & S Carousel:

Another place that is perfect for a romantic photo op is the J & S Carousel. It adds a bit of whimsy and fun to any date. It is a full-size antique carousel located in Davenport Park in St. Augustine, which is just north of the historic downtown area.

Ghost Tours:

For those couples who love spooky things or history we recommend you try one of the St. Augustine ghost tours. There are several, each with it’s own unique flavor, so pick one that appeals to you. Here are a few that we would suggest.

Catch Some Live Music

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre  is a great place to catch live national acts and local music events. There are also several bars and restaurants that feature live music every night in downtown St. Augustine. You can also sometimes catch a few street musicians performing depending on the night!

Carriage Rides:

A perfect activity for your romantic St. Augustine date is a carriage ride. St. Augustine Carriages is one of a few places that provides romantic carriage tours of the city.

Featured Places: 

Columbia Restaurant:
98 St. George Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Pizzalley’s on St. George:
117 St George St, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Cousteau’s:
15 Hypolita Street
Saint Augustine, Florida
32084

J & S Carousel at Davenport Park:
180 San Marco Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32080

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum:
81 Lighthouse Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida 32080

St. Augustine Amphitheatre:
1340C A1A S, St. Augustine, FL 32080

St Augustine Carriages:
1 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 32084

 

 

 

 

-Adriana

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