I might as well get it out in the open right now: I’ve been planning my retirement since I started working. And my retirement dreams (fantasies?) have always involved smallish, historic, Southern coastal cities, likely stemming from my college years in New Orleans. If the town is funky and/or has been occupied by various different countries in its past and/or includes Spanish moss draped from live oaks, my interest level increases. Key West, Charleston, Savannah, Beaufort SC and – yes – Annapolis, are all very much in the running.
Given that as background, one could look at this trip up the ICW as a real estate orientation tour.
Going up the ICW is more than just nature and scenery.
Yesterday’s run from Titusville to Palm Coast, Florida featured ICW-front properties with easy access to ocean beaches, all at “affordable” (ahem) prices. Today was even better: I added another city to my list. Hello, St. Augustine!
St. Augustine’s riverfront and iconic Bridge of Lions (with the drawbridge up, snarling traffic at the behest of cruisers).
You don’t get much older or historic in the United States. St. Augustine was settled by the Spanish in 1559. And then the British and the Spanish fought over it. And ultimately, the US bought Florida (or, rather, “The Floridas” as there was a West and and East) for $5 million. A good deal, I think. The Castillo de San Marco, fortifications across the river from the inlet to the ocean, presided over all of it.
The Castillo de San Marco looks like an miniature of El Morro in San Juan; not surprising, since the same military minds were behind it.
We are staying at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, right in the heart of it all. (Perhaps a little too much so, since tourists freely walk the docks, gaping at us.)
A view of Calypso’s deck from the top of the mast, as well as a view of the bridge. I sent Rick up the stick to change the anchor light.
The marina is right next to the Bridge of Lions, named in honor of Ponce de Leon (“Leon” being the Spanish word for lion).
There are marble lions on both sides of the bridge, and at both ends.
And from the riverfront inland you have many square blocks of the old city. The cobblestone streets and alleys.
The restaurants, bars, boutiques and galleries.
The flower bedecked old houses.
The hidden courtyards.
The Spanish colonial architecture.
And it’s only a short distance from the ocean.
You can see the inlet to the ocean, and the beaches, from the fort.
Yup, I’m in love with another town.
But for better or worse, I’m not hurrying to make any changes just yet. There remains the pesky little issue of paying for this little fantasy. In the meantime, I suspect I’ll be meeting additional candidates for my list as we make our way further north.