Having spent the full day at Kennedy Space Centre, our next destination was St Augustine, a Spanish city said to be the oldest city in the United States. It lies on the North East Coast of Florida, and only a 2 hours drive away.
With our late departure, we decided to aim for just past Daytona Beach, grabbing a bite to eat at Dennys (yes again!), and wandering through an ALDI (to compare the goods against the Aussie versions), before settling down in a Quality Inn at Ormond Beach.
With having to book a hotel for the night while on the road, we were happy to get a room with 2 queens and a rollaway (set up in a corner of the room), at under $100 usd a night. We had outstanding service with the proprietor checking in to see how we were going, and would stay here again in a heart beat. It was only the next morning as the sun rose, that we got to see where we had actually spent the night.
It was one of the loveliest awakenings of the whole trip.
As a mother, my favourite part of the morning traditionally was to sneak off to the dining area while the family slept, and grab a quiet coffee and breakfast, and chat with whoever was about.
With generous breakfast offerings and a welcoming setting, this place lived up to expectations.
The whole concept of cars driving on the sands, which is allowed in this part of Florida, was a novelty to us. Being so close to Daytona, there is a lot one can do around here. We particularly would have liked to have viewed the Raceway, but unfortunately we were on a time deadline and had to continue up north.
Refreshed, we were able to hit the highway for St Augustine, entertained by the local advertising billboards.
Our primary goal was the St Augustine lighthouse (being both lighthouse fans, and Ghost Hunters fans, for the lighthouse featured on the series with a dramatic sighting of a person peering down the stairwell from above). Very very sadly, the lighthouse was shut, just for 2 days, for maintenance, as we arrived.
We were gutted, but had to content ourselves with walking through the beautiful gardens.
The Seventeenth Century City of St Augustine is marked by magnificent architecture, and under our original holiday plans, we had intended to stay a few days to give us the opportunity to explore.
Certainly, driving in to St Augustine is an imposing sight.
For anyone looking at visiting St Augustine, be sure to add to your list the St Augustine Distillery, St Augustine Wild Reserve (committed to the care of exotic animals that have been kept in inappropriate conditions), and the Fort Mose Historic Park, just to name a few.
The Castillo de San Marcos, an old Spanish fort dating back more than 300 years, stood proudly on the foreshore, and waits for us to return.