The Christmas countdown seems to begin earlier every year. It’s gotten to the point where Halloween ends and Christmas decorations start popping up in shops and department stores (or if you’re in America, after Thanksgiving). I like to limit my celebrations (like treating myself to a gingerbread latte from Starbucks) to December, to maintain the “magic” of the holiday. Leicester switched on its Christmas lights last Sunday, and St Augustine, “the nations oldest city”, did the same.
As I have finals before we finish for Christmas break, I thought that justified me to visit the Night of Lights festival in the Floridian sea-side city, whilst it was still November! Being the day after Thanksgiving, everyone was still off work/school, so finding somewhere to park took a lot longer than expected (massive thanks to the local who asked if we wanted to park on his driveway!). It ended up that we were directly next to the beautiful campus that is Flagler College;
From there we explored the historic district, namely St George Street (which you can probably guess was named by the British). It’s small, pedestrianised, and lined with a lot of souvenir shops from the authentic to the extremely tacky. It is also host to the oldest wooden schoolhouse of the USA;
We also visited Castillo de San Marcos, a national monument and at 315+ years it’s the oldest structure in St Augustine, and the oldest masonry fort in the United States. It is a large Spanish stone fortress, built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World.
It’s right next to the sea, so of course we went to explore along the beach. Unfortunately we were facing the wrong direction to see the sunset, however when it got dark (which was pretty early, thank you daylight savings!) we were right in the middle of the Night of Lights festival. It lived up to it’s name with lights in trees, in bushes, around shop signs and windows… even the trolley tour (a small “ride” that gives a tour of the city) had them on! It’s hard to feel festive when it’s still warm and over 20 degrees, but this evening definitely helped with that!
Has anyone else started doing anything festive yet? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, readers!