St. Augustine Experience – Nation’s Oldest City Historic Tours
Enjoy your day in the Nation’s Oldest City! The various architectural styles, narrow brick streets, and European flavors combine for a unique escape. Your professional tour guide meets the group dressed in period costume and weaves a tapestry of stories from the Ponce de Leon discovery period, the pirate days of Sir Francis Drake, the Spanish and English colonial years, and the Victorian Flagler era. We tour all the major sites including the Fountain of Youth, Spanish Mission Grounds, City Gates, Spanish Plaza, Cathedral-Basilica, Spanish Government House, and Henry Flagler Hotels. We stop at the Castillo de San Marcos, the stone fort that was never captured in battle. As we walk the fort grounds, listen to the story of how the early Spanish survived under siege from the English attackers. St. Augustine was also the first winter resort for the rich and famous during the Gilded Age. Hear how Henry Flagler built the most opulent hotels of the day and transformed the city into the first winter resort for the rich and famous in 1888. We continue the tour inside the Venetian Renaissance gem of Flagler Memorial Church which was built in 360 days using 1,000 men. In the afternoon, you are welcome to shop and explore the historic district on your own including the pedestrian mall of St. George Street. Alternatively, you may want to stay with the tour guide to take a more intimate look inside the historic houses or magnificent hotels containing the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Your guide creates an interactive tour atmosphere which is fun for everyone.
St. Augustine’s Gilded Age – “A Playground for the Rich and Famous” Walking Tour
On a visit to the quaint town of St. Augustine, oil tycoon Henry Flagler had a vision to build a resort for the rich and famous. By 1888, he constructed the most opulent hotels of the day complete with a railroad to transport the guests from New York. Graced by the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and the epitome of high society; they came to experience the “American Riviera”. For the newcomers, it was a short carriage ride from the train station to the three hotels surrounding the promenade. We start with a private tour inside the Ponce de Leon Hotel (today Flagler College). We go into the dining hall to see the world’s largest collection of Tiffany stained glass windows and the hotel’s Grand Parlor room with Austrian crystal chandeliers. Then we tour inside the Venetian Renaissance gem of Flagler Memorial Church to see Henry Flagler’s tomb and hear the amazing story of how the construction was completed in less than one year. Next we enter the Alcazar Hotel (today Lightner Museum) to see Otto Lightner’s collection of collections and the world’s largest indoor swimming pool of the day. Relics of America’s Gilded Age are elegantly exhibited on the museum’s three floors including cut glass, Victorian art glass, costumes, furnishings, and mechanical musical instruments. Your guide creates an interactive tour atmosphere which is fun for everyone.
Aviles St. Walking Tour (Oldest Street in America – St. Augustine)
Local author and History Channel personality, Karen Harvey leads this tour down America’s oldest street. This private tour starting from the Casa Monica goes along the narrow brick passageways with overhanging balconies to bring out the best in old St. Augustine. Sites include the Father O’Reilly house (oldest house in St. Augustine), Kirby Smith house (General Edmund Kirby Smith was the last Confederate officer to surrender during the Civil War), and Spanish Hospital. The tour continues inside the Fatio House and Museum. We step back in time to the mid 1800’s to see how Louisa Fatio ran her boarding house and the items her guests brought with them. The orange and fig trees in the courtyard are the ingredients for the homemade jams that are given to our guests as a tasty gift. There are several European restaurant options including Polish, Spanish, Greek, and French in the area. On the way back to the plaza area, we stop for a sampling of Belgium chocolate.
Tastes and Sights of Europe Tour (St. Augustine)
People know St. Augustine for the history however it is alive today with a flair that is all European. You can escape to old Europe with a short walking tour in the historic district from your hotel. We start the afternoon with authentic European crepes from a family recipe. Margarita captures your attention as she tells her restaurant story inspired by her Grandmother. Next we sample unique wines from another European country that stretch the palate. Then we see Spanish Mediterranean and Moorish style architecture as we walk through entrances designed for horse and carriages during the Victorian days. We navigate the narrow brick streets to the modest house of the Crown Prince of Naples during the time of the French Empire. We stop for Polish pierogies at a family restaurant known for their old world flavors. Coquina stone buildings grace the passageway including the home of an Irish priest that was built in the late 1600’s. We stop for traditional flan or cake for a Spanish flavored treat. Lastly, we encounter the gourmet taste of Belgian chocolate on the way back to the hotel. Come experience a taste of Europe without crossing the ocean.imagination and please the
Beermaster Tour (Jacksonville, FL)
This behind the scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser is the ultimate opportunity for beer drinkers. The Beermaster Tour is your personal invitation to explore the beer making process from fermentation to finishing. Your group will be privately guided through the Brew Hall, Primary Fermentation Cellar, Lager Cellar, Packaging Facility, Quality Assurance, and Finishing Cellar. Guests can sample beer like the brew masters directly from the finishing tanks prior to bottling. This unique tour will conclude in the Hospitality Room where guests can relax as they enjoy a couple of lagers from the extensive Anheuser-Busch product line. In commemoration of your experience guests will receive a variety of gifts.
Jacksonville Experience and Perfume Tour
Your professional tour guide meets the group at your hotel for an entertaining Jacksonville experience. You can plan to taste, see, smell, touch, and hear the best of the City. On the way, we stop at the only independent custom fragrance manufacturer in Florida. This private olfactory tour even takes you down antiquity to sample Cleopatra’s perfume and many others. We continue the tour downtown and hear the exploits of the city’s famous residents and the story of the Great Fire of 1901. From the ashes grew the most modern city in the world and roaring Jacksonville became the first Hollywood before the “talkies”. We drive past Treaty Oak and through the trendy San Marco area to sample the famous chocolate. We can offer free time for shopping at the boutiques at San Marco Square.
The Beaches Savor and Sail Tour
Local flavors and salty tales combined with a relaxing cruise on board St. Augustine’s premier tall ship await your group. Lounge on deck with your favorite beverage as we explore the waterway with America’s Oldest City filling in as the backdrop. You can hear Jimmy Buffet in the background as we search for dolphins in the bay. Help raise the sails, mingle with colleagues, or sit back and enjoy the historic sites. You will see the old town of St. Augustine from the same viewpoint as the colonial ships from long ago. The stone fort, Castillo de San Marcos, guards the harbor of the old Spanish settlement. Your professional tour guide dressed in period costume, meets the group at The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club for an entertaining ride to the marina. We start the ride with a sweet taste of Jacksonville, the famous Peterbrooke Chocolate. Local wine and beer can add to the fun. We drive through Ponte Vedra Beach, home of the PGA Tour, THE PLAYERS, and many famous golfers. You see glimpses of the ocean as we follow Florida’s A1A Scenic Coastal Byway (http://www.scenica1a.org) going past sites such as Guana State Park and Castle Otttis. Your award-winning guide creates an interactive atmosphere as he sets the expectation for a unique sailing trip.
Segway Tour and Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island
Our destination on this experience is Ft. George Island which was founded by the French, settled by the Spanish, named by the English, and tamed by the Americans. Our first stop is Kingsley Plantation to hear the amazing story of Anna, a former slave who rose to become a property owner. Maintained by the National Park Service, we explore the grounds which include the slave quarters, barn, waterfront, plantation house, kitchen house, and interpretive garden. Next we go to the nearby Ribault Club that was built as a private resort in the 1920’s. It is on the grounds that you learn how to ride the segways. The one hour segway tour goes through the state park’s nature trails and wind through the island’s terrain. Your destination is Point Isabel and its magnificent water views of saltwater inlets, marshes, sand bars, and dune-lined shores. A segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing transportation device designed to go wherever people go. It is easy to learn to operate because of its technologically advanced design that senses your body movements. The comfortable platform for your feet and adjustable handlebar height make the process of gliding along second nature and an experience you won’t forget!
Level of Difficulty: Low (you will have instruction/practice time)