Exploring St. Augustine, Florida: History and Culture

Exploring St. Augustine, Florida: History and Culture

This post contains sponsored links. The item featured and linked, in this post is provided by St. Augustine Lighthouse (six admission tickets); all opinions and reviews are my own.]

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St. Augustine: History 

In June of this year, we had the pleasure of visiting St. Augustine, on the Atlantic cost of northeastern Florida. St. Augustine is a gem situated neatly along the shores of the Matanzas River and holds heavy historical significance! The Southern and Spanish-influenced St. Augustine, Florida was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and it is the oldest inhabited European-established settlement in the United States. When you are walking around on its centuries-old cobblestone streets, you will instantly feel like you are either in Europe or Old Florida, depending on which street you’re on! It’s a charming escape for anyone wanting to take a vacation!

Bridge of Lions; St Augustine, FL; Plate Girder; Painted, Metali

 

St. Augustine: Arrival

The Bridge of Lions will take you across the Matanzas River to the heart of the historic old town. Once across the bridge you have the choice of turning left on Avenida Menendez to the marina and sight-seeing cruises or right to the Castillo de San Marcos. You can also continue straight ahead on Cathedral Street into the heart of downtown.

 

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St. Augustine: Beaches 

One of the reasons we wanted to travel to St. Augustine was for the beaches! The beaches are so pretty! With a historic city being one of its main attractions, don’t forget about the  beaches near St. Augustine! From their sunrises to sunsets, they are stunning!

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Located on Anastasia Island, a barrier island off the mainland, St Augustine Beach has a natural feel with a wide beach and lots of good surf and shorebirds!

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St. Augustine: Lighthouse & Museum 

While traveling, one of our family goals is to visit every lighthouse we come by! The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum was a highlight for our entire vacation! When we arrived at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum  , we were greeted by Daniel Lee, who  took us on a tour of the property and we learned quite a bit of history about the lighthouse. He was very welcoming and informative on the history of the lighthouse.

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History: Pre-1862 

The story of the the current lighthouse in St. Augustine is not the original St. Augustine Lighthouse. The Spanish constructed the tower that became the first lighthouse in 1737. They used a naturally occurring stone called coquina to construct the original tower. The coquina tower replaced wooden watchtowers the Spanish built dating back to the beginnings of Spanish Florida.

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A map of Francis Drake’s 1586 raid on St. Augustine reveals the presence of a small tower on Anastasia Island. The map refers to the tower as “a Beacon or high scaffold standing on the sand hills, wherein the Spaniards did use to discover the ships at sea.” In 1823, John Rodman, Collector of St. Augustine, wrote to Stephen Pleasonton, Fifth Auditor of the U.S. Treasury, that despite the tower’s presence, “…it was never built for a lighthouse or used as one, but merely a look-out-house. The location is well suited…but a great proportion of the tower, nearly one half, is not sufficiently strong to bear any greater elevation either if wood or stone work.” 

John (Juan) Andreu became first keeper of Florida’s first official U.S. lighthouse in St. Augustine. Not only is he one of the first, he also holds the distinction of being the first Hispanic-American to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to oversee a federal installation of any kind.

Juan Andreu served as keeper until 1845 and the records are unclear as to who took over and served as lighthouse keeper from 1845 to 1849. John (Juan) Carrera served as keeper from 1849 until his death in 1853. Joseph took care of the lighthouse until his death, which he fell, while painting the lighthouse.

Joseph’s wife Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu was appointed keeper in place of her deceased husband. The Coast Guard recognizes Maria Andreu as the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard. Maria was the lighthouse keeper from 1859-1862.

History: Current 

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The current St. Augustine Lighthouse is nestled among live oaks and beautiful Spanish moss making a stunning nautical canopy. Also located on the property is Maritime Museum, along with the light keepers house.

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There is also the Maritime Hammock which is a natural area that the coastline formed when it receded, creating stabilized beach dunes that allowed for larger growth trees.

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There is even a cute gift shop located on the property as well!

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St. Augustine Lighthouse: Climbing the lighthouse

To climb the lighthouse, you will need to climb 219 stairs! Trust me when I say that is is worth it! There are eight landings and even one with a bench. Plenty of space for others to walk past you and if needed, space for a break!

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When you walk into the lighthouse, walk to the first set of stairs, go to the very middle and look up! This is the view that you will see!

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The view from the top is amazing! We had a couple that were a little nervous to be up so high, yet is not our first time on the top of a lighthouse either!

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Amazing view of St. Augustine from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse!! If you decide to come to visit St. Augustine, don’t forget to stop by the lighthouse!

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St. Augustine: Downtown Old City Gates & St. George Street 

The Old City Gates are a site to behold toward the north end of St. George Street. The Old City Gates were at one time the only entrance into St. Augustine. The two ancient columns made of coquina were built in 1808 as a line of defense for the city.

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After visiting the Old City Gates, walk through to enter St. George Street, which is a historic street, that is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants and popular St. Augustine attractions.

 

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St. Augustine: Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo de San Marcos is the largest masonry fort in the continental United States and was built to protect Spain’s claim to the New World!

Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fort was closed on the inside. We did walk around the exterior of the fort!

St. Augustine: The Fountain of Youth  

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The Fountain of Youth was believed that anyone who drank from the fountain would have their youth restored. In 2,400 BC, the Native Americans, a tribe known as, Timucua, were amount the first to inhibit the land. Ponce de Leon was the first Spanish explorer to find the Fountain of Youth. The grounds at the Fountain of Youth are beautiful and you will also find several peacocks throughout the property!

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Drinking from the Fountain of Youth is wonderful experience that our family will never forget!

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I could honestly go on and talk about St. Augustine for a long time! We love this city so much!  It is such a pleasure to visit the historical St. Augustine and we know we will definitely be back!

❤️~Shae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updating Door Knobs and Door Hardware with Kwikset & National Hardware

Updating Door Knobs and Door Hardware with Kwikset & National Hardware

[This post contains sponsored links. The items featured and linked, in this post is provided by Kwikset and National Hardware; all opinions and reviews are my own.]

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We have been working on many projects during quarantine! A couple easy and affordable ways to update your home is with door knobs, deadbolts and hinges! They may not be the first thing your eyes jump to when walking in a home but it can instantly breath new life into a home, while making it feel unified and cohesive. Take new door knobs, hinges and new paint on your doors /trim and you’ve got a winner winner chicken dinner!

Door Knobs Before 

Our door knobs were the brass door knobs from the 90’s with a mixture of updated lever satin nickel door knobs.

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Now…I thought I would do a “smart” thing, several months back and spray paint my door knobs/hinges, well let me tell ya, that did not work! Complete fail! 

Kwikset

When we began the process of looking for door knobs, I researched all the companies that carried door knobs, dead bolts and all the things! What I found was a company that has been around since 1946. Kwikset is a company that is committed to delivering unmatched security features to homeowners and puts their customers’ safety above all else. Kwikset continuously improves the security features in its products to meet or exceed industry standards. Plus, with Microban and the lifetime mechanical and finish warranty, it’s a win win in my book!   

Selecting Hardware Finish 

When I began looking for what style of door knob we wanted, we knew we wanted to go with satin nickel hardware  throughout our home. We also wanted a style of door knob that we felt would be classic and timeless!

Electronic Deadbolt 

For our front door, we decided to try a electronic deadbolt.

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We chose the Satin Nickel 888 Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt with Z-Wave Technology for our front door and absolutely love it!!!

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Reasons We Love Our Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt:

  • Z-Wave Plus Certified with the Z-Wave 500 chipset
  • Extended wireless range and superior 128-bit wireless encryption
  • Up to 30 user access codes for family and guests to use at the door
  • Secured keyless entry convenience
  • One touch locking
  • Dramatically reduced interior size and sleek metal design
  • 30 user codes plus master code feature for added security
  • 5 digit keypad with dedicated lock button
  • SmartKey® technology – the lock you can re-key yourself in seconds in three easy steps
  • 30 user codes plus master code feature for added security

Exterior Doors

For our other exterior doors we chose Cameron Security Set in Satin Nickel. One of the best features about these sets is the Smart Key feature, which allows you to re-key your lock with any KW1 Keyway Key!!

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Bedroom & Bathroom Door Knobs 

We choose the Satin Nickel Cameron Knob  for our bedrooms and bathrooms.

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Love the finish and it also installs so easily!

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Beautiful quality for your home!

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”I feel like hardware is like the “jewelry” to your home! It adds just the perfect finishing touch!” ~ Quote from my friend,  Cindy .

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Close up!

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With Microban, germs are scared to hang around on our door knobs!

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I feel like the Cameron line flows seamlessly throughout our home!

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Last bedroom (full view).

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Girls Bathroom

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Close up!

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Closet/Hall Knobs 

We also chose the Satin Nickel Cameron  line for our Closet Knobs. I love the Cameron line so much!!

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Walk-In Attic Door Knobs

For the attic doors, we wanted to make sure we had a door that locked with a key. With little ones still running around, we didn’t want them to get into a space that they didn’t belong!

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We chose the Satin Nickel Cameron Knob Keyed featuring SmartKey for all three of our walk-in attic doors!!

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Close up!

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National Hardware 

National Hardware prides itself on being an industry leader, continuing to launch high quality, innovative products that exceed industry standards. Their products are meant to withstand the harshest weather elements with WeatherGuard™protected products. WeatherGuard™ provides superior long-lasting corrosion protection – 3x more than standard zinc.

Security Latches

One other item we knew that was needed since our youngest child likes to open exterior doors, is security latches on all of the inside of the exterior doors.

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We chose the Security Guards  in Satin Nickel.

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Satin Nickel is my favorite finish! Can you tell?

Hinges: Interior 

Updating the hinges were a breeze!

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In fact, our oldest adult daughter actually installed all of the interior door hinges & knobs! Girl power!

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We chose the 512rc Door Hinges  in Satin Nickel.

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Hinges: Exterior 

For the exterior hinges, we chose the 512rc Door Hinges  in Satin Nickel.

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All of our doors and trim received a fresh coat of paint as well! I just feel like these updates make a huge impact on our home’s appearance, overall! I truly love making our house into a home!! Thank you so much for taking your time to read today! If you have any questions, please reach out!

P.S. If you can spot the “blooper” or the item (s) out of place, comment here and if your correct, I will send you one of our handmade wood cutting boards!

❤️-Shae

 

DIY Chalk Painted Furniture

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Have you been searching for the perfect diy chalk paint recipe? I have a tried and true recipe right here! The best thing is it is very budget friendly for under $45!! Last week, I decided that one of our daughter’s furniture could use a face lift, per say. After all, this furniture is a good 15 years old. We have moved a few times and it had a few dings in various spots. Those natural “dings” on the furniture would be perfect for chalk painting! I could sing chalk paint praises, all day long! It is the most hardiest paint that I have ever used! I absolutely love it!

CHALK PAINT RECIPE:

1 c Latex Sherwin Williams Ibis White

1/2 c Baking Soda

1 tbsp. water

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DIRECTIONS:

Mix 1 c paint and 1/2 c baking soda very well with a plastic fork, until you see no lumps. Then your going to mix the water until incorporated well and there are no lumps.

I use a  Wooster Paint Brush  from Home Depot. You do not want to use a cheap paint brush because you will be left with bristles in your paint and lots of brush strokes. I can not stress this enough!

The very first thing you are going to want to do is clean your piece very well with a damp cloth. Next is lightly sanding your piece. The reason is so that it gives the chalk paint a little something to grab onto. After sanding, clean your piece really well with a damp cloth again.

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As you can see in the pic above, this was before cleaning and sanding, it definitely needed to be cleaned.

When you begin painting, paint in the direction of the grain of the wood. So, if your wood grain is horizontal, you are going to paint, horizontally. If the direction of the grain of your wood is vertical, you will be painting vertically.

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When you are painting a long piece of furniture, like a dresser, I like to have one long paint stroke, at a time. I will start at the top and go all the way down and continue until the entire top piece is finished. Chalk paint dries really quickly, so you will need to work fast. When you have the entire piece painted with one coat, the paint should be dry within a couple hours, you can lightly sand over the first coat. You are going to be sanding in the direction of the grain of the wood. I use 120 grit sand paper for sanding.  I like to lightly sand in between coats because it will lessen the chance of having a lot of brush strokes. After each sanding, wipe down your piece with a lint free cloth.  Most pieces are going to need three coats of chalk paint, depending on how much coverage you are wanting for your piece. I always do three coats, with light sanding in between and wiping with a clean dry cloth.

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In the above picture, I wanted to point out that sometimes when you are lightly sanding in between coats, that your piece may automatically start to kind of distress itself. That is ok, so don’t let it worry you. After you have painted all three coats with lightly sanding in between, you are now ready to distress your piece. I don’t like super heavy distressing, so my distressing is somewhere in between light to medium distressed. To distress, you are just going to take your sand paper and lightly sand in the areas of your piece, as to where it would naturally wear.

Now you are ready for your wax! Waxing provides a wonderful layer of protection for your chalk painted furniture. I always use two coats of Martha Stewart Vintage Clear Wax  from Michael’s. It is under $10 with a coupon. Depending on the amount of items you are painting, will determine how much wax you will need. I needed two bottles of wax plus a little bit of another bottle. I painted six pieces of furniture. A bed with headboard and footboard, dresser with mirror, side table, desk and chair.  I think it is best to use a lint free cloth with your wax. You do not want to have any dust or hair that can get trapped in the wax, as you are applying or as it is drying. To apply the wax, grab a quarter sized amount and begin waxing in a circular motion until you’ve waxed your entire piece. Allow the wax to dry for several hours and apply a second coat. Once the wax dries, I allow 4-6 weeks for the paint to cure before setting any heavy items on my chalk painted furniture.

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A6D4CF41-DD75-470A-927C-D1CFC1D155BBYou can also check out our You Tube Channel for a more detailed video of how to make your own chalk paint and painting your furniture piece.

Much love~ Shae

Milk Glass Collection

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I fell in love with milk glass a couple years ago, thus the beginning of a new found collection! I originally began collecting milk glass so I could show it off in a corner cabinet that I am dreaming of! We have plans to build one soon! For now, I enjoy decorating with milk glass throughout my home. Everything you see pictured in the first pic, I actually purchased at an estate sale for $15!! It was a steal!

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Over the weekend, I visited my favorite local antique store, called the Brass Bear Antiques. I was on the hunt for a few items and one of those items was milk glass vases! I did find several milk glass vases! Score! Reasonably priced for $4-$6 a piece!

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I feel like there are so many different ways to display your milk glass. From a spring tablescape to a corner hutch or on a tray in your kitchen! Add greenery or flowers and you’ve got a gorgeous, simple vignette!

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Do you ever purchase a antique piece and wonder where it has been? What is the history behind the milk glass? How many owners did it have? Was it given as a special gift to someone for a birthday or a “just because” gift? Do any of ya’ll collect anything that is dear to your heart? Do you have a special antique that was given to you by a family member? You will find many antique pieces, throughout our home. Many of those pieces were given to us by our Grandparents.

XO~Shae

Homemade Doughnuts

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We love homemade doughnuts in our house! These doughnuts are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside! I promise they are not so intimidating once you make them! It is so worth the time and effort!

INGREDIENTS:

2 envelope’s of rapid rise active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water, around 90 degrees

1 1/2 c lukewarm milk, around 90 degrees

1/2 cup cane sugar

1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

2 eggs

1/3 c butter

5 c unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

1 quart coconut oil for frying

GLAZE:

1/3 c butter

2 c powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp. hot water, as needed

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand until foamy. About 5 minutes. Mix together yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter and 2 c of flour, in mixer. Mix for a few minutes at low speed. Beat in remaining flour, 1/2 c at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled. Dough is ready if you touch it and the indention remains.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until doubled. Cover loosely with a cloth.

Melt remaining butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. water at a time until glaze is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet to 350 degrees. Slide doughnuts into oil with spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry each side until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on wire rack. Dip doughnuts into glaze while still hot and drain off excess. Keep wax paper underneath your rack’s for easy clean up.

Hope ya’ll enjoy the recipe!

Love,

Shae

 

 

 

About Me

Hey y’all! My name is Shae and I grew up in sweet home Alabama! I graduated high school at sixteen and began going to college to study child psychology. (Years later, decided to study to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.) I met my husband at work, so I essentially married my high school sweetheart, at the tender age of seventeen. A year later we had our first daughter and I guess, as they say, the rest is history. We have been married for twenty one years with four daughters and three fur babies. My husband and I are a powerhouse when it comes to working together on our DIY’S for our home. I love to design and he loves to build!

Sweet Southern Grace is on Instagram. Link below.

https://www.instagram.com/sweet_southern_grace/