St. Augustine is a city located on the northeast coast of Florida. It also lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S.
San Sebastian Winery
Founded in 1996 and located on King Street just blocks from the historic downtown is San Sebastian Winery. Take your complimentary self-guided tour and prepare to walk through this unique winery. Along the way sample some wines and learn the important details of their 5,000-gallon stainless steel tanks from fermenting, storing, and bottling. San Sebastian produces wine such as Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. If you prefer something sweeter, try the Port or Cream Sherry. Don’t leave without ordering wine or purchasing a gift certificate for family or a friend. If you are looking for another great option, there are baskets of wine to take home too. San Sebastian has won over 650 awards for excellence. Tour, taste, shop and have fun!
The Whetstone Chocolate
Family owned since 1967, Whetstone Chocolate is a major attraction for tourists and residents. Learn about the unique Whetstone delicacies. Tour the facility and shop for a treat or a souvenir to take home. Vacationers have the option of chocolate seashells, chocolate bars, caramels, dessert toppings, truffles, boxed gift assortments, fudge and more! Enjoy their succulent and delicious chocolates in historic St. Augustine. Here is a tip: Whetstone is just a two-minute walk from San Sebastian Winery.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Now that you had some fun at the winery and have savored some awesome chocolate, walk over (about 20 minutes) to the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The Castillo de San Marcos (Spanish for “St. Mark’s Castle”) National Monument is located on the western shore of the Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine.
Designed by a Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza, it was constructed in 1672. The fort occupies 2.5 acres and was one of the first forts built out of coquina (sedimentary rock) stones. This masonry was very effective at absorbing the impact of cannonballs causing them to sink into the walls, rather than shattering or puncturing them. The fort has undergone many alterations and renovations over the centuries.
In October 1966, the fort was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service manages the Castillo with the assistance of Fort Matanzas National Monument. The fort has been featured on many television shows such as Monumental Mysteries, Ghost Adventures and a 1951 film called “Distant Drums”. You can walk the grounds for free. To enter the Castillo itself there is a $15.00 entrance fee (16 years or older). The fort has become a popular tourist attraction in downtown St. Augustine. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone for the outdoor scenic shots. It’s impressive.
When you stay at Royal Floridian or Royal Floridian South, you can take a day trip to St. Augustine. It’s about an hour drive from Ormond Beach, FL.