ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
There is something special about this sleepy little settlement by the sea. It’s like a spooky seafaring town you’d find in a Scooby Doo cartoon—if you added a Starbucks and several Airbnb locations.
But if you’re like me, and you want to explore places you can’t find anywhere else, here’s where you want to go:
1. The Chapel of Our Lady of La Leche – It doesn’t take a Catholic to realize this place is beautiful. Originally founded in 1587 by a Franciscan missionaries, this tiny chapel was the first Shrine to the Virgin Mary in the United States. Although it’s been rebuilt twice, it is still a beautiful example of St. Augustine’s rich Spanish architecture.
2. Casa Monica Resort & Spa – Although I haven’t actually stayed here, this resort is on my short list. The stunning Moroccan exteriors and citadel features are stunning, and the black and white awnings of the pool lounge chairs are perfect for me. I’ll admit, the rooms seem a little stuffy for me, but I don’t think I would spend much time inside anyway.
3. St. Augustine Distillery – This micro-operation uses fresh local ingredients to craft spirits of all different strengths and colors. The building in which it’s housed is the site of a former ice distributor that sat abandoned for decades before these guys set up shop. These days, you can tour the factory and try free samples of the spirits—I recommend the gin. Read my full review.
4. Ice Plant – Located on the second floor of the distillery, the Ice Plant is a killer antique bar that carries on the building’s frozen tradition by using six different types of ice, ranging in shape and purpose, to make its signature drinks. The cocktails and food items are seasonal, but the quality is consistent. Read my full review.