Wednesday, April 9, 2014

St. Augustine, FL - 04/09/14


Wednesday – April 9, 2014
Anastasia State Park
St. Augustine, Florida

Another warm, sunny day in Florida. Time for a road trip! We had received positive reports from several campers about Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida, so we decided to check it out.

Anastasia State Park is located 52 miles from our campground, here in Salt Springs, Florida. We arrived there in a little over one hour. This is a very popular campground, requiring advance reservations. The campground in the park is located within walking distance of the scenic, white beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. There are 139 campsites distributed among seven campsite loops.

Campground Loop Campsite Numbers
Sea Bean 1 – 17
Queen Conch 18 – 35
Shark Eye 36 – 55
Sand Dollar 56 – 70
Sea Urchin 71 – 90
Angel Wing 91 – 105
Coquina 106 - 139

The Sea Bean Loop is restricted for tent camping only. All other loops are for RV or Tent camping.

Camping Fees:
Senior/Disabled Florida Residents: $15.40 (including tax)
All Others: $30.80 (including tax)

The campsites are all densely shaded and tightly bunched together, affording very little privacy between campsites. If you have satellite television, it is unlikely you will be able to get a signal, due to the density of the shrubs surrounding each campsite. All campsites have electric and water hookups. There are four restrooms with flush toilets and hot water showers. There is one dump station.

The campground loop roads are paved and very narrow. Entry into the campsites is also very narrow. This campground is not suitable for big rigs, in my opinion. During our visit we saw small trailers, fifth-wheels, Class A’s, Class B’s, and Class C’s, but I would imagine they had one heck of a time getting their rigs backed into their campsite.

The obvious draw to Anastasia State Park is the park’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the city of St. Augustine. We did not find this campground suitable for our camping preferences and were so glad we had not made reservations to camp there, without first checking it out.

We took a brief driving tour of St. Augustine, before departing the area.

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish established at St. Augustine this nation's first enduring settlement.

Vestiges of the First Spanish Colonial Period (1565-1764) remain today in St. Augustine in the form of the town plan originally laid out by Governor Gonzalo Méndez de Canzo in the late sixteenth century and in the narrow streets and balconied houses that are identified with the architecture introduced by settlers from Spain. Throughout the modern city and within its Historic Colonial District, there remain thirty-six buildings of colonial origin and another forty that are reconstructed models of colonial buildings.

The city celebrated its 400th anniversary in 1965 and undertook in cooperation with the State of Florida a program to restore parts of the colonial city. The continuation of an effort actually begun in 1935, what became known as the "Restoration" resulted in preserving the thirty-six remaining buildings from the colonial era and the reconstruction of some forty additional colonial buildings that had previously disappeared, transforming the appearance of the historic central part of St. Augustine. It was in great part a tribute to such efforts that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia made this small city a part of their 2001 visit to the United States.

Some 2 million visitors annually make their way to St. Augustine, lured by the sense of discovering a unique historic part of America. While the venerable Castillo de San Marcos remains the traditional magnet for visitors, there are many other appealing historical sites and vistas.

During our return trip to Salt Springs, we stopped in Palaka to have a late lunch at Corkey Bell’s Seafood & Steaks Restaurant. When we had passed by it earlier in the day we noticed the parking lot was full, which is generally a favorable sign of a good restaurant. Not so this time! Sharon ordered their ½ slab Baby Back Ribs & Shrimp and I ordered their Filet of Flounder Stuffed with Crabmeat. Both orders were served with two sides and three Crispy Hushpuppies for each order. Sharon’s sides were the Green Beans and Cheese Grits. My sides were the Green Beans and Crunchy Corky Slaw. The flounder was just horrible. It was overcooked and tasteless. The ribs were acceptable, but the shrimp were not fried properly. The green beans were quite large and overcooked. The absolute best part of the meal was the cheese grits, the slaw and the hushpuppies. The wait staff service was sporadic and under-whelming. Overall, it was not a pleasant dining experience. 

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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