Before there were Pilgrims traipsing along the shorelines of Massachusetts and wherehaveyou, the Spaniards that landed on the northern shores of Florida were building a beautiful city (to later be known as Saint Augustine) and forts for her protection. Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles and some 600 men arrived from Spain on August 28, 1565 with the intent to conquer and colonize. The Spanish took down the French who had previously settled on the St. Johns River and soon began to enjoy the Florida life. The Spanish celebrated their first Thanksgiving in St. Augustine in 1565, some 56 years before those other guys even thought to have their harvest.
So, now that you have this new morsel of interesting info, think about how awesome it is to celebrate your Thanksgiving in the oldest city in the nation.
Historic St. Augustine Thanksgiving
The end of November is a fantastic time to visit Florida, as the winter months show mercy on the coastline and grant mild temperatures and beautiful blue skies. A crispness in the air, but it is a far cry from the frigid blows of the northern snow. It is nice, pleasant, and easy to reach thanks to the beautiful resort Grande Villas at World Golf Village. And if you want to get down with the historical vibe of Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, visit the Fountain of Youth to experience the St. Augustine of the 16th Century.
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15-acre, waterfront area that offers guests a taste of history and a chance to relax among the benches and picnic tables that offer shady spots to sit. Sites to explore include: The Spring House, The Discovery Globe, The Planetarium, Timucua Indian Exhibit, Spanish Cannons, Native Christian Burial Grounds Exhibit, First Encounter Exhibit, Archaeology Exhibit, and the general grounds. Daily demonstrations, including a cannon firing, will keep you entertained as well. This park is basically as close to history as you can get during your vacation to St. Augustine. Not that the entire city doesn’t have an air of the historic nature, but this is the original landing spot of the Spanish, and the exhibits are excellent.
If you have decided to go along with the push of this story, and would like an idea on where to eat Thanksgiving dinner, we can help you. Because you travel with us, you should be well aware that most vacation villas offer full kitchens (along with many other state-of-the-art and luxurious amenities). If your thoughts of cooking during vacation are not that convincing, there are plenty of places to search out some turkey.
- The Columbia Restaurant serves a traditional turkey dinner
- 95 Cordova offers an upper-scale, reservations required buffet
- Raintree will have traditional turkey, prime rib or a limited regular menu
If you would like recommendations or information on any part of your vacation in St. Augustine, speak with the concierge. The concierge will do his or her best to direct you to a restaurant of your liking, as well as offer advice on points of interest and local attractions.