|Castle Warden Hotel|
Our literary discovery of the day:
Castle Warden, a Moorish revival mansion in St. Augustine, Florida was built in 1887 for a Philadelphia industrialist. It was bought in 1941 by author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her hotelier husband and run as a classy hotel. The couple had an apartment on the top floor.
Ms. Rawlings was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 for The Yearling. She died here in St. Augustine of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1953 and is buried next to her husband, Norton Baskin, in Island Grove, Florida.
The former hotel is now home of the first Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum of Oddities. It features displays of shrunken heads, torture devices, life-size wax figures, and unusual works of art. Hmmmm. We didn't go there.
We did take a trolley ride along the waterfront led by a Navy Seal veteran who was very knowedgable and entertaining. Later, at the bed and breakfast where we are staying, a local storyteller/historian wove the tapestry of St. Augustine's history that included Spanish, British, and Confederate occupations.
It is the oldest city in America, founded in 1565, and is still going strong. A Spanish fortress called Castillo de San Marcos sits overlooking the harbor, holding a strategic defensive vantage point. It is the oldest masonary fort in the U.S. and is made from coquina, a soft, local shell rock.The fort was declared a National Monument in 1924.
Tomorrow, we will visit Flager College with its 79 Tiffany stained glass windows; munch our way through the Whetstone Chocolate Factory; and pay a visit to Anastasia Books.