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Wine Time

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
San Sebastian Winery Tours

The San Sebastian Winery!

Did you know that the San Sebastian Winery was among the first to develop table, sparkling, and desert wines from hybrid and muscadine grapes? Guests are able to participate in St. Augustine Wine Tours of the actual winery and can learn how wine is actually made! YUM. Speaking of yum… you can also get a delicious sample during a complimentary wine-tasting! If you’d like a little more, the Cellar Upstairs Wine & Jazz Bar is an open-air deck that entertains on weekends! Come enjoy the wine and the beautiful views of St. Augustine.

Tour St. Augustine “Old School!”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The Oldest Schoolhouse

With school back in session this week we thought it would be a good time to talk about the Oldest Schoolhouse in St. Augustine.  Did you know that the Oldest Schoolhouse originally had no electricity, no running water, no kitchen, or a bathroom? Today, you can walk through the kitchen, see the garden, and admire the old pecan tree that has been there for 250 years! Visiting the Oldest Schoolhouse has always been an inspiring experience since the 18th century! Come enjoy it’s charm and learn about it’s importance in our nation’s past.

St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Each year the city of St. Augustine strings up over 2 million white lights in their downtown area for their annual Nights of Lights festival. If you ever find yourself near St. Augustine between Thanksgiving and the end of January, make sure you stop in and see the city. It looks amazing. St. Augustine Tours offers the Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley that shows guests the lights while singing Christmas Carols. Its great fun for all ages!

Southern Living Magazine picks Ghosts & Gravestones of St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

The October issue of Southern Living is out and they have named Ghosts and Gravestones of St. Augustine as one of The South’s Best Ghosts Tours. This is quite and honor since only five tours were selected! In other exciting news, our Ghosts & Gravestones tour was also selected for the second year in a row as Best Ghost tour of St. Augustine by the St. Augustine Record and www.staugustine.com!

St. Augustine’s Oldest Store Museum Experience Grand Opening

Friday, July 15th, 2011

 

        St. Augustine’s Oldest Store Museum celebrated its Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on July 12, 2011.  The museum has everything you could imagine from dress patterns and cameras to bicycles and a goat powered washing machine.  On the tour through the museum you are taken inside this turn of the century emporium of gadgetry by a snake oil salesman who is trying to sell you the newest in 1900 goods and technology.  After trying to sell you Dr. Barkers Blood Builder patent medicine, an Edison Cylinder Music Player, a cream separator, a cork sizer, and even a milkshake maker, you are escorted through the butcher’s shop, equipped with real smoked hams and bacon, into the back warehouse.  The Butcher is an animatronics figure that is chopping away on a slab of bacon and telling you the meat prices for the day.

            In the warehouse you are greeted by the warehouse manager who picks up the tour in the barnlike warehouse.  The atmosphere goes from high intensity sales pitches to calm and interested explanations of the products in the back.  You see a washing machine powered by a goat treadmill and a thresher that can be powered by a horse treadmill.  You get to hear a history of bicycles as one is lowered from the ceiling were many other objects are displayed.

            After the warehouse portion of the tour you can explore a hallway lined with antique washing machines through the ages. An Apex Electric from the 1920s begins to work and bubbles shoot out of a machine at the end of the hall.  As you move into the next room you are greeted by a bread wagon from Moeller Brother’s Bakery, a buggy from 1908 and a Regina Music Player.  While looking at the portraits on the wall, the one of C.F. Hamblen comes to like and begins to tell you the history of his store. 

Brief History of C.F. Hamblen Hardware

 C.F. Hamblen Hardware opened in 1875 and as the city of St. Augustine grew, so did the store.  Hamblen’s was instrumental in the building and upkeep of Henry Flagler’s railroad and hotels throughout the state of Florida.  Included in the Oldest Store Museum collection are many receipts and orders for various things shipped to the hotels and the Florida East Coast Railroad. 

            Hamblen died in 1920 and his store passed into the hands of George Meserve who continued dealing with the Florida East Coast Railroad and many of the Flagler hotels.  In 1960 the warehouse was purchased by Fred Green who found very quickly that Mr. Hamblen never threw anything away.  Three short years later, the Oldest Store Museum was opened on Artillery Lane on Feb 11th 1963 and quickly became a popular St. Augustine attraction.

            In 2002 HTA purchased the collection and packed it all into storage to wait for the perfect time to reopen this wonderful attraction.  Over the course of the next nine years events slowly took place toward the opening of the museum and in 2011 the project began in full swing.

            Many people’s hands worked on this project and everyone is very proud to see the final product.  It has turned out better than ever imagined and will again be a popular attraction in the city.  So next time you find yourself in St. Augustine be sure to visit the Oldest Store Museum and experience the excitement of the times as St. Augustine emerged into the modern age with the help of C.F. Hamblen Hardware Company.

Nights of Lights in St. Augustine

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

A St. Augustine tradition is back with 2 million lights illuminating America’s oldest city. Now in its 17th year, Nights of Lights, draws millions of visitors from November until the end of January. Here at Old Town Trolley Tours of St. Augustine we have a special tour designed just for optimal Nights of Lights viewing that is fun for the whole family. We will be running these special St. Augustine tours now until January 31, 2011.

Lightner Museum

Nights of Lights in St. Augustine

Do You Dare Board The Trolley Of The Doomed?

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

St. Augustine Ghosts & Gravestones

St. Augustine’s “Frightseeing” Tour, Ghosts & Gravestones has added an even more chilling stop to its already daunting tour. The St. Augustine Trolley of the Doomed now makes its way over to Lighthouse Park, where guests can explore and experience the presence of those who are believed to haunt the Lighthouse grounds. The Lighthouse has numerous recorded deaths that relate to the unique hauntings that have been witnessed onsite.  Visitors and employees have claimed to see moving shadows and have heard whispered voices and unexplained noises. The new tour is a must for the curiously brave soul who dares to question the unexplainable.

St. Augustine History Museum Proudly Presents….

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

 

Juan Ponce de Leon

Juan Ponce de Leon

     In the year 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon left Spain in search of The Fountain of Youth.  Legend reveals that anyone who was to drink from the fountain would stay young forever. Ponce de Leon left Spain with expectations of discoveringthe fountain in Bimini, an island located in the Bahamas. Ponce de Leon’s strength of mind directed him to deem a piece of North America an island (la Florida), and claimed the land in the name of his King, the King of Spain. Ponce de Leon was the first European to explore Florida.

 St. Augustine, Florida is rich in Spanish history, and is honored to have the opportunity to showcase many unique exhibits, specifically intended to educate the general public on St. Augustine’s extensive past.

The St. Augustine History Museum already features a combination of historical displays, and private collections that bring over 400 years of Florida history to life. The museum is proud to present its newest exhibit opening this June, “Treasures of Juan Ponce de Leon and Domestic Life in Spanish Colonial St. Augustine.”

 Archaeologist Raphael A. Cosme has been researching and investigating Spanish colonial artifacts for the last 25 years. Cosme’s discoveries have been identified as the best archaeological findings of all time in the Caribbean. Now the “Treasures of Juan Ponce de Leon” will be accessible for public viewing. Cosme’s findings include a comb carved out of bone, buttons, glass, coins dating from 1500 to 1630, cattle bones, and plenty of other inimitable pieces. What makes this exhibit truly fascinating is the fact that the site location of excavation could be the land boundary of Ponce de Leon’s temporary wooden house, which was built between 1519 and 1521. 

The exhibit is a must see St. Augustine attraction to complete one’s vacation here in the city of St. Augustine.

Celebrating Black History Month – Ray Charles

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Ray Charles

Ray Charles Robinson was born n 1930 in Albany, GA, but as an infant moved to Greenfield, FL. At the age of five, Charles began to lose his sight and by the age of 7 was completely blind. It is thought cause of his blindness was due to an infection caused by soapy water. From 1937 to 1945 Charles was a student at the Florida School For the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, just located down the street from Old Town Trolley Tours. It was while at the Florida School For the Deaf and Blind that his musical talent began to develop. At school Ray was taught classical music, but it was the jazz he heard on the radio that he really wanted to play and established his first group, RC Robinson and the Shop Boys. (more…)

Chocolate Tours

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Milk…dark…caramel…bars…ice cream…nougat…truffles…the list goes on….

Chocolate.

In all it amazing, rich, wonderful incantations, chocolate is a worldwide favorite.  Beginning with Aztec and Mayan civilizations in the pre-Columbian era, chocolate became an intrinsic part of everyday life.  Cultivation of the cacao bean was easy in the steamy jungles and the bitter drink the beans yielded was soon seen as a source of power, both political and economic.  (more…)

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