Castle Otttis is located at 103 3rd Street, Saint Augustine, Florida. It’s north of the City of St. Augustine along A1A North. The castle was created as an original landscape sculpture and is designed to look like an Irish castle of 1,000 years ago. The interior was created under guidance of historians from the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine to evoke an atmosphere of an Abbey (or early Christian church) in Ireland during the same period. The project began in 1984 and the exterior was completed by 1988. Before Covid-19, the castle was used as a wedding venue and hosted a public interdenominational Christian worship service on the last Sunday of each month. More details at www.castleotttis.com
Built in 1883 by Franklin W. Smith, the Villa Zorayda is located at 83 King Street, in historic St. Augustine, Florida. The architecture is modeled after the 13th Century Moorish Alhambra Palace in Spain. Today, the Museum houses many amazing antiquities of the previous owners’ collections. Visit www.villazorayda.com
**We recommend viewing the Villa Zorayda during the holiday season, from mid-November through December. It’s GORGEOUS!
Castle Warden (now Ripley’s Believe it or Not)
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, built from 1671 through 1695. It’s located at 1 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida. The fort is a national park and visitors can step inside the walls and attend live re-enactments. Visit www.nps.gov/casa
**We recommend viewing the fort up close and looking closely at the coquina (the rare limestone material used in construction).
Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College)
Founded in 1968, Flagler College campus comprises 19 acres, the centerpiece of which is the Ponce de León Hotel, built in 1888 as a luxury hotel featuring Spanish Renaissance architecture, located at 74 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida. The architects were John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, working for Henry Morrison Flagler, the industrialist, oil magnate and railroad pioneer. Tours are available from Thursday-Sunday at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm, departing from the rotunda at 74 King Street in downtown St. Augustine. RSVP at shop.flagler.edu
**We recommend viewing the interior of the Rotunda with the 68-foot domed ceiling and the dining room featuring 79 Louis Comfort Tiffany Stained Glass windows.
Lightner Museum photo courtesy of lightnermuseum.org
Alcazar Hotel (now Lightner Museum)
Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler, located at 75 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida. Today it is home to one of the best collections of fine and decorative 19th century art in the country. The Museum is open to the public seven days a week and features self-guided tours, tours by reservation for adults and children, and demonstrations of antique mechanical musical instruments. The Museum is also available for weddings and events. Visit lightnermuseum.org
**We recommend taking a self-guided tour and viewing the collections of art. We also encourage having lunch at Cafe Alcazar, located where the world’s largest indoor swimming pool once stood.
Memorial Presbyterian Church
Built in 1889, Memorial Presbyterian Church is located at 32 Sevilla Street in St. Augustine, Florida and stands as a memorial not only to Henry Flagler’s beloved daughter, Jennie Louise, but as a monument to Flagler’s own faith and vision. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Henry Morrison Flagler remains one of the preeminent developers of Florida. The church building was listed in “8 religious wonders to see in the U.S.” by CNN.com in 2012. Church services are held weekly throughout the year with Sunday school as well. Tours are closed during Covid. Visit memorialpcusa.org
**We recommend strolling through the gardens.
Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves the fortified coquina watchtower, completed in 1742, which defended the southern approach to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine. The outdoor areas of the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center are now open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Ferry service to the fort is available from 9:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., on timed tours, Wednesdays-Sundays only. Visit www.nps.gov/foma/index.htm
**We recommend taking the free ferry boat tour over to the fort. It’s a fun adventure!