Where did I first see a representation of old Florida? Probably in a movie somewhere, because I was an adult before I ever set foot in that state. And yet, decades later, when we were looking for a winter home in St Augustine, I had this vision of just what kind of street I wanted to be on; just the kind of look and feel. This story tells about my fantasy.
The Florida That Was – #358
The Florida I love most is the old Florida, where hundreds of years have passed since live oaks took root. They are now so big that their branches spread across streets, forming a canopy of limbs threaded with Spanish moss. They seem to create a cool oasis, along with the sun and sand that so symbolize Florida. So magestic, those huge old trees; many of them more than 300 years old.
I wonder about their caretakers over the years; the people who situated their dwelling among the trees years ago, wise enough to leave room for decades of future growth.
I feel so protected under those trees. Regal, mysterious, gnarled limbs reaching out in many directions. They could surely tell tales of pirates and forts that changed hands repeatedly when enemy became conqueror.
I can fantasize about southern belles in hoop skirts strolling beneath those trees, umbrella filtering the sun’s rays from delicate complexions.
There is so much to love about Florida – the ocean, the white sand beaches, the fun and laughter, the history and architecture with its Spanish influence. But I must admit enjoying my detours from A1A along the ocean to cruise the canopied streets of the Florida that was.
We found that perfect street. It was on St Augustine Beach, an island adjacent to the ancient city. We hosted guests from up north for years, shielding them from the harsh winters back home. We were three blocks from the ocean. Close enough to hear the surf, on a good day. Close enough to visit the waves whenever we wanted. Sure enjoyed those years and I think our guests did too.