A mossy veiled stone wall meets a black iron gate where a sturdy grey feline named Zeke commonly stands guard. I had arrived at the oldest city in America, and at the “Oldest Inn”, in St. Augustine.
The hundred-something-year-old steps summoned my feet into a perfectly overgrown courtyard. Blood-red rocking chairs, relic statues and a historic fish pond invited me into the St. Francis Inn.
The St. Francis Inn is St. Augustine, Florida’s Oldest Inn, dating back to 1791 when it was built as a home by Gaspar Garcia. It was converted into a lodging establishment in 1845.
The dark heavy woodwork and aged wooden floors are softened by the years that have passed. There are antiques and heavy rugs that welcomed me into the Inn’s lobby, as if I had just arrived to my favorite Gram’s house. The welcome was warm and the Innkeeper Linda was exceptionally hospitable.
“Is the Inn haunted”, I asked, having no idea of the Inn’s history at this point. “Well, yes. We have a servant girl named Lily that is said to live here. We have had a lot of investigators stay in her room intentionally, Miss Lily’s Room.” My eyes grew wide, always having been fascinated by the paranormal. The legend of this Inn invited my curiosity. See the story here.
My eyes must have been twinkling from the charm of this creaky portal. “This is your suite, Saffron’s Suite!” Exclaimed Linda, as she opened the door to my home for the next 24 hours. It felt, old. It was completely furnished with antiques, along with every modern feature you may need. It was intimate and warm. There wasn’t a detail forgotten, right down to the complimentary sherry in a vintage styled glass decanter. I could stay here for weeks however, for now it was time to meet the guests.
The guests were as welcoming as the Inn and its keepers. Everyone mingled during the social hour inside the main dining room over complimentary beer and wine offered with hors d’oeuvres. Stories of St. Augustine and travel banter of sorts were exchanged as were laughter and smiles.
Mr. and Mrs. Srebernak, travel agents from Orlando, have been visiting this Inn for 10 years. This was just one of the many great reviews I heard of the St. Francis Inn from its guests. I felt like a child among my family members, gathering for a special affair. The energy was complete.
The following morning I woke up early. There’s something mystical about old trees and thick ivy wrapped in morning mist. I made my way back to the dining room, greeted cheerfully by Zeke along the way. The smell of cinnamon and apple butter widened my eyes. The breakfast was home-made. Again, I was delightfully impressed at the level of quality and attention to detail delivered by the hands of the staff at the St. Francis Inn. This felt like home.
It was time to go, but I’ll be returning soon to my new second home at the oldest inn, in the oldest city, where the coolest cat named Zeke lives.
The St. Francis Inn has been rated EXCELLENT by 452 travelers on Trip Advisor
- Awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2013
- Select Registry Member
- National Geographic Traveler Best of the World 2013
- See all of the awards here…there’s a lot
St. Francis Inn offers the following FREE amenities:
As Always your experience, suggestions and questions are enjoyed. Happy fairytale travels!