The Oldest Inn in the Oldest City, St. Francis Inn

black iron gate

Photo by: Christa Thompson

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.


Lily's Room photo by: Christa Thompson

Lily’s Room photo by: Christa Thompson


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.


Social hour Photo by: Christa Thompson

Social hour Photo by: Christa Thompson


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.


Courtyard Photo by: Christa Thompson

Courtyard Photo by: Christa Thompson


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.


Zeke Photo by: Christa Thompson

Zeke Photo by: Christa Thompson

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!




About Christa Thompson

view all posts

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

14 Comments on this post

  1. […] ← Sunday Sharpener, 5 Sites to Visit to Sharpen Your Edge The Oldest Inn in the Oldest City, St. Francis Inn → […]

  2. Reblogged this on My Weekender and commented:
    Ready to ditch the sand and hit the road? Why not take a trip to St. Augustine, America’s oldest city. I just returned and this is where I stayed. I can hardly wait to get back to the St. Francis Inn.

  3. Love St Augustine. There is nothing creepier than walking St Augustine at night. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast on St. George street is my number one recommendation.

    Christopher De Voss / Reply
  4. Thank you for a lovely review! We enjoyed having you and your family! πŸ™‚

    St. Francis Inn / Reply
  5. I love going there! I miss Zeke, hope to see him soon!!

    Jennifer / Reply
  6. Great blog. Well done…

    Todd Lohenry / Reply
  7. […] was lucky enough to have stayed at the St. Francis Inn. The staff was very friendly, the Inn was pristine, antiquated, and wrapped in low hanging trees […]


  9. […] a little locals tip, stay atΒ the St. Francis Inn, the staff is amazing, the digs are historic and close to everything, and the breakfast is just […]

We love hearing your thoughts, stories and adventures. Share them here:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.