Hitty Plays Tourist in St Augustine Florida

After leaving the fort, our Old Town Trolley Tour guide highlighted the history of St Augustine and embellished our stops with interesting trivia.

On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, landed with a group of settlers and established the first permanent Christian settlement. The Spanish named the site Nombre De Dios--Name of God.

Ray Charles, singer, songwriter, composer and a pioneer in the rhythm and blues genre, attended school here until his mother died when he was 15 years old.  While he lived in St Augustine, he developed his musical talent and performed on the radio and at local events.  He is a much loved favorite son of St Augustine.

In the middle of a hotel parking lot, you will find The Old Senator, a live oak tree believed to be over 600 years old.

Not far from the Old Senator is an exact replica of the Statue of Michelangelo's David sculpted by Sollazzini & Sons of Florence Italy.  It stands 17 feet tall and is carved from a solid piece of Carrara Marble excavated from the same quarry as the original.  This replica is one of only two in the world.  According to our tour guide, the citizens of St Augustine were so overwhelmed by him standing there "in all his glory" that he was draped in a toga until a hedge grew tall enough to shield him from the street.  

David and the hedge

The lighthouse

I thought these scooters looked like they would be fun!

I loved this VW bus I saw in an antique shop window.  It was just about my size.

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Hitty Explores the Castillo de San Marcos St Augustine

I meet an off duty soldier

Castillo de San Marcos was built by Spain to protect the garrison town of St Augustine.  As early as 1586, St Augustine was burned and plundered by the English pirate, Sir Francis Drake and burned again by pirates in 1688.

In 1672, Queen Mariana of Spain authorized a stone fortification to be constructed to protect the military outpost.

The fort is built of Coquina, a rare limestone found on Anastasia Island, one of the barrier islands.  Coquina is the Spanish word for "tiny shell" and that is what the stone is made of.  Workmen quarried the stone on the island and barged it across the bay to build the Castillo.

Though many have tried, the fort has never been conquered by force.. Only through diplomatic channels has the fort changed hands.

During its long history, Castillo de San Marcos, has been home to soldiers from Spain, England and the United States.  It flew a Confederate Flag during the Civil War.  In 1933, it became part of the National Park Service.

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/7984
The interior rooms of the fort are covered with carvings made by men who were stationed there.  It was a lonely existence.  

A view from the top

The Cannons at the top and a view of St Augustine

A View of the Bridge

At one time, a moat was dug around the fort to help protect it.  It was later filled in because the water was undermining the Coquina foundation.

After St Augustine was burned by the English in 1702, walls were built around the fort and the city.

The Trolley Car pulled up as we were leaving the fort and we started running to catch it before it pulled away. "Don't Run...I will wait on you," we heard the driver say over his loud speaker.   That was somewhat embarrassing but we stopped running....and he waited.

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The Palms Retro Hotel and Hitty at the Beach

I love the beach! I recently visited St Augustine Beach and Atlantic Beach on the North Atlantic side of Florida.  It took almost six hours of driving to get there from Ft Myers---but what a fun trip!  (More about St Augustine later)

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

I was up early but the fishermen were already there.  Shortly after I arrived, one of them caught the first fish of the day.  It was a catfish.

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Such a beautiful Sunrise!

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

You can see the St Augustine Lighthouse from the fishing pier

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

On the second night of my trip, I stayed at the Palms Retro Hotel on Atlantic Beach.  The Palms Retro is a newly renovated 50's era hotel with themed rooms and a beautifully landscaped courtyard.

Photo by PalmsRetro.com

The hotel is just a short walk from the beach and the Atlantic Beach Town Center where you will find brick streets lined with palm trees and old-fashioned street lights.  The unique boutique shops and restaurants have something for every budget.  Since we had eaten a big lunch, we had barbecue chicken on a stick at a cost of $1.50!

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

The wide beach, the white sand and the crashing waves make Atlantic Beach one of my favorite Florida Beaches.

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

The Dudes Room has a comfortable queen size bed  

Movie cowboys decorate the walls.

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Photo by PalmsRetro.com

Modern conveniences such as high speed WiFi, large flat screen TV, and remote controlled Hunter fan, are an added bonus to the delightful Dudes Room. 

This is a 50's era hotel, however.  The bathroom is not large and has only a shower and no vanity.  A corner shelf is available for your toiletries and the linens are very nice---extra-large, soft bath towels.  The hotel has no pool---but it's just a short walk to the beach

One of my favorite rooms is The Times Room where a continental breakfast is available from 7 a.m.until check-out time.  I think you will agree that this room is too cool!

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

Photo by Shirley Childers HittyTravelDoll.com

The Palms Retro is a reasonably priced and fun place to stay. I would rate it 5 Stars for atmosphere, cleanliness and service.  For more information go to http://www.palmsretro.com/

For beautiful beaches, I recommend the beaches of  Jacksonville and St Augustine.

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Hitty Votes Bennett's Fresh Roast Doughnuts Number One!

I once watched a dozen doughnuts from Bennett's go for almost $300 at a charity auction.  Yes---they are that good.

It was with much anticipation that I waited for the results of the "Donut Showdown" Series on the Cooking Channel Wednesday night, August 21, 2013.  Bennett's Fresh Roast owner, Bob Grissinger and his assistant, Lisa Bronchetti, were competing for the top prize of $10,000.

On each episode of the "Donut Showdown",  three competitors must create doughnuts featuring unusual, and sometimes bizarre secret ingredients.  The finished doughnuts are judged on taste, presentation and creativity.

So happy to have my photo taken with Lisa and Bob 
If you watched the show, you know that Rebel Donut of Albuquerque, NM won the the competition and Bennett's Fresh Roast of Ft Myers, Florida was second.  Frankly, I don't understand how any doughnuts could beat Bennett's, but I wasn't a judge.

Bennett’s Fresh Roast offers fresh-from-scratch, hand-cut doughnuts made daily and fresh coffee from the finest beans. Breakfast and lunch is also on the menu.  Bennett's is open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m and lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The shop has a warm and friendly atmosphere that makes you want to sit a spell.  You can even borrow a book to read from a book shelf in the corner.  Perhaps a copy of my favorite, "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years,"  should be donated to the collection!

A second Bennett's location will open in October 2013, on Sanibel Island.

Hot Dog Donut, Pepper Slaw and Sweet Tea
Since opening in 2008, Bennett's has become known for its unusual doughnut creations including the Maple Bacon Donut, Hot Dog Donut, Pepper Slaw and Chicken & Donut, a halved and unglazed donut smothered in a savory gravy loaded with vegetables and pieces of chicken.

Chicken & Donut was created for National Donut Day which is celebrated each year on June 7.
Bennett's was the first shop in Fort Myers to offer for a limited time, Kopi Luwak, sometimes called "Cat-Poo" Coffee.  The coffee is made from a highly-prized bean from Indonesia that is eaten by wild civets.  The bean passes through the animal’s digestive tract and is collected and processed for brewing.

Bennett's Fresh Roast is located inside a lovingly restored home on the corner of First Street and Bayside Parkway in Fort Myers.  The homes in this neighborhood were built by the government in 1943 to house officers serving at the airbases of Buckingham and Page Field.

During the restoration of Bennett's Fresh Roast, an army hat and a pair of nylon stockings were found in the attic.

Were they left by the women of the Army Air Corps perhaps stationed nearby?

Were they souvenirs from "fun times" overseas?

No one knows.  It's a delicious mystery to ponder as you savor your fresh coffee and doughnuts at Bennett's.

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Happy Birthday Hittygirls!

Today is the 12th Anniversary of the Yahoo Group Hitty Girls! Hittygirls was started by our group owner, Julie, and is the largest online community of Hitty doll lovers.  I have been a member of Hittygirls since 2004.

In 2002, my husband got a new job in a new state.  Instead of looking for another job myself, I started sewing doll clothes again and selling them online  One day I got an inquiry, "Do you sew for Hitty?"

I had never heard of Hitty or read the book, Hitty Her First Hundred Years.   I Googled and researched Hitty and found Hittygirls.  Soon after, I purchased my first Robert Raikes Hitty and that was the beginning for me.

Robert Raikes Hitty Dolls are no longer being made and the only place to buy them now is on the secondary market.  I gave my original Raikes Hitty to my daughter but I still have her sister plus about 25 more!

If you want to learn more about Hitty---Join Hittygirls!

If you want to connect with other Hitty Moms----Join Hittygirls!

If you want to participate in fun projects and swaps---Join Hittygirls!

If you just love Hitty---Join Hittygirls!

Subscribe to hittygirls

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Royal Baby Story Told in Legos

Having recently vistied Legoland Florida, I enjoyed watching this video posted by ITN news.  The Legoland Windsor display celebrates the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis.

You can read about my visit to Legoland Florida by following the link to the post


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Greetings From Florida

On the last day of  my road trip, my adopted humans and I stopped at the Florida Welcome Center just across the Alabama state line.

My adopted humans were amazed to see an old high school friend from Indiana who was on her way to St Augustine with her family.  Such a coincidence and such a small world!

It is always so much fun to stop at a Florida Welcome Center!  On this day, the sky was blue with snowy clouds and the sun was shining.  Florida is the Sunshine State.

There is nothing quite like a free cup of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice or grapefruit juice---so refreshing.

The day was just full of surprises!  We were greeted by the famous Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon who agreed to pose for a photo

Ponce De Leon first landed near St Augustine in 1513.  He named this magical place Florida which means "Place of Flowers".  He was searching for gold and a mythical "Fountain of Youth".  According to legend, the waters of the Fountain of Youth had the ability to make the old young again.

As he continued his exploration down the coast, he encountered strong currents and named the place Cape Canaveral which means "Cape of Strong Currents".  He named a small island near the Florida Keys the Dry Tortugas because it had many turtles and no fresh water.

In 1531, Ponce De Leon tried to establish a colony near Charlotte Harbor.  His landing party was not welcomed by the native Calusa Indians.  They had heard of the Spainish Conquistidors--conquerors.  During a skirmish, the Ponce De Leon was shot in the leg by an arrow.  He died in Cuba as a result of his injuries at the age of 61.  Unfortunately, he never found gold or the Fountain of Youth in Florida.

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On my road trip, we drove through Atlanta, Georgia.

We saw the torch tower, a symbol of the 1996 Summer Olympics

We ate at the Marietta Diner.  What a fun place to eat!  It looks like an old-fashioned diner and the food was good and reasonably priced.  While we were there, two sports teams (count them TWO!) were seated.  Tables were moved and put together and a few dozen young people in uniform had a great meal.  Look at what you could choose for dessert!

Just a few Fun Facts about Atlanta:

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the world's busiest passenger airport.
The Capitol Dome is layered in 43 ounces of pure gold that was mined in Dahlonega, Georgia - the site of America's first Gold Rush.  
Atlanta is the birthplace of Coca Cola and the Varsity Restaurant serves nearly 3 million servings of Coca-Cola annually, the most served anywhere in the world 
Atlanta loves to shop!  Atlanta has more shopping space per capita than any other city except Chicago
Atlanta is home to the Peachtree Road Race, the world's largest 10K race with an average of 45,000 runners each year 
Atlanta is the only US city destroyed by fire as an act of war when General Sherman burned the city on November 15, 1864 
Atlanta is the site of the novel "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.  The movie was the first color film to win the Best Picture Oscar 
Atlanta is home of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the world's largest museum dedicated to the famous civil rights leader and American hero.
Atlanta has over 16 million visitors a year.....I was one of them

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Hitty Travels the Blue Star Highway

Blue Star Memorial Highways are highways in the United States dedicated to the Armed Forces.  The program was started after WWII  in 1945 by the National Garden Clubs of the USA to commemorate the Blue Star Service Flags. A blue star was placed on flags to denote a family member serving in the Armed Forces.

The Blue Service Flag was first used during WWI.  It was hung in the window to indicate that a family member was serving in the fight.  If the family member died while on active duty, the blue star was covered in gold.

Service Flags are still used today and have gained some popularity among military families.

Each Blue Star Memorial Highway Tribute Marker is maintained by a local club.  This marker is located at Interstate 75 Rest Stop #13 in Dooly County and is maintained by the Garden Club of Cordele Georgia.

The Rest stop was landscaped with flowering Crepe Myrtle trees and beautiful flowers.

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Hitty Discovers Krispy Kreme

In our area of Southwest Florida, we do not see a Krispy Kreme Donut Shop with the "Hot" donuts sign on.

I got my own!  Yum. Yum.

Georgia On My Mind

Lots of good stuff in Georgia!

Picnic lunch at the Georgia Welcome Center.... I have simple tastes 

Hitty Takes a Road Trip

Getting an early start on my road trip