Activity note: Hotel Check-in 4:00 PM
Afternoon: PROGRAM REGISTRATION: 3:00-5:00 p.m. HOTEL CHECK IN: 400PM. Look for signage in the hotel lobby directing you to the meeting room. You will receive your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.
Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a plated dinner including salad, chef’s choice main dish, vegetable, bread, and dessert plus coffee/decaf, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. As a special feature of this program, your Road Scholar name-tag permits you to have unlimited on-and-off transportation around the city on the local Red Trolley. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: During our afternoon narrated trolley ride through the Historic District there will be boarding and disembarking from the trolley. Walking up to a mile; some areas are over uneven terrain. Stairs (approximately 12 steps) at the Oldest House.
Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet features a rotating variety of hot items as well as fruit, yogurt, cereal, breads and muffins, plus juices, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: We will gather in our meeting room at the hotel for a presentation and discussion of St. Augustine history before and after the Europeans. With our local historian, a retired National Park Ranger, we will begin with the native Timucuan tribe, continue through the first Spanish explorers, missionaries and the British who competed with them to establish colonial power there. After a short break, we will continue through early United States history, concluding with events associated with the Civil War. Next, we’ll walk across the street to the Plaza de la Constitucion, America’s oldest public park, established in 1573 by Spanish Royal Ordinance. As it was the center for public activity, all public and government buildings were required to face the plaza. Our local historian and founding president of the Friends of St. Augustine Architecture Society will lead our exploration as we learn about the most significant monuments and structures including the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine (1793-97) and Constitution Monument (1812) — both on the Register of Historic Places — as well as other historical structures surrounding the plaza.
Lunch: We’ll walk across the street to the Lightner Museum for lunch at the Café Alcazar with a plated lunch featuring items you have pre-selected such as soup, salad, sandwich and local specialties plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. The museum occupies what was once the Alcazar Hotel and the café is located in what had been the swimming pool!
Afternoon: We’ll board an open-sided trolley for a non-stop narrated exploration of the Historic District. The trolley ride ends at the Oldest House, where our knowledgeable local historian will lead us through the oldest surviving Spanish house in Florida, occupied since the 1600s. We’ll see evidence of the Spanish (first floor) and British (second floor) occupation. At the conclusion of our tour take some time to see more of the Historic District on your own. We recommend that you visit the Castillo de San Marcos. Your park pass entitles you to three guests.
Dinner: At an award winning restaurant featured on the Cooking Channel,we’ll enjoy a plated meal featuring items you pre-selected (entrees, salad, vegetable and dessert), including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Tonight we’ll have another opportunity to light up the holiday season as we explore the magic of the city by land. Step aboard the holiday train/trolley for a non-stop trip around St. Augustine. Along the way you’ll hear holiday music. You’ll discover why National Geographic voted St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights one of the top ten places in the world to view holiday lights.
Activity note: During the day today we will be walking up to a mile; some areas is over uneven terrain or up stairs (elevator available in most areas). Inclined ramp to boat is about 15 walking paces.
Breakfast: Casa Monica breakfast buffet
Morning: In our meeting room, we will welcome our college history professor, author, and past President of the St. Augustine Historical Society who will provide insights into Henry Flagler’s influence on St. Augustine. Learn how Flagler built the most magnificent hotel in the world in 1888, and how, under his leadership, the railroads expanded down the east coast and over to Key West. Next, we’ll walk approximately 3 blocks to Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1889 as a memorial to Henry Flager's daughter and granddaughter. The building was designed by the New York architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings — also responsible for the Ponce de Leon Hotel, and the Alcazar — in the Venetian Renaissance Revival style echoing St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
Lunch: At a popular local eatery. we will enjoy a pre-selected plated lunch plus your choice of iced tea, soda and water. The restaurant features a micro-brewery which offers a sampler for purchase; other beverages also available for purchase.
Afternoon: We will walk two blocks to Flagler's magnificent Ponce de Leon Hotel that set the standard of luxury in 1888, and became the centerpiece of Flagler College in 1968. We will meet a Flagler student who will tell us about the exquisite features of the former grand hotel including the handsome carved statues in the rotunda, the Tiffany glass windows valued at more than $300 million, and murals by George Maynard. In the elegant parlor, view the portraits of Mr. Flagler and his third wife Mary Lily. Next, what better way to see the beauty of St. Augustine during the holiday season than by boat! In the late afternoon, as dusk settles in, we’ll walk from the hotel (4 blocks) to Municipal Marina where we’ll set sail for a scenic cruise in the calm waters of Matanzas Bay to view historic St. Augustine. Be prepared to be awed by the glow of millions of tiny white lights adorning the city as it celebrates the annual Nights of Lights during this holiday season.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Historic District has many fine restaurants. Please refer to the Restaurant Book and suggested list, and your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Venues for live music will be available.Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
Activity note: Elevators are available at the three-story Lightner Museum
Breakfast: Casa Monica breakfast buffet
Morning: We begin our morning with a visit to America's First Parish. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine represents 450 years of Catholic history. In its earliest years, the local parish served Timucua and other Native communities throughout Florida and Southern Georgia. Rivaling many of the gorgeous European cathedrals, this beautiful historic Cathedral is a national landmark. Then we’ll board our holiday train/trolley for the historic Fountain of Youth Archeological Park where we will be met by our re-enactor, author, playwright and performing artist in military dress as he brings history to life through his “Many Flags, Many Colors” presentation, a multi-cultural exploration of St. Augustine. The park is the original site of Spanish colonial St. Augustine. The oldest attraction in Florida (1868), we will sense 500 years of history surrounding us in a natural setting amid manicured gardens, oaks, magnolias and cedars. You may re-board the train/trolley to return to the hotel or restaurant in the Historic District.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Historic District has many fine restaurants. Please refer to the Restaurant Book and suggested list, and your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: After lunch, you have time for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most before our mid-afternoon visit to the Lightner Museum. The museum, housed in the historic Alcazar Hotel in downtown St. Augustine, was the creation of Henry Flagler. Built in 1887, this Spanish Renaissance Revival style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lightner is a museum of antiquities and houses mostly Gilded Age (approximately 1870-1900) pieces. You can expect to find Tiffany stained glass, antique music boxes, furniture, fine china, paintings and more. Knowledgeable local docents will indicate the most interesting items in this eclectic museum.
Dinner: We'll enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner at the Casa Monica
Evening: At Leisure. Take this opportunity to share in the merriment on St. George Street, attend Christmas Eve services, or enjoy musical venues. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Breakfast: Casa Monica breakfast buffet
Morning: We’ll take a leisurely walk over to the St. Augustine Art Center located just two blocks from the hotel, In celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th Anniversary in 2015, the Art Center created a sculpture garden complete with fountains and native plantings within an outdoor gallery setting. Our docent will highlight the garden for us and then escort us inside to view the current art exhibit. We’ll also have time to view the award winning permanent installation of rare artifacts unearthed beneath the Art Center that date back to Sir Francis Drake’s 1586 attack on the Spanish Settlement.
Lunch: We'll enjoy a catered buffet lunch at the Art Center.
Afternoon: After lunch we'll enjoy a holiday concert with surprise entertainment at the Art Center, followed by leisure time before dinner
Dinner: At an award winning restaurant, we’ll enjoy a special menu featuring several entrees and desserts especially selected by Chef Jorge. Also included in the meal will be salad, vegetable and bread. Coffee, tea soda or lemonade provided, other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Share a family tradition at the Cinema Corazon as we view a lively Holiday film. Beer and wine available for purchase.
Activity note: Hotel Check-out is by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Casa Monica breakfast buffet
Morning: In the hotel meeting room our closing session features a first-person historical presentation by a local instructor in dress from the First Spanish Period for a creative re-cap of the week. Final and farewell remarks and a DVD - "Remembering St. Augustine" will complete our week. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!