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6642
Florida

Signature City St. Augustine

Explore culturally vibrant St. Augustine with experts and learn the story of the nation’s oldest city through its architecture, monuments, Gilded Age works and a historic reenactment.
Rating (5)
Program No. 6642RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
Florida

Signature City St. Augustine

Explore culturally vibrant St. Augustine with experts and learn the story of the nation’s oldest city through its architecture, monuments, Gilded Age works and a historic reenactment.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
Program No. 6642 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Dec 5 - Dec 10, 2021
Starting at
1,549
Jan 9 - Jan 14, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Jan 16 - Jan 21, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Feb 27 - Mar 4, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Apr 3 - Apr 8, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Apr 10 - Apr 15, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Oct 23 - Oct 28, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2022
Starting at
1,649
Dec 4 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
1,649
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,949
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
1,949
Dec 5 - Dec 10, 2021
Starting at
2,009
Jan 9 - Jan 14, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Jan 16 - Jan 21, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Feb 27 - Mar 4, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Apr 3 - Apr 8, 2022
Starting at
2,079
Apr 10 - Apr 15, 2022
Starting at
2,079
Oct 23 - Oct 28, 2022
Starting at
2,079
Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2022
Starting at
2,129
Dec 4 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
2,129

At a Glance

Bright and bold living history awaits you in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida — the oldest city in America. What began as a Spanish fortress has transformed over the centuries into a charming seaside town brimming with Spanish, British and Venetian Renaissance architecture. Local experts — some in period dress — spin gripping tales and present a dramatic overview of the city’s remarkable history. Meet a soldier at the Fountain of Youth to hear his stories, walk the sacred grounds of the Timucuan Indians and immerse yourself in the city’s unique Old World charm. Viva San Augustin!
Activity Level
On Your Feet
There is moderate amount of walking, stairs and standing on field trips.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover a unique tapestry of history through the shared passions of park rangers, authors, storytellers and historians — some in period dress!
  • Learn the legacy of Henry Flagler and his grand hotels, and admire Gilded Age works of Tiffany glass in historic buildings.
  • Enjoy an expert-led exploration of the Castillo de San Marcos, and see the Victorian era come alive at the Lightner Museum.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Kenneth Barrett
A native Floridian, Ken Barrett graduated from St. Joseph Academy and received degrees from Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. While associated with the National Park Service, Ken photographed parks in this region and organized their archives. A freelance photographer, Ken's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including, "The Houses of St. Augustine" and "Florida's Colonial Architectural Heritage." Ken is also a frequent exhibitor at Florida art shows.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Kenneth Barrett
Kenneth Barrett View biography
A native Floridian, Ken Barrett graduated from St. Joseph Academy and received degrees from Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. While associated with the National Park Service, Ken photographed parks in this region and organized their archives. A freelance photographer, Ken's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including, "The Houses of St. Augustine" and "Florida's Colonial Architectural Heritage." Ken is also a frequent exhibitor at Florida art shows.
Profile Image of Eddie-Joyce Geyer
Eddie-Joyce Geyer View biography
Eddie-Joyce Geyer, a native Floridian, was the former director of Visitor Services for the St. Augustine Historical Society for 18 years. A popular presenter and panelist, Eddie-Joyce has appeared before such organizations as the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Association of Travel Writers, the American Association for State and Local History and the Florida Museum Association. Eddie-Joyce has enjoyed her Road Scholar experience as a hostess and presenter in the Southeast.
Profile Image of Margaret Kaler
Margaret Kaler View biography
Margaret Kaler is an actor and storyteller, as well as a local history group leader with the Old Florida Museum. She works with the What’s In a Name Players, performing Shakespeare, improvisation and a Shakespeare inspired fairytale “Love’s Labors Found.” She is the producer of Comedy Histrios which presents authentic 16th-century entertainment. This past summer Margaret played a nun and a Madame in Diamond Lil’s “Ghosts of St. Augustine” and attended the League of Women Voters' state convention as Susan B. Anthony.
Profile Image of James Bullock
James Bullock View biography
James Bullock is a playwright, historian and reenactor, who is passionate about the history of Fort Mosé and works to gain a deeper understanding of the collective roles of people of African descent in Colonial times. He has shared his passion for history during presentations for the U.S. Army Reserve and others and received the 2006 Interpretive Guide Award from Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. He is also actively involved in community theater.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Oldest City: The History of St. Augustine
by St. Augustine Historical Society
Edited by Susan Richbourg Parker, Ph. D., the book tells the story of the city’s history beginning with the native tribes who were here before the arrival of the city’s founder, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565, through the city’s first 450 years.
Secrets of Spanish Florida
by DVD
Murder & martyrdom in Spanish Florida: the true story behind the Guale Uprising; 55 years before the Pilgrims even arrived in Plymouth, the first true Thanksgiving was actually in St. Augustine; indentured servants escape from an infamous Florida plantation owner; a city born in storm, shipwreck and slaughter. These stories and more can be found on the PBS special as you uncover the Secrets of Spanish Florida. This program will be airing on December 17, 2019.
The Houses of St. Augustine, 1565-1821
by Manucy, Albert
Albert Manucy's book continues to serve as a catalyst for architectural preservation in St. Augustine and to inspire similar works elsewhere. His sketches, which explain this colonial architecture, delight as much as they inform. "The book also serves as a gentle reminder to Yankees that Florida was civilized before the Puritans settled New England."--F. Blair Reeves, chairman, Historic Resource Committee, Florida Association/American Institute of Architects. As architecture documents history, The Houses of St. Augustine records architecture, preserving and interpreting the history of housing in the oldest city in the continental United States.
Shadows of the Past: Mysteries from Florida History
by DVD
Florida's rich and diverse history is well known. But there are some stories from the past that remain a mystery. Will these mysteries of Florida history ever be solved or are the answers to these stories lost in the shadows of the past?
Indian Art of Ancient Florida
by Purdy, Barbara and Roy C. Craven Jr.
For thousands of years, the Indians of Florida created exquisite objects from the natural materials available to them--wood, bone, stone, clay, and shell. This stunning full-color book, the first devoted exclusively to the artistic achievements of the Florida aborigines, describes and pictures 116 of these masterpieces. A brief history of the consequences of European infiltration and later investigations by explorers and archaeologists sets the stage for consideration of the works themselves. They date from the Paleoindian period (ca. 9500-8000 BC) to the mid-16th century and include utilitarian creations, instruments of personal adornment and magic, objects indicating status, and those paying homage to ancestors or aiding the dead in their journey into the next world. Barbara A. Purdy is professor emerita in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida, curator emerita in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and author of How to Do Archaeology the Right Way (UPF, 1996) and The Art and Archaeology of Florida’s Wetlands (1991). Roy C. Craven, Jr., is professor of art emeritus, founding director of the University Gallery at the University of Florida, and author of Ceremonial Centers of the Maya (UPF, 1974) and A Concise History of Indian Art (1991).
10 Towns That Changed America
by DVD
10 That Changed America offers three whirlwind tours of America’s architectural treasures: the 10 homes, 10 parks, and 10 towns that changed our country. Explore American houses through the ages, enjoy a lively history of landscape architecture and our most beloved parks, and discover the story of how we have planned our cities over time.
Anastasia Island: St. Augustine's Jewel by the Sea
by Barrett, Kenneth M.
Anastasia Island, St. Augustine's Jewel by the Sea, has played a major role in the history of America's Oldest European settlement. Native Indians inhabited these sandy shores long before the arrival of the first Spanish settlers in the 1500s. This up-to-date guidebook, illustrated with color photographs, takes visitors and residents to St. Augustine's beautiful beaches and the island's attractions, historic sites and parks. Just as light changes the landscape during the day, these photographs on Anastasia Island capture the ebb and flow of life along the ever-changing shoreline.
Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine
by Graham, Thomas
In the late 1800s, Henry Morrison Flagler walked away from Standard Oil, leaving the enormously successful company in the hands of John D. Rockefeller while he headed to Florida to pursue other interests. Flagler’s new venture would lead him to completely restructure the sleepy town of St. Augustine and transform Florida’s entire east coast. This monumental biography tells the story of how one of the wealthiest men in America spared no expense to turn the country’s “Oldest City” into a highly desirable vacation destination for the rich. Upon arrival, Flagler found accommodations in St. Augustine to be inferior, so he set out to build the opulent Ponce de Leon Hotel, and thus began his endeavor to attract wealthy travelers to the small southern city. He funded hospitals and churches and improved streets and parks. He constructed railroads in remote areas where men feared to tread and erected palatial hotels on swampland. The rich and famous flocked to Flagler’s invented paradise. And he had the vision to stretch his new railroad southward, establishing hotels and accommodations along the way. In tracing Flagler’s second career, Thomas Graham reveals much about the inner life of the former oil magnate and the demons that drove him to expand a coastal empire that eventually encompassed Palm Beach, Miami, Key West, and finally Nassau. Graham also gives voice to the individuals that history has forgotten: the women who wrote tourist books, the artists who decorated the hotels, the black servants who waited tables, and the journalists who penned society columns for the newspapers. Arguably no man did more to make over a city—or a state—than Flagler. Almost single-handedly, he transformed Florida from a remote frontier into the winter playground of America’s elite. Filled with fascinating details that bring the Gilded Age to life, Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine provides an authoritative look at an intriguing man and a captivating time in American history.
The History of Castillo de San Marcos
by Arana, Luis Rafael and Albert Manucy
This book incorporates all of the text and most of the illustrations from "The Building of the Castillo de San Marcos" by Luis Arana and Albert Manucy, published by Eastern National in 1977. We have enlarged the format, used larger type, added historical maps, historical photographs, modern color photographs, and some additional text.
New Oldest City
by Halbirt, Carl
Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom
by Deagan, Kathleen A. and Darcie A. Macmahon
This book tells the story of Fort Mose and the people who lived there. It challenges the notion of the American black colonial experience as only that of slavery, offering instead a richer and more balanced view of the black experience in the Spanish colonies from the arrival of Columbus to the American Revolution.
A History of the Timucua Indians and Missions
by Hann, John H.
An extraordinary scholarly work that will immediately make everything else written about the Timucua and the Spanish mission system in La Florida out-of-date. “An intricate and detailed portrait of the Timucuan Indians during the European colonial era . . . will undoubtedly stand as the principal source regarding the land of the Timucua speakers for years to come."--John E. Worth, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta. When Spanish and French explorers first landed in Florida early in the 16th century, Timucua speakers occupied more land area and were more numerous than any other aboriginal group. This is their first detailed history, a major study that places its author in the forefront of Spanish colonial historians working in the United States.
Floridanos, Menorcans, Cattle Whip Crackers: Poetry of St. Augustine
by Masters, Ann Browning
Poetry from this collection has been published in anthologies and journals, read at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Annual Conference and Florida Literary Arts Coalition Conferences, recognized at the Florida Folk Festival, and recorded for the Florida State Historical Archives. Dr. Ann Browning Masters is a retired faculty member of St. Johns River State College. She continues to read from her work in the Eckerd College Road Scholar Program. In 2015 she was knighted by the Board of Directors of the Easter Festival Committee of St. Augustine for her dedication in promoting St. Augustine s Spanish heritage. A St. Augustine native, Dr. Masters is a 12th generation Floridian.
Mullet on the Beach: The Minorcans of FLorida, 1768-1788
by Griffin, Patricia C.
In the history of St. Augustine, the story of the Minorcans, who still today exert tremendous political and social influence, rivals the drama of the Jamestown or Plymouth settlements. Patricia C. Griffin describes their first twenty years in the New World, including the hardship of their arrival in British East Florida in 1768, their starvation and suffering on an indigo plantation, and their revolt and flight to sanctuary in St. Augustine. There, survivors of this devastating experience pieced back together their Mediterranean heritage. In time, they became farmers, craftsmen, shopkeepers, mariners, and fishermen. Mullet on the beach, their freedom cry, signaled the emigrants release from plantation captivity. As the Floridas reverted to Spanish control and were later acquired by the United States, the Minorcans became the core population of St. Augustine, settling into a quarter next to the city gate and south of the old Spanish fort which is now known as the restored area. Griffin brings alive this remarkable colonial venture through her use of documentary sources, archaeological evidence, and topographical and climatic data. Students of Florida history and the Spanish borderlands, specialists in migration studies, ethnohistorians, and the general reader will value this solidly researched study of a folk communitys struggle and triumph in the New World.
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
St. Augustine, Florida
D
Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Activity note: Program registration will be available from 3:00 p.m. Hotel check-in will be available after 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come to the Meeting Room located on the first floor to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing an up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet at the hotel front desk when you check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a plated dinner at the hotel, including salad and dessert. Coffee, tea or water included.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time has been reserved during the week for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
2
Before the Europeans, Historic District, Architecture
St. Augustine, Florida
B,L,D
Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Activity note: Boarding/disembarking trolley multiple times during field trips; walking up to 2 miles; stairs (14 steps) at the Oldest House (no elevator).

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet features a rotating variety of hot items as well as fruit, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, breads and muffins, plus juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel’s meeting room for a presentation and discussion of the early natives, the Timucuas, who called Northeast and North Central Florida and Southeast Georgia their home. It is believed that the Timucuas may have been the first Native Americans to see the Spanish explorers when they landed in Florida. At the time of the European contact it is believed this was home to 200,000+. From 1649-1656, the population began to diminish. War with the English and other Indians decreased their numbers and a series of epidemics further diminished their population, the major one being smallpox. In less than 250 years the Timucuas disappeared. Afterwards, we will go on an archaeology walk, led by the former city archaeologist. End your walk at the Art Association where both its director and our archaeologist will share with you how this site went through an archaeological preparation prior to its expansion. Discover how the past and present meet through archaeological discoveries. The walk ends at the Art Association, where you will learn about the art scene of St. Augustine.

Lunch: Take a 3-block walk to a local restaurant, where you will enjoy a plated meal featuring your pre-selected choice of salad or sandwich with a soft drink, coffee, tea, and water included. Other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Outside our restaurant, an open sided trolley will take us for a non-stop narrated exploration of the Historic District. In this city occupied since the 1600s, we’ll see evidence of the Spanish, British and American occupation of St. Augustine and gain insight as to how they may have lived. The trolley ride will end at the Oldest House, where you will have an opportunity to explore on your own. The González–Alvarez House, also known as The Oldest House, is a historic house museum. With a construction history dating to about 1723, it is believed to be the oldest surviving house in St. Augustine. It is also an important example of the St. Augustine's Spanish colonial architectural style, with later modifications by English owners. It was designated a U.S. National Historic landmark in 1970. It is now owned by the St. Augustine Historical Society. Return to the hotel at your leisure for 5:30 pm dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel, enjoy a catered buffet dinner, including salad, chef's choice main dishes, vegetable, bread and dessert plus coffee, decaf, tea and water.

Evening: In our meeting room, we’ll be joined by the founding president of the Friends of St. Augustine Architecture Society for a presentation on St. Augustine's “vernacular” architecture: design based on local needs, materials, and traditions that span the city’s history, adapted to meet changing times.

DAY
3
The Europeans, Castillo de San Marcos, Pena-Peck House
St. Augustine, Florida
B,L,D
Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Activity note: Boarding/disembarking trolley multiple times during field trips; walking up to 2 miles; some stairs (elevator may not be available at all sites), uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Begin the morning in the hotel’s meeting room for a historical overview of St. Augustine and the Castillo (Fort). Our presenter, a former park ranger, author, college professor and photographer, will also be your guide at the Fort. At the conclusion of the lecture, we’ll walk to the Historic District and Castillo de San Marcos. The Castillo is a monument not only of stone and mortar but of human determination and endurance. It symbolizes the clash of cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation. Still resonant with the struggle of an earlier time, these walls provide tangible evidence of America’s remarkable history.

Lunch: Take a short walk (2 blocks) to a local restaurant and enjoy a plated meal featuring your choice of pre-selected salads or sandwiches with a soft drink, coffee, tea, and water included. Other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch walk (3 blocks) to the Pena-Peck House. Begin with a lecture on the British Period followed an expert led exploration of the house. Built in 1750 by order of the King of Spain, the Pena-Peck House was home to prominent Spanish, British and American families. Notable is the 19th Century art and antique furnishings of Connecticut natives Dr. Seth Peck and his wife Sarah. Three generations of Pecks called this magnificent estate “home” for 94 years. Our informative guide will bring this beautiful appointed historical home to life for us. Walk back to the hotel for the next presentation of "The British Period."

Dinner: We will walk to local restaurant where we'll enjoy a plated dinner of local Spanish flavor including chef's choice main dishes and dessert plus coffee, decaf, tea and water.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
4
Minorcans, Fountain of Youth-Many Flags, Many Colors
St. Augustine, Florida
B
Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Activity note: Boarding/disembarking trolley multiple times during field trips; walking up to 2 mile; some stairs (elevator may not be available at all sites), uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll spend the first part of the morning at the hotel with our author, retired college professor and historical interpreter. Through her engaging recollections and poetry "in the vernacular," she weaves together the historical information of Floridanos, Minorcans, and crackers. Next, we’ll board our bus for a field trip to the Lincolnville Museum. In military dress, our author, playwright and performing artist will bring history to life through his presentation exploring the multi-culturalism of St. Augustine. We will then board the bus for the Fountain of Youth where you will be able to enjoy a self-guided tour.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Meet Mrs. Flagler, The Lightner Museum, Flagler College
St. Augustine, Florida
B,L,D
Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Activity note: Boarding/disembarking trolley multiple times during field trips; walking up to 2 mile; some stairs (elevator may not be available at all sites), uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Henry M. Flagler's legacy as railroad tycoon, hotelier, and "Father of Tourism" is deeply appreciated and acknowledged in St. Augustine and the State of Florida. We will be joined by one of the first individuals to realize the potential of this titan of industry, the love of his life and first wife, Mary Harkness in the person of our noted professional actor. We'll then walk to the Lightner Museum. Our docent guides will share with you the museum's rich past and lead you through select galleries. The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. Today it is home to one of the best collections of fine and decorative 19th century art in the country.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the Historic District, enjoy a pre-selected plated lunch, plus your choice of iced tea, soda, water; other beverages also available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll walk (approximately 3 blocks) to Memorial Presbyterian Church . Built in 1889 as a memorial to his daughter and infant granddaughter who died that year, this church is an elegant example of Venetian Renaissance architecture. We’ll move on 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’ll hear from an expert student leader who will share information about the first of the luxury hotels Flagler built on the east coast of Florida. Learn how the building featured innovations such as a steam heating system and electricity as well as interior stained glass designed by Louis Tiffany.

Dinner: Enjoy your farewell dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy a plated meal featuring your choice of entrée, salad and dessert. Coffee, tea and water included. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Wrap-Up and Hats Off to History, Program Concludes
St. Augustine, Florida
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 10:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room, our closing session will feature a brief first-person historical presentation by a local instructor in dress from the First Spanish Period for a creative re-cap of the 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!






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