Discover the Gilded Age: The Lightner Museum & More
St. Augustine is rich in history, and in the late 1800s, “rich” was the operative word. This little town became the premier resort destination for the well-to-do – and it all began in 1883 with an auspicious visit by Henry Morrison Flagler, John D. Rockefeller’s partner in founding Standard Oil. Stroll back in time as you explore the historic Lightner Museum, former Ponce de Leon Hotel and more with this guide to the Gilded Age in St. Augustine. We’ve included suggestions for drinking, dining, and discovering your way through an opulent era of lavish architecture and conspicuous luxury.
MORNING | Breakfast and Flagler Legacy Tour
Quaint and quirky comfort food with options like blue crab quiche, corned beef hash and eggs, chicken biscuits, and more.
Built by Henry M. Flagler at the height of the Golden Age, and one of the most exclusive resorts of its day, Historic Tours of the former Hotel Ponce de Leon highlight the Spanish Renaissance architectural heritage of what is now Flagler College.
AFTERNOON | Lunch and Explore Downtown and Flagler’s Churches
Local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients in a comfortable and casual atmosphere. Taste southern comfort food, and vibrant, creative dishes with many vegetarian options.
The Hyppo makes delightful all-natural ice pops from everything under the sun with over 450 flavors!
As you explore downtown, visit the beautifully adorned Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine. America’s first parish and the oldest Catholic Church in the city. Explore this exquisite building and view the Spanish-inspired architecture.
Henry Flagler had a hand at constructing many of the oldest churches in St. Augustine, and this was dedicated to his daughter. Visit the Memorial Presbyterian Church, where Flagler and his family were laid to rest.
Visitors can enjoy local events at the plaza like a seasonal concert series or the Nights of Lights during the holidays. The plaza is surrounded by large cannons which make for a fun vacation photo op.
EVENING | Dinner and Exploring
For a local dining experience straight out of the Gilded Age, try Ice Plant. The Ice Plant was Florida’s first power and ice plant since 1907 which used to make 125 tons of ice for local fishing and shrimping industries. Smaller quantities were sold to residents until freezers and refrigerators became available in the 1950s. Today, the restaurant serves seasonal cocktails and dishes with the original bridge crane suspended over the bar.
Visit the museum and experience a free guided tour. Located within a beautifully restored ice plant from the turn-of-the-century, St. Augustine Distillery’s mission is simple: Educate and inspire guests about local, handcrafted, award-winning rum, whiskey bourbon, gin, and vodka.