CNHI News Service


January 14, 2013

St. Augustine: Quincentennial approaches



Full moon is the time I’m going back to St. Augustine, though any time seems right for this romantic Florida city.

Take your lover or your children. Or both. Go with your in-laws or girlfriends as a getaway.

 St. Augustine excellence is diverse, abundant, embracing.

 Here’s one reason why.  Chocolate.  Ask Alice Sutherland for a walkabout, stopping often for chocolate, sometimes paired with port, sometimes red wine.

Glorious way to explore city restaurants and lively streets, sublime way to indulge yourself.

Chocolate sea salt brownie with homemade caramel for me at The Tasting Room where 70 wines are Spanish, from 15 different regions, and the wine cellar houses 350 labels.

White chocolate smothered my enormous blackberry at the Gourmet Hut and a South African Malbec balanced my tender chocolate caramel bar.

Find Sutherland at St. Augustine City Walks and budget $42 for this five, maybe seven, stops Tour de Chocolate. 2 p.m. Thursday – Sunday.

I lingered over espresso chocolate wine on the verandah of the Casablanca Inn, gazing at Matanzas Bay, the intracoastal waterway winding from Miami to Maine.

Returned to Casablanca in a few nights.  Independent air chambers in the bed pillow mattress, controller to adjust each side.

 Hypoallergenic feather bed duvet, 400 thread count sheets, isotonic pillows and mattress cover are all standard, say owner-innkeepers Nancy Cloud and Michael Miles.

 They have another inn at the northern end of this intracoastal waterway called Balance Rock in Bar Harbor, Maine. Four Diamond rating there for the past 14 years.

Three ways to stay in the Casablanca Inn: elegant 1914 Main House with 10 suites and two rooms, separate Coach House with eight rooms, facing brick-paved Charlotte Street.

Or cross Charlotte within the lush Secret Garden in one of three suites with kitchenettes.

Need another “Here’s why St. Augustine” fact? March 2012 Forbes Magazine declared the city one of the “Top 10 Prettiest Cities” based on natural beauty and a unique identity.

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