2014 RV Travels

02.05.14 Red Train ride to the Fountain of Youth and Ripley’s Believe It or Not and more!

2014-02-02_17-26-21_167 2014-02-03_12-24-53_403St. Augustine is an amazing city steeped in history.  It’s much more than beautiful beaches and a spectacular ocean.  We learned so many things about this area that we did not know before. It was officially established in 1565 making it the oldest continually occupied city in our nation.

There are a couple of train like (trolley) services that take you all around the city of St. Augustine.  We took the red train and bought a 3 day ticket.  It makes over 20 stops along an 8 mile route.  They come every 15-20 minutes.  You get off to see what you want, and then get back on when you’re finished, going to the next thing you want to check out. IMG_20140203_125202_857

The city gates are  the first stop on the Red Train ride.  These are the original gates to the city.  The pillars that remain were the supports for the draw bridge that was the single entrance to the city.


Across from the gates is the Huguenot Cemetery, the Protestant burial grounds from 1821-84 most dying from the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Some expressions we use today were coined in this cemetery. In order to help those who were mistakenly buried alive during the epidemic they tied a string with a bell to the finger of each person.  If the bell rang, the person was a “Dead Ringer” and when they were dug up they were “Saved by the Bell”!

The Love Tree is a live oak tree with a palm tree growing out of it.  It is said that if you kiss you loved one under the tree you’ll be in love forever!  We just road by it so I’m not sure what that means for Roy and I!!sa love tree

I, and probably you, have never heard of Henry Flagler but we know lots about him now!  He was a self made millionaire with a vision for what St. Augustine could be in the 1800s.  He wanted to make it the South’s playground for the rich and famous. He built or donated land and money to build Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches and grand hotels.

Flagler College is in St. Augustine.  It was originally one of Flagler’s hotels, the Ponce de Leon. He built it with running water and electricity.  The guests, unfamiliar with electricity, were sure they would be electrocuted when flipping the light switch.  Flagler solved the problem by hiring servants to lead the guests to their room and switch the lights on for them.

The dining room at the college has the largest collection of Louis Tiffany glass in the world valued at more than $40 million dollars.  It is exquisite and even has bullet proof glass on the exterior to protect the Tiffany glass.


The rounded part of the building below is where the indoor swimming pool is located.  It is now used as a restaurant but I found the building shape accommodating a pool to be interesting.  The buildings on campus are all beautiful as you can see from the other building picture below. sa flagler poolsa flagler sa bldg sa bldg (2)

The Fountain of Youth is in St. Augustine and WE DRANK FROM IT!!!  I’m feeling younger already!!! To get there you travel down Magnolia Avenue which National Geographic magazine declared one of the most beautiful streets on earth. While magnolias originally lined the street they died almost 200 years ago and were replaced with live oaks which now are huge and have Spanish moss hanging from them making for a beautiful scene!

sa magnolia street

The fresh water springs up within the park while surrounded by a salt water ocean. The people in the area lived much longer (like 80 years compared to the life expectancy back then of 30 years) so they believed the water was the cause from which the name Fountain of Youth came.  The grounds have free roaming peacocks, a cannon and old time gun shooting demonstration, a planetarium and several other demonstrations of the use of old tools and their lifestyle.  Really a wonderful placed to learn about the folks who came here so many centuries ago!

sa foy sign

sa foy cannon demo sa foy gun demo sa foy peacock blue sa foy peacocks sa foy planetarium sa foy rosie and roy sa foy rosie drinking sa foy white peacock

Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s original Museum is in St. Augustine and we toured it.  It now houses three stories of odd and unusual exhibits collected from around the world.  Many of these are part of Mr. Ripley’s personal collection.  We had fun touring this one and took pictures of all the weird things we saw.

sa rbin building

sa rbin vampire kit
Vampire Killing Kit
sa rbin two headed
Two headed lamb
sa rbin tebow beads
Bead art depicting Tim Tebow playing football for the Florida Gators
sa rbin tebow beads up close
Up close picture of the bead art
sa rbin tall short
Picture of world’s tallest and shortest people
sa rbin roy tall man
Roy and the world’s tallest man
sa rbin roy in circle
Roy in the Believe It or Not glass
sa rbin rosie tall man
Rosalyn and the world’s tallest man
sa rbin rosie roy silly
Silly kids
sa rbin rosie mask
Rosalyn’s skull mask
sa rbin paint brush dress
Paint brush and paper bag dress
sa rbin pagoda match stick
Chinese pagoda made out of match sticks
sa rbin newspaper dress
Newspaper dress
sa rbin junk fish
Junk Art Fish
sa rbin heaviest man
Rosie chumming it up with the world’s fattest man to be drafted
sa rbin gum wrappers
This gum wrapper chain took four years to create and used over $2,000 in gum. It’s 634 feet long.
sa rbin feather art
Feather art
sa rbin fantasy
This castle was made of 2,000 semi precious gem stones
sa rbin fantasy up close
Fantasy castle up close
sa rbin egg
World’s Rarest Egg
sa rbin dragon ship
Chinese dragon ship carved from 200 pounds of solid Jade
sa rbin coffee filter dress
Dress made of coffee filters
sa rbin church sticks
Church made of toothpicks
sa rbin church sticks close up
Close up of church
sa rbin chinese camel bone carving
Camel bone carving – took 30 men 4 months to carve it
sa rbin camel up close1`
Close up of camel bone carving
sa rbin bones cycle
Motor made out of bones and vertebrae – weird…………..
sa rbin camel up close
Up close of camel bone carving

The Red Train has been a great way for us to get around and see the most we can of St. Augustine.  Russ and Annie have told us so much about this place and we can see now why they love it.  I know this posting had way too many pictures but I wanted you to see all the stuff we liked.  The really gruesome stuff in Ripley’s was way to scarey for me to photograph……. sorry!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

2 thoughts on “02.05.14 Red Train ride to the Fountain of Youth and Ripley’s Believe It or Not and more!”

  1. I have always wanted to go to St. Augustine. I know it was a wonderful way to spend your day and I am so glad you got to do that. When I was working at MS College, one of the history professors wrote a biography of Henry Flagler and I was assigned to type it. In fact, I still have a copy in case you are interested in reading it one day. Quite a man!
    Continue to love reading your blog…much love, Pat


    1. I have two more blogs ready about the rest of our stay in St. Augustine. It was lots of fun! I think you’ll enjoy our second day of touring downtown also. We had never heard of Henry Flagler before coming here and he’s all over the place here! I’d love to read the biography. He was a unique man and, according to the tour guides we had, he made unusual requests of the people he loaned or gave money or land to. An example is that he gave land and some money to the Baptist Church and one of his stipulations was that if they had a bell tower it wouldn’t have a bell in it. He was Presbyterian and didn’t want their bells to interfere with each other. We just left St Augustine and are slowly making our way west. Madisyn’s 5th birthday is March 4th so we’re planning our travels so we’re back in Louisiana for that. Then we’ll keep going out west for several months. I’m so glad you’ve kept reading. We’ll be pretty much resting for the next several days so I won’t be writing much but I have the two blogs ready for the next couple of days. Take care, Rosalyn and Roy


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