Monday, November 16, 2015

Walking Through History



St. Augustine was a cosmopolitan piece of Europe bordering
the new United States. With Florida tossed like a shuttlecock
between Spain and England, the Americans were poised to seize
the territory of East Florida and shore up their coastline,
eliminating the foreign threats from their southern shores.

“See? A perfectly respectable establishment,” Jack said when
he ushered Sophia into Captain Roberts’s home on St. George
Street. The two-story house had a stuccoed lower floor, its creamy
walls reflecting the afternoon sun, and a wooden second story with
a balcony. It did indeed look like the abode of a prosperous sea
captain, neatly maintained if sparsely furnished. There were no
pictures on the wall, none of the little touches making a house a
home.
--The Bride and the Buccaneer





I modeled Captain Roberts's house (Captain Sinister's Lady; The Bride and the Buccaneer) on the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum on Aviles Street in St. Augustine, Florida. I "relocated" the house to St. George Street because I took some liberties with the interior, but the house is a wonderful example of early Florida European design. It was a delight to visit it the first time to do research, and I had the pleasure of strolling past the house again this past weekend as we took advantage of a getaway opportunity. St. Augustine is one of my favorite Florida cities, nicknamed "The Ancient City". 

2015 marks 450 years since the city's founding. In 1565, Don Pedro Mendenez arrived with 800 colonists to settle the New World in the name of Spain. The city has been under many flags ever since, but it's still a living piece of our nation's history. The charming St. Francis Inn, where we stayed, was built in 1791 and has been in use as an inn since 1845.

My British friends laugh at our idea of "ancient history". My Israeli and Greek friends really laugh at what we consider ancient. Let them laugh, St. Augustine continues to draw crowds of tourists from around the world. For myself, I just love the opportunity to explore the history I enjoy so much and spend a day researching. It's moments like that that convince me I have the best job in the world.



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