My current heroine is still working hard in her Old West kitchen, and will be agreeable to sharing more of her insight next time we meet. In the meantime, I wanted to bring you with me on a little side trip to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.
As of April 2013, Florida is 500 years old. The year 2015 will mark the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, the nation’s first city.
Located midway between Jacksonville and Daytona, St. Augustine remains the only documented location of Juan Ponce de Leon’s 1513 voyage of discovery—a voyage that made him the first European to set foot on what would eventually become the United States of America.
Pervious to this trip, Ponce de Leon had already been the sitting governor of Puerto Rico. He’d heard many tales from the local natives about a mythical Fountain of Youth situated on an island to the west of him. He set out with a fleet to find this jewel in the New World. Thinking he’d landed on an island rather than a large peninsula jutting out from an even larger body of land, Ponce and his crew came ashore April 3, 1513 and planted the flag of Spain. He named the spot, La Florida—land of flowers. Since I happened to be in St. Augustine this week I can attest to this overabundance of flowers. Oh, yeah. Lots and lots of flowers!!!
Since I was able to sample water from this same spring on my recent trip, and I am still as old as dirt, I can safely say he did NOT find the Fountain of Youth. But the area is gorgeous, and full of rich history.
I discovered another treat at the Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. Twenty-five peacocks. The male