What a Great Week in St. Augustine, Florida! Lots to Do!

December 9, 2013

Monday – Sunday : December 9 – 15

Nights of Lights – Selected by National Geographic Traveler in 2011 and 2012 as one of the ten best holiday lighting displays in the world, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights feature millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s oldest city. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting reflects the city’s 449-year history and illuminates the beautiful setting for lasting holiday memories www.NightsofLights.com 

Nights of Lights Tours –  The City of St. Augustine shines a little brighter during Nights of Lights. There are several tours available that make the holiday experience even more brilliant during this special time of year.  Click here for a list of Nights of Lights Tours! 

Holidays at Colonial Quarter
 – During the annual Nights of Lights event, the Colonial Quarter transforms into a fantastic holiday wonderland each evening beginning at 6 p.m. and the two-acre site will be open at no charge. S’more stations, hot chocolate, cider and mulled wine will be served up along with the joyous sound of carolers. You can even climb the 35 ft. watchtower for a spectacular view of the city sparkling with white lights. 33 St. George St., St. Augustine. 904-599-2113  www.colonialquarter.com  

Viva Florida Exhibit at the St. Augustine Art Association – Through December 29, Florida’s 500th Anniversary year concludes with this popular exhibition at the St. Augustine Art Association celebrating the sights and structures, beaches and byways, flora and fauna, history and happenings that are uniquely Florida. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday noon – 4 p.m. and Sunday 2 – 5 p.m. Admission is free. 22 Marine St. St. Augustine. 904-824-2310 www.staaa.org

 

Monday & Tuesday:  December 9 & 10

Charlie Brown Christmas with David Benoit – As part of “A December to Remember,” the St. Augustine Amphitheatre will host “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with David Beniot. The 7 p.m. performance is sponsored by the Community First Credit Union and admission is free. 1340C A1A South, St. Augustine. 904-471-1965 www.staugamphitheatre.com

Monday – Wednesday:  December 9 – 11

The Pioneer Barn Holiday Dinner Theater – Each evening, the Pioneer Barn hosts an entertaining holiday show filled with music, dancing and fine cuisine. Beginning with cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. Call for reservations and ticket prices. 259 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine. 904-824-8874 www.oldfloridamuseum.com

Tuesday & Friday:  December 10 & 13

4th Annual Candlelight Tour of Villa Zorayda – Villa Zorayda staff provide holiday Candlelight Tours of the beautiful St. Augustine villa. A spectacular Christmas tree decorated in the colors of the Zorayda – red and gold – is located center stage in the Court of Lions. Over 100 candles are aglow throughout the museum. The tour starts at 6 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults; Children 7 – 12 are $6. Children 4 – 6 are free. The candlelight tours are not recommended for children 3 and under. 83 King St., St. Augustine. 904-829-9887 www.villazorayda.com

Tuesday:  December 10

Salt Air Farmer’s Market – Marineland Marina hosts the Salt Air Farmers Market from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Find an array of fresh, organically-grown produce and other yummy things. 101 Tolstoy Lane, St. Augustine. 904-814-9886 www.marinelandmarina.com
 
Hotel Ponce de Leon 125th Anniversary Community Lecture – Dr. Judith Burdan presents a lecture titled “Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country: Money, Power and the ‘New Woman’ in the Guided Age.” The presentation is part of the commemorative events celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the opening of Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel and takes place at 10 a.m. in the Flagler Room at the former Hotel Ponce De Leon, now Flagler College. Tickets are $5 per person for a single lecture or $15 for four lectures. Due to limited space, reservations are required. Active military personnel may attend at no charge. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception. 74 King St., St. Augustine. 904-819-6282 www.flagler.edu/our-community/events/community-lecture-series/index.html 
 
Sailing Excursion – Comfortable seating, small groups and beautiful scenery — perfect ingredients for a wonderful time on the water.  Join the professional captains of St. Augustine Eco Tours on their 27-foot sailboat for a 2-hour tour of the Matanzas River.  Sights include the historic bayfront, beautiful salt marshes, and local wildlife.  Special rate of $45 per adult, or $250 for a private trip (up to 6 guests). Departs from the Municipal Marina.  Tour times:  1:15 and 3:45 p.m. 111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine. 904-377-7245 www.staugustineecotours.com

Wednesday:  December 11

Farmer’s Arts and Crafts Market – Farmers’ Market located at the ocean-side St. Johns County Pier Park featuring selections of fresh produce, plants, baked goods, fine art, jewelry and more!  Open 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Rain or shine. 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach. 904-347-8007  www.thecivicassociation.com

Thursday – Saturday: December 12 – 14

Fall 2013 Senior Portfolio Exhibition – The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum presents the Fall 2013 Senior Portfolio Exhibition with an opening reception on Thursday from 5 – 9 p.m. The B.F.A. exhibition will include paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, textiles, video, and mixed media works by Flagler College’s graduating B.F.A. and B.A. candidates. The works will be on display Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Saturday form 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 48 Sevilla St., St. Augustine. 904-826-8530 www.flagler.edu/crispellert

Friday: December 13 

The Lost Ships Tour at the St. Augustine Lighthouse – Exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour includes a multi-media presentation with a Lighthouse marine archaeologist and access to areas of the Light Station that are off-limits for general admission visitors. See recovered artifacts that are undergoing cleaning and stabilization by conservators. Tour includes access to the museum exhibits in the Keeper’s House and the Lighthouse. Tickets are $24 and advance reservations are required. 81 Lighthouse Ave., St. Augustine. 904-829-0745 www.StAugustineLighthouse.org 
 
A Night in Bethlehem – The holiday season comes alive from 6:30-8:30 p.m. when Memorial Lutheran Church presents A Night in Bethlehem. The event features the ancient city of Bethlehem where visitors can explore an unforgettable marketplace, bake bread, make crafts, visit a stable with real animals and chat with Joseph and Mary as they hold their newborn baby. Throughout the evening, students will be singing some of their favorite Christmas songs. 3375 U.S. 1 South, St. Augustine 904-797-8777 www.LutheranChapelSchool.com 

Friday – Sunday: December 13-15

Shadows of the Past at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park – Take a nighttime guided tour of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park to experience the eerie beauty of the Timucua burials, and Indian village and the Menendez settlement field by moonlight. Tours start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person. 11 Magnolia Ave., St. Augustine. 904-829-3168 www.fountainofyouthflorida.com/nighttours.html
 
Historic Weapon Demonstrations at Castillo de San Marcos – National Parks Service volunteers and personnel demonstrate the weapons and relate the experiences of the Colonial Spanish soldier stationed in St. Augustine in the 1740s. Demonstration times are 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults; Children 15 and under are free. The Castillo is open 8:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. daily. www.nps.gov/casa
 
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at World Golf IMAX Theater – Through December 27, The Hobbit trilogy continues at The IMAX Theatre at World Golf Hall of Fame. Adults $13, Seniors/Students/Military $12, and Children 3-12 $10. Visit the website for show times. One World Golf Place, St. Augustine. 904-940-4133 www.worldgolfimax.com
 
Limelight Theatre Presents “The Game’s Afoot” – Through January 5, 2014, this glittering Christmas holiday whodunit is set in 1936 and features a Broadway star who invites his fellow cast members to a party at his Connecticut castle. When a guest is murdered, mystery and comedy take center stage. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $25; $22 seniors; $20 student and military. 11 Old Mission Ave., St. Augustine. 904-825-1164 www.limelight-theatre.org 

Saturday: December 14

Old City Farmers’ Market – Features locally grown fresh produce, baked goods, plants and more. Located at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Admission is free. 1340 A1A, St. Augustine. 904-471-3733
 
GTM Reserve Guided Trail Hike – Join GTM Research Reserve volunteers from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. for a 1.5 mile guided walk through the Guana Trail. After the walk, visit the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center (EEC).   There is a $3 parking fee. 505 Guana River Rd., Ponte Vedra Beach. 904-823-4500 http://gtmnerr2ndtrailhike.eventbrite.com
 
Musket Firing Demonstrations at Fort Matanzas – Reenactors fire flintlock muskets at Fort Matanzas National Monument 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. Admission is free including the ferry ride to and from the island. Fort Matanzas is located at 8635 A1A, 15 miles south of St. Augustine. 904-471-0116 www.nps.gov/foma 
 
Santa Suits on the Loose 5K – Dress as Santa and walk/jog/run the beach to benefit St. Augustine Youth Services, a local therapeutic home for boys.  The race will start at the St. Augustine Beach Pier at 8 a. m.  Medals will be awarded to top finishers.  Each participant is given a full Santa Suit to wear while racing. Registration is $35. 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach www.facebook.com/SantaSuitsOnTheLoose
 
Second Saturdays GTM Reserve Guided Trail Hike – Join GTM Research Reserve volunteers from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. for a 1.5 mile guided walk along the Guana Trail. After the walk, visit the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center. There is a $3 parking fee. 505 Guana River Rd., Ponte Vedra Beach. 904-823-4500 http://gtmnerr2ndtrailhike.eventbrite.com
 
Holiday in the Gardens – From 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Washington Oaks Gardens State Park comes alive with tasteful holiday decorations and activities for the entire family! Arts and crafts, face painting and games with prizes take place in the Holidays Around the World Playground. Santa will be at the Visitor Center accepting “wish lists” and posing for photos for a nominal fee. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Mrs. Claus will host a tea party in the gardens including tea, reindeer sandwiches and storytelling – $5 for each party, reservations required. The event also includes arts and crafts vendors and the Second Saturday Plant Sale. Admission is one non-perishable food item per person or a toy for Toys For Tots.  6400 North Oceanshore Blvd., Palm Coast. 386-446-6783 www.floridastateparks.org/washingtonoaks
 
Living History Day at Fort Matanzas National Monument – From 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., authentically clad reenactors will demonstrate Spanish cannons at this fortress that guarded the southern approach to St. Augustine. Admission is free including the ferry ride to and from Rattlesnake Island. Fort Matanzas National Monument is located approximately 15 miles south of St. Augustine. 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine. 904-471-0116 www.nps.gov/foma
  
Regatta of Lights – Annual holiday parade of motorized vessels – sailboats, trawlers, shrimp boats and many other vessels all-a-glitter with brilliant lighted displays ranging from patriotic to whimsical.  Awards for the best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall.  Beginning at 6 p.m., the boats will light up St. Augustine’s Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and Castillo de San Marcos.  The Regatta of Lights is hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club. 904-824-9725  www.sayc2000.com
 
Victory III and The Regatta of Lights –  Be a part of the St. Augustine Annual Light Boat parade aboard the Victory III. See the beauty of St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights from Matanzas Bay. Plus, impress the Regatta’s judges with cheering and carols as the Victory III glides past the reviewing stand.   Board at 5:15 p.m. from the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. Tickets are $25 per person ($20 advance purchase).   111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine. 904-824-1806 ext 210 www.scenic-cruise.com 
 
Chili Cook-Off & Double Feature – As part of Community First Credit Union’s “A December to Remember”, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre will host a chili cook-off and a movie double feature. The St. Augustine Fire Department Chili Cook starts at 2 p.m. The first movie, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ (Stop Motion) starts at 6 p.m. The second movie ‘Elf’ starts at 7 p.m. The event is free. 1340C A1A South, St. Augustine. 904-471-1965 www.staugamphitheatre.com
  
Changing of the Guard Ceremony – See an authentic re-creation of St. Augustine’s 18th century Changing of the Guard. Presented by the city’s Spanish Garrison, the event portrays the 1740 version of what was once a daily ritual. The colorful military drill begins at 4:30 p.m., with two groups of soldiers marching from the Spanish Bakery located at 42 St. George Street — one heads north to the City Gate and the other group comes south to the Governor’s House on the Plaza de la Constitucion where they will demonstrate Spanish military arts and explain the purpose of the Changing of the Guard. After greeting the public at the City Gate, the first group of soldiers will march down St. George Street and meet their comrades at the Plaza at 4:45 p.m. At 5 p.m., the Changing of the Guard, complete with a volley of musketry, will be performed. The Garrison will then march back up St. George Street to the Castillo de San Marcos. http://historic-florida-militia.org/upcoming-events/
 

Saturday & Sunday: December 14 & 15 

20th Annual Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour “Christmas Around the World” – Christmas Around the World is a two-day tour from 1- 5 p.m. each day featuring 24 inns throughout historic St. Augustine. Each day, 12 inns open their doors to display entertaining decorations and scenes based on the culture, history and holiday traditions of colorful places from Spain to Germany to Ireland – and perhaps some imaginative places that may surprise you. Each inn is paired with a distinguished St. Augustine restaurant or other culinary partner offering savory nibbles, sweet treats and other refreshments. The self-guided tour is easily navigated on foot, but a special tour shuttle also will offer transportation along the route. Tickets are $25 and should be purchased in advance (partial proceeds benefit a local charity). www.staugustinebandbtour.com
 
A Celtic Christmas Celebration – The St. Augustine Community Chorus and the St. Augustine Children’s Chorus present A Celtic Christmas Celebration, including selections from Handel’s Messiah, at the Cathedral Basilica. The tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door for adults and children and students are $5. The concert on Saturday will be at 7:45 p.m. and Sunday at 1:45 p.m. 35 Treasury St., St. Augustine. www.staugustinecommunitychorus.org 
 
Santa’s Treasure Hunt – Join the crew of the Black Raven and Santa as they pursue the dastardly Blackbeard across Matanzas Bay to retrieve the stolen Christmas Treasure bag! Lots of sword fighting and an exchange of cannon fire as the Black Raven and Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, engage in seagoing fun and and excitement. The Black Raven sets sail at 2:15 p.m. (passengers check-in no later than 1:45 p.m.). Tickets are adults $29.95, child $19.95; seniors $28.95. 111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine. 904-826-0000 www.blackravenadventures.com

Sunday: December 15

Breakfast with Santa – Flagler College hosts a Breakfast with Santa in the Hotel Ponce de Leon dining hall from 9 – 11 a.m. All are welcome to come enjoy a buffet-style breakfast that will include a special Flagler College ornament per family, photo opportunities and a visit from Santa Claus. Tickets are $20 for adults ages 13 and older and $10 for children, ages 12 – 2. Booster seats are not available for safety reasons. 74 King St., St. Augustine. 904-823-3378  http://legacy.flagler.edu
  
Ho-Ho Holiday Breakfast with Gumbo Clause – Enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Sit on Gumbo’s lap with a baby alligator and have your picture taken then enjoy the park. The breakfast is from 9 to 11 a.m. Tickets are $15 for annual pass members and $25 for non-members. 999 Anastasia Boulevard. 904-824-3337.
 
Holiday Solarium Tea – View the newly restored Solarium at 3 p.m. in the Hotel Ponce de Leon, also known as 400 Rotunda. Guests will be offered their choice of three teas (one specially blended for the Hotel Ponce de Leon), a selection of traditional tea sandwiches and sweets and receive a special Flagler College ornament. Reservations are required. Admission is $40. 74 King St., St. Augustine. 904-823-3378 http://legacy.flagler.edu
 
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at The Raintree Restaurant – Get an inside look at Christmas when eight reindeer spill all the details about the real Santa Claus and the elves; Rudolph’s “little secret;” the true story of Vixen and much more in this entertaining dinner and a show. Some mature content. Tickets to this exciting dinner theatre experience in the upstairs dining room of the Raintree Restaurant are $39.95 (adult beverages served separately). Dinner is served at 6 p.m. (5:30 p.m. arrival suggested) and the show begins at 7 p.m. 102 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine. 904-824-7211 www.raintreerestaurant.com

Local Resident Specials 

NOTE:

St. Johns County residents with a valid ID are always admitted free of charge to the Oldest House, the Lightner Museum, the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, City Walks History Mystery Murder Evening Tour and the Hotel Ponce de Leon Legacy Tours at Flagler College. The daily tours and wine tastings at the San Sebastian Winery are free to everyone. Also, admission is free to everyone at the Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Photios Chapel, thePena-Peck House, the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum and the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum (donations are welcomed). Many other local attractions offer discounted admissions to St. Johns County residents with valid ID.