It only took two weeks of being back home from Africa before I started getting restless again. Another big trip is not really in the budget right away (not to mention the struggle to get time off of work), so I had to keep it close by.
I know I’ve written about it before, but St. Augustine is really one of my favorite day, or in this case, 2 day trips. I was able to get an excellent deal at the Casa Monica, a hotel I’ve always wanted to stay at.
The Casa Monica is a historic moorish-revival hotel situated in the middle of historic St. Augustine, within walking distance of everything. It first opened in 1888 and has since seen many up and downs, as well as a few name changes, but it’s been restored to it’s former glory in recent years.
Regular rates vary from around $200-$400. The standard rooms are comfortable and well appointed, though a bit small. For the steal I got I thought the place was amazing, but I could see being a little disappointed if I had paid top dollar.
Wondering around the grounds inside hotel was every bit as exciting as the historic streets outside.
I finally got hungry enough that I was able to pry myself away from the Casa Monica and head out into town I made my way to the Gypsy Cab Co. at the wonderful suggestion of my twitter friends at compasswhistle.com
Gypsy Cab Co.
They did not steer me wrong. Although I’ve been to St. Augustine many times, I’ve not explored much outside of the historic downtown area. Gypsy Cab Co. was close enough to be walkable (about a 25 minute walk from the Casa Monica), but it was over the bridge and I never would have found it on my own.
The building was small, but brightly colored and fairly easy to spot. Everything on the menu looked great.
I ended up getting their house beer, a red ale called “Gypsy Cab Ale.”
The beer was good, but not particularly unique. The food is where the Gyspy Cab Co. really stood out. I have a hard time ordering anywhere, but this was especially difficult. I have terrible order envy and everything looked great. I ended up sampling the blackened chicken nachos.
and the seafood cuban. A delicious combination of seafood, and sausage served over rice and black beans in a sweet and spicy jerk broth. It was almost like a Caribbean gumbo.
The best decision of the day was asking for the datil pepper sauce. Don’t go here without getting it. That alone was worth the trip.
I only wish I had saved room for dessert, but I unfortunately did not. The dessert menu looked very enticing and judging from the rest of the food, I’m sure they were all fabulous. It’s no mystery why the Gypsy Cab Co. has been voted Best of St. Augustine so often.
After lunch I took the scenic walk over the lion bridge back into historic St. Augustine.
Once back in town I stopped back at the hotel to figure out where to head next. A flyer handed out at the hotel suggested the St. Augustine Distillery, which is where I ended up staying for the rest of the evening.
The distillery is inside of the old ice plant and offers free tours throughout the day. You can learn more about the distillery here. The tour was very informative and interesting and came with free samples!
The distillery also shared space with a bar called Ice Plant Bar that features drinks made the old fashioned way with large blocks of ice.
The St. Augustine Distillery and Ice Plant Bar are a fabulous enough new addition to historic St. Augustine that I felt they warranted their own post.
After dinner and a few too many drinks, I wondered around the town and took in the sights until I was in a better condition to drive the two hours home.
Then it was time to say good bye to St. Augustine and the Casa Monica and head back home.
It’s not quite Africa, but it’s the best I can do for a weekend.