The RV’ers Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is in full swing! As joyous as this time of year is, it can be difficult to figure out what gifts to give your loved ones— especially if they’re RV’ers Forget about those what-ifs because whether your beloved RV’ers are full-timers, part-timers, or just simply have a passion for the RV lifestyle; we’ve got your gift giving covered.

Before we dive into our gift ideas for each RV’er in your life, there are two important things to keep in mind when shopping for them. One, space is often limited , tire pressure monitors, and other RV maintenance tools. Now get the wrapping paper ready— it’s gift giving time!

For Any Class A RV’er

Give-Class-A-RVer-freedome-travel-gift-Fountains-Vacation-Club-membership

Are you faced with the RV’er who has everything? Consider bestowing a gift of membership in the Fountains Vacation Club!  You will be opening the coach door to a lifetime of vacation options incorporating five-star resort amenities and a world of other vacation options should they prefer to leave the motorcoach behind. Visit our Vacation Club membership website to discover how this is the never-ending gift sure to build a lifetime of memories.

For the Outdoorsman

We all know and love an RV’er whose idea of a perfect day is one spent fishing, hiking, or just hanging out in the fresh air. For the one who lives for a day out on the water, this fishing gear by Cabela’s is a must have. Not only is this fishing gear compact enough to keep in an RV, but it is of high quality as well, ensuring your gift will last for years to come. For that RV’er who could spend hours hiking through the woods, a National Park Pass would be ideal. Since it lasts for a year after purchase, this pass is perfect for RV’ers who plan to travel in the upcoming year! And if you want to keep it simple, this Yeti cooler would be a definite hit, no matter how they like to opt outside.

For the Crafter

Channeling one’s creative side can be kind of difficult in an RV. So, this Christmas let your crafty RV’er choose their gift with a Michaels or Joann Fabrics gift card— or both if you’re feeling generous! But, if you want a more sentimental and personal gift, this personalized push pin travel map is perfect. Ranging from 16 to 32 inches, your beloved RV’er will be able to document their travels and decorate their rolling home no matter what size RV they drive!

For the Chef

Cooking in a full-sized kitchen can RV’ing chef connoisseurs from doing what they love most! This matching 10-piece compactable gourmet cookware set, specially designed for RV’s, saves space and allows for easy storage. Gift this induction-specific cookware set with this induction burner, and you’ll be getting gourmet, rolling home-cooked meals until next Christmas!

For the Tech Guru

RVers-can-carry-music-portable-bluetooth-speaker-gift

In this day and age, some RV’s are technologically decked out. But a tech guru could have their RV filled to the brim with cool devices and still want more. So, this Christmas make their life even merrier with these lightweight, durable, and waterproof Bluetooth speakers. They are compact and WiFi compatible, allowing them to stream radio and Internet stations on-the-go. Another great gift for your favorite RV’ing tech guru is this portable phone charger. This seemingly weightless charger is slim enough to fit in their pocket and comes in handy after a day of using a GPS app to navigate a road trip. And for that RV’er who enjoys taking pictures, this camera, and this external hard drive would make for the perfect gift set. This lightweight hard drive holds up to 1TB of data, allowing them to take all the RV’ing pictures they could ever desire.

For the Dog Lover

RV’ing is typically a family ordeal, so why leave your four-legged family member behind? Most RV resorts are dog-friendly so that RV’ers can bring their pup along for the road trip, and rightfully so. For those RV’ers, this whistle GPS pet tracker is perfect for keeping track of their pet. Not only can they track their pets location, but they can monitor health trends for their specific breed of dog and set food and medication reminders— something that can be easily forgotten after a day of RV’ing! And for that dog-loving RV’er who wants to make their rolling home smell good, this Rescued Wine Mimosa Candle is a must-have. A portion of each purchase is gen to dog rescue groups, so your beloved RV’er receives a great gift and you donate to a wonderful cause — it’s a win-win!

For the Bartender

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After a long day of RV’ing, a drink or two is necessary. Give your favorite RV’er the ability to unwind with this travel mini bar! Complete with a shaker, strainer, and more, this set is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face every day. While we don’t condone drinking and driving, we do condone the gift of relaxation and tasty drinks that this mini bar will give. And for the wine enthusiast, these unbreakable and shatterproof wine glasses are a necessity because, in a rolling home, things have a tendency to break more easily. So this Christmas give them the ultimate gift — a worry free wine night!

For All of the Above

Diesel gift cards are one of, if not, the most practical gifts and can be bought at any gas station or supermarket. You might think that this gift is impersonal and generic, but RV’ers travel anywhere from 200 to 500 miles a day with gas prices fluctuating from low to ridiculously high. A fuel gift card gives your RV’eris alw

No one knows your dearest RV’er quite like you, so find the gift that perfectly suits their interests!

 

 

St. Augustine: More Than a Landmark Part One

new-picture-1St. Augustine’s slogan is “the ancient city” and rightfully so. This richly historical town was founded in 1565 and is home to some of the nation’s most well-known historical landmarks— like the Castillo De San Marcos constructed in 1695 and Flagler College, originally built in 1888 as a luxurious hotel. However, various local restaurants, museums, and art galleries reveal that there is much more to this 451 year-old city than just it’s ancient beginnings. Fountains Vacation Club members staying at the Fountains of St. Augustine resort will be able to take a stroll down some of the nation’s oldest roads, dine on coastal waters, visit museums, and tour art galleries— all in the comfort of Northeast Florida’s year-round mild temperature.

Yet, what makes this city so desirable to Motorcoach owners is how it’s perfectly situated near some of Florida’s premiere vacation destinations. Every RV’ers favorite thing to do is travel, and the quintessential location of St. Augustine allows you to do just that. Members can visit places like Winter Park, Jacksonville, and Anastasia Park while still making it back to the resort before sunset, proving that you don’t need a beach or mouse ears to achieve the sunshine state of mind— all you need is your RV.

Shop, Dine, and Experience Winter Park

Park Avenue in Downtown Winter Park, Florida is located a little over an hour and a half south of The Fountains of St. Augustine— and it is well worth the drive. Park Avenue’s numerous dining options—like Luma, The Ravenous Pig, and Prato to name a few— range from casual to formal. For those who would rather new-picture-2get a quick bite to eat or drink, there are cafés and wine bars, too. After dining at one of Park Avenue’s restaurants, you can go shopping at over 100 shops that range from elegant boutiques to salons and jewelers. At Park Avenue you will be able to shop ‘til you drop before filling up your RV to the brim with unique purchases.

For art connoisseurs and rookie Da Vinci’s alike, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art— located five minutes north of Park Avenue— is a must-see. This art museum houses the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work, including his well-known jewelry, pottery, and various art and architectural object. At Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, museum goers can truly experience Breakfast at Tiffany’s in a redefined way. Every month the museum showcases different exhibits, which can be found on their calendar. Admission starts at $5 and the hours of operation vary daily.

Date Night for Two at Times Union

The Times Union Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Jacksonville— located just thirty minutes north of The Fountains of St. Augustine— will be the perfect place for you and your spouse to enjoy an elegant date night. Following your relaxing day at the Fountains, spend your evening at the Time Union’s symphony hall or either of it’s two theatres, seeing performances like Cirque Du Soleil, Bob Dylan, or the Celtic Women. Ticket prices start at $60.

Date night isn’t complete without fine dining and Times Union is conveniently located near some of Jacksonville’s top-rated restaurants, like award-winning Matthew’s Restaurant. This elegant restaurant is complete with a wine cellar featuring over two-thousand bottles along with an extensive menu full of five-star quality dishes. BB’s Restaurant and Bar is another one of Jacksonville’s top rated restaurants that features a classy, yet less formal atmosphere than Matthews.

Daycation at Anastasia State Parkanastasia-state-park

The Fountains of St. Augustine will be a luxurious resort with spacious one, two, or three bedroom Casitas, yet sometimes it will be nice to get away for the day. Anastasia State Park—located 20 minutes south of the Fountains— is the ideal place to spend an adventurous, yet relaxing, day outside.

For just $8, you can experience Anastasia’s numerous activities; all of which are perfect for any type of RV’er! For those who prefer being on the water, there’s kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and fishing— all included in the price of your admission. For those RV’ers who’d rather stay on land, there’s biking and trails that you can either bike or walk on. Biking prices depend on the length of rental, but the views on the trail are priceless.Anastasia State Park also has a four-mile-long pristine beach that’s ideal for shelling, bird-watching, or book reading.

Anastasia State Park is only open until sunset, but because of it’s prime location to the Fountains, you can spend all day at the park and still make it back to the resort in time for supper.

Enriching Your Love for Travel

The thought of traveling while on vacation might seem like a chore to some, but for RV’ers it’s the complete opposite. RV’ers know that the best vacations involve traveling and seeing the world through a myriad of journeys. Traveling from St. Augustine to various Florida destinations is guaranteed to lead to multiple unforgettable journeys. From date night, to museum tours, to beaching and shopping, your Fountains of St. Augustine vacation will be more than just lounging by the pool. Experience what makes St. Augustine’s destination so ideal for Class A
Motorcoach owners by becoming a member of the Fountains Vacation Club today.

A New Class of RV Living

THE DESIRE TO TRAVEL, to witness Earth’s most extraordinary and even ordinary landscapes, to meet new people and to delve into a world of cultures, has been deeply ingrained in the American lifestyle since the onset of camping. After mainstream culture had caught the appeal of camping in 1885, the burgeoning automobile industry catapulted the beginning of recreational vehicles.

The first ever RV was this 1910 Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau. In 1910, Pierce-Arrow saw the up-in-coming potential of RVs, or cars slightly modified for camping. The Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau featured a back seat that folded into a bed and was equipped with a chamber pot and sink. Soon after that, camper trailers were rolling off the assembly line of RV manufacturers and into people’s homes.

The passion to travel and experience outdoor adventures certainly hasn’t diminished, but the way people are experiencing it has. In Smithsonian’s article commemorating 100 years of the RV industry, David Woodworth, a longtime RVer, said, “RVs have changed, but the reason people RV has been constant the whole time.” While RVs have evolved from the early campers to luxurious, 45-ft motorhomes, the vacation destinations RVers desire to travel to have resulted in an entirely new industry – luxury RV Resorts.

The Rise of Luxury Motorcoach Resorts

inside-coach-5The construction of high-end, exclusive RV resorts has been rising in popularity because of the increase in Class A motorhome sales. With a Class A costing anywhere between $150,000 and upwards of $3.5 million for the glitzy Prevost buses; it’s not surprising that motorhome owners don’t want to park their coach on unpaved sites or alongside a 1978 camper.

Class A Motorcoach Resorts are more than a paved parking site with hookups – they’re luxurious resorts whose accommodations
cater to the pockets and lifestyle of Class A motorcoach owners.

Most of these lavish resorts, like Desert Shores or Heritage Motorcoach Resort, operate by selling fee simple lots. These lots sweep in hefty price tags, with interested RVers paying in the low six figures to own the site and utilize the resort’s amenities. But it’s difficult to see the appeal of owning loftily priced RV lots, when Class A owners either take their rig out for a couple of weeks each year or the opposite, and they travel full-time, moving from one destination to their next vacation.

The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort – St. Augustine offers a unique concept that combines luxury resort living for Class A owners with the advantages of vacation club membership, instead of lot ownership.

Timeshare Industry Enters New Market

The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort - St. Augustine's Front Entrance.There are two vacation ownership models: timeshares and vacation interval plans. The Fountains Resort Premier Motorcoach Resort – St. Augustine borrows from both concepts, abandoning the traditional fee simple site purchase model in favor for creating their very own vacation club membership design.

In 2014, The Fountains Founders recognized the incongruity of luxury RV resorts burdening Class A owners with lot ownership. Owning an RV lot significantly impacts RVers ability to travel freely – the whole purpose behind the RV lifestyle – as they want to get the most utility out of their vacation property. Instead of travelling from place to place, RVers who own an RV lot are tied exclusively to that park and vacation destination year-after-year.

The Founders looked to the evolving Timeshare industry, which has transformed from non-transparent contracts offering fixed-time, fixed-length, and fixed-resort plans, into flexible vacation models. These flexible plans or vacation clubs are often tied to a points-based vacation membership.

Instead of vacationing at the same RV resort each year, these points-based clubs allow members to travel to any brand-affiliated property. Members can bank points, borrow against future points, purchase more points and even exchange their points. But ultimately, the point of Points-based vacation clubs is to allow travelers and frequent vacationers the flexibility to travel when, where – and in the luxury RV resort industry’s case – how they want.

Not Your Average Travel Club

With The Fountains Vacation Club Membership you can travel to your dream global destination. Wanting to spread your wings and travel Europe? Take a Mediterranean cruise? You can still do all this, and more, with a Fountain Vacation Club membership. The Fountains Vacation Club is the points-based membership program that grants members, or Fountaineers™, access to The Fountains network of resorts, including the inaugural resort, The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort – St. Augustine.

The Fountains Vacation Club membership provides Fountaineers™ with access to more than 4,000 vacation destinations worldwide as a result of the Fountains agreement with Wyndham RCI. Fountaineers™ can transfer their Fountainshare Points to the RCI network of resorts, hotels, cruises or parks; or if they have excess RCI points they can exchange them for Fountainshare Points.

Interested parties become Fountaineers™ by purchasing Fountainshare Points, allowing them to reserve their next vacation at any Fountains Resort. Fountaineers™ can personally design their RV Resort vacation by using Fountainshare Points, which offers unprecedented flexibility for travel, leisure and accommodations to Class A motorcoach owners.

The Marbella Casita comfortably sleeps four and features a fully-equipped kitchen and outdoor loggia.Flocking to Florida to escape winter? Reserve early. Towing along the extended family? Choose what sized Casita best suits your needs. With six different Spanish-inspired Casitas available, varying from the one bedroom Marbella to the 1,162 sq ft Avalon, Fountaineers™ can select the perfect accommodation for their vacation.

Exploring just St. Augustine? Stay for a day. Travelling all of Florida? Fountaineers™ can stay at the resort for upwards of four weeks as they experience Florida like never before with big name attractions like Universal Studios, Daytona Speedway and beautiful National Parks just a short drive away.

In other words, say goodbye to fee-simple purchases of a fixed lot at a single RV park and hello to points-based memberships that grant access to multiple RV resorts and hundreds of destination properties.

The New Way to RV

The Fountains Resort links the freedom of RV travel with the opulence of resort style living, offering brief or extended respite in a tropical, country club atmosphere. Host private parties. Play a game of Bocce ball. Bring Fido to the dog park. Fountaineers™ can enjoy a rich combination of social and personal activities at the resort, all the while being 10-minutes away from pristine beaches, world-class golf, and historical monuments.

St. Augustine offers unprecedented experiences for RV enthusiasts. Whether you’re a history buff or adventure junkie, St. Augustine – and The Fountains – offers RVers almost everything they could ever want, without actually having to own it.

The best part? Right now you can purchase your Fountains Vacation Club membership at a 10% charter discount. Act now and start revolutionizing how you vacation in your RV today.

Interested in reading more about the changing Timeshare industry? Click here for Consumer Report article on the Timeshare Industry Coming of Age.

Make your trip to St. Augustine a Green one with the St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage Festival

The Fountains - Caber Toss - St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage FestivalMarch is the month that everyone waits for. It’s the month when spring begins, animals awake from hibernation, flowers begin to bloom and we get to enjoy longer days. It also boasts the one holiday of the year when everyone embraces Irish Heritage even if they aren’t Irish. St. Augustine is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in their own way by holding their Celtic Music and Heritage Festival from March 11th until March 13th at Francis Field on Castillo Drive.

The event will include several different musical performances throughout the weekend. On Friday Night, the Dublin Tenors and Celtic Ladies will perform at the Memorial Presbyterian Church. The two musical groups have joined together on their tour and will be in St. Augustine for only one night. Guests will enjoy a unique blend of famous Irish classics, Opera, Pop and Swing, and the group has garnered great performance reviews. Tickets for this concert can be purchased here.

Additionally, on Saturday and Sunday nearly 20 different performers will play throughout the day on two different stages with the live music playing nonstop from 11 am until 10 pm.

To go along with the Celtic Music portion of the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival, there will also be some fun and games. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will be hosting its own highland games! Beginning at 10 am, kilt wearing athletes will be able to test their skill and strength by participating in the Traditional Scottish Heavy Athletics and Strength competition. Events will include a weight throw, Scottish Hammer throw, Caber Toss, Sheaf toss and also an open stone put.

If you are interested in being part of the competition- You can be! The entry fee is $25 and there will be a clinic offered on Friday introducing and training anyone who is interested in competing as an athlete. All competitors will be competing only with those in their class, which is based on sex, weight and age. Entry costs include athletic participation, free festival general admission and free lunch on the day of competition. (In my opinion it’s a steal!)

In addition to the Highland Games, the event will also be putting on a special competition for the public. Those who are over 21 and sign up before noon on Saturday will be able to participate in the Keg Carry Competition taking place at 1 pm that same day. The person who carries an 87lb. keg the farthest distance in one minute will win a free pony keg!

For those not interested in watching athletics, there will also be other events for all ages. A parade will take place in downtown St. Augustine that will end at Francis Field. This parade is the only St. Patrick’s Day parade in Northeast Florida and is considered one of the largest parades in the city.

For those who are looking to celebrate in a more adult fashion, the festival will also be putting on a Whiskey Tasting on Friday at 7pm. Sponsored by the iconic Jameson Irish Whiskey company, event attendees can taste a variety of whiskeys while a brand ambassador describes the different background of each one they sample. Tickets for this event are purchased separately and can be bought here.

This event provides a great experience for everyone to release their Irish spirit and learn about the Celtic Culture. Tickets are $10 on the day of or are $7 in ordered in advance. Retired and Active Military with current ID will get in free as well as Children 12 and under. Advanced tickets can be purchase in person or online at Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub or Barley Republic Irish Pub. To learn more about this event and to look at the events schedule, click here.

For the Food Lovers! Come to the Lion’s Seafood Festival March 4th-6th

Seafood FestivalDuring the first weekend in March, make your way down to St. Augustine for the 35th Annual Seafood Festival taking place at Francis Field on Castillo Drive! There will be a delicious assortment of fresh food that is sure to satisfy your hunger. More than 17 vendors from Florida (and 1 from Georgia) will be whipping up a delicious assortment of crab, shrimp, gyros, pizza and Asian cuisines and much more.

While attendees take a break from divulging in a lobster roll or some shrimp and chicken gumbo, world famous chowder and fried oysters, they can sit back and enjoy live music. The festival will include three different stages- The Main Stage, Pirate Village and Spanish Landing. Some artists you will see at the festival include Rolling Stone Best Newcomer, The Christian Lopez Band, Katherine Archer, The Florida State Bluegrass Band and The House Cats. There will also be other acts taking the stage including the Mayhem Magic Show and the Blue Lotus Dancers who are known for their belly dancing.

While listening to live music and other entertainment, attendees will also be able to stroll through the Arts and Crafts Village where more than 100 artists showcase their latest work. Handcrafted items that will be available include home décor, Bath and Beauty Products, Artisan Foods, Pottery, Jewelry, Photos and Paintings.
The great news about this festival is there are activities suitable for all ages! Parents/ Grandparents can bring the kids, where they can enjoy meeting characters like the Minions, The Little Mermaid , The Princess and the Frog, Iron Man and Spiderman. There will also be face painting throughout the day, as well as rides (Try the Human Hamster Waterball ride). There is an entire area dedicated solely to kids so make sure you let them play in the Kidz Zone, with many free activities, as well as some that do charge an additional fee.

While the festival is sponsored by Winn Dixie, it is very important to note that all proceeds from this event will be used to benefit the St. Augustine Lions Club Charities. The Lions have served local and global communities with integrity and energy. Their hands on service have helped strengthen communities around us. You can make a difference by just attending the festival and helping the Lions Club continue to make a change.
The Lions Seafood Festival is a great event especially for philanthropic seafood lovers and with the weather in the mid 60’s it’s the perfect time to venture down to St. Augustine, Florida. If you can’t make it this year, plan trip for next year’s festival and stay at The Fountains Motorcoach Resort of St. Augustine!

George Discovers The Fountains at the Tampa RV Supershow

Conquistador Chronicles I

“When has it ever happened, either in ancient or modern times, that such amazing exploits have been achieved? Over so many climes, across so many seas, over such distances by land, to subdue the unseen and unknown?” – Francisco Xerez

History has a way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?

Like my ancestors before me, I have heard whispered tales ebbing from the mouths of eager adventurers about a revolutionary, tropical paradise for RVers in La Florida. Their murmured messages all say the same thing, “The New World lies in The Fountains legend.”

But where and what is, The Fountains? My brethren breathed rumors of the place into my ears – of the incredible opulence, lush geography and the freedom to travel unburdened – until I could think of little else. I tasked myself with the mission of traveling across the Atlantic seaboard in search for this new settlement. Suddenly the Conquistadors set sail once again for the heart of La Florida.

After landing along the First Coast, we received word that The Fountains legend would be revealed in Tampa at an extraordinary event called the “Florida RV Supershow” – the largest RV show in America. I set course for due southwest in hopes of discovering The Fountains legend and adding top-of-the-line vessels to my fleet.

George the Conquistador on a Tram at the Tampa RV SupershowDespite driving rains and blustery head winds, the Florida RV Supershow saw 63,000 visitors stomp through the Florida State Fairgrounds, matching 2015’s record-breaking attendance numbers. Once in the Supershow gates, it only took a couple of inquiries of, “Where can I find The Fountains, a La Florida legend?” before I unearthed the true meaning of The Fountains. After fighting the one-thousand strong crowds of t-shirt matching couples, sun-seeking snowbirds and discount-hungry retirees in Supplier Building B, I saw it: The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort booth.

It turns out The Fountains is located in the nation’s oldest city – St. Augustine – the same place my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather ventured to and discovered in 1513. Located along La Florida’s coast, The Fountains of St. Augustine lets history buffs, eager shoppers and outdoor explorers conquer daily adventures. But The Fountains boasts of larger splendor than its backyard bounties. The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort is pioneering a brand-new class of RV resort living that re-imagines how Class A RV owners vacation, travel and live with their motorcoach.

Unlike most other RV Parks or Resorts, The Fountains is a Vacation Club Membership Resort that allows members to buy and trade their Fountains points for weeks or months to stay at The Fountains inaugural Resort. Discerning Class A owners can experience the luxury and amenities of a 5-star Resort while also enjoying the freedom to travel promised by the RV lifestyle.

George the Conquistador meets an RV dog at the Tampa RV Supershow 2016It was difficult to describe The Fountains Premier Motorcoach Resort’s legend to hurried passersby, especially in my traditional and albeit intimidating Conquistador armament. So I decided to “work the circuit” as they say, and spread the tales of The Fountains to the RV Supershow vendors and guests while also looking at the best Class A vessels a land-dwelling Conquistador could ever want.

George the Conquistador with an iPad in a Featherlike RV.For my first stop on my first ever RV Tradeshow experience, I toured the Featherlite Coaches. Costing just a bit more than pocket change (price ranges from $1-2million), Featherlite Coaches use Prevost bus shell conversions to create luxurious motorcoaches. After learning about a device called an “iPad” that can control everything in an RV – from dimming the lights to firing the engine – and field-testing margaritas mixed from a deluxe patio bar slide out, you could say that I’m Featherlite Coaches number 1 fan.

George The Conquistador at The Tiffin Booth - Tampa RV Supershow 2016In between taking selfies, joy-riding the Supershow tram, and touring the thousands of RVs, varying from camper trailers to toy haulers; I stopped by Tiffin Motorhomes at the LazyDays RV Display. While speaking with Tim Tiffin the General Manager about Tiffin’s legacy, I learned that Tiffin Motorhomes has been family owned and operated for the past forty years by two Tiffin generations. The Tiffin Family, unlike other Class A manufacturers, builds their motorhomes from the ground, up – literally.

George the Conquistador luxuriating in a MotorhomeFrom custom-building each chassis to constructing the washer and dryer cabinet, Tiffin custom designs and builds their Motorhomes for customer satisfaction, or “peace-of-mind”, guaranteed. Plus, Tiffin’s motorhomes provide owners with spacious galleys and luxurious suites for those needing to practice their bedroom eyes.

If you’re like me and searching for a New World settlement that combines the freedom to travel with luxury RV resort living, isn’t it time to ask about The Fountains legend?

– George the Conquistador

Was the First Thanksgiving Actually in St. Augustine?

On the second to last Thursday of each November, families gather to gorge on a traditional turkey feast and talk about what they are thankful for.  We like to call this day “Thanksgiving”. The Thanksgiving tradition stems from a three day feast that occurred in Plymouth Massachusetts with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in 1621.  This is what we’ve been taught since grade school. However, there is now speculation that this Celebration was not the first Thanksgiving. There are now claims that the “First Thanksgiving” actually occurred in St. Augustine.

This year marked St. Augustine’s 450th Commemoration of when Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles washed ashore on September 8, 1565, and claimed Florida for Spain. This was followed by the 800 new colonists gathering around a makeshift altar where the Fleet’s Captain, Father Francisco Lopez performed a Catholic Mass of Thanksgiving for arriving to the new land safely.  When the mass ended, Menendez invited the Timucua Tribe members to join in a communal meal with the newcomers. Could this have been the first Thanksgiving?

There are only a few differences between the “First Thanksgiving” in Florida and the “First Thanksgiving” in Massachusetts.  Firstly, the feast that occurred in Massachusetts was three days long and included food that was grown and harvested by the pilgrims on the new soil The feast would be repeated each year after a good harvest. Conversely, the Spanish gave thanks in St. Augustine for the safe passage to the New World, but that tradition was not repeated.

Additionally, the food that is traditionally eaten on modern  Thanksgiving is food that was actually grown by the colonists in Plymouth.  In St. Augustine, the colonists found whatever was left over from the voyage and created food from that.  It is believed the meal included hard bisquits and Cocido, a rich garbanzo stew.

While there are different places that want to claim they hosted the “First Thanksgiving” (including Jamestown), it really doesn’t matter who celebrated it first.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for what we are grateful for, such as arriving to land safely, having food to eat or even just being able to put a roof over your own head; not for who celebrated it first and what they ate.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Need something to do on Wednesdays while you’re in St. Augustine?

 

St. Augustine is filled with rich history and activities for all to enjoy. But sometimes, you may want to change it up.  Here’s two things to try on Wednesday when you are in town that is a little different than other things St. Augustine offers.

Get groovy every Woodstock Wednesday!

It’s time to step back in time, what better place than Panama Hattie’s?

Panama Hattie’s is a local restaurant and bar featuring an expansive deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. With two bars, live music and dancing, Panama Hattie’s is a guaranteed good time. Casual dining is available for both lunch and dinner.

In addition to the amazing venue, Panama Hattie’s hosts Woodstock Wednesday on every Wednesday from 5-8:30pm.  During this event, popular St. Augustine Rock n’ Roll band, The Falling Bones plays  classic rock music from the Rolling Stone to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Woodstock Wednesdays are free, excluding the purchase of drinks or food. Enjoy fantastic live music, ocean views, and a night full of experiences only found at Panama Hattie’s!

Calling all craft connoisseurs, early birds, and fresh produce lovers

Make your way to St. Johns County Pier Park and Pavilion for Wednesday Market! From 8:30am-12:30pm, browse through jewelry, craft and art booths and buy fresh produce and more. The event that is hosted every Wednesday has between 60 and 80 vendors, some of which travel place other cities including Orlando.  The goal of Wednesday Market is to provide guests with a unique shopping experience with the best selection on goods.

With local farmers and artists, shopping at the market helps support the local economy. Admission to the beachside market is free making this an ideal way to spend your Wednesday morning! Come check it out!

Entrench Yourself in St. Augustine’s Cultural Threads

One of the great events that is happening during the 450th Commemoration of our Nation’s Oldest Permanently Settled City will highlight its rich history and celebrate cultural diversity. From September 4th to the 8th visit Tapestry: The Cultural Threads of First America.

In 1565 Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés arrived with 800 colonists to settle the New World in the name of Spain. It was an ambitious attempt at colonization, one that would become the foundation for the most lasting European settlement in the United States.

Tapestry is an exhibition that shares the story of how three intertwining cultures: Hispanics, Africans and Native Americans, came together to form the foundation of the American culture and create the blended society of today’s St. Augustine. The exhibit will showcase authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements. There will be more than 80 items on display including a Native American Ledger Art and a white bronze Caravaca cross from the 17th century.

In addition to the historical roots, visitors will be able to explore how people of the past four and a half centuries have shaped St. Augustine’s cultural landscape. Cultural influence and history from the Menorcans, Greeks, British and others will be showcased during the exhibition.

Tapestry offers something for everyone and is a fun and interactive way to explore St. Augustine’s rich and unbroken history.

The exhibit will be located at the Visitor Information Center at 10 W. Castillo Drive and Admission is Free!