Our daughters and their husbands were in St Augustine this weekend, so my wife and I picked up our son and the seven of us decided to start a December tradition — we spent the evening together; enjoying dinner at Gypsy Cab and touring the Nights of Lights.
The two of us get to enjoy the city all year long, but when the kids are here, we want to do something special with them.
There are lots of ways to see the light displays on homes, in the plaza, on City Hall, and across town; but, there is no better way to enjoy the holiday decorations than on the Holly, Jolly, Trolley — operated by Historic Tours of America.
Based at the Old Jail on San Marco Avenue, which is where we parked to avoid all of the congestion in town, a shuttle picked us up and transported us to the depot at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility free of charge.
Tickets for the tour were $9 per adult, and let me say that you get your money’s worth.
We have taken other lights tours, sightseeing tours and ghost tours and each have their strengths, but, the green trolleys consistently provide excellent entertainment, their employees cater to the guests and engage their audience — producing a first class experience for everyone, including the locals.
It is a pleasure not to have to worry about the pedestrians walking out into the street, cars dodging in and out of traffic, and stoplights. Our driver was alert, focused on safety, and you could tell he was enjoying his job leading us in Christmas carols and pointing out the best places to save money using coupons from a half-dozen local attractions and restaurants; like Ann O’Malley’s where we would have been happy to go and pay full price!
As we wrapped up the tour and returned to the station, I made a final observation that really exemplifies how the Historic Tours attractions are operated. At 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, in the cold wind and lingering damp conditions, Dave Chatterton, the General Manager of the company’s operations in St Augustine, is curbside helping parents and their kids on and off the trolleys and attending to the guests — first hand.
I have yet to find anyone with Old Town Trolley, or any of their attractions, from parking lot attendant to CEO, which is not willing to do what it takes to be certain you enjoy yourself. Dave has assembled a cast that is all about teamwork, hospitality, and entertainment — and he leads by example. Thanks for the great evening!