Gabriel Hernandez and Catalina de Valdes were the first two people to officially record their marriage in St. Augustine according to a report received by the St. Augustine local news desk at Historic City News.
The couple was married on January 24, 1594, and now, more than 400 years later, romance continues to be a major attraction in the oldest city.
For generations, this special area of northeast Florida has served as the setting for memorable weddings that are the starting pointing for enduring romance. From elegant Ponte Vedra resorts and a beautiful cathedral, to fun-filled weddings on the beach, the destination offers dozens of intriguing and distinctive venues.
With Valentine’s Day, star-spangled nights, great dining and cozy accommodations, February is the perfect month to find romance in this unique Florida destination.
St. Augustine Chocolate Tour: Step aboard an Old Town Trolley and be whisked away on a decadent tour drenched in chocolate delights. Each Saturday and Sunday from Feb. 6 thru Feb. 28, the One and Only St. Augustine Chocolate Tour departs at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from the Old Town Trolley Welcome Center at 27 San Marco Avenue. Each trolley stop is guaranteed to delight chocolate lovers of all ages – enjoy a chocolate confection at the Hilton Bayfront’s Aviles Restaurant – sample a special chocolate fondue at the historic Casa Monica Hotel – taste exquisite creations while you learn the “art” of artisan chocolates at Claude’s Chocolates – further your chocolate studies with a lesson from St. Augustine’s original Chocolate Family, Whetstones Chocolates, and experience their chocolate fountain – and for the grand finale, indulge in an entire chocolate buffet of sinfully-good pastries at the award-winning Raintree Restaurant. Tickets for the chocolaty tour are $60 (Valentine’s Day gift certificates available.) For more information, call 904.829.3800.
The Love Tree: Looking for a lasting romance? Seal the deal with a kiss in front of St. Augustine’s legendary Love Tree. A slender palm tree wrapped in the loving embrace of a stately live oak, the Love Tree promises to insure love will last forever for any couple who kiss in its presence. Located at 6 Cordova Street, just south of the courtyard between the Historic Downtown Parking Facility and the Visitor Center, the chance at romantic immortality comes at an attractive price – it’s free!
Horse-drawn Carriages: Experience the romance of an earlier time with a horse-drawn carriage tour of the oldest city. The clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the ancient, brick-paved streets of St. Augustine and the leisurely view of authentic Spanish Renaissance architecture bring the romance of Old Spain to happy couples. These memorable tours depart throughout the day and evening from the bay front along Avenida Menendez. The cost of a narrated, 45-minute tour for two or four people is $85. Carriage rides are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 904.826.1982
Couples Massage: Together, enjoy the pleasures of a relaxing massage in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach at the luxurious and Zen-inspired Spa at Sawgrass or the opulent Spa at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. In St. Augustine, Small Indulgences European day spa offers couples massage treatments in a historical Victorian home setting. All offer Valentine’s Day specials for the month of February.
Romance and Fertility? For those who want to celebrate their romance with pregnancy, February is the ideal time to visit St. Augustine. Just back from a three-year world tour, Ripley’s Famous Fertility Statues will be on display through February 21 at the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. More than 2,000 women have reported that they became pregnant shortly after touching the wooden statutes. Many of the women had been told my doctors that they would never conceive. On display in the lobby of the museum at 19 San Marco Avenue, would-be parents are invited to come in and touch them for FREE during regular business. For more information, call 904.824.1606.
Horseback Riding On The Beach: Create a signature scene from your own romantic epic with a special horseback ride at the edge of the sea. For an unforgettable ride along Vilano Beach just north of St. Augustine, call Country Carriages at 904.826.1982.
Noche de Gala: On February 27, travel back in time to experience a romantic 16th century masked ball celebrating the 491st birthday of St. Augustine’s founder don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés – portrayed in unbelievably authentic detail by Chaz Mena, an award-winning actor of stage, film and television (NBC’s Law and Order and Third Watch). Guests will be escorted to the festivities at the Lightner Museum by re-enactors in period clothing. A cocktail reception and dinner will be followed by dancing to contemporary tunes in the museum’s beautiful ballroom. Attire is 16th century costume or black tie. Admission is $185 per person for the gala or $50 per person for the cocktail reception. Proceeds benefit the City of St. Augustine’s historic preservation efforts. Reservations are a must. For more information, call 904.825.5033.
The Proposal?: Culminate your romantic February in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches with a trip to the most popular spot for wedding proposals in all of northeast Florida – the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse! On February 28, a special sunset and moonrise viewing event, complete with champagne toast and light refreshments, will take place atop the lighthouse tower. The event takes place from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and reservations are required. For more information, call 904.829.0745.
Dining and Lodging: From intimate cafes to seaside restaurants and from cozy bed and breakfasts inns to elegant resorts, St. Augustine Ponte Vedra and The Beaches offers accommodations and dining options to meet any taste and budget. For full details, including Hot Deals on a wide variety of accommodations and attractions, check with the Visitors & Convention Bureau or call 1.800.653.2489 to receive a free, full-color, 64-page guide to planning your visit.