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St. Francis Inn St. Augustine :: Relaxation, Exploration, and Ghosts

Thank you to St. Francis Inn for partnering with us on this post.

If you're like my husband and I, you'd do anything for a brief respite from the kids! We're only 30 minutes north of the nation's oldest city so we can go any time we'd like for a day trip and just head back at the end of the day. It had never occurred to us to stay the night. However with St. Augustine being one of the nation's most romantic cities, we jumped at the chance for a relaxing getaway when the St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast approached us. Sightseeing all day and then enjoying a relaxing evening in St. Augustine, too? Why yes! That sounds like a great idea! Count us in!

The historic St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine.

In late May, amidst the hustle and bustle of end of school sports, performances, and celebrations, we visited St. Augustine for a night at the St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast. WE.COULD.NOT.WAIT! Built in 1791 and named # 1 best hotel by USA Today's 10 Best, it was easy to see why it stands out from all the hotels in downtown St. Augustine. It is right down the street from the Oldest House, in the older section of downtown, and is known as St. Augustine's oldest inn. It has peaceful gardens, plenty of rocking chairs and porch swings, yummy gourmet delicacies, and is on St. George Street, walking distance from St. George Street shopping and restaurants. With our welcoming room and plenty of amenities, the history of the building (including haunted rooms), and some amazing food, here are 3 reasons why you should treat yourselves to a relaxing getaway at St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine. 

Peaceful rocking on the 2nd floor of St. Francis Inn.

1. The Food Is Amazing, and There Is Plenty Of It

Having stayed at bed and breakfasts before, I knew they of course offered breakfasts for their guests. But the St. Francis Inn went above and beyond in terms of offering food! When we checked in they showed us the tea and coffee, water - flavored with fresh citrus or regular, home made chocolate chip cookies and granola bars. In our room we were welcomed to sherry with two fancy glasses. From 5:00pm - 6:00pm they have a social hour and snacks with local St. Sebastian Wine and Jacksonville based Bold City Brewery beer for guests. The snacks on our visit were hummus with feta cheese, olives, and other Greek toppings, a homemade curry yogurt dip with fresh veggies, and pita chips. Guests are welcome to enjoy snacks in the breakfast room or sit surrounded by plants and statues in the gardens. After going out for dinner at the Columbia Restaurant, we returned to the inn for dessert hour. I brought my husband a lemon bar and chocolate chip cupcake so we could each try one, but he ate both. I went back for the lemon bar!

For breakfast, we relished in the warm frittata with eggs, potatoes, cheese, tomatoes and spinach and tried not to mention too many times how nice it was to relax and dine for breakfast without having to get up to tend to our children (or do dishes, for that matter!). We enjoyed the apple cinnamon oatmeal then went to the next bar to enjoy home made apple butter, strawberry soup (we HAVE to find the recipe!), breads and muffins. Then there were the juices, yogurt parfaits, and the homemade granola. We ate and ate under the ancient wood ceiling and next to the hundreds of years old decorated wooden door and enjoyed a peaceful and rare breakfast together.

Homemade hummus with veggies and pita chips for social hour.
After dinner dessert hour with lemon bars and chocolate cupcakes.
Strawberry soup, apple oatmeal, and frittatas for breakfast.
Homemade breads and apple butter for breakfast.

​2. There Are Plenty of Amenities

St. Francis Inn has a campus like no other bed and breakfast I've seen. If you know St. Augustine, you know parking is rare. St. Francis has it's own lot across the street and it was bordered by a butterfly garden and guarded by two bronze lions. The rooms are like a European hotel, yet much larger, and it was neat to pretend we lived in a historic home. The beds have soft white sheets and huge fluffy pillows. Two large, fluffy robes were waiting for us to use in the closet. The inn has its own pool, and a heated one for that matter!  The gardens offer tables and chairs, porch swings, and rocking chairs for lounging. Sitting among the strung lights enjoying some sweet tea (or a Bold City beer) made me feel like a southern Florida belle relaxing at an old St. Augustine residence. Our favorite amenity was the selection of bicycles they provide for guests to use. I went on three bike rides and leisurely explored the old residential section of downtown, went up to the more touristy area of St. George Street to enjoy people watching, and then later biked to new restaurants like Collage, The Preserve, The Floridian, before settling on our trusty favorite, the Columbia Restaurant. It was so relaxing to enjoy the bay front on the way to the Castillo de San Marcos and on to dinner.

Here are more amenities at the St. Francis Inn that help with parent relaxation in mind (we wish we had stayed for days to enjoy them all!):

  • ​St. Augustine Beach access, complete with beach chairs, beach towels, off street parking, and a shower!
  • Complimentary s'mores ingredients so you can enjoy the yummy treat on their outdoor fire
  • Jacuzzi offered in many of the rooms. Once I enjoyed a warm Jacuzzi bath, I was fully mellow and peaceful for the duration!


Sherry welcomed us to our room.
Plenty of parking for guests...guarded by lions.
Heated inn pool.
Is 10:30am too early to bike to the Ice Plant for drinks? Nope - they have tours!
St. Francis Inn gardens at sunset.
Statue at the St. Francis Inn gardens.
Castillo de San Marcos at sunset over the Matanzas Bay.

3. There is History and There Are Ghosts

We loved learning about the St. Francis Inn's history...and the ghosts that are known there! Over its  226 year history, it has had many owners and many stories. The original owner was Gaspar Garcia, a sergeant in the Third Battalion of the infantry Regiment of Cuba. It was owned by many other military owners through 1845 when Anna Dummett changed the family home to a lodging establishment. Owners and occupants included literary figures and educators. Current owners celebrated their 30th anniversary of their bed and breakfast this spring. We loved how the information was provided to guests to learn about the building. 

It is one thing to walk by the old homes, but it is another to stay in one! The old fire place is decorated, the building is made of ancient wood, and there is even still coquina rock along the side of the building. It has ancient doors and it was from St. Francis Inn that we started photographing the ornate and old doors of St. Augustine.  The inn is located in the oldest neighborhood of St. Augustine, with the oldest houses, the oldest streets, an old cemetery with three pyramid tombstones. For a more recent history lesson, we biked along the historical route of Martin Luther King's visit to St. Augustine in the 60's. Plaques are found along the route and talk of the families he stayed with and the trials he faced while here. There is history everywhere you go from St. Francis Inn.

Ghosts are well known in St. Augustine and you can take ghost tours about pirates, through cemeteries, and through St. George St. But the inn plays host to its own ghastly legends. Lily, known as a servant girl who lost her lover when she was forbidden to see him, is known to make apparitions in, "Lily's Room." Lily has been reported by many guests, and even Paranormal Investigators! The inn is reported in many books, which you can find here. If you are attracted by paranormal activity, as many are, ask for Lily's room. 

An ancient fireplace at the St. Francis Inn.
Hundreds of years old coquina wall at the inn.
Wrought iron doors at St. Francis Inn.
The doors of St. Augustine.
St. Francis Inn anchors the oldest neighborhood at the corner of St. George St. and St. Francis St., just footsteps from Matanzas Bay.

In the morning I enjoyed a jog along the battery and over the Bridge of Lions to watch the sun rise. It was quiet in the city as all the tourists were not yet up and about. I enjoyed the boats swaying on the Matanzas River, the Castillo with cabbage palmettos blowing in the breeze, and the birds foraging quietly in the low tide. We enjoyed biking after breakfast and were then reluctant to turn in our keys to head home. We loved making St. Francis Inn our home base for an evening of relaxation and exploration, and even a lesson in ghosts. We would recommend the inn to anyone looking for a relaxing getaway.  You can find more info about St. Francis Inn here! Find more info on parent getaways at www.fun4firstcoastkids.com.

An easy jog from the inn takes you to sunrise over the Matanzas Bay on the Bridge of Lions.
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Comments 12

 
Guest - Jamy on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:45

Love love, those desserts

Love love, those desserts
Guest - Tifanie Mikell on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:47

I like that this bed and breakfast offers a romantic getaway and a chance to reconnect since having twins. The food looks yummy too.

I like that this bed and breakfast offers a romantic getaway and a chance to reconnect since having twins. The food looks yummy too.
Guest - Brenda on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:47

I would love a nice little romantic get-a-way with my husband. We married 1-7-17 and haven't had a honeymoon yet. This would be a nice treat after deployment

I would love a nice little romantic get-a-way with my husband. We married 1-7-17 and haven't had a honeymoon yet. This would be a nice treat after deployment
Guest - Lauren Eldredge on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:48

Those rocking chairs on the second floor are calling my name! Too many reasons to list why staying at the Inn would be magical. But I love history and would love to have a visit here.

Those rocking chairs on the second floor are calling my name! Too many reasons to list why staying at the Inn would be magical. But I love history and would love to have a visit here.
Guest - John Schaffer on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:48

Would love the opportunity to escape with my wife. She does a lot for me and our three kids...would be nice to show our appreciation in this way. Plus, we love St. Augustine!

Would love the opportunity to escape with my wife. She does a lot for me and our three kids...would be nice to show our appreciation in this way. Plus, we love St. Augustine!
Guest - Julia M. on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:50

We love downtown and chances to explore. What a fantastic location!

We love downtown and chances to explore. What a fantastic location!
Guest - Tina Fox on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:52

I would so love to take a vacation away from home here. Looks relaxing and I bet it's quite too.

I would so love to take a vacation away from home here. Looks relaxing and I bet it's quite too.
Guest - Danielle on Friday, 14 July 2017 07:58

Swimming in that pool and sitting on the porch rocking chairs sounds AMAZING after a long day walking around the city. I would love to stay here! Pick me!

Swimming in that pool and sitting on the porch rocking chairs sounds AMAZING after a long day walking around the city. I would love to stay here! Pick me!
Guest - Trelawney Powell on Friday, 14 July 2017 08:28

Looks like a great place to unwind from normal everyday life. Looks relaxing but with things to do at your fingertips when your tired of relaxing.

Looks like a great place to unwind from normal everyday life. Looks relaxing but with things to do at your fingertips when your tired of relaxing.
Guest - Cindy on Friday, 14 July 2017 11:06

Love! Would be a nice relaxing get away for my husband and I. We never get time alone, due to kids....and one is special needs... so it would be nice to have a getaway just us.

Love! Would be a nice relaxing get away for my husband and I. We never get time alone, due to kids....and one is special needs... so it would be nice to have a getaway just us.
Guest - Brandie Seaman on Friday, 14 July 2017 11:23

The St.Francis Inn in St.Augustine is a dream come true. The visual appeal, rocking chairs, to the adorable rooms, it is by far the most breath taking Inn in downtown St.Augustine. As a mother of 4 and teacher, my husband and I would love to stay overnight at your Inn. We frequently have guests that visit us in St.Augustind and my brother inlaw is getting married in a couple months here. We would love an opportunity to get know your Inn and send you more business. Here is to keeping my fingers crossed for us to be selected!

The St.Francis Inn in St.Augustine is a dream come true. The visual appeal, rocking chairs, to the adorable rooms, it is by far the most breath taking Inn in downtown St.Augustine. As a mother of 4 and teacher, my husband and I would love to stay overnight at your Inn. We frequently have guests that visit us in St.Augustind and my brother inlaw is getting married in a couple months here. We would love an opportunity to get know your Inn and send you more business. Here is to keeping my fingers crossed for us to be selected!
Guest - ana trinidad on Friday, 14 July 2017 13:23

The fooeverything antique setting...everything looks amazing!

The fooeverything antique setting...everything looks amazing!

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