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St. Augustine’s First Tourists

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As far back as the early 1800s, the frontier Florida town of St. Augustine attracted tourists. Who were these travelers, and where did they stay many years before the advent of grand Flagler-era hotels?

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The answers lie in the details of the well-appointed rooms of the historic Ximenez-Fatio House. Thanks to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the house, built in 1798, has been preserved as a boarding house museum providing visitors an inside look at life and lodging in St. Augustine at the turn of the 19th century.

On tours of the elegant inn, interpretive guides use furnishings, period pieces and personal objects meticulously placed in each room to share fascinating stories of guests who stayed there – naturalists, sea captains, doctors, authors, families on holiday and military officers. Regardless of background and profession, St. Augustine’s first tourists experienced both the ruggedness and elegance of this frontier Florida town turned tourist destination.


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