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Destination St. Augustine

Words by Elaine Hilbelink
Photos courtesy of Casa Monica Hotel

Is it your heart’s desire to find a seaside locale which embraces the charm of ages past?  Consider the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida for a destination with an ambiance of antiquity and proximity to the Atlantic’s pristine beaches. Nestled in the heart of old St. Augustine is The Casa Monica Hotel, a perfect venue for accommodating your guests and hosting your event in Spanish-Moorish style.

The landmark Casa Monica was originally constructed in 1888, but in 1999 Michael Kessler restored this unique property with elegance and unparalleled attention to detail to join The Kessler Collection as a high-end boutique hotel. Whether it be artwork commissioned by local artists, luxurious hand-crafted furniture, architectural details from eras gone by, hand-painted arches, mosaics depicting this historic city’s past, or gourmet food and wine selections - authenticity and elegance are the hallmark of the Casa Monica. Michael Kessler’s connection with the community, love of art and penchant for history have left his fingerprint on all aspects of the Casa Monica.

When planning your destination wedding, the hotel offers several room choices for hosting your reception depending on size and preference. A wide selection of gourmet menu options are available for your event, and the staff greets guests with grace and southern hospitality. If you wish to have a religious ceremony, historic sanctuaries of many faiths are available within close proximity to the hotel.

Activities abound in St. Augustine to keep guests of all ages entertained during your destination wedding. Swimmers can enjoy the secluded hotel pool or take a shuttle to a gorgeous beach for the day. Climb the two hundred steps to the heights of the St. Augustine Lighthouse to take in a panoramic view of the northern Florida seashore, and step back into the history of this state’s rich seafaring past. Many a ship has sunk off the coast and archaeologists are currently sifting through their finds inside the lighthouse. Little pirates in your group will love the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Other diversions for guests include the Lightner Museum, the historic fort, shopping along the narrow ancient streets and the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. Those seeking to recapture their youth might want to take a sip of water at the site of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Schooner rides on the inland waterways, horse-drawn carriages on narrow old streets, or sightseeing trolleys are all varied ways you can explore St. Augustine.

If it is your desire to step back in time for your destination wedding or honeymoon, consider this northern Florida coastal location. St. Augustine would be the perfect spot for a wedding capturing the allure of the seaside and the charm of antiquity, and the Casa Monica Hotel could be the perfect haven which houses your special day.

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