Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Cheer ~ In St.Augustine!

by | Nov 1, 2018

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I love Christmas! Even as an adult in (gulp!) mid-life, I am mesmerized by the magic of Christmas. I love the lights and the joy that seems to bubble out everywhere. And St. Augustine, America's oldest and most historic city embodies that magic each year with their Nights of Lights. So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas in St. Augustine this year!

Nights of Lights – a St. Augustine Christmas Tradition

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas in St. Augustine – Florida's Historic Coast

Though the weather outside may not be frightful, you'll be in the Christmas Spirit when you visit St. Augustine during Christmas for their Nights of Lights. This tradition began back in 1993 when downtown business leaders wanted to create a holiday display that would set St. Augustine apart. And so the Nights of Lights was born.

You are indeed experiencing a “white Christmas” when you visit St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. There are over 3,000,000+ tiny white lights on display in downtown St. Augustine! And this years marks the 25th year for a white Christmas in St. Augustine.

Imagine Spanish Colonial architecture that is centuries old, ancient oaks, Old World brick streets lined overhanging balconies and historic buildings draped in thousands of bright white lights. As you walk down the old brick streets, filled with thousands of tiny, white, twinkling lights, you can almost hear the building whispering their long-kept secrets.

The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com
The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com

Suggested Ways to Experience Nights of Lights during Christmas in St. Augustine

The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com
The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com
  • Take a walking tour of St. Augustine with Tour St. Augustine.  The tours are approximately 90 minutes long, and you'll learn about St. Augustine's history, Colonial folklore, and holiday traditions in this historic city, all set against the backdrop of thousands of white lights. Sites you'll visit include the courtyard of the Lightner Museum, Plaza de la Constitución, and the beautiful St. Augustine Bayfront. For more information, check out Tour St. Augustine.
  • Experience St. Augustine's natural side by taking one of best Eco tours around – St. Augustine Eco Tours. Zack McKenna is a renowned naturalist on a mission to educate others about the waters surrounding St. Augustine and the wildlife that call these waters home. The Nights of Lights Harbor Tour is a pleasant and peaceful way to experience the lights of the city from the water.
  • The Schooner Freedom is another option for viewing the lights of the St. Augustine during a sunset sail.
  • And for those who love pirates, and fancy spending time hanging out with pirates onboard the Black Raven – humorous pirate show included – will love seeing St. Augustine filled with lights from the deck of the Black Raven.
The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com

    The magic of Christmas is embodied in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights. Copyright and credits FloridasHistoricCoast.com

Spend a Night or Two During Christmas in St. Augustine & Rekindle the Romance

St. Augustine has so much to offer, especially at Christmas. It is impossible to do it all in one day. There are so many lodging options for St. Augustine, but our hands-down favorite is the St. Francis House Bed & Breakfast.

During the Christmas Season, the St. Francis pulls out all the stops. Now many know the St. Francis is renowned for their delectable homemade desserts. But at Christmas the St. Francis Inn is a special season to savor. After dinner return to the palor or the dining room, sipping on your beverage of choice, and indulge in one (or two!) of Janice Leary's amazing desserts! For the 2018 Christmas season, the inn is pairing it's dessert choices to the lyrics of the '12 Days of Christmas' (and did you happen to notice that the lyrics look exactly like a full Christmas tree?)

As a side note, this song was written to be chanted, without music, in 1780. And coincidentally, the St. Francis Inn was built in 1791.

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Three French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Four Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Five Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a MilkingSeven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmasmy true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies DancingEight Maids a MilkingSeven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a LeapingNine Ladies DancingEight Maids a MilkingSeven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers PipingTen Lords a LeapingNine Ladies DancingEight Maids a MilkingSeven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers DrummingEleven Pipers PipingTen Lords a LeapingNine Ladies DancingEight Maids a MilkingSeven Swans a SwimmingSix Geese a LayingFive Golden RingsFour Calling BirdsThree French HensTwo Turtle Dovesand a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Janice Leary, the culinary master of the St. Francis Inn, credit & copyright, the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity
Janice Leary, the culinary master of the St. Francis Inn, credit & copyright, the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity

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Janice Leary is the culinary master at the Inn, and is the Food and Beverage Director and Cook. Janic creates the daily Southern buffet breakfasts, catered events at the inn, and the evening desserts. When asked about this year's offering, Janice shares, “I really enjoy the details that make a difference to our guests. Our kitchen is always ready to cater to our guests with special dietary needs too. Our menus are very traditional – but always with a little special twist. We’re all having a great time with this year’s Christmas-themed nightly desserts. Our guests don’t want to miss an opportunity to share the holiday cheer with other guests and nightly desserts bring them together.” I can honestly say that everything that comes out of the kitchen of the St. Francis Inn is delectable and delightful, and is created with love.

Without further ado, I want to share Janice's, and the St. Francis Inn's desserts (each more grand than the one before):

ENGLISH CHRISTMAS CAROL             ST. FRANCIS INN DESSERT

  1. Drummers Drumming                            Red Velvet Drum Cake
  2. Pipers Piping                                            Pecan Pie
  3. Lords-a-Leaping                                      Lord Baltimore Cake
  4. Ladies Dancing                                        Strawberry Lady Finger Cake
  5. Maids-a-Milking                                      Tres Leche Cake
  6. Swans-a-Swimming                               Swan Cream Puffs
  7. Geese-a-Laying                                       Goose Nest Cupcakes
  8. Gold Rings                                               Gold Rings Upside Down Cake
  9. Calling Birds                                            Calling Birds Christmas Cake
  10. French Hens                                             Raspberry Cream Milles Feuilles
  11. Turtle Doves                                             Turtle Dove Cheesecake
  12. Partridge in a Pear Tree                         Poached Pears

Janice has been gracious enough to share one of her 12 Days of Christmas Recipes with us.

The scrumptious Turtle Cheese Cake of the St. Francis Inn.credit & copyright the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity
The scrumptious Turtle Cheese Cake of the St. Francis Inn.credit & copyright the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity

 TURTLE DOVE CHEESECAKE

24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)

6   Tbsp. Butter or margarine, melted

1   Pkg. (14 oz.)  Caramels

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped Pecans

3 Pkg. (8 oz. each)Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1   Tbsp. Vanilla

3 eggs

2oz. Dove Chocolate

HEAT oven to 325°F.

MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch spring form pan.

MICROWAVE caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.

BAKE 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

MICROWAVE reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.

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Have a Merry Christmas full of Cheer in St. Augustine photos & copyright by Floridashistoriccoast.com & the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity
Have a Merry Christmas full of Cheer in St. Augustine (photo credit & copyright by Floridashistoriccoast.com & the St. Francis Inn / Leigh Cort Publicity)

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