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Three Hidden Gems You'll Want to Visit in St. Augustine, Florida

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by Colleen O'Neill Mulvihill (subscribe)
Colleen is a freelance wellness and travel writer living in Newbury, Vermont. Visit her blog at or follow her on IG @holistichealthtraveler.
Published December 26th 2021
Let's face it, we all need a break from the hustle and bustle now and then. Even those of us who consider ourselves the movers and shakers of the social scene occasionally seek a quiet, off-the-beaten-path respite from time to time. When that desire to seek the low-key reprieve in town takes hold, consider these three hidden gems to soothe your overly stimulated soul.

Forgotten Tonic - Interior
Forgotten Tonic

Forgotten Tonic

6 Aviles Street St. Augustine, Florida 32084

(904) 827-9055

A hidden neighborhood gem right in the heart of the arts district, Forgotten Tonic is all about soothing, classic comfort food and drinks. Served with a modern twist, dishes range from vegan to vegetarian to full-on carnivore and seafood. The vibe here is slightly sultry with a sprinkling of old-world-neighborhood hug, the kind that makes you want to cozy up stay awhile.

We tried the vegetable pesto flatbread, drizzled in balsamic and sprinkled with feta. Grilled to perfection, this flatbread was one of the best I'd ever had. Next, we sampled the fried green tomatoes, a St. Augustine staple. Drizzled in a slightly zesty remoulade and served aside a crunchy citrus slaw, this appetizer could be a meal of its own. Perhaps my favorite, though, was the Lima Bean hummus. If lima beans are not your fancy, this dish may well change your mind. With a dash of garlic, sesame tahini, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, the lima beans take a backseat while adding the texture you'd expect from chickpea hummus.

If you're in the mood to try a new take on a classic cocktail, this is the perfect place to give something new a whirl. Deciding on one will prove challenging, though, as the list of cocktails is extensive. Suppose cocktails aren't your thing. There is no need to worry - beer, wine, bubbles, and even non-alcoholic spritzes are also available for sampling. I opted for a true American classic, the Old Fashioned. Smooth, a bit smokey, with just a hint of sweetness, this cocktail was exactly what my soul was seeking at the moment.

Colonial Oak Music Park
Sit and Stay for a bit in Colonial Oak Music Park

Colonial Oak Music Park

33 St. George Street St. Augustine, Florida 32084

(904) 342-2857

Although you make entrance into the park from one of the busiest pedestrian streets in town, most visitors stroll on by having never known it's there. Part weekend music venue, part quiet reprieve, the park stands in the shadows of a massive 300-year-old oak tree.

As you step from the busy shopping district into the park entrance, it almost seems as though you've stepped into a different dimension in time. Dappled shade emanating from the oak branches above allows for a break from the sun's steamy rays, while picnic tables welcome weary bones to sit and relax for a while. As with most places in St. Augustine, Colonial Oak Park is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend along as well. Entrance to the park is free most days, with very few exceptions. Check their live music schedule online for an evening of dancing under the stars.

Ancient City Brunch Board
Brunch Meets Charcuterie at Ancient City Brunch Bar

Ancient City Brunch Bar

210 St. George Street St. Augustine, Florida 32084

(904) 342-0890

Picture an elegant charcuterie board graced with homemade scones, warmed muffins, fruit, quiche, and brie, and you'll get bruncuterie? I just made up that term, but Ancient City makes the most fabulous brunch board imaginable, guaranteed to make every single person in your party happy. How? Because you design your own brunch board from an extensive a-la-carte menu.

This brilliant business plan is the brainchild of owner Melissa and her twin daughters, Emily and Sophia. Part school project for the girls and part passion project for Melissa, the idea stems from Melissa's challenges raising three children with different dietary needs. She found herself always making a little of this, a little of that, and serving all of it to her kids so they could pick and choose what they wanted to eat. This way, no one felt left out.

The business motto is "brunch on a board or in a box, you decide." The beauty is trying a little of everything that sounds pleasing on the menu, whether you have time to sit and stay or want it to-go. Trust me when I say that if you have time to pause, sit and enjoy the cozy vibe and super friendly conversation with Melissa and her staff. Sample a bit of everything that sounds appealing. I dare you to try to pick just one thing!

St. Augustine is one of those towns that keeps you coming back. I doubt anyone gets an accurate idea of just how unique a town St. Augustine is in just one visit. I don't know about you, but I plan to return soon so that I can keep finding these unique little gems among the centuries-old historic sites.

What other off-the-beaten-path stops would you add to this list?

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A well detailed article Colleen. Welcome to Weekend Notes.
by Gayle Beveridge-Marien (score: 4|10456) 451 days ago
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