What’s New in 2022 on Florida’s Historic Coast
It’s a new year and there are plenty of things happening along Florida’s Historic Coast that make 2022 an exciting time to visit St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches.
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Contact: Barbara Golden
St. Augustine, Fla. (January 18, 2022) – It’s a new year and there are plenty of things happening along Florida’s Historic Coast that make 2022 an exciting time to visit St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches. The 42 miles of pristine Atlantic Beaches, America’s oldest city and outdoor recreation that have been favorites in Florida for 456+ years is shining with new hotels and renovated resorts, refreshed attractions, spectacular events, lively musical performances and even more delicious dining that will make a visit here even more memorable.
Staying here has never been more comfortable. Healthy travel protocols remain a priority and wide-open spaces abound. There are many ways to safely experience the new additions on Florida’s Historic Coast starting with some new openings in 2022, and the completion of major renovations at well-established lodgings.
In September 2021 the Renaissance Historic Downtown St. Augustine Hotel opened in the heart of St. Augustine’s Historic District. This beautiful Victorian-style hotel was inspired by the historic San Marco Hotel that sat on the same spot during the Gilded Age. The Renaissance features exquisite architecture and great amenities including fine dining at The Castillo Craft Bar & Kitchen, a gracious lobby with a coffee shop, function space and more.
The impressive Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort is wrapping up the new construction of the resort’s North Wing, adding an additional 42 guest suites. This addition to the Resort which opened in December 2018, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the pristine Anastasia State Park.
Vilano Beach is a hot spot for touristic development on Florida’s Historic Coast. The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Vilano Beach opened in mid-2021 with 50 rooms and is located just steps from the beach. The Hyatt Place Vilano Beach, with its spectacular Art Deco design and rooftop dining, will provide another 120 guest rooms and gorgeous event spaces just steps from the beach.
With the flamingo pink façade, kitschy palm frond wallpaper, and seaside artwork, and nearby beach access one might think that when checking in to The Local Inn they’ve transcended back to the 1950s when roadside motels were the standard accommodation offered in the Sunshine state. Checking in is anything but vintage at this 21-room Inn recently renovated to feel like nostalgic Old Florida. It is fitted with the latest technology, including digital check-in/check-out an app that acts as the front desk and onsite bike rentals also booked through an app.
The Hampton Inn & Suites on Vilano Beach recently completed a major renovation of all guest rooms and common spaces. This seaside inn is a preferred choice of many families and business travelers, and these extensive renovations allow the Hampton Inn & Suites to provide the very best hotel experience for guests for the perfect seaside getaway.
In St. Augustine, the new Homewood Suites by Hilton St. Augustine set on the banks of the San Sebastian River and features 117 guest rooms. Hidden Harbor Marina is located on site and St. Augustine’s historic attractions, dining and unique shopping are within walking distance.
Get your game on at world-class sports events and venues.
In less than two months, the best professional golfers in the world will travel to Ponte Vedra Beach to compete in THE PLAYERS Championship (March 8-13), the biggest event on the PGA TOUR and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. After 20% capacity at the 2021 championship, the tournament is preparing to operate without any capacity restrictions this year, but as always, it will continue to remain flexible based on the current health and safety climate. Tickets are on sale now at THEPLAYERS.com/tickets and can start as low as $30 for a practice round ticket. New at THE PLAYERS in 2022 are several area restaurants making their debuts at the tournament, including: The Local, Silkie’s Chicken & Champagne Bar and two new food trucks, Saffron and 904Burger. Military Appreciation Day, Tuesday March 8, will feature a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on the Island Green 17th Hole. THE PLAYERS will have a ticket allotment specifically for military and veterans.
The World Golf Hall of Fame will be inducting four members to the Class of 2022. The inductees will be enshrined at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on March 9, 2022 as part of the activities surrounding THE PLAYERS, the PGA TOUR’s flagship event. Inductees include Marion Hines, Tiger Woods, Susie Maxwell Berning and Tim Finchem. The World Golf Hall of Fame serves as a steward of the game through engaging, interactive storytelling and exhibitions featuring artifacts, works of art, audio, video and photography significant to the history of golf and its members.
An innovative reimagining of the traditional country club, The Yards’ an original Arnold Palmer designed course has completely renovated , now featuring a totally redesigned classic nine Front Yard with amazing par-threes; the new Backyard Oak Bridge Tennis Center with ten lighted Har-Tru clay tennis courts; a brand new pickleball facility, The Pickle Garden, with 12 courts; and local favorite 3 Palms Grille, ideal for brunch, cocktails on the green, a 19th hole lunch or a sunset dinner.
Live Music is Making History in 2022
New this year is the Fort Mosé Jazz and Blues Series which takes place February 18 - 25, 2022. Located at Fort Mosé State Historic Park, the inaugural Fort Mosé Jazz and Blues Series features some of America’s most well-known and accomplished performers including The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Amythyst Kiah, Gregory Porter, Trombone Shorty and more. The Series includes five unforgettable performances over two weeks. Founded in 1738, Fort Mosé is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. An estimated 100 Africans made Fort Mosé their home and sanctuary in seeking liberation from English enslavement amidst a large-scale power struggle between European powers in the New World.
The St. Johns County Cultural Events Division has announced a whole season of performances at The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and The St. Augustine Amphitheater. Featured performances at The AMP include Jake Owen with Conner Smith & Drew Parker (March 3), Emmylou Harris & The Red Dirt Boys (March 4); Koe Wetzel (May 6), Styx (April 22), and Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band (June 24) and many more. While the Winter Spring lineup of performers at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall includes Leo Kottke (January 30), Shawn Colvin (February 5), Don McLean, 50th Anniversary of American Pie Tour (February 12), Jose Feliciano (February 16), Lucinda Williams & Her Band (February 23), Asleep at The Wheel (March 5) Graham Nash (March 9 & 13) and Madeleine Peyroux (May 6).
The 2022 Lincolnville Jazz at the Excelsior takes place in the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center Auditorium and showcases jazz through the ages from its African roots to the fusion sounds of the millennia. Performances include Eric Carter (February 11), Longineu Parsons (February 26), Marcus Click (March 11), Catch the Groove (March 25), Party in a Box Band (April 8) and Akia Uwanda (April 29).
More New Ways to Experience Art, History, Food and More.
Take full advantage of your mobile phone, iPhone or digital camera on an engaging and fun two-hour walking tour with a pro-photographer on a St. Augustine Historic Photo Tour. Participants get to embrace the history and capture the visually rich surroundings while photographer Patricia Bean provides tips and instruction to help participants capture the best-ever vacation shots that reflect the history from an architectural interest, humanitarian, and lifestyle point of view. Private and public tours are available.
Learn about the under-the-radar story of the African American experience in St. Augustine. Visitors can learn and experience the important African American story at Fort Mosé, the first free African American settlement in North America, and the incredible journey through the first 456 years of history at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center. Their newest exhibit includes Lincolnville Lifeways, which explores the bustling Lincolnville neighborhood in the mid-20th century through the eyes of its inhabitants.
A celebration of the history and culture of Black Americans living and working in St. Augustine is showcased in “Resilience: Black Heritage in St. Augustine.” This exciting program continues through 2022 featuring the permanent exhibition called Women Who Made a Difference. This series of programs is a community project celebrating 456+ years of Black stories and contributions in St. Augustine. In addition to the calendar of events, the Resilience program provides a complete listing of collaborative sites, museums and tours where the St. Augustine Black History story can be visited Tuesday – through Saturday each week.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, one of the most visited attractions on Florida’s Historic Coast has even more reasons to visit in 2022. Recently completed, the Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy exhibit housed on the second floor of the Keeper’s House details St. Augustine’s shrimping history and the lives of the people who brought shrimp to the world. In addition, the tower will undergo a major restoration scheduled for Spring 2022 with an early summer completion. This project includes painting of the interior and exterior of the 174’ tower, maintenance to the lens, repairs to the original steps and handrails, and refresh to the Keeper’s office and Oil Storage area.
In February and March 2022 at the Ximenez-Fatio House, history lovers are encouraged to experience the new “I Lived Here, As Well- A Woman’s Story” tour which is a performance-style tour that takes guests on a journey through time and history, as seen through the eyes of the women who worked here; those invisible to the owners and guests – the servants and enslaved who also occupied this house.
The Lightner Museum recently completed the restoration of its historic south terrace and garden, creating a lively community garden with outdoor museum program space.
Surfing has always been a favorite pastime on the beaches of Florida’s Historic Coast. There are numerous popular spots like Vilano Beach, at St. Augustine Pier, Blowhole, and Matanzas Inlet where surfers are likely to catch the best waves. There is a whole culture in this coastal community that can be explored at the newly opened St. Augustine Surf Culture Museum. Located in the historic Tovar House at the Oldest House Museum Complex, the interactive museum interprets local history stories through images, surf films, artifacts and more.
The City of St. Augustine and Flagler Health+ have teamed up with Bolt Mobility (Bolt) to launch the City’s first e-bikeshare program. A total of 110 all-electric-assist e-bikes will be available to residents and visitors and will increase access to transportation across the city. In the interest of public health and safety, the bikes will be sanitized daily. Riders can access and return e-bikes at 13 conveniently located transportation hubs found across the City of St. Augustine, including historic downtown, West King Street, San Marco Avenue, Lincolnville, and Davis Shores.
New restaurants that opened in 2021 include the latest gem in the Southern Table Hospitality Group crown of Northeast Florida restaurants, the St. Augustine Fish Camp. Set along the docks of the San Sebastian River, the “Fish Camp” features the freshest seafood- right off the docks at their back door, amazing views, and old favorite entrees with creative, new twists.
The newest eatery making a big splash is Otter's On The Water. Located in the St. Augustine Shipyard, Otter’s menu features local seafood food, great drink and a splash of fun with amazing views of the San Sebastian River.
Located at the city gates, Sainte George Restaurant brings a little European flair to St. Augustine’s culinary scene. Sainte George specializes in making all of their own bread (including croissants!), as well as all their own sauces and condiments–right down to the ketchup.
There is a lot to be said for Brunch on Florida’s Historic Coast.
Created and designed by the Schroeder family as a high school entrepreneurial class project during the Covid shut down, The Ancient City Brunch Bar on St. George Street serves delicious selections of bagels, pastries, scones - savory and sweet - are made from family recipes and served on artful brunch boards. Local roasted coffee and specialty teas are also featured.
Also located on St. George Street, next to Prohibition Kitchen, the Roosevelt Room has made a name for itself for their extensive brunch and breakfast menu along with a nice selection of cocktails.
3 Palms Grille at The Yards at Ponte Vedra offers a destination for fun and fare. This is the ideal spot for a Sunday brunch on the patio where you can expect delicious specialty brunch dishes served with Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s.
The newest walking food tours in St. Augustine are presented by St. Augustine Experiences and feature notable landmarks, local chocolatiers, candy makers & baked good purveyors, unique St. Augustine breweries, and state-of-the-art taprooms, all while learning about the incredible story of St. Augustine. And, The Tasting Tours foodie adventures recently launched a new fleet of electric touring cars, getting their guests around town in eco-efficient style.
The award-winning St. Augustine Distillery has added a new program - fill your own bottle. In the past decade visitors have been enjoying distillery tours and free samples of the New World Gin, Florida Cane Vodka, and Florida’s best bourbons all produced at St. Augustine’s first distillery. This year, the Distillery is offering The Fill Your Own Bourbon Bottle Experience which allows guests to step behind production lines to fill, label, cork, and seal their own bottle of cask-strength, unfiltered bourbon.
Getting here just got a little easier for 2022
Florida’s Historic Coast remains an easy access drive destination, but there is great air service available via Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), approximately 50 minutes north of St. Augustine and 30 minutes from Ponte Vedra, and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) is approximately 50 minutes to the south. Both airports are serviced by all major carriers.
Elite Airways is offering service between Newark Liberty Airport and Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. The nonstop jet service that is now operating weekly with arrivals to St. Augustine on Monday and Friday, and departures on Tuesday and Saturday.
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