The holidays are a great time to explore our region’s incredible historic bed and breakfast inns.

Across the First Coast, B&Bs have holiday tours where anybody can walk through and enjoy some of our region’s most beautiful grand historic homes decked out for the holidays. In this issue, we asked some of the innkeepers of St. Augustine to share their holiday happenings and memories to lift the spirit of the season.

 

At Journey’s End

IMG_7205 Journeys End

Innkeeper: Tim Millbern

89 Cedar St.

atjourneysend.com

904.829.0076

What is your favorite part about being an innkeeper during the holidays?

While it is fun to do all the decorations, my favorite part is meeting people who come from around the world. It’s fascinating to meet them.

Do you have any special holiday stories?

I have many, many stories. What is particularly special is that some folks have been coming here for the past six years, and we have become part of their family. They come from the west coast of Florida and don’t have family around, so we try to make them part of our family. They have made it a tradition to come to St. Augustine for the holidays.

IMG_7199 Journeys End

 

What activities that are open to the public does your B&B have happening this holiday season?

We are open Sunday, Dec. 13 for the Historic Inns Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour. Each of the 24 participating inns is partnering with one of the city’s restaurants, and this year we will have tastings from The Present Moment Café. All the inns on our street, Cedar Street, always do over the top decorations for each year’s theme, and this year it will be Christmas in Toyland. We are going to highlight “The Island of Misfit Toys.”

Do you have any special holiday promotions that you would like to share with our readers?

If you stay two or more nights during the holiday season you will get a $10 a night discount.

How are the holidays in St. Augustine a unique experience?

St. Augustine is unique because of the Nights of Lights Celebration. National Geographic continues to name it as one of the top holiday locations to visit. They use four million white lights to light the city. It’s like a fairy town.

 

 

Casa de Suenos & St. Francis Inn

IMG_7252 Casa de Suenos

Innkeepers: Joe and Margaret Finnegan

Casa de Suenos

20 Cordova St.

casadesuenos.com

 

St. Francis Inn

279 St. George St.

stfrancisinn.com

800.824.6062

What is your favorite part about being an innkeeper during the holidays?

The time I get to spend with the people who stay in our inns. I love to see people get excited about the Nights of Lights, it is so special it takes my breath away. I love to see when our guests feel the same way. When they get excited, I get excited.

Do you have any special holiday stories?

It is always fun when we have kids here. My wife finds out the ages of the children in advance and goes out and buys gifts for them. Some are young enough to believe Santa Claus left them. Those experiences are special memories.

IMG_7236 Casa de Suenos

Do you have any special holiday promotions that you would like to share with our readers?

Our goal is to try to make the community activities easily accessible to our guests. Our two inns offer a special trolley tour complimentary to any guests who stay two or more nights during the Nights of Lights. Both inns also offer complimentary homemade desserts.

How are the holidays in St. Augustine a unique experience?

Of course, there is the Nights of Lights, which runs through January. Restaurants offer holiday specials, including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Boat Regatta is also special, and Villa Zorayda does a fabulous job emphasizing the historic aspects of the city.

 

Cedar House Inn

IMG_5154 Cedar House Inn

Innkeeper: Cyndi Humphrey

79 Cedar St.

cedarhouseinn.com

904.829.0079

What is your favorite part about being an innkeeper during the holidays?

Cedar House was built in 1893, and as a Victorian home it reflects the spirit of Christmas, especially when decorated. It is a joy to share it.

Do you have any special holiday stories?

One Christmas Eve, I married Beauty and the Beast. I am a notary, so was happy to do it.  They were in a touring company putting on a production of the show and flew into St. Augustine to get married. The bride wore a classic white wedding gown, with crimson detailing and a red velvet hooded cape. She was beautiful. The beast was handsome, with long flowing blonde hair. He wore a tuxedo. We married them in front of a roaring fire in my parlor.

IMG_7178 Cedar House Inn

Do you have any special holiday promotions that you would like to share?

Year-round we offer guests three types of wine, fresh baked homemade goods, soft drinks and water. During the holidays we take it up a notch.

How are the holidays in St. Augustine a unique experience?

The city is charming, and has received many accolades for the Nights of Lights. We are the oldest city in the country, and to be able to stroll its streets in Northeast Florida’s perfect weather is wonderful. The city’s hometown charm and historic beauty make it unique. There is nothing else like it.