My First Coast

Cindy Stavely

Where First Coast - - CONTENTS -

Meet the per­son be­hind St. Au­gus­tine’s Pirate Mu­seum, Colo­nial Quar­ter and First Colony.

Cindy has been in St. Au­gus­tine’s tourism in­dus­try for 18 years, from work­ing at an al­li­ga­tor farm and do­ing ghost tours to man­ag­ing three of the city’s top at­trac­tions. With five grand­chil­dren, she sees the city’s his­tory and won­der through their eyes.

How can vis­i­tors ex­pe­ri­ence the pirate lore in St. Au­gus­tine?

The big­gest icon here is the Castillo de San Mar­cos. Queen Mar­i­ana of Spain had it built to pro­tect the city from pi­rates. Across the street at the pirate mu­seum, we have one of the largest au­then­tic col­lec­tions of pirate ar­ti­facts in the world, with more than 800 items. Some of it in­cludes ac­tual trea­sure, which is a real priv­i­lege to have. Vis­i­tors can learn all about the golden age of piracy and get a trea­sure map to fill in and get a prize. We have Johnny Depp’s sword, Dustin Hoff­man’s hook and props from “The Goonies.” Vis­i­tors can hear a 3D au­dio show that Dis­ney Imag­i­neers de­vel­oped for us. It’s very spine-chill­ing and re­ally cool. It’s a very im­mer­sive, in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.

What is one of your fa­vorite spots?

Fla­gler Col­lege, the Light­ner Mu­seum and the Casa Mon­ica Ho­tel are all catty-cor­nered from each other. You’ve got these three sig­nif­i­cant turn-of-the-century build­ings all right there.

Is there a fa­vorite shop where you’d send a vis­i­tor?

Mer­cado de Es­paña. They ship manchego cheese, Ibérico ham, olive oils, chorizo sausages and other prod­ucts straight from Spain to their store. They also have great Span­ish wines.

How will St. Au­gus­tine cel­e­brate its 450th an­niver­sary next year?

I think the whole year will be sig­nif­i­cant. Ev­ery­one will step up the game and put on some great events.

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