Our New Video: 2015 St Francis Inn - YouTube

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2015 St Francis Inn - YouTube


"Spend a Day in St. Augustine" Blog Post - and he stayed at St Francis Inn!

Joe Finnegan, Owner of St. Francis Inn
Compare how you have spent a day in St. Augustine with Jim DeLillo's tale of his own day in our Old City.

Have you:

Taken an EcoTour?

Stayed at a haunted B&B?

Tried a chocolate-dipped Datil Pepper?

Watched a live musket-firing?

Eaten at the Taberna Del Caballo?



A Memorable Wildlife Tour with St. Augustine EcoTours

My long-time girlfriend Bonnie, who lives in St. Petersburg, visits me every 4th of July. Sometimes we watch the fireworks. We always hit the Outlet Mall Sales, and shop downtown St. Augustine. This year we wanted to do something different. So I booked a Dolphin, Birding, & Nature Tour with St. Augustine EcoTours. Owner Zach McKenna recommended the day after the holiday because there would be far fewer boats on the water. So I booked a 9am tour for Sunday, July 5.

We arrived promptly at 8:45am - sunscreen already applied, hats in hand, and cold water in a small cooler.  Adam introduced himself as our guide for the trip. Bonnie and I had him all to ourselves as most of St. Augustine was still sleeping off the 4th!  It was already pretty warm (high 80s) but once we stepped on the small boat, Adam acquainted us with all the safety gear, and we got going on the Matanzas River, it was wonderfully cool.

Adam was our captain and our guide.
All the guides are interpretive naturalists and USCG licensed captains. Adam showed himself to not only be knowledgeable about the estuary waters and wildlife, but to care about the wildlife and ecosystems we learned about.

Our first stop was at a marsh area; it was filled with several shorebirds: great blue herons, egrets, a roseate spoonbill and a tri-colored heron . Bonnie mused that she wished she had brought binoculars, and SNAP! Adam handed her a pair of binoculars!

Our next stop was Fish Island where we learned about the mangrove trees and how they have tubes coming up like straws out of the water.  We also - on the other side of the small waterway - saw a small sandy area covered with fiddler crabs. Adam explained how the fiddler crabs were the keystone of the ecosystem.

We zipped under the Hwy 312 bridge and stopped at a marker of some sort. Adam pulled some "stuff" off the marker from under the water. Then we zipped over to the shallower water and stopped. Adam had this plastic container filled with seawater and "stuff". That stuff turned out to be all kinds of sea LIFE! He placed his hand in the water and it was covered shortly with pistol shrimp! What amazing creatures they turned out to be!! And we saw 6-legged sea stars in the midst of reproducing (they divide into 2 3-legged sea stars then grow the additional 3 legs). We talked about oysters and barnacles and, well, you'll just have to take the tour to learn all the amazing things about the sea life out there!

We turned around and headed north at this point - under the Hwy 312 bridge again and then under the Bridge of Lions. It wasn't long before Adam spotted a dolphin and pointed him (her?) out to us. The dolphin passed close by headed south - what a beauty. The dolphin had a unique dorsal fin and Adam explained that they keep a count of all the dolphins that live in the river and identify them by their dorsal fins. I believe he said there were about 200 dolphins living off the shores off St. Augustine.  We headed south again and spotted a couple of dolphins, but they were headed away from us.

Something else that happened on the tour - trash pickup! Adam veered over a few times to snag a gallon jug and several plastic cups. He said that by the end of the day he can, sadly, get a pretty sizable pile of trash out of the river.

We headed back to the marina - seeing St. Augustine from the water was a fabulous and very different experience. We watched the Bridge of Lions go up & down: it's a lot more fun from the water!

The Bridge of Lions as viewed from the water.
This tour was 1.5 hrs and was just right. Bonnie and I had so much fun we forgot to drink our water and we took few pictures! Being on the water is amazing and we cannot wait to book a tour when she visits this fall; next time it will be a kayak tour.

By the way there is no "good" time or "bad" time to see the wildlife. As Adam explained the estuary is a harsh environment and the wildlife is surviving as best they can no matter the time of day or weather. (St Augustine EcoTours will cancel trips in rainy or stormy weather for safety reasons, of course.)

Here's the website with all the various tours listed: www.staugustineecotours.com

And when you visit St. Augustine, stay with us at the St. Francis Inn! We have some packages that include tours with St. Augustine Eco-Tours.

Some of the wildlife we viewed (pictures are pulled from the internet; we only had our phones which did not take the greatest pictures). Feel free to bring your good cameras; this was a totally dry tour!

A tri-colored heron

roseate spoonbill
fiddler crabs

Historic Tovar House gets a second look | StAugustine.com

Historic Tovar House gets a second look | StAugustine.com

Next to the Oldest House resides the Tovar House - just a block or so from the St. Francis Inn.  For the next 3 weeks archeologists will be working at the Tovar House and you will be able to watch through the gates that separate it from the Oldest House.


Celebrate St. Augustine’s 450th Birthday - and St. Francis Inn's 30th Anniversary!

Celebrate St. Augustine’s 450th Birthday -

The St. Francis Inn is a great place to stay during the 450th Birthday! We are a short walk from all the downtown music venues and a quiet oasis when you need it.

What are you doing Labor Day Weekend?

Celebrate!  With Us!!!

Anyone Hungry? After Breakfast at the St. Francis Inn: Eating Your Way Through St. Augustine by Cosmos Mariner (Blog)

Tapas at the Taberna Caballo at the Colonial Quarter (photo by Cosmos Mariner)

After Natalie stayed with us we shared her blog posting about things to do in St. Augustine.  Now, just in time for lunch, we have her blog "Eating Your Way Through St. Augustine"...




Excavation Project Near St Francis Inn


On July 6 the St. Augustine Historical Society will begin an excavation project to investigate the construction of  the Jose Tovar House at 22 St. Francis St.  (just down the street from the St. Francis Inn). Archaeologist Kathleen Deagan, historic preservation architect Herschel Shepard and historian Susan Parker serve as the principal investigators for this research project.  Archaeologist Greg Smith is the site supervisor. The project is funded by a grant from the University of Florida-Flagler College Historic St. Augustine Research Institute.
Parker, also executive director of the Historical Society, notes that "this is a project undertaken for its research potential and the Historical Society is prepared and dedicated to additional field work if needed."
The Tovar House has already received intensive investigation. In 2012 Shepard spent hundreds of hours examining the building.  Shepard believes that the Tovar House is one of the earliest coquina buildings standing today, possibly built about 1730. In 2013 Shepard and Frank Welsh, an expert in historic paint analyst, investigated the wall and wood treatments of the house, supported by a grant from UF-Flagler HSARI..
Excavations will take place Monday through Friday.and will be visible from the sidewalk through the iron grille located between 18 and 22 St. Francis St. The schedule of work is subject to change without notice.


St. Francis Inn Owners Celebrate 30 Years

Where were you in June 1985?  Long time ago, right? Well, Joe and Margaret Finnegan were purchasing the St. Francis Inn at that time, and have been running it for 30 years now.

Joe and Margaret Finnegan in 1985.
Both Joe and Margaret were teachers of the deaf at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind when they decided that they wanted St. Augustine to be their permanent home someday.  Although their careers took them to Pennsylvania and South Carolina, they dreamed of living and working in St. Augustine.

In 1985 they purchased the St. Francis Inn.  It wasn't until 1996 that they were able to make the move to St. Augustine and run the inn themselves.  Also in 1996 they made major renovations to the inn including all new wiring, central air conditioning, new flooring, a kitchen, reconfigured rooms and private bathrooms. The inn was closed for four months during the renovations.

Today the St. Francis Inn is a popular bed and breakfast, and when National Geographic compiled it's "2013 Best Trips" list both St. Augustine and the St. Francis Inn were on the list.

For the complete story click here.


New electric car charging station installed at St. Augustine's St. Francis Inn ... | www.actionnewsjax.com

Local TV station came by last week to talk to Joe about the Tesla charging station and Clipper Creek Electric Vehicle charging station now installed at the Inn! Click on the link for the video:

New electric car charging station installed at St. Augustine... | www.actionnewsjax.com


Things to Do in St. Augustine: Part 1 - Southern Hospitality

Check out this blog about both the St. Francis Inn and our wonderful little city of St. Augustine!  Lots of great information and lots of pictures!

Things to Do in St. Augustine: Part 1 - Southern Hospitality