St. Augustine is really a great place. Located about ten miles north of "Center Neptune" you can get the overview by going through "old" to St. Augustine or through the state of Florida. For those that want to tourist around I suggest a walk through Flagler College, the old Ponce deLeon Hotel, then stroll down St. George Street to the fort and see the big finger for yourself. If you get there on the 4th of July watch the fireworks over the water from the fort with fifty jillion other folks. If you really want to find out something about the history of St. Augustine stop by the Old Government House and visit the St. Augustine Preservation Board. Ask for Dr. Stan Bond, the archeologist. Talk to Stan about his current digs (you might even volunteer), Kim/Will/Bryan, the twelve volt man, his scavengerhunts, boogie boarding, where to fish , the Crimson Tide, turning 40 and why Beaufort South Carolina is more than just three hours up I-95.

The most important thing to remember when in the St. Augustine area is that there are only five things worth talking about; where to eat, which state football team you cheer for, how the last round of golf went, whether you like Tom Petty and Jimmy Buffet music best and whether the waves are up or flat. There is a sixth thing on some folks minds but this is a "family" channel in the sense of being too cool to do more than bank off a southwestern breeze, In the summer the weather is too predictable to mention by natives- 92-98 degrees at mid day, 70-74 degrees at night, rain coming in from the west to southwest about 2:30-3:30. Duck in somewhere, it will be over in forty five minutes tops.

Where to eat depends upon how lowdown and "funky" you want to be. If you want the best shrimp and aging surfer atmosphere that is off the beaten path then go over to St. Augustine Beach to the Beachcombers (off A street). If you want locals to talk about bike week, nascar and such go to Pomar's "open air" in Crescent Beach at the corner of 206 and A-1-A. You can find it by the sign on the front saying "kegs to go" and the billboard overhead saying Adult Toys. Yeah.

If you want a nice "date" dinner or are taking the family my favorites are Oscars Old Florida Grill north of Vilano Beach (ask someone), the A-1-A Ale Works right down town ( try to make off with a menu) and The Matansas Inlet. The Matansas takes some getting to and I would go for lunch. From St. Augustine you go south on U.S. 1 to Dupont Center turn left on 206, go till the road ends into A-1-A then turn right at Crescent Beach and go for about three miles. It is at the end of Anastasia Island, past the national park and ust over the bridge on the right. If you take this jaunt wave out the beachside after you go by the SpyGlass condominium. You are close to paradise, believe it or not.

If you think college sports during the summer there is only the fall season and the Noles versus the Gators. Hurricane and Dawg fans will protest but its true. If you associate the name Wiles with Noles or Gators be real careful which one you are referring to. If you talk Gators with my son Corey, my mother Hilda, my brother Jon or my niece Robin then there is no other thing but "coach superior" and the orange and blue. If you talk to Marilyn, my marriage partner for thirty years, or Herbie Wiles (who is no direct relative but has billboards for his insurance company all over St. Augustine so is the only "famous" Wiles in the area) then talk only about Bobby and them garnet and gold Noles. What do I say when they all get together throwing things? Go River Rats!

Tom Petty is the best wildflower and Jimmy Buffett is ultimate parrothead. Choosing between them is like comparing a manatee's cuteness with a king's greatness. You got to have both poet's style and if you don't know what that means in song stuff then I suggest you get back on I-95 and sail away southward beyond Daytona or westward to Palatka. . Finally, if golf is your thing, the best cheap but good course is the St. Augustine county course off Rt. 207. Yes, I said county as in municipal. The Ponce course is great but you have to know someone to play. The St. Augustine Shores course is pure carp and only trash fishers will play there.

There's little more to say. We try to make due in three quarters time. Its insufferably hot and humid and there's hurricanes and it will all blow away someday soon. No doubt about it. Still, you might wish to take a quick peek.