“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” Denis Waitley -American motivational speaker, writer and consultant
My parents, Jim and Dianne Wilson, decided they were going to try the “snowbird” thing this winter and booked a condo in Destin, FL for a month. They had visited us in St. Augustine before, but we always welcome the opportunity to spend time with family and invited them to stop in St. Auggie for a few days before continuing on to Destin.
We had done the tour train on a previous visit with them, as well as the Old Jail and the Lighthouse. This time we opted for a tour of Flagler College and some basic hang time. Plus a few meals out including a stop at The Columbia Restaurant for the 1905 Salad and a special NYE Dinner.
Our last night together we participated in St. Augustine’s Holly Jolly Trolley during the Nights of Lights. The Night of Lights was influenced by the Spanish tradition of placing a single white light in the window of each home. Seeing as how St. Augustine was the capital of the Spanish, La Florida for over 250 years this tradition is an easy segue into today’s modern celebration where over 3-billion white lights adorn the city during the holiday season. The lights are strewn in the trees of the Plaza. Lights are also along the waterfront of the Matanzas River. They outline The Lightener Museum as well as Flagler College and many other structures in the historic district for this annual event. The lights are officially “turned-on” the Saturday before Thanksgiving and remain lit through the end of January.
Many families have made the Night of Lights an annual event and jump on the trolley bus adorned with their 3D twinkle glasses ready to sing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs.
It is a tour of the historic area set to Christmas music. Let me just say by the end of the tour the bus is really rocking. Watch out if you pass another trolley on their tour because it is an all-out war to see which tram can yell “Merry Christmas” the loudest and make the most noise. Kids and adults all have a blast! If my mother is any indicator a good time was had by all. She was yelling “Merry Christmas” to everyone she saw on the street. Most of the time they replied in kind… and that just fueled her holiday fire and laughter.