ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – January 23, 2018 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – For an ardent mix of history, cobblestone streets, moody Spanish moss and haunting love stories, St. Augustine is the perfect destination to inspire stolen kisses and yearning looks for new lovers and spark the flame of seasoned partners this Valentine’s Day. If you and your love revel in stories past, Florida’s Historic Coast’s is teeming with passion filled haunts and legends galore.

It all begins with a romantic stay at a Bed & Breakfast Inn

There are many to choose from but St. Augustine’s oldest Inn, the St. Francis, a charming bed & breakfast, dates back to 1791. This quiet retreat traces its beginnings from the Second Spanish Colonial period with 17 quaint rooms, appointed with unique antiques in relaxed comfort. The building itself embodies the rich history and culture of the nation’s oldest city, and lovers are known to delve into the stories that comprise its colorful and ghostly past.

People believe that the ghost of a young house servant haunts St. Francis Inn. She has become known as “Lily” and strange happenings have been reported the third floor. A story is told of a young man who lived with his uncle, Major William Hardee, who owned the Inn during the middle of the 19th century. He fell in love with “Lily,” one of the young black servant girls, believed to have been a beautiful woman from Barbados, and they would sneak into rooms of the inn to carry on their secret love affair. When the uncle, a military officer, walked in on the lovers, he dismissed the servant and ordered his nephew to never see her again. The nephew, deeply depressed, killed himself, some say by hanging himself in the attic, now Lily’s Room, others say by jumping from the third floor window.

Followed by exploring the oldest mansory fort in the continental U.S.

Considered by many to be one of the most haunted spots in the city, Castillo de San Marcos was built between 1672 and 1695, to protect the city against foreign invasion, the fortress went through many battles and several name changes when the city transitioned from Spanish rule to British rule and then back under Spanish rule. It was under continuous military possession until it was deactivated in 1933.

During the tumultuous years of war and battles, it is said that one particular event caused several spirits to haunt the fort and it’s a twisted story of love and betrayal. There were several civilians living at the fort during that era in addition to the many soldiers and families. One family member in particular, Dolores Martis, the wife of Colonel Garcia Martis, is said to be among the spirits that still linger at the fort today. It seems that late at night, when everyone else was asleep, Dolores would sneak away to another area in the fort to meet her lover, Captain Manuel Abela. The two were successful at not getting caught for many months; until one day the Colonel caught a whiff of his wife’s perfume on the Captain. And while there’s no proof as to what really happened, both Dolores and Captain Abela disappeared shortly after and were never seen again, that is, until two skeletons were discovered in a hidden room of the fort’s dungeon. Since then, many who visit Castillo de San Marcos report the smell or perfume and a chill in the air while in the dungeon. Other accounts also tell of sightings of a solider dressed in period clothing looking out to the vast sea. Perhaps it is the Colonel himself, still troubled over what happened.

Continue to discover St. Augustine’s notorious haunts and ghosts galore

Walk St. Augustine’s hallowed streets, investigate unexplained phenomena and hear chilling tales from beyond as you decide what’s true or merely a legend. With a ghost as your host, hear tales of murder and mystery aboard the “Trolley of the Doomed” on Ghosts & Gravestones’ Frightseeing tour. The breathtaking view from atop the St. Augustine Lighthouse – one of the most popular spots in the area for romantic proposals – is even more spectacular and mysterious at night after dark. Conduct your own paranormal investigation during the Dark of the Moon Tour, featured on TAPS/Ghost Hunters and CNN. Learn the true history behind the 1880 Keeper’s House, including the paranormal experiences of previous staff and guests. Then ascend the 219 steps of our lighthouse tower for a nighttime view of the Nation’s Oldest City.

Liven things up by sealing everlasting love with a kiss

Aristotle once said that love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. This romantic idea will ring true when visitors encounter St. Augustine’s Love Tree on Cordova Street.

What is a love tree? When two trees are so tightly entwined that they must embrace forever or both die – in this instance there’s a sable palm growing out of the heart of an oak tree. The legend goes something like this:

If you kiss your loved one under the love tree, you’ll seal your love for eternity. This tale must be true because it is said generations of romantic couples have kissed here and come back on their year after year to kiss again.

Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach and 42 miles of pristine, Atlantic beaches. For more information on events, activities, holiday getaway and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com, become a fan on Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.