THE CITY MAGAZINE of SAINT AUGUSTINE .
AUGUST SEPTEMBER 2017
Amara pg 35
Fill your love tank with local stories for and about Saint Augustine families.
Display until September 30, 2017
W inner ofine's St. AugtusPtets C utes t!! c ontes
Inside TOP DOCTORS ZIPLINING AT THE ZOO CALENDAR OF EVENTS IN THE LIMELIGHT FOOD FEATURES CPR RESCUE
Mother of the bride
We think these are moments you should be present for Delegate the details HELP IS HERE
Image by Davy Whitener Photography
T H I S S H O U L D B E YO U R C O M PA N Y
HELLO FAMILY FUN
'll never forget the night I reviewed all of the pet entries for our first "St. Augustine's Cutest Pet contest." 150 readers submitted their furry family members along with heartfelt messages and adorable photos – they had me grinning from ear to ear. My love tank over floweth that night.
I have to say, Ziplining at the Alligator Farm was challenging, a wee bit scary and a great work out! But mostly –it was fun! When you are up there you feel like you've been transported to the movie set of The Swiss Family Robinson. Trees, birds, obstacles courses– oh and alligators! This is not one or two zips, this is an afternoon of zip lining and totally worth it!
904 votes helped secure our eventual winner, Amara, the cover spot and the unofficial spokesdoggie for the theme of this issue "Warm and Fuzzy Feelings." When her person, Gabriela Rivers, entered her into the contest, she said something very poignant in her submission "Everyone thinks they have the best dog (or pet), and none of them are wrong."
Photos by Rob Futrell and Brian Miller
Isn't that the truth. The same can be said for kids. Our family - no matter the number of legs they have - fill us with warm and fuzzy feelings, we will debate are the best for all of our days. That's why we love the family issue. As we consider the mission of St. Augustine Social to be "for and about St. Augustine families" everyday, it's really fun when we get to dedicate one whole issue celebrating the thing we're most passionate about - families who call St. Augustine home. In this issue we've brought you some of the most inspiring stories I've ever read. Seriously. Turn to page 102 where you'll meet the immigrant owners of the very humble Anastasia Diner. Ivan and Margarita moved to the states after winning a green card and have been working the American Dream daily since. Christina Nutt on page 74, a local dog groomer suffered a debilitating injury two years ago when her motorcycle crashed and left her without her right leg and left arm. Her story of perseverance to overcome this injury and continue running her small business is the definition of inspiring. And Kristin Pidcock on page 78 leads the charge of cultivating the self-confidence and creativity of our youth through the Limelight Theatre's KidzfACTory. As a creative kid who has navigated those waters of uncertainty and finding my voice too, she's doing the work of a saint I tell you. If you need to fill your love tank, this is the issue for you.
Just call me the dog whisperer.
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COVER Get every issue first... Don't miss a single issue of the city magazine for St. Augustine. When you subscribe, you can... Receive the magazine in your mailbox before anyone else, plan your family agenda with our local calendar of events, meet interesting personalities and local talent in St. Augustine, gain access to local news and community announcements first, be a part of the thriving community of residents who love St. Augustine. #winning
Meet Amara the Australian Shepherd and the other contest winners on page 34!
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For the Year
ABOUT THE COVER
The pets of St. Augustine have wagged, licked, barked, and meowed their way onto the pages of our magazine.
here is no doubt that St. Augustine loves its pets. When we decided to hold a “Cutest Pets of St. Augustine” contest in preparation for this issue, we never imagined that it would have quite the response that it did. Residents and their dogs, cats, and even horses turned out by the hundreds to compete and each had a wonderful reason that their pet should be admired.
Amara's w submission inphninotgo
More than 6,000 readers logged on over three days to vote for the candidates and though there were some clear front-runners, the race was tight. Amara, the beautiful Australian Shepherd, alone received more than 900 votes and took home our grand prize – a spot on the cover. What Amara, the other dogs you’ll meet in this issue, and each of the contest entrants demonstrate is the city’s unwavering belief that our furry friends really do become family.
SETH B. DEMPSEY
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AND HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS Special Advertising Section
SHELBY SAYS SOW
Learn how to involve the little ones in your outdoor gardening. The best practices and encouragement are right here.
Samantha Epstein of K9s for Warriors shows you how she stays fun and crafty in life and style.
CUTEST PETS CONTEST
LABOR DAY ESSENTIALS
There's no doubt – St. Augustine loves its pets! You picked your favorites, and we've got the winners.
The Sea Turtle Patrol works tirelessly this season to keep our beach safe for the local hardshelled wildlife.
Find all your outdoor holiday entertainment needs from some of our favorite stylish retailers.
Musical Director Kevin King and his wife Cheryl have shared their love of music with their quartet of talented children.
TALE OF TWO
Sea Oats Caffe and Metro Diner are bringing their A-game to a long-time breakfast favorite – French Toast.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a new column that explores the desserts of the city – starting with the crepes at Raintree.
A U D
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Committed to Caring for Our Community Flagler Hospital has been and continues to be committed to delivering the safest, highest quality care. The Hospital has received the 2017 Distinguished Hospital
Award for Clinical Excellence which places us among the top 5% in the country today. The Healthgrades methodology specifically compares mortality and complication rates among more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide. The hospital earned ‘5 stars’ in 25 of the 32 common inpatient conditions and procedures, as evaluated by Healthgrades, and was also named in America’s 100 Best for Orthopedic Surgery, Joint Replacement and General Surgery! Earning a place in the top 5% of hospitals in the country reflects the unwavering commitment of our staff, our community physicians, our leadership team and our board of directors to achieve the very best clinical outcome for every patient, every time.
400 Health Park Blvd | St. Augustine, FL 32086 | www.FlaglerHospital.org
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COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Rob Futrell
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Living SING OUT LOUD FESTIVAL Venues Around St. Augustine Weekends, September 8-24 There’s no doubt that St. Augustine is a music lover’s town. Take any given night during the week to walk through the hustle and bustle of downtown and you’ll hear live music all around you. It can be no surprise then that an event like the Sing Out Loud Festival would find itself in St. Johns County. Sing Out Loud is the largest free music festival ever held in our county and will span three weekends in September. In that time, hundreds of acts in venues across the city will lend their voice to the St. Augustine soundtrack. The performers will span over genres like punk rock, outlaw country, Americana, neo-soul, folk, New Orleans Brass and Funk, and much more, and will allow listeners to both bask in the beauty of their favorite sounds and explore unknown genres. “It is very exciting to have assembled a high profile and eclectic lineup this year that will really speak to each and every music fan we hope to bring out during the festival,” said Ryan Murphy, director of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division and coordinator of the festival. In addition to the performances, this year the festival will host a number of educational workshops for musicians looking to expand their horizons and explore their craft. The full schedule of performances will be available online or by downloading the Sing Out Loud Festival app.
Calendar of Events // We Tried It // Trending // Shelby Says Sow // St. Augustine's Cutest Pets
Calendar of Events
THINGS TO DO IN ST. AUGUSTINE DURING AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER
MUSIC IN THE PARK Anastasia State Park Select Saturdays, May-September Friends of the Anastasia State Park are set to host a number of local musicians at the Island Beach Grill at the end of the park. Bask in the summer sunshine with the sounds of the ocean and a cool breeze mingling with the songs of local talent. The concert is free with admission to the park. Park admission is $8 per vehicle. A full concert schedule can be found online. www.floridastateparks.org/park/anastasia
SEMINOLE WAR COMMEMORATION St. Augustine National Cemetery August 12, 10:30am The 10th annual commemoration of the Seminole Wars will begin with a parade and finish with a ceremony at the pyramids in St. Augustine National Cemetery. The event takes place every year to honor those who lost their lives in the Seminole Wars of 1842 and will feature reenactors, workshops,
311 WITH GUESTS NEW POLITICS AND PASSAFIRE St. Augustine Amphitheatre August 2, 6pm World renowned, multi-platinum alternative rockers 311 have been creating music since 1990 and have since released 11 studio albums, two greatest hits albums, two live albums, three DVDs, and a boxed set. For the “Unity Tour 2017,” they’ll be joined by Danish rock band New Politics and Savannah, Georgia-based reggae rock band Passafire. Tickets begin at $44.50.
1340C A1A South • www.staugamphitheatre.com
de la Constitución CONCERTS IN THE PLAZA Plaza Thursdays, through August 20 Grab your favorite lawn chair and settle in, because your Thursday nights are booked until September! Now in its 27th season, one of St. Augustine's favorite summer-long music series is back to get toes tapping in the Plaza. The concerts are free and open to the public. Picnic dinners are allowed, but alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Visit the website for a full concert schedule.
MUSIC BY THE SEA CONCERT SERIES St. Augustine Beach Pier August & September Enjoy the 15th season of the annual Music by the Sea concert series, every Wednesday from 6-9pm. Each week features different musical entertainment along with a local restaurant pairing. Concert guests are welcome to bring a cooler, lawn chair, and blankets. Dogs are permited and welcome but must be on a leash. Due to limited parking at Pier Park, attendees are encouraged to ride the Trolley, which runs continuously from City Hall. The first trolley runs at 5:45pm and the last trolley leaves at 9:45pm. Food service begins and 6pm and music begins at 7pm.
AUGUST 2 Soulfire AUGUST 9 Go Get Gone
and lectures. The event is hosted by the Seminole War Foundation and the West Point Society of North Florida. www.seminolewars.us
DONALD FAGEN AND THE NIGHTFLYERS St. Augustine Amphitheatre August 12, 7:30pm Musician, composer, vocalist, producer, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of Steely Dan and The Dukes of September, Donald Fagen has taken on a new mantle this summer – Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers. This project is a quartet of young musicians with whom Donald has been working to create a whole new sound. Tickets begin at $44. www.staugamphitheatre.com
FIRST ANNUAL KIDS TRIATHLON First Coast YMCA August 13, 8am Swim, bike and run your way to the finish line! The St. Augustine YMCA will host its first annual Kids Triathlon starting at the St. Augustine Family YMCA pool. This event is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 13 with prizes awarded to all finishers and awards for the top three of each division. All registrants also receive an event drawstring bag. www.firstcoastymca.org/youth_sports
ALEX’S CAPES & TIARAS 5K Riverview Club August 19, 8-11am Runners, walkers, and wheelchairs are welcome at this second annual 5K that honors Alex Landis, a young woman who made a tremendous difference in helping those who suffer from neuromuscular disabilities (NMD), despite her own physical disadvantages. Day-of Registration is $35. All proceeds benefit NMD United. www.racesmith.com/races/AlexsCapes&Tiaras5K
THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE Limelight Theatre July 21-August 20
This one act musical takes place in the geographically ambiguous Putnam County where six quirky middle schoolers are competing for the top prize in the spelling bee. The bee is hosted by three equally quirky adults and don’t think your experience will be anything less than an uproarious flashback to the bizarre drama of adolescence.
AUGUST 16 JW Gilmore & Blues Authority
ng i n n i g Be Ju l y
AUGUST 23 Maggie Baugh
AUGUST 30 Catch the Groove SEPTEMBER 6 15th Anniversary All Star Show SEPTEMBER 13 Mr. Natural
350 A1A Boulevard www.sabca.org
PONTE VEDRA CONCERT HALL Catch a show at the concert hall just a short scenic drive up A1A.
23RD ANNUAL SKIMBOARDING TOURNAMENT Vilano Beach August 25-27 The annual Skimboarding Pro/Am Tournament returns in full force this year and Vilano Beach will once again proudly host the event. The tournament is family friendly and will span the entire weekend from sunrise to sunset. The tournament will feature both pro and amateur divisions. Anyone is welcome to join in or watch as the top ranking athletes from around the world gather. www.rundropslide.com/flproam
JACKSONVILLE TATTOO CONVENTION APEX THEATRE PRESENTS "GODSPELL" August 4-5
CHAD CALEK PRESENTS "SIR NO FACE LIVES" August 11, 7:50pm
Renaissance World Golf Resort August 25-27 Whether you’re a tattoo enthusiast or just appreciate the art form, the annual Jacksonville Tattoo Convention will bring out your rebellious side. Admire the work of artists from around the world, enjoy the live entertainment, enter your own tattoos in contests throughout the day, and attend tattoo seminars for three days of fun. One day admission is $20 and three day admission is $35. Children 14 and under are free with a paying adult. www.setattoo.com
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
WHITE HOT SUMMER GROOVES FEATURING PETER WHITE AND EUGE GROOVES August 23, 7:30pm
be joined by California classic rockers The Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Tickets begin at $30. www.staugamphitheatre.com
FOUNDER’S DAY COMMEMORATION Mission Nombre de Dios September 9, 10am This year, St. Augustine is celebrating its 452nd birthday, with its annual Founder's Day Commemoration. The event includes the recreation of Menéndez's landing on September 8, 1565, as well as the Mass of Thanksgiving the Spanish celebrated soon after. Ample, free parking is available at the Mission. Seating is limited, so guests are encouraged to bring folding chairs. Entrance is free. www.missionandshrine.org
PONTE VEDRA AUTO SHOW Nocatee Town Center September 10, 9am-3pm 180 collectors' cars will stake their claim in order to receive a trophy in one of over 30 categories. An eclectic gathering of classics, exotic cars, pristine trucks, and sleek motorcycles will be on display. Local food trucks will provide lunch and beverages throughout the show, and there will be other vendor booths on hand as well. www.pvautoshow.com
San Marco Avenue August 26, 11am-8pm On the last Saturday of every month, the unique group of shops on San Marco Avenue get together and host an uptown celebration. Along with a festive party atmosphere, the retailers offer special deals and refreshments. For fashionistas, art lovers, and antique shoppers, Uptown Saturday Night is a reason to mark your calendar. www.facebook.com/UptownStAugustine
UB40 LEGENDS AL, ASTRO, MICKEY THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS WITH GUEST BASH & POP September 23, 8pm
BLACKBERRY SMOKE WITH GUEST THE CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD
September 27, 8pm
1050 A1A North www.pvconcerthall.com
St. Augustine Amphitheatre September 8, 7:30pm This Atlanta-based quintet have evolved from rough-edged club act to arena-ready rock ‘n’ roll juggernauts, while steadily extending and expanding the Southern rock tradition. Since their formation in 2000, they have become known for their live shows, so prepare for an unforgettable night. They will
St. Augustine Amphitheatre September 21, 7:55pm As original members of UB40 started in 1979 in Birmingham, Ali, Mickey, and Astro helped to define reggae music for a generation. In addition to hearing all of the band’s chart-topping hits, audiences will also experience these three founding members and UK reggae pioneers’ latest take on the genre. Tickets begin at $34. www.staugamphitheatre.com
SAINT AUGUSTINE SPANISH WINE FESTIVAL St. Augustine Shipyard September 8-10
The 2017 St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival, co-presented by Wells Fargo and St. Augustine Shipyard, returns for its sixth year with a Cava Reception and Dinner, Cochinillo Asado, Batalla de Vino and Grand Tasting. Each year, festival proceeds benefit local charities, and this year’s charities include K-9s United, tag! Children’s Museum of St. Augustine and The St. Augustine Record Empty Stocking Fund.
Image by Sean Kelly Conway
be m e t p e S
Market at the Pier
St. Augustine Beach Pier Every Wednesday Shop and support local vendors every Wednesday at St. Augustine Beach, featuring baked goods, hand-made gifts, jewelry and home décor. The market hosts anywhere from 60 to 80 vendors each week and is open from 8am to 12:30pm every Wednesday, rain or shine. www.thecivicassociation.org
First Friday Art Walk
Downtown St. Augustine First Friday of the Month Kick off the weekend on the first Friday of every month, from 5pm to 9pm, for a tour of the latest exhibits, music and entertainment at more than 20 participating galleries in downtown St. Augustine. Jump on board one of Ripley’s Red Sightseeing Trains or Old Town Trolleys for a complimentary shuttle service to a majority of the galleries. Shuttles run every 30 minutes for convenience. www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.org
Old City Farmers Market 35TH ANNUAL LINCOLNVILLE FESTIVAL Eddie Vickers Park September 16-17 The free festival is a two-day celebration of the history and cultural importance of the Lincolnville community in St. Augustine, with music, dancing, great food and drink, and fun activities for the whole family. In addition to live music, both days of the festival will feature local vendors or arts and crafts as well as food, beer, wine and other beverages. Guests are welcome to bring blankets and chairs.
SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE WITH GUESTS COLLECTIVE SOUL St. Augustine Amphitheatre September 20, 6:30pm There are few who haven’t heard the name “Sammy Hagar.” The rock legend first burst onto the music scene in San Francisco with Montrose and later began making music with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Van Halen. His current group, The Circle, stays true to his classic rock roots. Tickets begin at $49.50. www.staugamphitheatre.com
WOMEN’S BANQUET Turning Point at Calvary September 18, 6:30pm Join the female pillars of the community at an annual banquet celebrating women coming together. The event will feature a delicious dinner and local speakers for a night of fellowship and femininity. Tickets to the event can be purchased online. www.tpcalvary.com
St. Augustine Amphitheatre Every Saturday Visit the Old City Farmers Market for fresh produce, baked goods, hand-crafted items and plants directly from the producers. There’s even fresh seafood in season. The farmers market is always a lot of fun for the whole family with live entertainment and much more. The Old City Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning at the St. Augustine Amphitheater on A1A South in St. Augustine. 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturdays, Admission is Free. www.staugustinefm.com
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For The Kids! Music for Minis
ber m e t p Se
Limelight Theatre Every Monday and Friday, 10:30am, 11:45am Music for Minis is a music class for babies and children up to 5 years old including songs, dancing, instruments, manipulatives, ASL and more! The cost is $10 per child. For more information and announcements "like" their facebook page at the link below. www.facebook.com/ musicmastersstudios 11 Old Mission Avenue
Toddler Story Time
ALISON KRAUSS WITH DAVID GRAY St. Augustine Amphitheatre September 28, 7pm
Alison Krauss effortlessly bridges the gap between roots music and genres such as pop, rock, country and classical. And her musical innovation has by no means gone unnoticed. With 27 Grammys under her belt, she is the most awarded female artist in the award's history. The show will be unforgettable. Tickets begin at $53.50.
www.staugamphitheatre.com WIZARD OF OZ Limelight Theatre September 19-October 25 Experience the unforgettable magic of Dorothy, Toto, and all her friends from Oz! This month-long theatre camp will allow your kids to learn about all the moving parts that go into a theatrical production and, at the end of the camp, perform a play of their own. The camp is for children from 4th to 8th grade. It takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening and performances are October 27-29. www.limelight-theatre.org/kidzfactory
THE FULL MONTY Limelight Theatre September 22-October 22 Six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers,
low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie. www.limelight-theatre.org
ENDLESS SUMMER RUN 10K/5K Anastasia State Park September 23, 7:30am Sponsored by Donâ€™s Friends and the Friends of Anastasia State Park, the Endless Summer Run offers runners of all levels an opportunity to participate in a 5K or 10K run through the natural beauty of Anastasia State Park. The 10K (6.2 miles) is a crosscountry run through Anastasia State Parkâ€™s www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
St. Johns County Public Library, Main Branch Every Thursday, 11am, 11:30am Let your littles explore the library and be captivated by creative storytelling. Toddler storytime is held in the large meeting room at Main Library. Join Mr. Andy and Mrs. Marcia for singing, dancing and great stories. Toddler storytime is aimed at children ages 1-3, but all are welcome to come and join in the fun. www.sjcpls.org 1960 N Ponce De Leon Blvd.
Open Gym Time
Ancient City Martial Arts at Palencia Wednesdays 9:15am-11:15am Bring your boys and girls for play time and exercise in a safe environment at Ancient City martial Arts at Palencia. Obstacles, slides and toys galore! $5 per child. (904) 806-3128 7440 US Highway 1 North Suite 104
Toddler Jump Time
Rebounderz of Jacksonville Mondays and Tuesdays 9:30am-11:30am A special time where Rebounderz opens for only the littles (children ages 5 and under). Not available during summer break. $8 per child. www.rebounderzjacksonville.com 14985 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville
LIVING wedding knowledge you’ll ever need. www.premierbrideexpo.com
8TH ANNUAL OCEANWISE FUNDRAISER
GTM Reserve September 30, 6-9pm The Friends of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve hosts their 8th annual fundraiser, OceanWise: An Evening for the Estuaries. There will be a beer and wine cocktail reception with live music by and a variety of ocean-friendly sustainable seafood dishes from area restaurants. There will also be a silent auction. Proceeds from the event go to support education, stewardship, and research programs at the GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve. www.gtmnerr.org/oceanwise-2017
BOOT SCOOTIN’ BARBEQUE St. Augustine Rod & Gun Club September 30 Grab your cowboy boots and get ready to have some fun at this western-themed charity event. The event will benefit Investing in Kids (INK), an organization that supports teachers and students in St. Johns County. There will be delicious BBQ, cold drinks, desserts, live music, and games that will make it an entertaining time for all. www.ink-stjohns.org/boot-scootin-bbq
FEEL THE LOVE 5K St. Johns County Pier September 9, 8am Local charity St. Augustine United presents the second annual Feel the Love 5K to benefit the mission of Swamp Haven Rescue – a charity that works to help death row dogs. The race follows a flat 3.1-mile course through St. Augustine Beach neighborhoods, starting and finishing at the Pier. Awards are given to overall male and female finishers as well as the top three in each age category.
e events Save the date for thes happening in early October!
350 A1A Beach Boulevard • www.feelthelove5k.com diverse terrain, including beach, hammock, and salt marsh. www.racesignup.com/EndlessSummer10K5K
FLORIDA HERITAGE BOOK FESTIVAL Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College September 23, 9am-4pm For writers and readers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, this event is a must. Over the course of the festival, workshops, presentations, and reading take place, along with special events such as critiques of submitted manuscripts, and free author presentations. Book signings, hourly drawings, and a marketplace will also occur. Pack up your favorite notebook and pen and be sure to bring coffee. This is a definite power writing event. www.fhbookfest.com
2CELLOS St. Augustine Amphitheatre September 23, 8pm The duo rose to fame in 2011 when their version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” took the world by storm. Young Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, together known as 2CELLOS, have achieved sensational success by taking cello to a new level and forging a signature style that breaks down the boundaries between genres of music, from classical and film music to pop and rock. Tickets begin at $44. www.staugamphitheatre.com
PREMIER BRIDE EXPO Renaissance World Golf Resort September 24 Brides and Grooms of St. Augustine, listen up! You’re about to be introduced to everything you need to know about vendors and venues in our area. The Premier Bride Expo features the top wedding professionals from Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Amelia Island, and the other surrounding areas. Over 100 vendors attend every year with all the www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
PINK UP THE PACE Francis Field October 7, 8am Celebrate life by participating in St. Augustine’s largest 5K. Diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at the age of 28, Cindy Chaconas founded the cause and has been supported by amazing volunteers and the community ever since. Open to children and adults of all ages, this race is a great activity for family and friends to participate in together. www.pinkupthepace.com
DATIL PEPPER FESTIVAL St. Johns County Agricultural Center October 7 This fun festival focuses on celebrating the cultivation of the datil pepper in St. Augustine. There will be a tasty Datil Pepper Cook-Off featuring some of St. Augustine’s best known restaurants and food joints, as well as local vendors selling various Datil Pepper-related products. Entry to the festival is free, with a $1 per ticket tasting fee. www.facebook.com/DatilPepperFestival
CAMPUS ESSENTIALS By Amanda LaConte
We Tried It
Tropical birds are at eyelevel, lemurs are at arm’s length, and crocodiles and alligators are below. It’s an unrivaled view of the park. By Molly Wilson | Photography by Brian Miller
etting up close and personal with the different species at the Alligator Farm Zoological Park is an adventure in and of itself. At any given time while walking through the park, you’re mere feet away from dangerous creatures and slithering reptiles. Add in treetop heights and speeding zip lines and an adrenaline rush is pretty much a guarantee. The zip line course, Crocodile Crossing, is a fairly new addition to the Alligator Farm, but clearly a genius use of the space above and the nature already integrated into the park. The two courses span seven acres and boast more than fifty different obstacles and up to sixteen ziplines. “Hey, Molly,” says Heather post-instructional session as we begin our ascent to the first part of the course. “I forgot to ask if you’re afraid of heights.” It’s a decent question and one which I can’t really, fully answer until we’re making our way over our first exhibit. I’d say most people are when you have crocodiles below you.
The initial heaviness in the pit of your stomach, however, is not long kept. It’s an incredible view there in the trees and the sights below are fascinating. With the new harness system, you’re constantly strapped in, so the danger of falling is never in the forefront of your mind. But don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t make it easy nor does it take away the excitement. The security isn't hard to forget when you’re about to jump off a platform and speed down a zip line whose end you can’t even see or you’re stepping from board to swinging board with nothing to hold onto. Your pounding heart won’t care about the safety harness. If you’re hesitant though and think it might be out of your league, you should know that we were joined on our zip line journey by an 85-year-old woman and her grandson. It’s an adventure for anyone willing to strap up and take the plunge. www.alligatorfarm.com
See the rest of our adventure online now at StAugustineSocial.com!
Campus Essentials is a social market site that gives students a hub to buy, sell, trade, and interact with other students at their college or other colleges in the area. The idea for came from a Business Management class project assigned to founder Matt Spanburg in his junior year at Flagler College. Matt’s task was to develop an original business idea to present to local students and classmates. After being chosen as the winning idea and receiving a ton of positive feedback from his peers, Matt decided to turn his idea into reality. Matt’s goal is to bring students together to create a more unified student body engaged in helping their peers, all while saving money to boot. On the website, students can form online study groups or post anything from books to furniture, rooms to rent to study guides. The future goal is for Campus Essentials to be a one-stop-shop not only for students, but professors as well. www.campusessentials.com
ADULT SPORTS LEAGUES Beach volleyball. Softball. Basketball. Pickleball. No, this isn’t a list of events at the next Summer Olympics. These can be found right here in St. Johns County. By Lynette Snell
ST. AUGUSTINE CHILDREN'S BOOKS Give your children the gift of reading and imagination with these books from the authors of St. Augustine.
Rocket Ship Bed Trip N. Jane Quackenbush
he kids have been in camps all summer, playing outside with friends in the sunshine, and frolicking away their vacation while you are stuck inside offices and behind counters. Don’t stare longingly out the window at the sunshineladen sky and simply dream. You can get outside and play too! Not sure what to do? Look no further than St. John's County Parks and Recreation. This department offers many team sports – for adults only! The Parks and Recreation division of the St. Johns County government has been offering organized team sports for adults for over a decade. While continuing to offer a variety programs each year, Willie Cooper, Adult Activities Coordinator, says enrollment numbers fluctuate based on several factors. When the economic climate is negative, residents often dispense with joining sports teams to curtail spending. Another reason for a
decline in enrollment numbers is tied to the rapid housing development boom. Newer neighborhoods often center around recreational facilities and will frequently form their own recreational leagues. In spite of these challenges, Willie states the department remains committed to continually offering as many sports as possible for the residents of the county. If beach volleyball is your passion, summer and fall leagues are played at the St. Johns County Pier Park. If you believe you have what it takes to be in the NBA but just need to brush up on your ball-handling skills, consider joining the 30+ Men's Adult Basketball League. And if the NFL is your league of choice, try your hand at flag football. And that’s not all. Choose from softball (men’s, coed, senior leagues are available), indoor volleyball, or that unique sport of Pickleball.
will run through September with leagues starting up in late September/early October. The online registration is safe, simple and quick. Even if you don’t have enough friends to create a team, the Parks and Recreation department will help complete your team or assign you to one in need of additional members, so you needn’t worry about forming a league of your own.Then keep updated on current Parks and Recreation happenings by following the department on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also sign up for a monthly E-newsletter which provides additional information about future programs, special events and open facility use times.
UnBEARably Bored Hannah Evans
The Adventures of Pelican Pete Frances Keiser
Stand up. Walk outside into the sunshine and get involved in a team sport. But don’t delay – some sports fill up quickly! Who says the kids get to have all the fun? www.sjcfl.us/recreation/parks/Leagues
Enrollment periods for fall leagues start in August and www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Chicklet's Dream Linda Crow Caden
ST. AUGUSTINE SCHOOL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS By Amanda LaConte
The (SACSPA) is transforming the Ancient City one musical note at a time. The group combines private lessons at their six-studio location on San Marco with outreach programs for underserved groups of children and seniors in the St. Augustine community. Under the leadership of Executive Director and Founder, Annette Danielson, SACSPA volunteers orchestrate programs like a choir of senior citizens from Coquina Crossing and students at the THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club on West King Street. “I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was to bring those two groups together,” said Annette. “The kids just soaked up all that grandparent love.” Support for SACSPA comes from grants, donations, and fundraisers like their annual “Dancing Stars of St. Johns County” program. Professional musicians offer paid tutoring sessions in guitar, violin, piano, voice, and more at the SACSPA studio. A portion of the lesson fees support the school’s community outreach. www.sacspa.org
Long Story Short
“Teaching and working with students is both fun and rewarding, especially when you see a kid’s “learning light” is turned on and they get it."
Through his mother’s influence, the art of music tickled the youthful ear of Steve Marr, and by 16, he had already mastered piano, clarinet, and the saxophone.
By Meeka Anne | Photography by Rob Futrell
fter Steve’s high-school years ended, a two-digit draft number (65) foreshadowed his future. “I was going in the army one way or the other," he said. "Playing clarinet made a lot more sense than becoming an infantryman and going to Vietnam, so I joined in 1971.”
know you never really retire from music.” In 2015 Steve and Marcia attempted retirement and began traveling in their RV. However, before they left, Steve accepted an offer from the St. Augustine Youth Orchestra (SAYO) for the position of Artistic Director/Conductor. He led his first rehearsal three hours after arriving at the local campground.
This journey with the army lasted four years and included traveling with the 74th Army Band throughout Europe to Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Recently married, he and his wife Marcia survived these years sparingly with no phone, television, or automobile. Steve said, “It was quite the bonding experience for us – and we’re still married after 44 years.”
Steve loves his position and says, “Teaching and working with students is both fun and rewarding, especially when you see a kid’s “learning light” is turned on and they get it. I love their smiles and listening to them progress each week.”
Years later, in 2001, a peer (Glen Saltamachia) offered Steve a seat playing clarinet in the pit orchestra for “Oklahoma.” The performance reignited Steve’s musical passion and prompted him to return to studying music. Now he has four degrees, including a Masters in Music from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During these academic years, he taught private lessons and opened a studio. After receiving his Master’s Degree, he moved on to teaching music at two Illinois colleges. Talking about retirement, Steve laughed and said, “This is amusing as my wife and I both www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
“A considerable amount of my time," he says, "is spent making new contacts with band directors, musicians, and conductors. I also build the budget, and I am the Secretary.” Research, as well, is part of the preparation for every performance and typically includes searching, listening to, and reviewing scores. The orchestra typically has three performances, plus a concert, during both the fall and spring semesters, so research is a significant part of the process. Even through all this, the lifelong musician takes the time to pick up his clarinet and perform. www.staug youthorch.org
A smile is how you greet the world.
Let’s make yours great.
A multispecialty dental practice conveniently located right off 95 in World Golf Village. 548 W Twincourt Trail St. Augustine, Florida 32095 904-940-7990
Saturday appointments available. Learn more about payment plans with no interest for up to 2 years.
• Cerec Crowns – Completed in one visit! • Emergency visits • Implants & Veneers • Dentures & Partials • Extractions & Wisdom tooth removal • Invisalign • Traditional and Cosmetic Braces • CT Scans - (3D X-Ray) • IV Sedation
Great Expressions Dental Centers - Twincourt Trail is an in-network provider that participates with most major insurances, including PPO and HMO. Look for the smile above our name. greatexpressions.com
Shelby Says Sow
GETTING THE KIDS INVOLVED Fall gardens have practically no pest or disease pressure, making them much more fun and attainable for first time gardeners and children alike! By Shelby Stec
n the fall, you can grow root vegetables, greens, crowning veggies like broccoli and cabbage, and cold weather herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley. If you get the plants in the ground by September or early October, you can also grow another round of spring veggies like tomatoes and beans.
FALL GARDENING October - December ROOT VEGETABLES broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and cold weather herbs like cilantro, dill and parsley. TIP: Root vegetables
should be direct seeded, or GROWING FROM SEED Since Florida has a really long planting planted straight into the window in the fall (October through garden bed. December), it’s a great time to teach kids how to grow vegetables from seed! All root vegetables must be help pull weeds and top direct seeded, or planted straight into the dress your gardens with compost. We garden bed, while most other veggies recommend layering 4-6” of good quality should be started in seed trays or small compost right on top of your existing soil cups about 2 to 4 weeks before you’d like instead of adding fertilizers. Since compost to plant them in the garden. The "Days to is an organic soil made from decomposed Harvest" number on the packet will help natural ingredients like food scraps, animal you decide when to start seeds. This is how manures, leaves, and mulch, it is 100% safe long it will take from the time you put the for children to handle and dig in. If you seed in soil until the time you can harvest don’t plan to plant right away, make sure it to eat. To keep it easy, I recommend to cover your soil with wheat straw, leaves purchasing mature plants for varieties that or burlap to discourage weeds from taking take a long time like broccoli or brussels over and to preserve moisture. sprouts and starting seeds for quicker varieties, like radish and arugula. REAPING THE REWARDS It’s always amazed me that kids who refuse GETTING THE KIDS INVOLVED to eat anything healthy will devour veggies Before you plant, get your little ones to out of a garden they helped prepare and
grow. While a variety of plants are always better for your diet and your garden, there are a few must haves if you plan to get kids involved! Unlike store bought, homegrown broccoli is sweet and tender, making it a popular choice for family gardens. Any veggies that grow underground, like carrots or beets, are a constant hit with kids as are climbing vegetables like string beans or sweet peas. I also recommend veggies that come back after you cut them, like lettuce, or that continue to produce for months on end, like kale, because they provide a contrast to the one and done varieties mentioned above. Whatever you choose, keep it fun and easy! Gardens should be a reward, not a chore.
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904.342.4916 709 S. Ponce de Leon Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32084
Four generations of helping families. Maybe ﬁve.
Funeral Home(904) • Crematory 824-1672 & Memorial Park
After hundreds of submissions and thousands of votes, St. Augustine made its choice. The final six wagged and barked their way into your hearts and onto our pages. Photography by Rob Futrell
We've only had her for a short nine months, but she has impacted our lives and seems to have a special affect on everyone she meets. With her wiggle butt, bright eyes, and spunky personality it's hard for people not to smile when they see her. - MY PERSON: Gabriela Rivers
amarA AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
This working breed is happiest when they have a job to do, so channel their intelligence and energy into sports and activities.
Mama RosE STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER
Though the breed has a lot of stigma attached to it, pit bulls are very loyal and will develop close bonds with their owners, becoming eager playmates and companions.
Mama Rose was saved from the Bradford County euthanasia list in February 2016 by Swamp Haven Rescue, a pitbull and hound animal rescue that places dogs in foster homes until a forever home is found. She is available for adoption through Swamp Haven Rescue. - MY PEOPLE: Swamp Haven Rescue
Gus loves riding in my open Jeep, boating, and jet skiing! He's so passive, quickly says hello when someone stops by and makes sure they know where the treats are! He's anxious to get close then walks on by with his head up. - MY PERSON: Anne Constantine
With the personalities of both breeds, Morkies are bold and energetic as well as intelligent and easy to train. They make great dogs for families with older children.
Moving across the country isn’t easy, especially when you’re in middle school. When we got to Florida, my parents gave me Pixel, and she has made me feel so much better! She is always in the mood to play, and her floppy ears make me smile even if I’m sad. - MY PERSON: Sofia Allem
CHINESE CRESTED POWDERPUFF
Though they're definitely athletic and agile, this breed is content to just lie around in your company. The Powderpuff is a fiercely devoted friend for life.
A crossbreed between a pug and a beagle, these curious little dogs are balls of energy. They love to meet new people and new dogs and their desire for companionship makes them great family dogs.
When I rescued Viera eight years ago, I was told that she was very heart worm positive and might not have many days left to live. Although I had never owned a dog, I instantly knew that not only did she need me, but I needed her. - MY PEOPLE: Justin and Elizabeth Dailey
HamiltoN FRENCH BULLDOG
The charming Frenchie is a wonderful breed for both single pet owners and families. Though theyâ€™re playful and affectionate, they arenâ€™t terribly active, so daily walks will be all the little guy needs to stay in shape.
Hamilton is the life of every party and brings a smile to everyone he meets. He is equal parts sweetheart and clown, and he loves exploring his hometown of St. Augustine. - MY PEOPLE: Josh and Mindy Galster
W W W. R O B F U T R E L L . C O M
Style CUT A RUG By Molly Wilson
Let’s face it. Once you have kids, decorating your home with the style that you love gets a little harder. You have to keep messy fingers, little feet, and grabby hands in mind with every purchase. This can often lead to you steering away from the things that you love and compromising on style and elegance. But no more. Spicher and Company has created a durable vinyl rug without sacrificing on polish and panache. Each of the Vintage Vinyl rugs – available at dhd HOME – is phthalate-free and durable and non-slippery enough for the constant patter of both little feet and furry paws. They’re easy to clean by merely wiping them down with a damp cloth and water, so the frequent spills are no longer a concern. The rugs are even durable enough to be used outside with proper care. Which is all well and good. The real kicker comes when you see their designs. Each line has a distinct vintage character and a memorable print; there’s enough variety that you could find something for any home. Lamenting your style sacrifices is a thing of the past.
52 1/2 San Marco Avenue www.shopdhdhome.com
Inside: Game Day Gear // Vegan Beauty Buys // Labor Party Pieces // White Picks // Home Style
6 7 1 - MASCARA
"Being bad is sometimes good! One coat of this magical formula, and my lashes go from lame to lavish."
BADgal Lash, available at Ulta 2 - BOW
"Pictures are my favorite element to use in my craft projects. The blue ribbon make it very patriotic, which is ideal for my work environment. I love to wear my hair in a side dutch braid with this bow on top.' Bow,
materials available at Hobby Lobby 3 - PAINT
"Crafting makes me super happy, which is why I always keep a stash of paint around. I love to create authentic home décor." FolkArt
paint, available at Michaels 4 - PERFUME
"For as long as I can remember, Allure has been my favorite perfume. It’s a romantic mix of vanilla, roses, and water lilies. The scent isn’t heavy, so it's a good option for both work and play!"
Allure Fragrance available from Chanel
As the marketing and public relations manager at K9s For Warriors, Samantha is in the business of making a statement – through words and fashion! Her posh-meets-Pinterest look blends bright colors, artsy accents, and whimsical designs. She's shared with us how to get that eclectic style.
5 - MOD PODGE
Photography by Brian Miller
"Photos are a favorite element to use in my craft projects. Whether I’m looking to create a phone case with images of a favorite vacation or a bottle cap hair bow with an image of my grandpa, mod podge seals the deal by keeping my photos protected." Mod Podge, available at
6 - SOAP "Craft beer and quality soap are
amazing products, so it makes perfect sense to me that these concepts have been added together." Beer Soap, available from
Dog fish Head Brewery
"Patterns like polka dots are perfect for making a simple outfit pop! Walking in these heels puts a pep in my step…even on a Monday!"
Diana Pump, available from T.U.K Footwear
CRIMINAL DEFENSE • FAMILY L AW • APPE AL S
TITLE & GUARANTY “We Open at 9 and Close All Day” Clyde M. Taylor III
Clyde M. Taylor Jr.
Bradley A. Waldrop
Work Smarter, Not Harder! Whether you are BUYING, SELLING or REFINANCING, make things easy with Olde Towne Title & Guaranty Agency! We all have the FREEDOM to choose!
A T T O R N E Y S
www.taylor-taylor-law.com 2303 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Suite L St Augustine, FL 32084 Tel - 904.687.1630 • Fax - 904.342.6296
Let Olde Towne Title close your next deal and we’ll handle the workload for you! Close in our office or yours! We are always mobile!
“We Open at 9 and Close All Day” 93 Orange Street, Ste A St Augustine, FL 32084 Office@OldeTowneTitle.net
GAME DAY GEAR Football season is upon us, folks. Find your essentials for tailgating in the parking lot and cheering in the stands from these local retailers. 1 - SUNHAT Before the sun goes down and the stadium lights go up, you're going to need some adorable protection from the harsh rays.
Available at Nautilus at the Beach
2 - SUNGLASSES Wherever you’re sitting the the stadium, you can be sure that Florida sun will beat down with a vengeance. Fight back with these Costa sunglasses.
Available at Aqua East
3 - TUMBLER Display your team pride and keep hydrated at the same time! These durable plastic tumblers come in every team imaginable and will last you throughout the season.
Available at the Tervis Store
4 - BOTTLE OPENER Don’t find yourself up the creek without a paddle when you’re tailgating. Pop open those bottles with ease and style.
Available at Oak & Adze
5 - BAG No one wants to lug a heavy purse through massive parking lots and dense crowds. Keep just the essentials close at hand with an adorable crossbody bag.
Available at Surf Culture
6 - COOLER Before they reach your hands, your game day refreshments have to rest somewhere. Make sure that somewhere will keep them chilled and ready to go.
Available at H.W. Davis Co.
7 - COOZY If there’s one product you could truly call a “game day essential,” it’s the coozy. Keep your drinks icy cold and fresh with the Simms belt-enabled insulator.
Available at Oyster Creek Outfitters
Classical Classical to to Contemporary Contemporary Museum Quality Art at Affordable Prices Museum Quality Art at Affordable Prices
Antiquities Antiquities to to Contemporary Contemporary Fine Art Fine Art from Around from Around the World the World
Patrick Mahoney, Oil on Board Patrick Mahoney, Oil on Board
Manon Sander, Oil on Board Manon Sander, Oil on Board
Thomas Clough, Oil on Canvas Thomas Clough, Oil on Canvas
Lost Art Gallery Lost ArtGeorge GalleryStreet (South) 210 St. 210 St. GeorgeFL Street (South) St. Augustine, 32084 St. Augustine, FL 32084 904.827.9800 904.827.9800 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
www.lostartgallery.com | artnet.lostartgallery.net www.lostartgallery.com | artnet.lostartgallery.net Southern Living magazine Editors Choice Southern Living magazine Choice “Hidden Treasure” of St.Editors Augustine! “Hidden Treasure” of St. Augustine!
Treasures Inspired by the Sea Treasures Inspired by the Sea
Specializing in original paintings, sculpture, glass art, specialty jewelry, Specializing in original paintings, sculpture, glassstunning art, specialty jewelry, unique men’s gifts, nautical finds and other treasures. unique men’s gifts, nautical finds and other stunning treasures. 210 St. George Street, C-2 (South of the Plaza off King St.) 210 St. George Street, C-2 (South of the Plaza off King St.) email@example.com • seaspiritsgallery.com 904.679.3811 firstname.lastname@example.org • seaspiritsgallery.com 904.679.3811
VEGAN BEAUTY BUYS Incorporate mindfulness and caring into your daily routine with these vegan products from the local beauty experts.
1 - BRONZER Work on your contour game and give your face some definition with this Aveda bronzer that comes with two great shades.
Available at Panache
2 - HAIR SERUM Extend your beauty routine all the way to your roots with a vegan, caper blossom-infused hair serum. Keep hair soft and healthy.
Available at Philosophie Salon
3 - EYE MAKEUP REMOVER Start fresh with a remover that will clear the canvas without subjecting your skin to harmful chemicals.
Available at City Wellness
4 - LIPGLOSS Shiny and utterly kissable in every shade under the sun! Treat your lips to a gloss that hydrates, nourishes, and soothes all at once.
Available at Fountain of Youth Spa
5 - SOAP The first step in great beauty is always a clean slate. Keep squeaky clean and scented-fresh with a honeysuckle bar soap.
Available at Fresh Produce
6 - BODY SCRUB Renew the natural beauty of your skin and get it to its softest with a gentle all-over body scrub scented with lime blossom.
Available at Poseidon Spa
7 - FACIAL CLEANSER Cleanse your face the botanical way with Grown Alchemist. The cleanser is a floral bouquet of rosemary and black currant.
Available at The Rosy Cheek
8 - CLARIFYING OIL Specially formulated for blemishprone and oily skin, the lightweight moisturizer removes impurities and congestion on the skin.
(904) 824-5145 Â· 1811 US 1 South (inside Nettles Fine Jewelry)
LABOR DAY PARTY PIECES Fire up your grill and get your back yard ready! The end of summer deserves a last hurrah. These party pieces will up your entertaining game.
1 - UMBRELLA Keep your guests out of the last of the intense summer heat with an adjustable and adorable cantilever umbrella.
Available at A1A Patio
2 - SHRUB These locally created, organic drinking vinegars can be made into a cocktail mix, salad dressing, marinade and more.
Available from Dog Day Gardens
3 - SCARF The go-with-anything scarf has insect repellent in the fabric to ward off any bugs that might ruin outdoor dining.
Available at Tre Sebastian
4 - BEVERAGE BOAT Let your drinks lounge with you in these playfully designed beverage boats.
Available at Goldfinch Boutique
5 - CHAIR The ever-so-stylish Umbra chairs will bring your patio and your celebration to life.
Available at dhd HOME
6 - ICE SCOOP Inject a little style into every part of your entertaining with a sea turtle and coral ice scoop.
Available at The Sunshine Shop
7 - PLATE These stylish melamine dishes were made to entertain al fresco.
Available at West to East
8 - SAUCE The masters of bourbon have created a teriyaki sauce perfect for any veggies or protein that needs a little kick. www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Available at The Ancient Olive
OFFERING LUNCH & DINNER DAILY. FULL BAR W/ CRAFT COCKTAILS. OUTDOOR SEATING & CASUAL VIBES. CLOSED TUESDAYS!
72 SPANISH STREET, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
(904) 829-0655 THEFLORIDIANSTAUG.COM
WHITE PICKS We say throw the "no white after Labor Day" rule out the window and let the color into your life! We've gone starry-eyed for this versatile hue.
1 - BAG A godsend for beach lovers who are tired of shaking sand out of everything you stuff into your bag. The burlap bottom lets sand just slide through.
Available at Cambium Surf Shop 2 - FRENCH PRESS Bring the beauty of clean and white into your everyday routine with a sleek, locallydesigned French press.
Available at Obscura Shop
3 - AGENDA If anything can keep you organized, it’s a planner that you just can’t put down.
Available at Market Street Boutique
4 - END TABLE A perfect blend of modern style and natural atmosphere, the top of this end table is a wood pattern and the legs are metal with a subtle shine.
Available at Peace Love Home
5 - CANDLE Missing spring as we prepare for the fall? Give your home the scent of magnolias with a simple and sleek candle.
Available at Declaration & Co. 6 - BOOK Grace your coffee table with a book that celebrates the coastal lifestyle.
Available at The Juniper Market
7 - CHAIR For the modern home with a fresh, breezy living space, this simple and elegant chair will tie your space together.
Available at West to East
8 - DRESS It’s not easy to find clothing both comfortable and adorable. Wow in white with this flowing boho number.
Available at Rochelle's Clothing
Condo Comforts With an eye for style and a willingness to work hard, the Benjamins transformed their condo into a home worthy of your favorite Pinterest board. By Shannon O'Neil | Photography by Leonard Blush
arried for 12 years, Christina and Phil were living in Sumterville, Florida, where Christina worked in staging for The Villages when they decided to make some major life changes. Christina quit her job to become an author, devoting herself to her first young adult series, The Geneva Project while Phil, a graphic designer, transitioned into full-time freelance work. Suddenly, the couple was free to live anywhere they wanted. A Flagler College graduate, Christina knew exactly where they needed to relocate. When Christina and Phil Benjamin set out to buy a house in St. Augustine, they encountered a common conundrum in the Ancient City: cost vs. character. Although the couple loved their 100-year-old rental house in Lincolnville, they knew purchasing and refurbishing a home in the historic district was out of their budget. Still, they wanted to stay close to the eclectic vibe that brought them to St. Augustine from Central Florida in the first place. They found the perfect solution in a threebedroom, two-bath condo in the Las
Palmas neighborhood, just a few blocks north of downtown St. Augustine. “After having such an instant vibe with our house in Lincolnville, walking in here felt so different. It was just a cookie-cutter condo,” says Christina, “But it was also a blank canvas we could make our own. We just had to give it a little more character and kill that condo vibe.” The ensuing renovation took three months of passion, vision, and sweat equity, but from the first step inside, it’s evident that the Benjamins attacked the “condo vibe” like ninja assassins with great taste and creative ingenuity. “Some of our neighbors have come over to visit and they can’t believe this is the same floorplan they have,” says Christina. At the heart of the Benjamins’ home, an L-shaped space once boxed into a separate living/dining room and adjoining galley kitchen is now wide open and reminiscent of a countryside farmhouse. Wood floors stretch through the warm space, from a cozy living area with treetop views off the private balcony to a completely renovated kitchen with a massive island and glittering
Details Residents: Phil and Christina Benjamin
Amenities: 2 bed, 2 bath, balcony,
wet bar, home office, walk-in closet, laundry room Size: 1470 square feet
Light colored walls, a white ceiling, and plenty of natural light make the space feel large, open, and welcoming. Carefully thought out vignettes display adorable vintage and farmhouse-style pieces.
stainless steel appliances. Calming hues of gray and white balance the dark woods and curated collection of personal items staged throughout the home. Across from the kitchen island, which was created by removing a wall and small pantry, a former hall closet now functions as an open wet bar with a fully functional kegerator. It’s one of many small upgrades that allowed the Benjamins to customize their condo to fit their lifestyle. Standing in the main living space of the Benjamins’ home, it takes a few moments to work visually upward from their gorgeous, handmade farm table and rehabbed curbside chairs to appreciate the most transformative part of the Benjamins’ renovations. Throughout the entire house, every inch of the condo’s former dated popcorn ceiling is covered with wood planks, trimmed in quarter-round crown molding, and painted a
crisp white. Similar aesthetically to the wide, shiplap planks popular in today’s interior design world, the Benjamins achieved their more affordable look with some extra creativity. “It’s actually quarter-inch plywood subflooring cut into eight-inch wide planks,” Phil explains. “We spent so much time at Home Depot getting the wood cut that the store staff finally started asking what we were doing. They couldn’t believe it, so we had to take some photos and show them the final product.” Using a nail gun, the Benjamins planked their ceiling from wall-to-wall, giving each space in their home an extra bit of warmth and texture that’s often missing from new houses. In addition to the ceilings, Christina and Phil carried the planking through the handmade headboards in their master and guest bedrooms. www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Christina and Phil both have adorable office nooks that encourage productivity and display personality. Inspiring artwork and favorite books (as well as Christina's own series!) fill the shelves.
“This is kind of the house that YouTube and Pinterest built,” Christina says, downplaying how much hard work the Benjamins put into their new home. For the first two months of the project, the couple continued to live in their Lincolnville rental while spending every spare minute at their new house, bringing their vision to life with hammers, nails, and paint. Outside of hiring tradesmen for the plumbing and electrical work, Christina and Phil did all the work themselves, with a little help from their families, too. “I set up a card table in the bedroom so I could work while we were doing things at the house,” says Phil. “And then the last month of the renovation we lived here without a kitchen, basically camping in our own home.” Now that the house is complete, the couple works almost side-by-side in their unique office set-up. In a room flooded with natural
light, Phil works at his stand-up desk (formerly a high-top dining room table in their previous home) while Christina has transformed the adjoining walk-in closet into a glamorous writing cave, complete with chandelier. “I need total quiet and no distractions, so this was the perfect spot for me to hide out and focus on writing,” says Christina. “But there are plenty of times when I take my laptop somewhere else in the house to work, too. There are so many spots that just inspire creativity.” As they approach the one-year anniversary of their project, the Benjamins have nothing but positive reflections of their time together bringing their vision to life. “You appreciate it so much more when you know everything that went into it,” says Phil. “Plus it just feels like home now.”
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Locals On the Job
FREDERIC STERRY The legendary piano purveyors are extending their deep St. Augustine roots by passing music on to the next generation. By Carmen Fleischmann| Photography by Brian Miller Frederic “Ric” Sterry Smith and his wife Anna opened Sterry Piano Company in 1983. Their original storefront was located on Malaga Street and though years have passed and the shop has relocated, the beauty of their craftsmanship and the enchantment of their music continues to captivate St. Augustine. Their ornate and often heirloom quality pianos can be spotted in a variety of locations around town, as they have provided Steinway Grands for the St. Augustine Orchestra, the First Coast Opera, The Menendez, and the White Room. “Our family and business have deep roots in both Florida and St. Augustine dating to the late 1800’s,” said Ric, whose great grandfather, hotelier Fred Sterry, was a vital business associate of Henry Flagler. Ric has always held a deep fascination of his great grandfather and specifically his ties to this area. By serving as family historian, he has maintained invaluable artifacts from the past, including hundreds of articles, photographs, and letters that create a detailed account of Sterry’s monumental impact on St. Augustine.
t T here's a wisholestloory more t o tht now at online righ eSocial.com StAugustin
But though the historical impact of the Sterry on the Ancient City is great, the current generation has created its own legacy through not only their impeccable restoration talents but the gift of music that they pass on through their students. www.sterrypiano.com
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LOCALS studies to Abella’s School of Dance. Casely earned her Kirov scholarship by auditioning at the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association (SERBA) festival this year. However, it was last year’s SERBA achievement (when she earned a full scholarship to Louisville Ballet School’s summer intensive program) which holds a special place in her heart. Casely recalls, “When I received my scholarship, it wasn’t just me. All of my friends in my dance school received scholarships. It was humbling to be standing with them and realize how much we accomplished together.” Casely’s gratitude doesn’t end with her fellow performers. She credits her family – mom, grandmother, older brother Simon, sister Teagan, and stepsisters Tabi and Miranda – for playing a huge role in her dance career. “They are my biggest fans and my mom is always there for me. My grandmother is always the one in the background helping me.”
Casely's passion didn't begin with ballet, though. She started out in gymnastics and was hesitant when a coach encouraged her to try out a few classes in a classical form of dance. It wasn't long, however, before Casely discovered an incredible talent in the sport and a real passion for the beauty, grace, and strength that ballet requires. Now, years later, she couldn't see herself anywhere else and is proud of all that she has accomplished. Through the help of her parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, success is definitely in her future.
CASELY KRAFT This young dancer is breaking the ballerina mold through the power of raw talent and hard work. By Amanda LaConte | Photography by Brian Miller
t 5’9”, Casely Kraft stands taller than most female ballet dancers, but a little thing like height is not stopping this talented 17-year-old ballerina. While there has historically been an “ideal” physique in classical ballet, dance companies today are increasingly rejecting these old standards and prioritizing talent above all else. Casely Kraft is a perfect example. In addition to earning scholarships to multiple prestigious summer programs, Casely has also been accepted into the trainee program at the renowned Joffrey
Ballet. Locally, she has danced in The Nutcracker for many years and has also appeared in The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and most recently, Beauty and the Beast. Over her performing years, Casely has studied at the St. Augustine Dance Conservatory and The Perla School, and she transferred to Pedro Menendez High School in January of her junior year. Now, as Casely finishes up a summer intensive program at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, she is setting her sights on two new endeavors – senior year at Pedro Menendez and the transfer of her dance www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Though her wide success might lead some to believe that her life is consumed by training, Casely’s interests and hobbies cover a wide range. She loves the beach, hanging out with friends downtown, and is fascinated with cosmetology and experimenting with new makeup palettes. In her downtime, Casely also enjoys cultivating her intellectual side. She professes, “I love reading about world events and I have always been encouraged to speak my mind in regards to politics and environmental issues.” She has a deep appreciation for learning and excels in English and History.
There’s no doubt that young Casely has a bright future ahead of her in ballet. She hopes to dance in a company one day and her dream role would be in Balanchine’s Nutcracker. Still, her goals for the future are wisely diversified. She explains, “Dance will always be in my future but I would love to double major in dance and criminology. Pre-Law is my long term goal outside of dance.” Casely is a refreshing and inspiring example of how the power of hard work and talent can burst through stereotypes. Her message to other young dancers is, “Do not stress about appearance. Try to be you and stay true to you. Work YOUR best. Do not compare yourself to others.”
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SEA TURTLE PATROL Our beaches aren't just home to sunscreensmeared lovers of the sun and sand. We share the space with another creature – one who needs our protection. By Teddy Regis Photography by Rob Futrell
ow many times have you walked along one of our local beaches and stumbled upon a roped off area alerting you of sea turtle nesting in progress? Those don’t just appear overnight. We have a local task force that takes care to protect the sea turtle population and tirelessly scours the beaches to find their nesting places. In our area, many of these excursions are led by Scott Eastman, founder of Eastman Environmental.
“We kind of call it CSI,” says Scott. Turtle tracks reveal which species were present and whether false crawls occurred. “Sometimes the turtle will come out of the ocean, be deterred by something […] and they turn back around and go back into the ocean,” explains Scott, “That’s what we would consider a false crawl.”
As part of his post-baccalaureate studies at UNF, Scott took courses including marine biology, ecology, and advanced herpetology. He has always been passionate about surfing, the ocean, and ocean conservation and meeting his now wife Cat on a Boca Raton beach was a catalyst for his current environmental initiatives. While living in South Florida, Cat was already working closely with sea turtle conservation and now works as the Program Director of the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratory in Marineland.
Hatchlings are studied to document whether nests were impacted by high tide, fire ants, coyotes, or issues such as lighting and obstacles on the beach. If you want to put your CSI hat on and participate in a beach survey, you might have to take a number. “We have so many individuals that want to be on the beach, it’s hard to get a spot out there,” says Scott, who oversees about 60 volunteers and 25 miles of coastline.
Sea turtle nesting season in northeast Florida is federally designated as spanning May 1-Oct 31. So seven days a week during
this time, volunteers start on the beach 30 minutes before sunrise, conducting surveys by ATV or on foot – sometimes walking upwards of two and a half miles in search of clues that shed light on what transpired the night before.
Currently the Loggerhead, Atlantic Green, and Leatherback are classified as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). When www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
interacting with the media, Scott is often asked how the public benefits from efforts to protect the sea turtle population. “Beaches that are good for sea turtle nesting […] are also good […] for beach goers,” Scott says. This stands to reason when locals and tourists visit our beautiful beaches, minimal pollution and obstruction are desirable. But even if you’re not up to roaming the beaches at the crack of dawn, as a community, we can do a number of things to help protect our sea turtle population. Not digging holes on the beach is important as turtles who fall in these holes can become injured. We can also avoid leaving belongings on the beach overnight as these can entrap nesting females. Minimizing use of artificial lighting such as flashlights can prevent sea turtles from becoming disoriented during nesting. Lastly, local examinations of deceased infant sea turtles have discovered ingested plastic in about 90% of subjects. We can help stop the damage. Additional pertinent information can be found via the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation Plan website. www.sjcfl.us/Environmental/HCP
THE SIMS Mom and dad are raising life-long locals to appreciate family time and the beauty of their city. Photography by Brian Miller Meet the Sims family. Andy is a St. Augustine local and Jennifer might as well be. She moved from Buffalo, New York at the age of seven and spent her formative years right here in the Ancient City. Jennifer and Andy were childhood friends who stayed close and got married only a few years after graduating high school. Now all grown up and living St. Augustine lives of their own, Andy is the owner and operator of Sims Aluminum Construction and Jennifer is a "domestic engineer" (with 6-year-old Andrew and 3-month-old Addison as assistants). With a gaggle of nieces and nephews to entertain nearby and a lifetime of experience in the city, it's no wonder that the Sims family keeps themselves the best The Sims Family pictured kind of busy. Bicycling the streets, from left: Andy (dad) swimming and boating in the water, 39, Andrew 6, Addison 3 or even just enjoying a movie night months, Jennifer (mom) 38 in, Andy and Jennifer are passing on their local knowledge.
Favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Rainy days are the best in the Sims household! We have a couple favorites. Andrew loves to play in the rain, so if we are lighting free, we play outside. UNO is also one of our favs! We play a few hands of that. Our all time favorite is everyone snuggling up in bed and watching movies together.
Favorite Place for Dessert? Cousteau's
Waffle and Milkshake Bar... YUM!!! Plus it's downtown, a perfect treat to walk around and visit the cute shops.
When we have out-of-town guests, we always take them to...
The Ice Plant... the spirits are great! The food is amazing too! We have a lot of family from up north so visiting our beaches is a must.
Favorite place to let the kids run loose? The Fort! We bring
Favorite Family Restaurant?
You can't beat good ole' pizza and wings from Mellow Mushroom.
the football and head down to the fort. It is perfect. The kids can roam, run free, and enjoy the fresh air.
How I Got Here
GRETA HALL In the past two years, the coordinator for the American Heart Association Training Center has trained over 25,000 people in CPR, BLS, AND ACLS. Thanks to Greta and her team, St. Johns County residents are out there saving lifes. By Shannon O'Neil | Photography by Brian Miller
t could happen anytime, anywhere – on St. George Street, at a business meeting, or inside the comfort of your home. One minute everything is fine, the next minute someone is unconscious and in need of immediate medical attention. What can you do?
CPR CLASS SCHEDULE oversees training programs for residents in St. Augustine’s senior communities. “I moved here in 1981 when my dad was posted to the Florida National Guard Headquarters,” says Greta, a St. Augustine High School graduate. “So, leading this program is a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up.”
If you’re trained in CPR, you can save a life. “CPR is a lot less complicated than people think it is,” says Greta Hall, St. Johns County Fire Rescue’s coordinator for the American Heart Association (AHA) Training Center. “It’s easy; it’s effective. You can’t really do it wrong.” Greta, who began teaching safety courses in 2006 for the Department of Military Affairs, has been with SJCFR since 2011. Her growing outreach program now includes multiple instructors who provide classes at the fire rescue headquarters and throughout the community. This past year, all high school seniors were trained in CPR/AED and Basic Life Support (BLS) and Greta is expanding the program to include fourth and fifth graders as well. She also
In 2015 and 2016, Greta and her team certified 25,501 people through 3,787 training courses for CPR, BLS, and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). The AED (automated external defibrillator) training is especially important now that the machines are available in many public locations as well as some private businesses to assist in reviving unresponsive patients before emergency medical services arrive. Many local businesses have arranged for Greta and her staff to come in and certify their employees in basic lifesaving skills. For Rick Cain, a former nurse who is now the Director of Museum Services for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, working with Greta to train museum staff www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
in how to handle medical emergencies for guests and employees was a no-brainer. “Ms. Hall provides a tremendous service to our community,” says Rick. “The ability for me to establish and maintain our partnership with St. Johns County Fire and Rescue through Ms. Hall’s department, and the services she provides, is invaluable to our staff and volunteers here at the Lighthouse and literally saves lives.”
Classes meet at the St. Johns County Fire Rescue 3657 Gaines Road
August 8, 5:30-8:30pm August 14, 5:30-8:30pm September 13, 5:30-8:30pm September 19,
Class schedules at the fire 5:30-8:30pm department headquarters are available online. Community To register, visit them groups and businesses online or call interested in offering classes (904) 209-1733 on location to their members or staff can contact Greta directly to set-up a time. All class rates are based on a per-student basis and require a minimum of five students per class. www.co.st-johns.fl.us/FireRescue/CPR
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THE KING FAMILY Harmonized pitches and beautiful voices bring life and depth to music. For the King family, however, it’s the added harmony of faith and love that makes their music so special. By Alexter Albury | Photography by Rob Futrell
or the Kings, making music is a family affair. The unofficial sextet made their way from Pennsylvania to St. Augustine in 2014 by way of Crescent Beach Baptist Church, where Kevin is now the Worship Pastor and his wife, Cheryl, is the Children’s Ministry Director. Long before the two led a music ministry, they began with their own family. Both Kevin and Cheryl developed a love for music at early ages. Originally from New Jersey, Kevin played music both in church and at school. This trend continued as he went on to college and earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Music Education and Bible Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting. Cheryl, the daughter of a pastor, grew up singing and playing music in church and later earned a degree in Early Childhood, because of her desire to care for children. Keeping with tradition, Kevin and Cheryl introduced their four children, ages thirteen to twenty, to music at a young age too. “Anna was seven when she started. Colin was five. Abigail was four or five. I believe Colin was three when he started with a little, tiny violin.” Cheryl laughs. “It looked like a toy!” “By the age of four or five,” says Kevin, “you can get kids started on a string instrument,
and it grows with them, and they grow with it. It’s a great way for them to learn to play.” Because of their age and skill differences, it took some time for the King children to be able to play together cohesively, but with plenty of practice and patience, the siblings were able to combine their special talents. “They couldn’t wait to play together,” Cheryl shares, “That was one of our Kevin's passion for the beauty and glory of music has clearly been passed on to his children and made its goals and theirs too. Once way through the congregation of Crescent Beach Baptist Church. His natural talent for music and gift with we got to that point we were like, ‘Yeah! They made it! They many instruments has extended beyond a mere hobby or even a profession. The love of music has pervaded can play something together!” and invaded his and his family's whole lives. Indeed they can. These days, on Sunday mornings, you can hear their harmonies play out in a variety of classic hymns and contemporary Christian music as they reverberate through the pine trees of the Matanzas Forest along S.R. 206. Music has always been an important part of the lives of the Kings. It’s something that envelops every member of the family and gives them an added reason for spending more time with each other. That is something that is very dear to Kevin. “It’s a great www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
blessing to be able to play music as a family,” he says, “We have a lot of fun!” It is obvious that their musical interests create a common bond among the King family members, but there is another tie of the utmost importance. It is their faith in God and their desire to serve Him for all that He has done for them. This is truly the purpose for their lives. Kevin explains, “It goes beyond music. It goes back to the root of life; that we will live for God’s glory.”
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A Day in the Life
CHRISTINA NUTT She's pursuing happiness one pet at a time. This is how one groomer is starting over and grateful for every moment. By Christina Benjamin | Photography by Rob Futrell
ne glance at Christina Nutt and you know she is the embodiment of perseverance. The lifelong animal lover and 28-year grooming veteran stands at a mere 5’ft tall without her right leg and left arm. But this hasn’t always been her reflection. Two years ago, everything was smooth sailing for Christina. A short time earlier, she and Jason Weathers, her boyfriend and business partner, moved their life from Michigan to St. Augustine to take their dog grooming talents on the road with a mobile dog salon in the yearround warmth of Northeast Florida. Their passions and work ethic paid off quickly, and in a short time, Portable Pooch Spa was a success. Says Christina, “Jason and I were grooming 10 to 15 dogs a day and loving every minute of it.” A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, Christina spent a great deal of time riding on the back of Jason’s motorcycle. But considering herself more of a driver’s seat type of person, she decided it was time to ride behind the handlebars of her own brand new motorcycle – a reward to celebrate their success. Not even a month later, while out for a ride with Jason and friends, Christina’s bike experienced a major system malfunction that caused a catastrophic crash. A life flight brought Christina to Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, where she underwent major life-saving surgery. She was in a coma for weeks and the events of that day changed Christina’s life forever. Besides the physical adjustments, she’s
Balance in life isn't an easy thing to find, but Christina is determined. She wants to be back in the driver's seat, doing what makes her happy for the customers who have supported her. The journey hasn't and still won't be easy, but if anyone has the willpower to make it happen, it's Christina. “It makes me feel whole again to be back working with animals and the customers who support me,” says Christina.
had to reevaluate what she wants out of life. “I believe the accident made me a better person. I appreciate everything now,” says Christina. “But it’s hard not to wonder what if.” Today, Christina strives to find balance in her life. Her goal is to get back to doing what she loves, grooming dogs with Jason full time. Since the accident, she and Jason have traded roles. He’s the primary groomer now, while she focuses on the business end. She’s only able to work a few days a week and sometimes finds it hard to give up the reins, but there’s no one she would trust more than Jason, calling him a creative artist by nature. “He’s my best friend, business partner, and boyfriend. The moment he met my dogs I knew he was the one for me,” Christina boasts. “Jason www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
just has such a kind heart and a way with animals.” It’s a testimony to her strength to walk away from her accident with the drive to continue. But doing what she loves is what keeps her going. “It makes me feel whole again to be back working with animals and the customers who support me,” says Christina. She knows she still has a long road ahead of her, but she is on a journey to find happiness and is grateful for this second chance at life. She hopes her story will help inspire those who have been through hardship and give them the courage to push past the pain. This time around she plans to focus on giving back to the amazing community that has helped her. www.portablepoochspa.com
Line of Duty
MATTHEW HOOKER 2016's Paramedic of the Year is no stranger to recognition for his dedicated work as a paramedic and firefighter for St. Johns County. But it's been no easy journey. By Carmen Fleischmann | Photography by Brian Miller
n 2012, Matthew Hooker was named Firefighter of the Year while serving as an Engineer with the St. Johns County Fire Rescue. This year, the newly promoted lieutenant received the recognition of Paramedic of the Year.
In 2010, his performance slowed when he was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. While he says the experience brought him awareness for how an ordinarily healthy person could be sidelined by a medical issue, he also learned the importance of early detection and prevention.
Matthew was also recognized with an SJCFR Unit Citation in January of 2016 for his role in the rescue and resuscitation of a citizen found inside a burning building. While his many accolades speak volumes to his unwavering dedication, they do not fully illustrate the length and breadth of his journey to this point.
“[The experience] forced me to take a hard look at how easily and how often we in the fire service are exposed to cancercausing chemicals, and how badly we need to reconsider how we do our jobs with a greater focus on prevention and early recognition and screening,” says Matthew, who now serves on the Cancer Prevention Committee for his department. “I am convinced my illness was the result of onthe-job exposure.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Matthew joined the fire department in January 1994 at the age of 16. Even then he showed great potential, earning the highest final grade in his Emergency Medical Technician class and finishing at the top of his firefighting school as well. Matthew would go on to achieve numerous certifications during his time with SJCFR, including Aerial Operator, Hazardous Materials Operator, and Rope Rescue Technician (just to name a few).
Clearly his status as a cancer survivor has not slowed down his career progression. Of his latest recognition as Paramedic of the Year, Matthew says that he sees the award as an opportunity. “I have a chance to represent the effort and dedication of everyone else who wears the uniform,” says Matthew. “I am surrounded by individuals who are unquestionably www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
better medics than I am, better firefighters, better at a lot of technical disciplines. My role is to foster that greatness and encourage the people around me to constantly strive to get to the next level, whatever that may be for them individually.”
“No one in the department has ever won both Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year. Maybe one day my kids will see those awards and realize that a lot of incredible people thought enough of my work to recognize their dad. Maybe they'll be proud of their dad. That thought alone makes the rough days in the job worth it.”
Finally, he says the recognition gives him a great sense of personal pride and an opportunity to be a role model for his two young children, Jamie and Evelyn.
“I want [my] kids to be able to use me as a point of reference and see that anyone can accomplish big things through service to others,” said Matthew. “No one in the department has ever won both Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year. Maybe one day my kids will see those awards and realize that a lot of incredible people thought enough of my work to recognize their dad. Maybe they'll be proud of their dad. That thought alone makes the rough days in the job worth it.”
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Person of Interest
In the Limelight With a smile as bright as the stage lights on opening night, Kristin Pidcock beautifully seams together her loves of family and theater.
By Alexter Albury | Photography by Rob Futrell
s a little kid in New Jersey, Kristin Pidcock attended her first stage play with her mom in tow. “We went to see Cinderella at a local high school, and I loved it! After the show, though, I didn’t want to meet Cinderella. I wanted to meet those amazing mice! I thought they were the coolest things!” Kristin recalls with a laugh. That first magical glimpse of thespians, wardrobes, and the back stage support crew piqued Kristin’s theatrical interests. Her curiosity of the sometimes unmentioned or less glamorous sides of theater grew as she and her mom went to more plays. “At the end of one play,” Kristin says, “I remember the actors threw some fun-shaped confetti onto the crowd. Soon afterward, a girl came out and swept the little confetti into a pile, scooped it up and handed it to the kids. I said to myself, ‘I want her job!” Kristin had seen first-hand the joy and kindness that could be shared through theater. As she studied and prepared for the career that really interested her, Kristin Pidcock’s fascination for stage productions increased. She gained
The various theater instructional programs at Limelight, such as the KidzfACTory program, give Kristin ample opportunities to educate, empower, and impact the lives of other children as much as her own. “I love seeing the kids in our program grow,” says Kristin, “I want them to know that there is more to theater than being under the spot light and being the star of the show.”
experience as she performed in several plays throughout high school and college. She also worked as a house manager in the Philadelphia theater scene. Through those experiences, Kristin found herself drawn more and more to the administrative side of theater. After moving to St. Augustine and completing her college education at Flagler College, Kristin was hired for a front desk position at the Limelight Theatre. “That was my real education,” explains Kristin, “As much as I learned in school, as much as I learned being on stage as an actor and singer, I really had no interest in the technical side of theater. I knew I wanted to be involved in the administrative part of theater. Limelight is where I really learned that part, and I’m still learning.” Fourteen years later, she is still at the Limelight Theatre, but now she’s employed as the Director of Education.
"I TELL THEM TO LOOK BACK AT ALL OF THEIR HARD WORK, ALL OF THE REHEARSALS, AND ALL OF THOSE FEARS, AND SEE HOW FAR THEY HAVE COME."
In this position at Limelight, Kristin Pidcock is most passionate about the opportunities to work with students and families that come to Limelight to learn and to participate in different aspects of theater. Kristin shares with clear exhilaration, “There is nothing better than watching them work through their fears on day one to finally reach closing night. I tell them to look back at all of their hard work, all of the rehearsals, and all of those fears, and see how far they have come. I tell them to think about how much they’ve grown since that very first day. It is such a wonderful feeling! The pride that they have in themselves, the pride that their families have for them is huge!” Kristin Pidcock is also a wife and a mother of two young daughters. Although her career calls for a sometimes hectic schedule with meetings, rehearsals, and performances at all hours, Kristin never lets those things take away her time with her family. Being a
“No matter if the kids grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or school teachers, they still will carry with them the fundamentals they learned during their time in theater. It stays with them forever. They leave knowing how to persevere through hard times. They grow up believing in themselves and the many things that they can accomplish.”
mother is something that she is truly grateful for and where she finds immense joy. “You know that moment in The Wizard of Oz,” says Kristin with delight, “when the movie turns from black and white to Technicolor? Well, that’s what happened to my life when I had my kids. My life changed to technicolor.” Kristin is a mother first and she enjoys sharing her work and love for the arts with her children. Her oldest daughter is following in her footsteps – active in chorus, drama, and interning at Limelight. Kristin’s motherly nature and her drive for seeing children succeed both on and off the stage make her duties at Limelight very gratifying. The various theater instructional programs at Limelight, such as the KidzfACTory program, give Kristin ample opportunities to educate, empower, and impact the lives of other children as much as
her own. “I love seeing the kids in our program grow,” says Kristin, “I want them to know that there is more to theater than being under the spot light and being the star of the show.” As she tries to show, there is a lot of work behind the scenes. “Finding the strengths and talents of each child and letting them fulfill their purpose is amazing. They all have a role to play, and I love working with them to reveal those skills.” Kristin Pidcock’s position doesn’t afford her much opportunity to perform and sing, as she once did, but she is more than happy with her current role. She has found ways to bring forth that magic she witnessed as a child, watching plays with her mother and sharing it with the smiling faces of new generations. The honor of being a mother coupled with a strong desire to see the best brought out in others gives Kristin her drive to teach the life lessons encouraged by theater. “No matter if the kids grow up to be doctors, www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
lawyers, or school teachers, they still will carry with them the fundamentals they learned during their time in theater. It stays with them forever,” explains Kristin. “They leave knowing how to persevere through hard times. They grow up believing in themselves and the many things that they can accomplish.” Just like that actor from years ago, handing out fun-shaped confetti to a very young Kristin and other children, Kristin herself has grown to share her own bits of glimmering magic with children under her watch. “I’m a mother first. The love that I have for my own kids… I want the kids at the theater to feel that love too. They’re not my kids, but in a way they are. I’m super passionate about what we teach them. It may sound crazy, but I truly believe theater can change the world.” www.limelight-theatre.org
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TOP DOCTORS AND HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
St. Augustine is home to some of the best physicians in Northeast Florida, treating everything from your feet to your face with the help of medical advancements, modern technology and a whole lot of heart.
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Dentist TOP DOCTORS
PALENCIA DENTAL Dr. Stephanie Kinsey, DDS Dr. Stephanie Kinsey received her DDS in 1994 from the University of Colorado Health Science Center in Denver. She completed her general practice residency at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. After the birth of her first son, Dr. Kinsey left Denver and moved to the St. Augustine area where she became the owner of Palencia Dental in 2011. Even though Dr. Kinsey practices general dentistry, her focus is on cosmetic, TMJ, and implant dentistry. After 20 years in practice, she stays in touch with all the cutting-edge dental procedures and never stops pursuing her education. She has completed over 1700 hours of continuing education. Additionally, anyone suffering from a sportsrelated injury can find relief from jaw injuries or TMJ with her neuromuscular treatment. She says, “By releasing tension and aligning the jaw, the muscles of the neck and face can relax and have a ripple effect on the muscles throughout the body.” The staff at Palencia Dental pride themselves on offering personal attention to every patient while helping them to feel totally at ease. Dr. Kinsey’s training in sedation dentistry enables her to provide pain-free options for those who feel uncomfortable in a dental chair. Patients consistently comment on the superior level of care they receive at the Palencia office. Another primary concern of Dr. Kinsey is open communication. She and her staff ask all the important questions so as to find out exactly what the patients are seeking. If it turns out the patient needs a referral, the office is affiliated with a network of specialists and their team will always follow-up to ensure all patients have received the highest quality care.
(904) 826-4343 159 Palencia Village Drive, #107
Signature services feature family and neuromuscular dentistry, dental implants, porcelain veneers, TMJ relief, dental surgery, cosmetic rejuvenation and sleep apnea treatments, routine cleanings and prevention.
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ANASTASIA MEDICAL GROUP Dr. Ryan Pereira DPM, FACFAS, FAENS Dr. Ryan Pereira received his Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. He completed his residency in Podiatric Surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Pereira says, “Sheer luck is what brought me to St. Augustine. I immediately fell in love with the town, accepted my job offer, and here I am 15 years later.” Residents of St. Augustine are fortunate to have such a qualified physician in our small community. Dr. Pereira is double board certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/ Ankle Surgery by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, Fellow of the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons and on the Board of Directors for the American Orthoplastic Microsurgical Society. Dr. Pereira says, “My practice is very niche oriented and includes complex diabetic limb reconstruction, advanced wound care, peripheral nerve microsurgery and the treatment of varicose veins. Additionally, I use the most progressive surgical techniques and most innovative of procedures to obtain the best outcome for my patients.” Looking towards the future, Dr. Pereira says, “With the increasing rise of diabetes in the United States, diabetic foot ulcerations are on the rise. There is going to be an increasing need for foot and ankle specialists to prevent amputations. The most rewarding aspect of my career is telling a patient I can reconstruct and salvage a limb that others have not been able to.” The best part of Dr. Pereira’s day is making a positive impact in a patient’s life.
Focusing on the treatment of varicose veins, reconstructive foot & ankle surgery, advanced wound care, complex diabetic limb salvage and peripheral nerve microsurgery.
(904) 461-0821 1301 Plantation Island Drive Suite 203 B www.anastasiamedicalgroup.com
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Veterinary Hospital TOP DOCTORS
I really love what I do, and thanks to Fear Free, I don't see myself doing anything else. It never feels like work.
DEL MAR VETERINARY HOSPITAL Dr. Ramón Nieves
(904)717-0777 1023 A1A Beach Blvd www.delmarvethospital.com
Dr. Nieves received his Doctor of Medicine from Ross University in St. Kitts. Additionally, he completed his clinical in Ames, Iowa, at the Iowa State University, practicing both small and large animal veterinary medicine. Dr. Nieves says “When we first laid eyes on St. Augustine, we fell in love with the town and the people. The architectural design of the historical city is similar to my hometown in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.” Del Mar Veterinary in St. Augustine is the only fully dedicated Fear Free Hospital with accredited staff and the only American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited hospital in the area. Dr. Nieves says, “People love our Fear Free approach. I compare it to the fear I felt when my parents took me to the pediatrician to get a shot. Our pets feel anxiety also. We use a plethora of techniques that allow us to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.”
Dr. Nieves says, “I'm so lucky to love what I do. Every day is a new challenge, a new puzzle to solve. I love the human-animal connection the most. It has always amazed me how our lives are influenced by our furry family members. Every day I look forward to seeing the face of my beautiful wife Melissa (our Hospital Director), and my two sons, Adrián and Marcos. Then I get to experience the extraordinarily fulfilling feeling of providing a positive fear-free veterinary visit experience for both the pet and the pet owner.” Del Mar strongly believes in giving back to the community. They collaborate with local rescue organizations such as SAFE, Wags & Whiskers and The Sea Turtle Hospital and also participate in the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund which supports veterinarians who provide medical services to lost and neglected animals.
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We strive to invest in advanced technology and practice personalized, compassionate care because you are not just another patient to us, you are family.
GORDON DENTAL Dr. Jeremy Gordon
(904)460-0999 300 Plantation Island Drive www.gordon-dental.com
Born and raised in St. Augustine, Dr. Jeremy Gordon D.M.D. was excited to return 14 years ago and open his dental practice in his hometown. “I wanted to come back to serve my community and raise my family here.” Dr. Gordon received his Undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Florida and his Doctor of Dental Medicine at UF College of Dentistry. While dental school was always his goal, Dr. Gordon explained that “Psychology and people interested me in a way more than any other undergraduate degree.” Gordon Dental Associates offers complete family dentistry, catering to both kids and adults, and includes services such as implants and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Gordon says, “What we can accomplish now versus just a few years ago is amazing. I can correspond with the best labs and
dentists in the country.” Continuing education and advanced communications consistently raise the bar in the dental profession. Dr. Gordon loves that he gets to help people every day. He says, “The rewards are endless, whether it is relieving pain, helping a nervous patient overcome their anxiety, giving someone a beautiful smile, or even just making it easier for someone to eat.” “We have one of the most amazing teams,” Dr. Gordon and his staff are dedicated to giving their patients an exceptional experience. “Some people can be nervous about dentistry so we work together to make sure that every visit can be as enjoyable as possible for every patient.” When not at his practice, Dr. Gordon enjoys spending time with his family, surfing, and fishing, and regularly volunteers his services at Wildflower Clinic.
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Obstetrician / Gynecologist TOP DOCTORS
Individualized focus on women's health and well-being.
SAINT AUGUSTINE OBGYN Dr. V. Davis Dhas Dr. Reda Alami
(904) 819-9898 Anderson Gibbs Building 301 Health Park Blvd Ste. 219 www.staugustineobgyn.com
Both Dr. Dhas and Dr. Alami completed their residency at Michigan State University and are board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Dhas and Dr. Alami became acquainted at Michigan State while completing their residencies. In 2008, Dr. Alami settled in St. Augustine after he discovered Flagler Hospital was recruiting young obstetricians. A year later another opening came up, and he reached out to his old friend Dr. Dhas. At the time Dr. Dhas was contemplating a position in Charlotte, North Carolina but the charm and small town appeal of St. Augustine beckoned to his family. Soon after settling in St. Augustine, Dr. Dhas and Dr. Alami met Dr. Joyner and Dr. Kirdnual. These two iconic local obstetricians soon became the mentors of the newly recruited doctors with whom they shared similar values. Being on the precipice of retirement,
Dr. Joyner and Dr. Kirdnual were pleased to have a referral for their loyal patients. After Dr. Dhas and Dr. Alami joined into a single practice in 2011 and their mentors retired, the new practice rapidly accelerated. Three years later they converged with North Florida OB/ GYN as a means of releasing some of the administrative duties of running an office and free up more quality time for patients. Dr. Dhas says “We wanted to create a ‘boutique Ob/Gyn practice,’ and the ambiance of St. Augustine fit our plans perfectly. Providing patients with personalized quality care in a comfortable setting are all important to our practice.” They also have incorporated forward-thinking ideas such as including midwives on their staff. They are enthusiastic about the two Certified Nurse Midwives on their team, Anah Blue Marks, and Jessica Dean.
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G.I. ASSOCIATES Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.
Santiago Rosado Steven Yu Villanueva Timothy Cavacini Stuart Soroka Daniel Gassert William Barlow Anis Ahmadi Camille McGaw
(904)824-6108 216 Southpark Circle East www.gi-associates.com
GI Associates of St. Augustine provides digestive health services in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties. The eight-physician practice has been providing exceptional care since 1982. All of the physicians are Board Certified in Gastroenterology and have an impeccable reputation. Administrative Assistant, Ana Dominici says, “We have patients that come from as far as Georgia, South America, Canada, and England. The doctors are caring and very approachable. They are truly part of the community.” This diverse group of physicians brings a wide range of experience and insight to the evaluation, diagnosis and management of digestive conditions and diseases. Additionally, the practice stays on the cutting edge of technology, and recently updated their endoscopy unit with high-definition scopes which provide superior detection of polyps which the doctors say, “Will assist in the identification of
polyps and result in a decrease in the incidence of cancerous lesions.” Even though the doctors are specialists, the complexity of the digestive system makes their field very challenging. For instance, “One patient may require treatment for liver disease while the next may need evaluation for celiac disease.” The “gut” is one of the hot topics in medicine today, and a visit to a gastroenterologist can teach you vital information about preventative care. At GI Associates, “Each patient is unique, and our group listens carefully to each patient’s needs to individualize their treatment.” The doctors say, “The most rewarding part of GI is helping patients get back to living healthy, active and productive lives. We love to see out patients happy and free of disease.” At GI Associates, they like to say, “Come see us for world class medicine with hometown care.”
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The most rewarding part of GI is helping patients get back to living healthy, active and productive lives. We love to see out patients happy and free of disease.
Pictured here from left to right: Dr. Santiago Rosado, Dr. Steven Yu Villanueva, Dr. Anis Ahmadi , Dr. Daniel Gassert, Dr. Camille McGaw, Dr. William Barlow , Dr. Timothy Cavacini and Dr. Stuart Soroka
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BAILEY CHIROPRACTIC Dr. Jason Bailey Jason Bailey received a football scholarship from Vanderbilt University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1992. He received his Doctor of Chiropractic in 1997 from Life University in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Bailey has been a chiropractor for 20 years and two years ago settled in St. Augustine and opened Bailey Chiropractic. About St. Augustine he says, “We feel like it is a special place and a good environment to raise our kids.” Dr. Bailey says, “Our office has a lot of experience as well as gentle therapies that can be used to facilitate healing in accident victims. We also utilize advanced diagnostic testing that may reveal conditions such as ligament, brain and disc injuries which could have been overlooked by traditional imaging.” He says, “I think many people realize the more they can do to take care of their body naturally, the healthier they will be. We are also expanding into other natural medical therapies such as stem cell and hyaluronic acid injections to help people with joint problems. We feel this could help slow down the opioid epidemic which has been increasing mortality for many people.”
We provide the latest in new technology to facilitate your healing.
About the rewards of his profession, Dr. Bailey says, “I love how quickly, at times, people feel better from chiropractic services. There are cases where people who are carried in are able to walk out. It is very satisfying to us when we get such rapid and dramatic results.” In the community, Dr. Bailey offers support to local schools as he believes that every child has the right to a good education. At Bailey Chiropractic you can expect exceptional customer service and the best in new technology at a very reasonable price. They love exceeding people’s expectations.
(904) 342-4941 224 Southpark Circle East www.baileychiropractic.com
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Facial Plastic Surgeon TOP DOCTORS
FACIAL REJUVENATION CENTRE Dr. Deirdre Leake EDUCATION: The University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. YEARS PRACTICING: 13
Tell us about your practice... My practice consists of Facial Plastics- Surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures including skin cancer reconstruction. I believe in customized patient care focused on natural looking results. My staff and I educate patients on skin care and skin health. We provide a professional caring environment for patients to voice their concerns. What distinguishes you from others in your field? I do not believe in a one size fits all approach. I educate patients on which procedures will lead them to their goals and provide the best result. Building trust between me and my patients stems from setting expectations on what will and will not work.
My practice consists of Facial Plastics - Surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures including skin cancer reconstruction.
How do you deliver exceptional care to your patients? I set realistic expectations for procedure outcomes and stress the importance of maintenance. I offer many different tools to treat the concerns of my patients and I have great attention to detail. I enjoy getting to know my patients and delight in being able to achieve their goals. What is your own personal key to success? My faith has given me strength and I stay focused on keeping a balance between family and work.
(904) 810-5434 1750 Tree Boulevard, #10 www.frcentre.com
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Facial Plastic Surgeon
At SpaLife and Contoura Facial Plastic Surgery, we have perfected the art of facial aesthetics.
SPA LIFE SKIN & LASER Roberto Garcia, MD, FACS Contoura Facial Plastic Surgery Medical Director Amanda Bradshaw Owner, Esthetician
(904) 806-6909 105 Southpark Blvd. #203 www.facebook.com/spalifeskinlaser
Dr. Roberto Garcia is considered the premier plastic surgeon of the face in North Florida and South Georgia. He is double board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. A match made for beauty. Amanda Bradshaw, licensed medical aesthetician at SpaLife in St. Augustine and Dr. Roberto Garcia of Contoura Facial Plastic Surgery in Ponte Vedra Beach have partnered to provide patients a full range of aesthetic services and products. The SpaLife menu of services includes laser hair removal (utilizing the Candela Gentlelase technology), facials, eyelash extensions and a medical skin care line. Amanda says, “Opening SpaLife has been my dream come true. Furthermore, having Dr. Garcia as our medical director is wonderful because our patients feel confident in knowing they are entrusting their cosmetic services to a highly skilled team of professionals.” Dr. Roberto Garcia has been in
private practice since 2005 and has performed over 13,000 procedures of the face. After creating the highly acclaimed Contoura procedure in 2009, he opened Contoura Facial Plastic Surgery located in Ponte Vedra Beach. Dr. Roberto Garcia and Amanda Bradshaw bring a unique combination of two of North Florida’s leading experts in issues related to facial aesthetics to the St. Augustine area. Dr. Garcia says, “Working with Amanda has been a godsend. She is the most communicative, thorough, and thoughtful provider I’ve ever had the chance to work with in my career.” As Medical Director, Dr. Garcia is available to see patients at SpaLife every Friday and the first Wednesday of the month. He personally provides all of his patients a full facial evaluation to determine which procedures are recommended. SpaLife is conveniently located in the Southpark Business Complex close to Flagler Hospital.
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Addiction TOP DOCTORS
RECOVERY KEYS Jeremy Mirabile, MD, ABAM, FASAM, FAAFP Medical Director In 2009, Jeremy Mirabile, MD became one of the first physicians in the United States to be certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), then a newly-formed medical specialty board focusing on the treatment of alcohol, drug, and prescription pain medication addiction. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP). Recovery Keys opened in 2012 when we recognized the need for greater access to physician-delivered, comprehensive addiction recovery services in Jacksonville and St Augustine. At Recovery Keys we offer an addiction treatment program that employs a multidisciplinary team of recovery experts whose various knowledge is required to deliver a comprehensive recovery program â€” from the initial medical evaluation and diagnosis to the ongoing therapy and care delivered on an outpatient basis. Addiction is a chronic brain disease and requires a thorough medical evaluation particularly because many affected by addiction also suffer from co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder and PTSD that contribute or exacerbate the effects of addiction. At Recovery Keys, we use our medical training to identify these conditions and provide our patients the tools they need to manage their addiction each day. For those struggling with addiction, the first step is to simply ask for help. If you or a loved one are concerned about a drinking or drug problem, pick up the phone and schedule a comprehensive evaluation from an ABAM board certified doctor. Donâ€™t wait, because addiction kills.
Addiction is a very powerful brain disease requiring medical care. Don't fight it alone.
(904) 615-9006 1301 Plantation Island Dr. S, Suite #201B www.recoverykeys.org
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Medical Products & Services
From our home to yours since 2000 St Augustine’s only local family owned medical equipment provider.
WARD MEDICAL SERVICES Cheryl Evans Jeremy Wheeler Gena Metrakos Earl Ward Leigh Ward (904) 794-9600 2435 US Highway 1 South wardmedicalservices.com
Earl Ward became interested in health care as a teenager working as an orderly at Flagler Hospital. His wife, Leigh is a registered nurse and spent many years in the home health care arena. 17 years ago, after Earl had been laid off from his job at a large medical equipment company, the couple opened Ward Medical Services. Earl said, “It’s a family business, and we’ve always treated our employees like family as well.” They specialize in Respiratory Services that include Sleep Therapy, Oxygen Therapy, and Aerosol (Nebulizer) Therapy. They also provide medical compression and wound care supplies, as well as walkers, wheelchairs and hospital beds. Earl says, “Getting a specific type of medical equipment that your physician wants for you as quickly as possible is our primary focus. We keep the most sought after items in stock so that our customers don’t have to wait. We also
recently started supplying the Emergency Alert Devices that monitor your loved ones who may live alone.” Ward Medical Services provides patients with follow-up service to ensure the equipment they provide is satisfactory. This is especially important as the medical field is under increasing pressure to provide the best care possible in the shortest amount of time. Earl says, “We also do our best to help patients navigate complex insurance requirements, so they can get the equipment they need.” At the end of the day, Earl says, “We are rewarded with knowing that we have provided a measure of service as simple as an arm sling or a lifesustaining respiratory device. We are grateful for that feeling of accomplishment when we have used every opportunity that God gives us to do our jobs as best as we can.
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THE BARNEY Photography by Leonard Blush The hamburger has always been a family favorite and a staple for summer holidays, cookouts, and ball games alike. Whether you cover yours in ketchup and mustard or can’t live without a generous helping of bacon, the dish is nothing short of a classic. But the culinary minds at Low Tide Food Company have decided that the standard burger just doesn’t fly anymore. So they introduced the Barney. For those wondering how this American staple could ever be approved upon, don’t worry. The Barney has everything your hamburger needs. Low Tide starts with a half-pound, hand-pattied medium well burger before topping it with a cheddar and Monterey Jack blend, center cut Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, onion, pickle, and their signature LTFC house dressing. So what’s the catch? All of these delicious ingredients are served on a warm, grilled flatbread. In a standard burger, the bun doesn’t add much to the dish other than texture and a convenient method for transport. A grilled flatbread, however, is soft and has a warm, buttery, salty flavor. It becomes part of the dish rather than fading into the background. Add in thick-cut fries and this just might be a new classic. 1968 U.S. 1 South www.facebook.com/LowTideFoodTruck
Inside: Tale of Two // Culinary Character // Taste Test // Sweet Spot
PICK YOUR OWN PRODUCE Though blueberry season has since passed us by, taking the kids for a day of picking your own in-season fruits and vegetables can be a delicious activity.
THE DISH Verdiana
Living on the Veg
VERDIANA AT PIZZA DINA
The Rule of Five guides these Italian culinary creators and a desire for authenticity and freshness rules the day.
By Molly Wilson | Photography by Brian Miller
uring St. Augustine’s 450th celebration, longtime friends and Italian natives Stefano Braganti and Luca Bonafante wandered the streets of the city and lamented the lack of their favorite Italian street food – piadina. A few dinners with their new friend Hezi Mena later and the Pizza Dina project was born. The owners shared a love of high quality, but simple food and that commitment is clear in every dish. They consistently abide by their “Rule of Five” – every dish, from the flatbread sandwiches to the pizzas, from the salads to the desserts, is made from scratch with five ingredients or less. It’s that simplicity that keeps their guests coming back. And vegetarians, you’re about to rejoice. Their piadina – the flatbread sandwiches – can be customized with any number of purely vegetarian ingredients, but the culinary creators have already found their own amazing combination. They call it the Verdiana. It contains Scamorza, zucchini, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and a balsamic glaze. Scamorza is a cow’s milk cheese that – like all
Spuds Farms Though they're known locally for their fresh produce, summer watermelons, and a talent for making pie, Spuds Farms also offers pick-yourown for produce in season. Squash, beans, peas, and even pumpkins later in the year will find their way into your basket. 7780 State Road 207, Elkton www.facebook.com/spudsfarmsllc
the other meats and cheeses in the restaurant – is imported directly from Italy. The veggies are locally sourced from farms in North Florida and South Georgia. You can hardly get better than that. For a simple flatbread with only five ingredients, the Verdiana has an amazing variety of flavor. Scamorza is piquant and milky and envelops each ingredient in a creamy cocoon when it melts. The vegetables burst with flavor and give a slight, but not completely firm crunch that assures you of their freshness. The balsamic glaze is just the tangy cherry on top. The feel of Pizza Dina and all its dishes is simple and authentic. Close your eyes while you eat and you’ll be transported to the streets of Imperia. Piadina like the Verdiana are the perfect meeting of two worlds – the cheese expertise of the Italians and the delicacy of local Florida produce. The restaurant is open seven days a week and now offers delivery through ZipIt. 100 St. George Street www.eatdina.com www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Cowart Ranch and Farms Pumpkins and produce and corn mazes abound! Cowart Ranch and Farms plays host to a fall festival that is a can'tmiss for lovers of outdoor activities and fresh-picked veggies. And don't forget to mark your calendar for their abundant blueberry picking next year. 8185 W. Highway 100, Bunnell www.cowartranchandfarms.com
Blackberry Hill Farm Get your fix of local honey, free range eggs, and inseason produce. And though blackberry season is coming to a close, pick your own muscadine grapes – a Southern delicacy with a unique flavor and a bit of a bite. Call 904-291-3244 for hours and availability. 2995 Thunder Road, Middleburg www.facebook.com/blackberryhillfarm
For More Information Please call Davey 904.293.9595
Tale of Two
FRENCH TOAST Whether simple or laden with toppings, this breakfast classic is a sunrise necessity. Photography by Brian Miller
Cinnamon Raisin Pecan Classic French Toast
METRO DINER Notorious around the city (and Jacksonville too!) for their generous breakfast offerings, Metro Diner was a clear choice when we needed an expert on French Toast. Their menu offers multiple preparations of the dish, but we say that if it’s French Toast you’re craving, kick your breakfast up a notch and go with the Cinnamon Raisin Pecan French Toast. Not only is it a mouthful to say, it’s a mouthful to eat. Each bite delivers so many different flavors and textures – spice from the cinnamon, tartness from the raisins, crunch and saltiness from the pecans, and, of course, the sweetness of the battered toast. Save room because your palate might just want another helping. Wash it down with a steaming cup of coffee and you’ll be ready for anything the day has to throw at you. 1000 Ponce de Leon Boulevard (904) 758-3323
THE MARKET AT STEWART'S 100
SEA OATS CAFFE Such a cozy diner begs to be your first stop on the way to a day at the beach (or a day you wish you were at the beach). Bright colors and a shell-inlayed counter will be your new seaside home-awayfrom-home. It’s no surprise then that such a sunrise-welcoming spot would be able to whip up some delicious and classic French Toast. Their serving of the breakfast favorite is unpretentious while still showing the skill of the chefs behind the counter. First dipped in the signature egg batter and then grilled, the French Toast is served with bacon or sausage and for the not-yet-satisfied, topped with fresh fruit. Add a drizzle of syrup and let the sweetness wash over you. This is a dish that will bring you back to childhood and the Sunday morning breakfasts your mom used to make. 1015 A1A Beach Boulevard (904) 471-7350
As the face of Anastasia Boulevard is continually evolving, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods recently found themselves without an easy way to get fresh produce and local products. So the owners of The Floridian, Jeff and Genie McNally, set out to fill the need. The newly opened Market at Stewart's (located in the same building that housed Stewart's) carries both well established brands and local artisan products. The space as well has a grab-and-go deli under Genie's culinary direction. www.themarketstaug.com www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
THE STOYANOVS Bulgarian-born Margarita and Ivan Stoyanov are living the American dream and advancing the laid-back and welcoming atmosphere of Anastasia Diner. By Matthew Shaw | Photography by Brian Miller
ven as restaurant trends have skewed toward the Edison light bulb-lit gastropub and the upscale fast-casual, a good diner remains a solid choice for a hearty meal in a pretension-free environment. For years, the red and white striped awning of the Anastasia Diner has served as a nonwaving flag signaling such modest aims to passersby. The interior of the diner, two cozy rooms of tables and chairs, is unassuming and quaint and has recently been made to feel even more so with a new coat of paint and artwork on the walls. There’s also been some recent, though understated changes to the Diner’s already robust menu – waffles, additional Benedict options, a decadent serving of biscuits and gravy. The changes are the result of new ownership. In December, Ivan and Margarita Stoyanov took over the Diner. They say they are committed to maintaining the Diner-milieu – one of good, homemade food served in a low-frills, laid-back setting. These are modest goals for a couple that has displayed remarkable ambition just to get to this point. The Bulgaria-born Stoyanovs both hold post-graduate degrees – Ivan’s a lawyer, while Margarita holds a Masters in speech therapy. But the couple loves to travel and passed up opportunities to work among
the professional class in Bulgaria to live and work in the Canary Islands. They were there in 2011 when Margarita found out she’d been awarded the American green card she’d applied for on a whim. “I thought it was a scam,” Margarita says. But it wasn’t and the Stoyanovs headed back to Bulgaria to finish the application process which included “piles and piles of paperwork,” according to Margarita. After a lengthy interview process, Margarita was awarded a Visa and the couple decamped for Cape Cod – where Margarita had spent a season working in a hotel some years prior. But the Visa never came. And Margarita had to start the process all over again. “The government said they sent it and if I didn’t get it I’d have to pay $1,000 and do the interview over and many of the steps again,” Margarita remembers. “I didn’t give up, though.” In the interim, the seasonal hospitality work in Cape Cod dried up, so the couple decided to move to Florida. Working in hotels and restaurants in Naples, the couple fell in love with the sub-tropical climate. “It’s paradise,” Margarita says of the www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Sunshine State. “So much different than the Cape!” But just a few years later, the Stoyanovs were heading back up North. An old friend of Ivan’s in Massachusetts had called and offered the Stoyanovs an investment opportunity. A small, but perennially popular café in the town of Brewster, MA was for sale. It was a big decision that the couple took in stride, packing up and heading north in 2014 to take over the café. Fatefully, Margarita’s green card arrived, shortly before they left. The couple ran the café in Brewster for three years. All the while, they felt the warmth and greenery of Florida tugging at them. They began looking for a place of their own to operate in the Sunshine State. That’s when they came across the Anastasia Diner.
The journey from Bulgaria to their new life in the United States has not been an easy one, but the Stoyanovs display an impressive passion and resolve. Through much hard work and a little bit of luck, they have created a restaurant centered around a love of family and a desire for community. “We want the Diner to be a place where everyone feels welcome,” Margarita says. “We want you to feel like you can bring your friends and there will be something for everyone to enjoy."
understatedly. “We booked a flight in November. One month later we owned the restaurant,” Margarita remembers. She says the beauty of and welcoming community on the island sealed the deal. And when the Diner’s doors opened on December 10th, the Stoyanovs were in charge. “It all happened so fast,” Margarita says. Since then the Stoyanovs have set about to make slow, but well thought out changes to the Diner, starting with the interior décor. “For me, personally, it didn’t feel welcoming,” says Margarita. “We took out the booths and put in tables and chairs. We painted, added some new paintings, and just made it feel more comfortable and inviting. Now it feels really cute.”
As for the food on offer, Margarita says the menu’s proclivity towards Southern-style, made-from-scratch cuisine was in line with their vision for what a diner should be. Still, they added some of their own recipes – one being the previously mentioned biscuits and gravy. “It’s been the number one selling plate since we opened,” Margarita says of the Southern staple. “We make the biscuits from scratch every morning and the sausage gravy, too. People love it.” In the midst of all the change, something permanent took place, as well, as the Stoyanovs recently became U.S. citizens. “It’s been a long journey,” Margarita says www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
Meanwhile, the Stoyanovs have also applied for a beer and wine license for the Diner. They say the opportunity to serve alcohol when coupled with the Diner’s extensive menu fits their vision of a restaurant with broad appeal. “We want the Diner to be a place where everyone feels welcome,” Margarita says. “We want you to feel like you can bring your friends and there will be something for everyone to enjoy. We want it stay cozy and laid back.” 1770 A1A South www.facebook.com/anastasiadinerflorida
Behind the Bar
RACHEL LOCKE Chicago-born Rachel Locke is living her dream and adding a little bit of life to the former State Road 16 sports bar. By Matthew Shaw | Photography by Brian Miller
tate Road 16 has perennially been a hard sell for St. Augustine locals. Whether it’s meandering through downtown traffic for historic district-dwellers or simply having to put on a shirt for islanders, there are a number of roadblocks that frame the establishments on the busy thoroughfare as just out of the reach of those in the heart of the city. A short time ago, SR-16 adjacent Draft Room was not likely to move locals out of their respective comfort zones. But with a new face behind the bar – that of new owner Rachel Locke – a reconfigured drink menu, and an updated, soul foodinspired menu The Draft Room is looking to appeal to customers beyond those enjoying a weekend at one of the many hotels that surround the Outlets. And there are early signs of success. “At first it was mostly tourists from the hotels,” says Rachel, who only just took over the Draft Room in May. “But lately we’ve had a lot more people from downtown and Anastasia Island poke their heads in. When that door opens, you really never know who’s going come in. That’s what makes it exciting!” Born and raised in Chicago, Rachel owned and operated a popular food truck in Austin, Texas before moving to Palm Coast. Rachel, whose 14-year old daughter is a promising young basketball prospect, says she wanted to find a place that would be conducive to her daughter’s ambitions as well as her own. “Texas is a football state and I couldn’t go back to Chicago,” she
Under Rachel's passionate guidance, in a few short months, The Draft Room has become a hot spot for tourists and locals alike to gather around a beer tap, catch the big game, and enjoy a homemade meal. Raised in Chicago and landing in Florida by way of Texas has given Rachel a talent for delicious flavor and interesting conversation. laughs. “I just don’t want to see anymore snow.” Rachel had never visited The Draft Room prior to her inquiry into its purchase, but says the opportunity to own her own restaurant in a growing area like St. Augustine was too much to pass up. Since taking over she’s already added to the menu some of the more popular Soul Food items that she perfected in Austin like mac ’n’ cheese, fried corn nuggets that she describes as “little bites of heaven,” and a hearty burger topped with brisket and cheese. Rest assured The Draft Room is still a www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
bar and Rachel has done well to bring in popular local brews like Ancient City’s Orange Amber and Funky Buddha’s Hopgun. Rachel’s kept the popular Wednesday Bike Night on the calendar and added a Tuesday lady’s night, offering halfoff of all wine. Any night of the week, however, you’re likely to see Rachel behind the bar. Like any new business owner she’s working her tail off. “I don’t mind it,” she says of the long hours. “This was a golden opportunity and I’m doing what I love.” 2730 State Road 16, #116 www.thedraftroom.com
Pictured Here: Upper Left: The Mouse Trap brings the melty cheese like never before. Upper Right: Though Rosemary Fries are no longer on the menu, the Italian Soda still quenches your thirst. Lower Right: The Port of Call has a bite from chorizo and the freshness of avocado. Lower Left: Save room for these adorable Tiramisu in classic and creme brulee!
MAKER'S MELT Filled to the brim with layers of melting cheese and served with housemade tomato basil soup, these melts are the ultimate comfort food. By Molly Wilson | Photography by Rob Futrell
t. Augustine is an unusual town. We have a bit of that Mayberry feel – everyone knows everyone and you can barely walk down the street without seeing a familiar face. At the same time, our tourist population allows for small, niche businesses to survive and thrive and not feel the strain of a limited demographic. Case-in-point – Maker’s Melt Gourmet Grilled Cheesery. Opened in September of 2016, the brainchild of cousins Francesco Aloisi and Stephen Dimare (of Hyppo fame) has deep culinary roots in Franceso’s native Italy. The little eatery clearly has a passionate team behind it. Charming details and a trendy decor (like Edison lightbulbs and minimalist grilled cheese wall decals) abound and cleverly named dishes reveal a deep interest in making every part of the experience delightful.
Each dish is served on a small block of wood, burned with the logo and a quote in Italian, a nod to the quirkiness of the whole shop. The first melt on our planks is The Mouse Trap ($8.95), a twist on the classic grilled cheese filled with sharp cheddar, havarti, Monterey Jack, and homemade caramelized onion. You remember those commercials where they pull the grilled cheese apart and you get to see the melting cheese in the middle? That’s this sandwich times 10. The next melt deviates even more from a traditional grilled cheese. The base cheeses on The Port of Call ($8.95) are Monterey Jack and baby Swiss, but in between the cheese is roasted garlic, chorizo, and avocado. The chorizo adds an unexpected bite to the dish without bringing an overwhelming heat. It’s easy to forget this is a simple grilled cheese. To quench your thirst, Maker’s Melt offers
a variety of fresh-made Italian sodas ($3.50). Each drink is made in-house with syrup, carbonated water, fresh fruit, citrus garnishes, and a little ice. Paired with our melts were the traditional Blackberry and an edgy Hibiscus Habanero Lime. If somehow a melt and soup don’t fill you up, the eatery boasts homemade desserts ($4.50) – a traditional Tiramisu and a seasonal flavor (we were introduced to the creme brulee). Rich layers of cream and rum and vanilla-soaked lady fingers, sprinkled with cocoa powder, are the perfect end to a meal. Maker’s Melt is a delightful and delectable spot for a special lunch outing or just an everyday craving. And trust us, you’ll be craving it soon. 1835 U.S. 1 South, Suite 127 www.makersmelt.com
Get “Pre Approved” … Then go find the home of your dreams!
I WANNA EMPANADA Forget Taco Tuesdays! We've started craving this Latin American comfort food and we're lucky we're not the only ones. It's a delicious nod to the city's Spanish heritage.
THE DISH Homemade Crepes
Spanish Bakery & Cafe This downtown spot offers fresh-baked pastry filled with chicken, beef, or veggies and baked to a golden brown. 42 St. George Street
HOMEMADE CREPES AT RAINTREE RESTAURANT "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." - Ernestine Ulmer
Written and photographed by Steve Parr
l' Ernestine may have been onto something and, if you find yourself at Raintree Restaurant on San Marco Avenue, it's likely you'd agree. Sometimes, you just need to say "Why not?" and go for the dessert. While Raintree is long famous (they've been in business for 36 years) for its fabulous cuisine as a full service restaurant, it might just be the dessert menu which is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of that particular culinary rainbow. And, of all the desserts on that menu, it's the made-to-order crepes that are in the limelight. There are four of these little gems, and each is as delectable as the next. The Granny Smith Apple Crepe is the French pastry equivalent of a slice of Dutch apple pie. Granny Smith apples and golden raisins fill the crepe, while more apples and a sweet caramel sauce adorn the exterior. A streusel topping completes this wonderful sign off to your dinner.
topped with ganache and white chocolate, blueberries and shaved almonds. The Mixed Berry Crepe features blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, all generously spread over the top of a vanilla ice cream-filled crepe. Don't let this one sit too long. The ice cream will melt quickly as a result of the warm berries poured over the top. The Cinnamon Banana Crepe is Raintree's most popular crepe. It's served "Foster style" (although without the flames), boasting cinnamon bananas drenched in banana liqueur, dark rum, brown sugar, and butter. It bears mentioning that, with the exception of the white chocolate and the ice cream, everything is prepared or produced in house, from the crepes to the banana slices. The care that goes into every ingredient is evident in every bite (every single, decadently delicious bite). Yes, Ernestine Ulmer just may have been right.
The Cappuccino Ice Cream Crepe is exactly what it sounds like. Set in a pool of raspberry puree, ice cream is wrapped in a crepe and
102 San Marco Avenue www.raintreerestaurant.com www.STAUGUSTINESOCIAL.com
La Cocina Mexican Restaurant The beef or vegetarian empanadas are served with a housemade chipotle dip for an extra bite of flavor. 3290 U.S. 1 South
La Herencia Cafe Try the Cuban take on the traditional empanada with favorite fillings like picadillo â€“ beef with peppers, tomato, garlic, onions, and more. 4 Aviles Street
Columbia Restaurant A recipe courtesy of grandmother Adela, the picadillo empanadas have a spicy ground beef, tomato, garlic, raisins, and olives. It's a taste you won't soon forget. 98 St. George Street
Cuban Cafe and Bakery Though they've got your traditional beef and chicken empanadas, don't miss out on the rich flavor of the vegetarian option â€“ spinach and cheese. They can be a hearty meal or a quick snack. 100 St. George Street
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WHERE ST. AUGUSTINE EATS
There's no shortage of places to dine in St. Augustine, but we're always on the hunt for the next best thing. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, or dessert â€“ we love them all. Snap a shot of your new favorite dish and tag us for a chance to appear in the next issue.
LLAMA RESTAURANT - @caroneats This octopus causa at @llamasaintaugustine is the stuff Peruvian dreams are made of.
OLD CITY MARKET @chriscygulrealtor Old City Veggie Burger, corndusted fries, and a side of Spicy City sauce for the win!
tell us Hashtag #staugsocialdtoloving what you're eating an . in St. Augustine
KILWIN'S CHOCOLATES - @acedozer Dark chocolate pretzel sticks from Kilwin's, ohmahgawd!
CRAVE FOOD TRUCK @kindly_eats I can't believe this was first Crave experience! If you're in St. Augustine, FL this is a must!
Hurricane Patty's - @ceciliany Missing these mouthwatering and juicy #crawfish from #Florida
CAP'S ON THE WATER - @the_traveling_canon So I missed the official #nationalpeanutbutterloversday, but any day is a good day to be in love with the insanely good #beliganfries with #peanut sauce
LES PETITE PLEASURES @kittylapurr #fruit #tart #fruittart #desserts #food #french #staugustine
THE PRESS @kingofmykitchen Hands Down Best Burger I've ever had and it's in St. Augustine @thepressstaug!
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Fill your love tank with local stories for and about Saint Augustine, Florida families. INSIDE: Top doctors, ziplining at the zoo, St. Aug...
Published on Jul 24, 2017
Fill your love tank with local stories for and about Saint Augustine, Florida families. INSIDE: Top doctors, ziplining at the zoo, St. Aug...