Sunday, April 5, 2009

St. Augustine, Florida: Fountain of Youth

A true story: A recent 50-year-old visitor to the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Fla., returned home and was purchasing beer at a local supermarket. When he went through the checkout line, the cashier asked for proof of age.

The Fountain really works.

Well, maybe not.

There is an actual fountain near the shoreline of St. Augustine, and Ponce de Leon landed there. The area is preserved in a park setting that feels like an old Florida tourist attraction, which has its own type of charm. Tourists get to see the spring that was supposed to have magical powers. In fact, visitors get a small glass of water from the fountain ... and the stuff actually tastes pretty bad because of the mineral content.

de Leon laid out a cross comprised of 15 stones and 13 stones to mark the year 1513 for his arrival. It's a few feet from the fountain.

By the way, the gift shop sells small vials of water from the fountain. It's a perfect gift for someone coming up on a milestone birthday.

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