This is one of my favorite places in the world. Yes, I said in the world.
This is the St. Augustine Lighthouse. There are 219 steps to the top. I’ve been there, to the top, three times.
The first time, my friend Fuz and I climbed the lighthouse and marveled at the view. I mean, you can actually see the curvature of the earth where the waters of Matanzas Bay meet the sky. (Matanzas means “slaughter” in Spanish but that’s a much bloodier tale in history (a la Don Pedro) than anything that has really happened at the lighthouse, despite all the myths and rumors you may have heard.)
The second time I visited the lighthouse, I decided to take Elle with me. She seemed pretty gung-ho about the climbing 219 steps part of this whole adventure and only asked for me to take her picture. No special treats, no souvenirs from the gift shop, just her picture. Elle was very proud of herself for making it all the way to the top and wanted everyone to see what she had accomplished.
Remember, 219 steps to the top. In the Florida summer heat. No air conditioning. I’m surprised the out-of-shape adults who huffed and puffed their way up didn’t fling themselves down the center of the spiral staircase just to smack into the cool tiles of the floor hundreds of feet below. I mean, that would be the quickest way down since the stairs are only a few feet wide and smelly, sweaty strangers are basically packed like sardines in there. Ick.
After her first visit, Elle drew a picture of the lighthouse as soon as we returned home. I have it framed now.
The third and last time I went to the St. Augustine Lighthouse was about two summers ago. Again, Elle and I wanted to climb to the top and take in the view. On our way down, I took this photo looking up the spiral staircase. (Un)Fortunately, I didn’t catch the ghost of the girl who tends to walk these steps night after night…
This is the actual still-shot from the Ghost Hunters episode on the lighthouse. I’m really in no mood to see it, but if you are so inclined there is a video in which this figure moves into the picture, leans over the staircase, and moves out. (omg nightmares!) Have at it.
Honestly, though, even the basement of this place is kind of creepy. I’m not one to enjoy the consequences of telling my child ghost stories so I didn’t say a peep about the three little girls who died while they lived here during the lighthouse’s construction. But even Elle picked up on some weird vibe after standing near a particular room for a minute or two. I heard someone say the girls slept in that room when they lived here, though I can’t find anything that confirms that story. Regardless, shudder. (Especially because my kid used to play with a little “boy” who wasn’t allowed to leave our kitchen and she also used to wave goodbye to “The Lady in the Garage” sometimes when we would head down the street for a walk. FREAK.)