Jewel of the South: St. Augustine, FL

X doesn’t always mark the spot. Sometimes, a pine tree does. And if I only had a permit to dig, I might find one of the treasure casques from the book The Secret: A Treasure Hunt by S. Kelly and T. Mann. I think I know where it is. I’ve probably walked over it a number of times now, but it’s private property, namely, the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, FL. Without their permission, I can only point to the ground and say, here it is. I wonder if Ponce de Leon is rolling in his grave laughing at us.

This is the spot!

If you’ve never heard of this treasure hunt, then take a look at the online book in pdf form.  A man named Byron Preiss travelled around the United States burying casques, each containing a key, which can be returned to his estate in exchange for a jewel. Byron has since died, so his daughters have taken over the administration of the hunt. There are twelve treasures in twelve different cities. The casques in Chicago and Cleveland have been found. The clues to finding the treasures are a combination of a picture and a poetic verse from the book. It’s really not as easy as you would like, but it’s terribly fun and also represents a dedication to different immigrant groups that have settled here in the United States.

Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth

The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine is the location of the book’s image six and verse nine treasure, and the jewel you would receive, if you could get at that casque, is a sapphire. The immigrant group is the Spanish, from Spain, hence the burial at the site of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain. If you get frustrated by not being able to dig, the location has many other amusements, like drinking from the fountain, climbing a lookout tower, shows, and peacocks. There are loads of peacocks, and they make a god-awful noise, but are of course, they’re very beautiful. We drank from the fountain, and I do feel a bit younger, but unfortunately, the reflection in the mirror hasn’t changed.

Oldest Schoolhouse in the United States

If you get hungry after all this treasure hunting and water drinking, a great place to go is the St. Augustine colonial quarter. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. The quarter showcases some of the oldest buildings, like a schoolhouse, drugstore and the impressive Castillo de San Marcos fort. In the quarter, there are little shops and restaurants, and you’re bound to find something incredible to eat. The small streets are crowded and alive with a partylike atmosphere. Some stores close later in the day, but the bars and restaurants are open for the evening.

Colonial Quarter

St. Augustine has something for everyone, from treasure hunting to water sports, historical buildings and museums, to a cool hangout all around. If you’re interested in visiting, just book it!

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