Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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Page 32 of 80, site of the first free African settlement in the country to The Freedom Trail, denoted by markers city- wide African-American history has seldom been as well documented as it is in St. Augustine! Merge the captivating sights and sounds of the area into your meeting with local storytellers! Cultural Allure: From Fort Mose Historic State Park I lounged in the crème de la crème of the his- toric coast's resorts. First stay was the Casa Monica Hotel, the city's only AAA Four Diamond hotel — a treasured 1888 landmark, fit for a queen. And treat me like a queen they did! From the elaborately fes- tooned grand lobby to my lavish suite overlook- ing the Atlantic, with king-sized red-velvet tuft- ed bed, every inch of the Casa Monica oozed splendor. When a horse and buggy picked me up at the front entry and carried me away on a whirlwind guided car- riage ride of the city, I felt like modern-day Cinderella. The Casa Monica's 12,000 sq. ft. of function space, 24-hour fitness center, business center, two elegant ballrooms, poolside Sultan's Pavilion, and Moroccan tent, deem it an extrava- gant hotel.; Final stopover was The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach, a breathtaking 66- room, 300-acre oceanfront resort, that's sister-property to the AAA Five Diamond-awarded 250-room Ponte Vedra Inn and Club sharing its four restaurants, three lounges, spa, 36-hole golf course, tennis courts, boutiques, shops and riding stables. After playing on the white sand beach- es daily, I rushed to my ocean-side suite's beckoning roman tub and fireplace. Ocean views are as plentiful as air in Ponte Vedra. The Lodge & Club's conference room boasts an ocean view! Lux Lodgings: I found myself in a state of tranquility as Ponte Vetra Spa Pool Matanzas Bay in Saint Augustine, Florida. View is from the Castillo de San Marcos. Photo Credit: Jason Titzer 32 Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012:

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