This blog is from Nights of Lights 2013. Please call The Tasting Tours (number at end) for current prices.
The Tasting Tours of St. Augustine took a brilliant idea (foodie tours like one I took with City Walk) and combined it with the oldest mode of transportation in St. Augustine (horse-drawn carriage rides) to offer several unique tours of St. Augustine. We joined them on our last date night for their Holiday Wine & Carriage Tour as a relaxing way to take in Nights of Lights.
Our van squealed in to the parking garage on two wheels. By the time my hubby was home from work, we had our kids situated and we dashed out the door we were cutting it close. We’d originally planned to grab a bite in the historic district first, but we were just happy when we arrived at Isabella’s Wine & Cigar Bar and the carriage hadn’t yet pulled in!!!
Jennifer, a Tasting Tours guide, welcomed us warmly and when the carriage rolled up she helped each couple find our seats and handed us a gift bag with wine glasses, our preferred wine- red or white, and a surprise treat of truffles!! Tasting Tours poured our first glasses & handed us the corked bottle for refills along the way before introducing our guide & sending us off with a toast.
This is a dog-friendly tour. One couple brought their pampered pooch who snuggled between his owners for a comfy ride. Tasting Tours utilizes several carriages- I loved this sleigh-style carriage because Chris and I shared our own romantic, private seat.
As we bumped along the cobblestone streets, it dawned on us that drinking red wine on a carriage ride sounds a lot more romantic than it is. We shared laughs as we learned to sip quickly at stop signs and take wide-mouthed gulps on bumpy patches. John at Ann O’Malley’s was right when he said we should order white! Seriously, though, I really enjoyed the Rioja and the laughter was good medicine… but next time we’re definitely bringing straws!!! Chris found these grownup sippy cups at Amazon and also these adorable wine glasses with lids that suddenly sound brilliant!
The confirmation email I received from Andee, Tasting Tours friendly owner, indicated that we were welcome to arrive to Isabella’s early for a cigar or glass of wine… I’m so glad we didn’t. The tour is only 45 minutes long- sharing an entire bottle of wine in 45 minutes is quite a bit! Not that we meant to drink the whole bottle… it just sort of happened one bumpy gulp at a time.
Passing the plaza by carriage was breathtaking. We’ve walked through the plaza countless times and driven around it even more- but the slower pace of the carriage allowed us to really enjoy the lights. Beautiful.
Our guide was interesting and he peppered our tour with the usual St. Augustine history and some unusual facts I hadn’t heard before. For example, our family Christmas photo was taken in front of the oldest wall in St. Augustine- he even pointed out places the wall had been bombarded by cannonballs!
Casablanca Inn on the bayfront is gorgeous at Christmas! I enjoyed tweeting all my favorite spots as we rolled by (Harry’s, Bayfront Marin, Bon Ami Confections, Rhett’s, Kookaburra…) and remembered again why we love this city.
Tasting Tours provides a romantic, relaxing way to take in St. Augustine- whether to enjoy Nights of Lights at Christmastime or just snuggle next to your favorite person anytime of year.
The Tasting Tours
Nights of Lights – Holiday Wine & Carriage Tour
$46 per person for a group tour, $145 for a private tour for 2
My hubby and I took a complimentary tour with Tasting Tours so we could share our experience with you. Of course all opinions and photos are my own- with a little of my hubby’s peanut gallery thrown in.