Bayfront Westcott House Bed and Breakfast

146 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
  • Our lady in the garden

    Our lady in the garden

  • Beautiful time of year in St Augustine!

    Beautiful time of year in St Augustine!

  • Enjoy an easy breezy getaway on St Augustine's bayfront!

    Enjoy an easy breezy getaway on St Augustine's bayfront!

  • Welcome to Anastasia's Room at Bayfront Westcott House B&B

    Welcome to Anastasia's Room at Bayfront Westcott House B&B

  • Virginia's Room

    Virginia's Room

  • Artichoke casserole, just one of our yummy signature dishes!

    Artichoke casserole, just one of our yummy signature dishes!


Google Arranges for Complimentary Photo Shoot of Popular St Augustine B&B 9 Jun 2015, 10:44 pm

We'll coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second!
146 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine FL 32084

St. Augustine, Florida, recently made #4 on's Top 100 Small Towns 2015 list!According to that article, "In 2015, St. Augustine, Fla., celebrates its 450th birthday. No other city in the U.S. can put that many candles on its cake. In the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the U.S., historic preservation is paramount. St. Augustine's historic downtown pulses with intimate cafes, bars, and shops, all nestled along narrow, cobblestone streets."

This popular St Augustine B&B (Bayfront Westcott House) has great everything -- location, rooms, linens, food, parking, and staff -- so say 670+ reviewers on TripAdvisor. From Comphy brand luxury linens to William Roam's Float collection of bath and body products to their signature herbal teas, at this St Augustine B&B, they do indeed coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second!

No matter the time of year, you will find a room and a rate that fits your budget at this high-end St Augustine B&B, especially when you consider the luxurious amenities, the fabulous food, the stellar customer service, the very clean rooms, the luxurious linens and bath products, the on-the-house FOOD and DRINK, and the VIEW!

Looking for love? You won't find a more affable / affordable romance package than this St Augustine B&B's "I Love You" package. Guarantee your room rate, even at a discount, and add this wonderfully romantic package for an additional $99. A small amount to pay for that which is proven to facilitate romance -- keepsake signature flutes with chilled champagne and fresh berries and a gorgeously seasonal floral arrangement, lovingly situated in your room just-prior to your arrival!

These are likely but a few reasons that Google decided to call up this St Augustine B&B and offer them a promotional photo shoot. At any rate, you will not be disappointed if you decide to stay here. They really will coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second, with a smile, with hospitality love, Westcott knowledge, St Augustine expertise, and the utmost love and confidence in their ability to assure you the best St Augustine B&B and Oldest City experience!

St Augustine B&B Room of the Week 17 May 2015, 1:46 pm

Bayfront Westcott House
One of the Top 5 Best St Augustine B&Bs
146 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine FL 32084
904.825.4602 /

This week at Bayfront Westcott House Bed and Breakfast, we are celebrating Rachel's Room with great rate special options.

The Urban Dictionary defines Rachel as the girl that everyone is jealous of; she’s fun and has a heart of gold! Rachel was also the name of Dr. Westcott's only child. This cozy little charmer has walls of soft gold, is furnished with antiques and a Queen bed, has lovely wood floors, a single Jacuzzi in the private bath, and is always in demand! While it may be a small room, past guests have said Rachel's room allows them to stay on the bayfront without breaking the bank. Walk directly outside to the first floor side porch and enjoy that fabulous bay breeze!

Regular rates run from $189 to $269 and vary by season. Stay in Rachel's room on Sunday, May 17, for just $189 (reg $289) or on May 18 and May 19 for just $169 per night. Save even more when you book a 2-nigiht stay for May 18 and May 19 for $295.25 or May 19 and May 20 for $310.75 or May 20 and May 21 for $330.75, using COUPON CODE AMW152.

Guests enjoy lots of extras when they stay at this St Augustine B&B. Exclusive local merchant discounts for May guests include discounts for National Burger Month at Gas Full Service Restaurant, OC White's, and Burger Buckets, In honor of National Military Month, valid military ID card holders can use coupon code NMAM15 and receive at 15% discount on any room. All guests will receive a coupon for BOGO admission to St. Augustine's Spanish Military Hospital Museum. Other merchants with exclusive special offers include Antoinette's Bath House, Blue Water Jewelers, Sphere Heals, ROGO on 24-hour bicycle or scooter rentals at St Augustine Bike Rentals, BOGO admission to Ximenez Fatio House, just a couple of blocks from Westcott, dinner for 2 for just $50 (including tax and gratuity) from an exclusive menu at La Pentola Restaurant, where you'll enjoy Mediterranean-inspired fine dining; and a complimentary bon-bon or truffle at Claude's Chocolate.

Things to do in St Augustine in May include Steve Earle & The Dukes and The Mastersons; Todd Rundgren; and The Psychedelic Furs at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall; Boston at the Amphitheatre; fun mixology events like Gin 101 and Spring Farm to Glass at St. Augustine Distillery; Reggae Sundays at the Conch House; and much more!

To learn more about this St Augustine bed and breakfast, visit their website at or call 904.825.4602!

St Augustine B&B Celebrates Room of the Week - May 10 9 May 2015, 11:50 am

Bayfront Westcott House Bed & Breakfast
146 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine FL 32084   904.825.4602

The Minorcan Room
thru 5/21 Sun-Thurs, 2 nights $383.25 plus tax; 3 nights $547.50
5/26-11/19 Sun-Thurs, 2 nights $328.50; 3-nights $438

2nd floor, main house, King, Jacuzzi/shower
electric fireplace, flat screen tv, cable, WiFi, outdoor seating 

In addition to its great rates, there is a lot going on at this St Augustine bed and breakfast this summer!
In May, we are celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Burger Month. June will mark the 127th birthday of our namesake, Dr. John Westcott. July's festivities will promote National Ice Cream Month, National Lasagna Day, National French Fry Day, International Kissing Day! August of course is Back To School Month, with special offers for quick end-of-summer getaways for Mom and Dad. September is 450th Celebration month St Augustine wide. October starts our favorite time of year, with a Cooky Spooky St Augustine theme at BWH, National Homemade Cookies Day, and National Bologna Day! November is even better, promoting National Saxaphone Day, National Peanut Butter Month, Book Lovers Day, and Take A Ride Day! Finally, December brings St. Augustine's famed Nights of Lights celebration. 

We also will feature a different room each week thru the end of August. This week's star is the Minorcan, the furnishings of which underwent some cosmetic work by local artist Jackie Rock of Rock Art Studio. Since coming to St. Augustine in the late 1700s, the Menorcan colonists and their descendents have played a vital role in our city's history; the colors in this second-story room represent their fire, their energy, and their passion. Curl up by the fireplace, nestle into the comfortable King-sized bed, enjoy a soak in the double Jacuzzi, or kick back on the wrap-around porch, with a seating area situated just outside your door, and gaze out over the courtyard with a little bit of a bay view. 

As for every room, your room rate includes one of the best breakfasts in St Augustine each morning; bottled water, soda, coffee, tea, and cookies and other sweet treats throughout the day; an early-evening social hour (and a half) with beer, wine, and gourmet cheeses and spreads; expert concierge service to include luggage handling and parking assistance; and exclusive offers from local merchants.

If you wish to BOOK THIS ROOM NOW at the above-noted special low rates, you must request that rate at time of booking; it will not be applied automatically. If booking online, use one of the following COUPON CODES:
thru 5/21, 2 nights AMW152; 3 nights AMW153
5/26-11/19, 2 nights SMWMN152; 3- nights SMWMN153

your complimentary bottle of chilled champagne on arrival!

Cyber Monday Offers - A Comfy and Cozy B&B Getaway in St Augustine FL 30 Nov 2014, 9:39 am

This is the view! A gift in and of itself!

Trying to think of something new to give your loved ones this year or maybe have a boss to impress? Maybe treat yourself to a discounted vacation; buy it now, use it later! It doesn't even have to be a Christmas gift; you can buy it now and give it later as a retirement gift, a birthday surprise, a congratulations, etc.! The point is it is a great deal, and this St Augustine bed and breakfast makes it easy for you.

Bayfront Westcott House B&B has hosted the Northeast Florida getaways of thousands of travelers; in fact, if you'd like to see what some of those travelers have to say, click here! With a collective background featuring a century's worth of professional hospitality efforts, you will get exactly what you want out of this trip. If you want to be spoiled, you will be; if you wish for a more private but still pampered getaway, well you can have too. You just tell it is what you desire, and we will make it happen. Champagne and strawberries on arrival? No problem! Flowers? Sure! Attraction tickets? Of course! Restaurant recommendations? Not only do we have recommendations; we have exclusive coupons! Don't know what you "should" be doing and need some help? Our staff is local and knows the town. You need just tell us your interests -- history, mystery, haunts, romance, street side dining, fine dining, theatre, comedy -- and we will hook you up!

What better gift could you give to that special someone than a St Augustine bed and breakfast getaway! Cyber Monday specials at Bayfront Westcott House include discounted gift certificates:
$100 value costs $90; $200 value costs $175; $300 value costs $265; $400 value costs $345; $500 value costs $400; $700 value costs $600; and $1000 value costs $775! Inclusive packages are available also. 

To browse the possibilities, visit Bayfront Westcott House is located at 146 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine FL. If you're in the mood for a quick last-minute getaway yourself, call 904.825.4602 for last-minute rates!

St Augustine Nights of Lights Holiday Vacation Package 9 Nov 2014, 2:59 pm

Bayfront Westcott House Bed & Breakfast has some gifts for its guests who book the Nights of Lights Vacation Getaway Package, to include an exclusive and complimentary Old Town Trolley evening tour of the lights display on Monday or Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm; chilled champagne in their room on arrival along with peppermint bark samplers from Claude’s Chocolate and a coupon for free hot cocoa or mocha at Claude’s; two tickets for Old Town Trolley’s day tour; and a buy one / get one offer for Jax Water Tours’ Nights of Lights evening cruise. This offer is available Sunday thru Thursday beginning November 23 and will remain in effect until January 29! Guests must stay 2 nights at regular rate and must request this offer when they book. For date restrictions, visit

The St Augustine Nights of Lights Celebration made National Geographic's Top 10 List of Holiday Light Displays World Wide! Light-up night of the city's tree will be in the Plaza on Saturday November 22. CLICK HERE to follow the list of events, like the Holly Jolly Trolley Tour; Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tours; a holiday-oriented dinner theatre presentation at Raintree Restaurant; holiday plays at Limelight Theatre; Breakfast with Santa at Flagler College; the Festival of Trees at World Golf Village; celebration at the Colonial Quarter featuring S'more stations, hot chocolate, cider, and mulled wine, and the joyous sound of carolers; Ripley's Big Red Christmas Train Tours; the annual Christmas Parade; the Garden Club's Holiday Tour of Homes; the St Augustine Historic Inn Associaton's annual bed and breakfast tour; and MUCH more. It is a holiday season absolutely loaded with the best of the best holiday activities! 

Even though the Vacation Getaway Package features Old Town Trolley Tours, Ripley’s has plenty to offer also! Ripley's Red Trains will run "lightseeing" tours nightly from November 23 through January 4. The trains will run from 6-8 pm Sunday thru Thursday and from 6-10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The trains will not operate on Christmas Day. 

Ripley's will kick off their holiday season on November 28 and 29 with holiday movies, a visit from Santa, balloon twisters, a decorate-your-own marshmallow bar, and special VIP tours (by reservation only). Every Thursday from December 4-18, there will be Polynesian fire dancer performances at 7 and 7:45 pm, and then every Friday and Saturday night from December 5-20,  you can enjoy those holiday movies, visits from Santa, balloon twisters, the marshmallow bar, and the Polynesian fire dancer performances.

That certainly does not cover the list of hundreds of holiday-related activities in St Augustine during the Nights of Lights Celebration. Book your room before it's too late. The holiday season in St Augustine will become your favorite addiction, and you'll come back year after year to get your festivities fix!

All holiday events are free with the purchase of a Red Trains Nights of Lights tour.

Elopement and Honeymoon - Romantic Bed and Breakfast - St Augustine FL 2 Oct 2014, 6:31 pm

Bayfront Westcott House
146 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine FL 32084
904.825.4602 /

If you’re considering eloping to St Augustine, this romantic bed and breakfast has great elopement options and a honeymoon package. THE PACKAGES NOTED BELOW HAVE BEEN MODIFIED: FOR DETAILS, PLEASE CALL 904.825.4602

The Simply Romantic elopement (or vows renewal) package for just $249 plus tax includes a parlor ceremony in front of the fireplace, candlelight, soft music (two songs of your choice), vows tailored to reflect your relationship, and a complimentary fun photo with a special “Just Married” sign (created by local artist Jackie Rock). You could even have Jackie paint you your own sign! Upgrade to the Simply Romantic Sweet Moment for just $499 plus tax to add bride and groom chocolate-dressed strawberries, a small cake, sparkling champagne, and 2 keepsake Westcott signature champagne flutes. The package price does not include your room rate, but there are rooms available Monday thru Thursday thru the end of October 2014 for just $169 per night. Check them out! These packages are for bride and groom only. Guests are permitted only if they too have rented a room. A 1-night stay is required on weekdays; a 2-night stay is required on weekends. During the annual Nights of Lights celebration, you can save $50 on this wedding package when you stay two nights Sunday thru Thursday at regular rate and request the Nights of Lights package from November 23 – December 31.

Perhaps you already got married and you’re road-tripping to your honeymoon destination. Why not make a quick stopover in the nation’s oldest city for a St Augustine MiniMoon? This package includes your room rate for 2 nights in either Alexandra, Anastasia, Minorcan, Caroline, Isabella, Minorcan, Menendez, or Rebecca. Your honeymoon package will include chilled champagne, the bride- and groom-dressed and chocolate dipped strawberries, breakfast in bed one morning, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and two tickets for the History, Mystery, Mayhem, and Murder Walking Tour (that part might not sound all that romantic, but it is a very interesting tour and weirdly romantic). Included also in your room rate are complimentary coffee, tea, and soda; gourmet breakfast served each morning both indoors and out; and early-evening social hour (hosted on Mondays and Wednesdays by a professional storyteller); exquisite linens; the exclusive "Original St Augustine Southie Tour" on Tuesdays and Thursdays; daily stay-over service; WiFi; and parking.

This St Augustine Honeymoon package price (that does include your room rate) runs from $599 to $999, depending on day of week and time of year. So if you’re daydreaming about eloping and/or having a quick honeymoon, give it some more thought and let Bayfront Westcott House help make it not only official but super special! Afterall, at Westcott House, we will coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second!

End of Summer Low Rates at this Romantic St Augustine B&B 24 Aug 2014, 12:31 pm

Bayfront Westcott House
Romantic St Augustine Bed and Breakfast in Northeast Florida
146 Avenida Menendez

The 207th birthday celebration for Dr. John Westcott continues with end-of-summer rates at just $149 on select rooms at this romantic bed and breakfast in Northeast Florida (St Augustine). Enjoy high-end rooms as noted below that normally cost $229 per night for just $149, Monday-Thursdays, until October 30, 2014. Remember to request this discount when you book; the discount will not be applied automatically and it won't be applied to preexisting reservations. Offer discounted offers that we have available are not bookable at discounted rates when you have taken advantage of a room rate discount.

Alexandra's Room is on the first floor of the Carriage House, faces the bay, and features a queen bed, armoire, double Jacuzzi, and separate walk-thru shower. The décor in Alexandra's Room is reminiscent of the Hemingway Atrium collection. This room features wood floors, distressed antiques (to include an armoire), and a luxurious Queen bed. The double Jacuzzi and luxuriously large walk-thru shower delight even those who claim to not care about such things! Located on the first floor of the Carriage House, Alexandra’s tenants spend much time on their private balcony that affords a lovely view of the bay.

Anastasia's Room is located on the second floor of the Main House and features a Queen bed, double Jacuzzi and shower, electric fireplace, and bay view. The mysterious charm of Anastasia’s Room will put you at odds with yourself in terms of whether to go out on the town or just stay in your room! Tucked away on the second floor of the Main House, the only thing you’ll love more than the privacy is the gorgeous view afforded by your very own bay window! You’re also just steps away from the second-story porch where you’ll want to lounge on the porch swing and relish in the sights and sounds of the waterfront. This romantic retreat features a Queen-sized bed, electric fireplace, comfy chairs in front of the aforementioned bay window, and a flat-screen television. But wait, there’s more! Step down (literally) into the sunken bathroom, complete with double Jacuzzi and shower!

You'll find Caroline's Room on the first floor of the Main House, with a King bed, bay windows/view, double Jacuzzi, separate shower, and an electric fireplace. Caroline's room presents with soft and subtle earthly colors that, according to Feng Shui principles, augment relationship nourishment. This warmly romantic room features an electric fireplace, a wall-mounted flat screen television, and a double Jacuzzi (with separate double shower). Located at the first floor center of the Main House, guests enjoy easy access to both the first- and second-story verandas as well as the courtyard.

Elizabeth's Room is also on the first floor of the Main House. Guests enjoy 2 Queen beds, a lavish walk-in shower, an electric fireplace, and a small seating area. It has been said that those with the name Elizabeth are typically spectacular. Newly remodeled, Elizabeth's Room walks that spectacular talk, presenting with classic charm but modern elegance. Inside the Main House on the first floor, Elizabeth offers her guests two Queen-sized beds (accommodating up to four people), lavished by Comphy Linens. The seating area boasts a marble-topped table, 2 antique chairs, and a 40-inch flat-screen television. The bathroom features a clear-glass vessel sink with swan neck and a walk-in shower adorned with mosaic tile and a rainfall shower head. The dark wood floor contrasts beautifully with the light palette antique furnishings. Accent Monet paintings (Water Lilies 1906; Promenade Near Argenteuil; Garden Path at Giverny) were chosen to represent the period during which Westcott House was built.

Isabella's Room is on the second floor of the Main House, featuring a King poster bed, Jacuzzi/shower, and electric fireplace. A pretty name is like a soft, familiar melody; Isabella is indeed a pretty name, for what is arguably our prettiest room, done in deep, rich reddish hues. It is a favorite with our regular guests, featuring a spectacular bay view and easy access to the second-story porch. A luxurious King poster bed provides a comfortable night's sleep. The room is equipped with a new Jacuzzi/shower combination, a remodeled bathroom, decorative electric fireplace, and a flat-screen television.

Also on the first floor of the Main House is the popular Menendez Room. This room offers a King electric fireplace, and walk-in shower. The color blue has been said to inspire happiness and optimism, and we like to think our Menendez Room does just that, especially with its almost-panoramic view of St. Augustine’s Matanzas

Cozy Minorcan underwent some flattering cosmetic changes recently. Located on the second floor of the Main House, this room features a King bed, double Jacuzzi, and electric fireplace. Since coming to St. Augustine in 1777, the Menorcan colonists and their descendents have been an integral part of our city; the colors in this second-story room represent their fire, energy, and passion. Curl up by the fireplace, nestle into the comfortable King-sized bed, enjoy a soak in the double Jacuzzi, or kick back on the porch and gaze out over the courtyard (with a partial bay view). Furniture artistic accents courtesy of local artist Jackie Rock, owner of Rock Art Studio Inc.

Finally, our last room for which you can apply the $149 weekday special is Rebecca. Rebecca exudes class and sophistication! This first-floor Carriage House room is uniquely decorated with beautiful antiques, gorgeous hardwood floors, and a wonderful Queen-sized bed. The double Jacuzzi and separate walk-in shower with dual shower heads add a touch of luxury. From the private balcony, you’ll have a partial bay view as well as enjoy listening to the narrations being told to the passing horse and carriage patrons.

So whether your St Augustine intentions are to just pass through on your way to somewhere else, have a quick get-away or staycation, or initiate a romantic rendezvous, this romantic bed and breakfast located in the Downtown historic district of St. Augustine is the place to do so. A full signature breakfast is included in your room rate as is an early-evening social hour and lots of extras.

Visit us at or just call 904.825.4602 -- we would be glad to help you plan your stay. At Bayfront Westcott House, we will coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second, even at this great discount rate!

Romantic St Augustine - Off The Beaten Path 18 Aug 2014, 5:54 pm


History, Mystery, and Romance in St Augustine FL
Perhaps it is because of (versus despite) St. Augustine’s oft-tragic history that fills her air with passion. Passion for everything. If you have travelled Europe, you will know what I mean when I say that history and mystery too here are in the air. An after-dinner stroll will demonstrate this perfectly. The sultry night air, cobblestone under foot, music and laughter about, your way illuminated by the softly-lit homes and mansions tucked away on nearly every street. With every step you take together, you know that thousands and thousands of couples have stepped together before you, for the last nearly-450 years. Spanish soldiers, British soldiers, Seminole warriors have stepped before you. Slaves have stepped before you; civil rights demonstrators have marched before you. Happy couples, troubled couples. Lonely souls. St. Augustine is just one big energy ball. At the right time of year, the scent of jasmine will fill your senses and make you silly, silly with love--love for your sweetheart, love for St. Augustine, love for life. What could be more romantic! We he hope you'll find all the perfectly romantic things to do in St Augustine FL, and here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Vintage Dress-up Fun
There is no shortage of St Augustine attractions offering you a step back in time, but The Way We Were at 86 Charlotte Street really does! Vintage fashion describes aged clothes from the 1920s to the 1980s that are back in style. Kim Myers, owner of St. Augustine’s premiere vintage clothing shop, has excellent vintage taste and makes sure there is something for everyone in her physical shop and her online store. Even the guys love this store. What a great date – playing dress up for a bit and buying (or renting) a great accessory or outfits for you both to wear out for your romantic evening in St Augustine! You can rent an outfit from the rental selection for one to five nights. Even if you would normally be a little embarrassed to wear vintage clothing, no one knows you in St. Augustine – it’s the perfect time to bust out your bad selves 2getha!

A Kiss, A Cuddle, and A Carriage Ride
St. Augustine is famous for its horse-drawn carriage rides. You can go at this one of two ways – as a historic and educational way during which your guide will most assuredly inundate you with wonderful stories of St. Augustine’s past, or you could just tell your driver that you wish to make the trek in solitude while you cuddle with your sweetheart, your heart beating in time with each clip-clop of the horse’s feet, your head swimming with love! If you stay at this romantic bed and breakfast, we can add your ticket to your bill and arrange for pick-up at the Inn and drop-off wherever you like (as long as it is on the established route). The ride takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Coincidentally, Country Carriages also offers horse-back riding on Vilano Beach for which reservations are required.

Creative Couples Date Night
This great creative coupling date night activity is a limited-space / by-reservations-only and books fast, so make that reservation before you do anything else! With step-by-step instruction from local artist Jackie Rock, owner of Rock Art Studio Inc., you both will paint a different half of the same art work using acrylics; the two halves will create the whole when placed side by side, just like in your relationship. The class is $45 per couple and includes all supplies. It is a BYOB (bring your own beverage) and munchies (you don't have to share with anyone else) affair. This romantic bed and breakfast offers a gourmet picnic basket that you can take with. To reserve your creative couples date night spot now, contact If you're coming through the week, reach out to Jackie anyway -- if she is able, she will accommodate a special time just for you! Be sure to mention this website!

Wondering where to stay? Of course we hope you'll choose us (Bayfront Westcott House B&B) to host your romantic St Augustine getaway! Right now we are offering the best hot deal of the summer -- Stay 1 night (August 18 or 19 or 20 or 21) in a room that is regularly priced at $229 and pay just $149. How about that! That will leave lots of money for romantic activities!  Remember, this offer is valid only on single-night stays and on rooms that normally cost $229 -- Alexandra, Anastasia, Caroline, Elizabeth, Isabella, Menendez, Rebecca.

If we can help you plan a romantic stay at this St Augustine bed and breakfast, just call 904.825.4602 or email

St. Augustine's Diamond Lil 30 Jun 2014, 6:35 pm

Go Girls: The St. Augustine Series (1)
Luella “Diamond Lil” Day McConnell
by Jamie Narehood as published in St Augustine Entertainer July 2014

“If you wanna live your life, live it all the way and don't you waste it”! (from the 2002 song Let’s Get Loud). It seems to me that these days we get so caught up in whatever it is in which we are caught up that we forget to look at people as individuals and are barely aware of their presence, let alone express appreciation for their personal walk through this challenging life. It is important that we women support each other. It is important to recognize about each other that we all have had a shining moment, a crazy moment, a crap moment—a moment defined by a quick minute, a decade, a marriage, an awesome adventure, a fall from grace, whatever the case. Of interest is the fact that while St. Augustine’s Wikipediapagetouts a lengthy list of “notable residents” of the male persuasion; the list of gals is shamefully short. Go-Girls: The St Augustine Series is dedicated to the moments experienced by the crazy-cool and the just-crazy women of St. Augustine’s past and present. 
The first time I read about Luella Day McConnell (Lyonella Murat Day, Diamond Lil), I absolutely loved her story, every last little scandalous detail. Talk about a woman who chose to live it all the way and not waste it! Her story is long and complicated and controversial and crazy and impossible to relay in its entirety in the space allotted, so please note that my narrative by no means sets forth historical fact. It is a compilation of research and rumor and in essence just a celebration of her larger-than-life lust for life. Factual and ficticious, real and ridiculous. Let us all be the topic of such great debate.

In 1898 (when she was in her late 20s), Chicago-based but Baltimore-born Dr. Luella Day (a physician who specialized in setting broken bones and was rumored to have “owned” her own hospital) found herself longing for an adventure, and so she did what any well-educated city girl would do—she joined the Klondike gold frenzy. Her intent was to “attend the sick and make a fortune”. She knew “Alaska meant a land of eternalsnow and ice, the crossing of the continent, a voyage north nearly to the pole,and all the appalling terrors of the unknown and probably the unknowable … thelust of gold … an unquenchable passion.” And she did it anyway!

No part of this trip was pleasant, each stage worse than the next. Survival measures imposed by the Mounties on every traveler wishing to enter Klondike territory (Yukon, Canada, just east of Alaska) were brutal. Each person was required to carry one ton of provisions to include things like waterproof blankets, wool socks, flannel over shirts, a medicine chest, and enough food rations to last a year. The Chilkoot Trail was particularly treacherous--about 30 miles of challenging terrain that rose hundreds of feet, featuring a 45-degree slope of pure ice. It was rock covered, snow covered, wet and slippery. Snow storms were frequent and avalanches a constant threat. Sun burn, wind burn, sometimes zero visibility. It typically took more than one climb to get the required provisions to the top. Then a dangerous sled ride down the other side to another boat and on to Dawson City.  Quite a mission for anyone to undertake in the late 1800s, let alone a city girl. Can you even imagine on what you would have to draw from within yourself to succeed at this physically and mentally? For a quick visual of just how fierce was the Trail and what an impressive feat this was, check out the video “1898 Alaska Klondike GoldRush Story, Dawson City Yukon River”.

By all accounts, Luella settled into Dawson City life rather quickly. She invested in gold properties that panned out (she was the only woman at the time who owned a mine), and she met the man she would marry–California businessman Edward McConnell, who had built Dawson City’s Melbourne Hotel. Luella worked for Mr. McConnell and as secretary for several of the miners and soon was able to purchase the hotel herself from Mr. McConnell. Luella just got loud!

Now that you’ve had a taste of the crazy-cool side of Luella, here comes the crazy-crazy.

There is much debate about what happened next in terms of timeline amidst all the mudslinging and chaos in the Klondike, but the gist of it is that after Luella purchased the hotel, the manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce was determined to buy that hotel for himself, Luella equally determined not to sell. Luella just got louder, and she was quite loud as time went by with regard to corruption allegations of Dawson’s city officials--a hot topic of dispute for decades.

I think it logical to assume that in the Gold Rush setting of the Klondike, corruption was as common as is excessive humidity in Florida. Her self-published account of her adventure (The Tragedyof the Klondike) contains all the parts and pieces essential to an engaging adventure story– a great plot, a strong heroine; a trek through the unforgiving wilds of a far-off land; villains; accusations and scandal; assassination attempts on heroine’s life to include arsenic poisoning an a foiled shooting; a late-night clandestine flee to safety; and much much more! This book itself is scanned to, cover and all, where you can read it at no charge, at your leisure.

During her Klondike residency, she and her husband traveled to St Augustine, at which time they purchased the later-famous property on Magnolia Avenue known as The Fountain of Youth.  I browsed a letter in Luella’s file at St.Augustine’s Historical Society Research Libraryin which the author made mention of the McConnells being entertained at the Ponce and that everyone wanted to see Mrs. Day smile. “She was a pretty woman with dark hair and eyes, slender, with a diamond set in her front tooth. She wore an ermine cloak from her head to her heels and diamonds on all of her fingers … and she talked in a graceful manner”.  A notice in the January 27, 1900, Tatler read Mr. and Mrs. Edward M. Connell have journeyed from Dawson, Yukon Territory, to enjoy a trip down the American Riviera. Mrs. Connell is a lady of rare beauty and gracefulness and is doubltess intrinsically worth all the gold in the Yukon. They are making the Ponce de Leon their home.”

It is that home to which she fled the Klondike.  As she tells it, she returned home again to Magnolia Street after an arduous escape, battling ill health and the authorities every step of the way. She was minus her jewels, her fortune, and her husband. Rumor was that she hosted gambling parties in her home. She claimed to have found historic relics indicative of Ponce de Leon’s presence and decided to call the well on her property the Ponce de Leon well and charge $0.10 for a drink from the fountain of youth. She then began charging admission to the grounds.

Great entrepreneurial spirit, but she enjoyed stirring things up. When a neighbor’s horse walked onto her front lawn, she shot it (she was arrested). She ran a classified ad in the newspaper offering a generous reward for information on her missing gardener. She prepared an appeal to justice to President Taft accusing House members of conspiracy and murder. She made claims that Henry Flagler’s second wife Ida and Luella’s friend, who had been institutionalized by her husband for mental illness, was indeed not insane (coincidentally, Mr. Flagler had persuaded theFlorida legislature to pass a law that made “incurable insanity” grounds fordivorce). She printed postcards of a map in her possession and stated that Ponce de Leon built the fort; she later printed a magazine and claimed that the Chinese built the fort and Ponce merely finished it. She would stand in the street and distribute handbills to passer-byers with regard to grievances she had. She sold her property and then later disputed the legality of that sale, an action that generated headlines like “Lyonella M. Day Wins Suit on a Technical Point” and “Court Reports Case Reversed: Both Plaintiff and Other Party Found Guilty of Error”. 

Her final headline, however, read “Local Woman Reported Dead in Auto Crash”.  Luella’s earthly adventures ended on June 23, 1927. She was killed instantly when the car she was driving hit a tree, head on, near Island Grove, Florida, about an hour southwest of St. Augustine. The passenger in her car died three days later and had not been able to provide any details of the accident. Although the estranged Mr. McConnell returned to St. Augustine to claim possessions following Luella’s death, he did not claim her body, nor did anyone else. There are no records of a memorial service, a funeral, or a grave site.

It seems clear that she was the woman everyone loved to hate. I would like to think that her troubles at least in part were due to the fact that she was a smart and successful woman who wasn’t afraid to get loud. She would have loved the snarky Ecards of which we are so fond today (she probably would have marketed her own). One in particular I think would make her giggle—“Sure, you’ll go tell everyone that I was crazy, but you’ll forget to tell them the part about you being an ass.” []. Of note, when addressing the St Augustine Tourist Club, she has been quoted as saying in that speech, “I have not got insanity, I have not got hysteria, and I have not got any lady-like complications”. 

She was honored by The Great Floridians 2000 program, which recognizes individuals who made significant contributions to the history and culture of Florida. Her plaque is displayed at the Fountain of Youth, 11 Magnolia Street.  Michelle Reyna, a St. Augustine native and former employee of The Fountain of Youth, brings to life Luella in plays and private performances. Local author, Karen Harvey, wrote a great chapter about Luella in “Daring Daughters: St. Augustine’s Feisty Females, 1565-2000”. As noted previously, the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library on Aviles Street has a file full of tidbits about Luella’s life. The Fountain of Youth gift shop still sells the water, and the Fraser family, who purchased the property in 1927, has done a stellar job of preserving and promoting this historical location, that which under their reign has become one of Florida’s largest tourist and educational attractions and significant archaeological dig sites.  

If you have ideas about a St. Augustine gal past or present to celebrate in the next article in this series, email your thoughts to