Friday, February 2, 2018

Visiting Beautiful Pensacola, Florida

Shortly before Christmas this year I saw advertised on Facebook that the Capitol Steps would be performing at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola in mid January.  We had seen this group before while attending a meeting in Washington, DC and they were very entertaining.  So, it seemed tickets to the Pensacola performance might be a fun Christmas gift for my husband.   That is how this Pensacola trip came about.

The drive to Pensacola only takes three hours from Tallahassee traveling across Interstate-10.    Pensacola is in the extreme western panhandle of the state of Florida and as you can see on the map below, the Alabama State line is only a short distance away.

We thought it would be nice to stay on the beach side of Pensacola.  It was a real treat to find the SpringHill Suites which is located about fifteen minutes from downtown Pensacola crossing over the bridge on to Pensacola Beach.

If you are ever this way you might want to check out this lovely hotel.  If you would like to see more about the SpringHill Suites you can click on the link below.  If you check out the below link you can see photos of the very nice suite-rooms.

There were other very pretty places to stay in this area as well.

We especially liked that this hotel room was a suite with spacious sitting room with TV and an adjoining separate bedroom and bath.  The photo below shows the beautiful view from our room with a nice little patio to sit and enjoy the wonderful fresh air.  But, on this particular day it was way too cold to sit outside.  Isn't that a beautiful view looking out over the Gulf of Mexico!

The hotel also serves a delicious breakfast each morning in the
dining room which is included in your stay
The below photo is a view we see while standing out on the patio.

Looking across the parking lot from the hotel we saw this charming and colorful beach house.

And driving around the island we spotted this beautiful marina with lots of fishing boats.

It was a beautiful day to sightsee all around the area.
We drove over the long bridge heading back to the town of Pensacola.

In all the years of living in Florida we had never visited Pensacola ... We have driven past on Interstate 10, but had never taken the time to drive on into the city itself.  What a surprise it was to see the city of Pensacola with all the beautiful trees and Southern charm.

The Pensacola area has a long and very interesting history.  This area was first inhabited by the Panzacola Tribe of Native Americans for thousands of years and had a well-established culture in the area.  Later in history the area was held by the Spanish, the French, the British and then the United States.

The Historic Saenger Theatre where we would be attending the performance is located in downtown Pensacola and is seen in the below photo.

This theater was designed in a style known as Spanish Baroque architecture.  This style was selected due to the extensive Spanish history in the Pensacola area.  This beautiful building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The theater has an interesting history ...  Construction began in the same location where the old Pensacola Opera House originally stood which was destroyed in 1917 by a hurricane in the area.  The  theater was built with the same bricks which were part of the original opera house.

It was requested that no photos be taken inside the theater.

I looked online to find any photos showing the interior of this historic theater.  From the outside it is hard to imagine this theater could possibly be this large inside.   See the two below photos from online which do show this amazingly beautiful theater inside 

These photos were taken from the upstairs balcony.

Below is a youtube preview of some of the Capitol Steps performance we saw at this theater ...
They were Hilarious!!

In the below photo we see another photo of the downtown area.

Driving a short distance from the downtown area we happened upon an area called the North Hill Historic Preservation District.  We did not know anything about this area,  but we sure were in for a treat as we drove along and saw block after block of beautiful old and historical homes.

It was a pleasure to have my camera with me to try to capture some of the beauty of these old homes. The home seen below had so many interesting sections that it was hard to know which area showed the home to it's best advantage.  In the below photo we see the main entrance.

There were double porches off to the side.

As we drove along we saw one beautiful home after another.

We see the front entrance of this home with the wraparound porches upstairs and down.

And the below photo shows how huge this house is and how the porches curve around to the side.
Interesting paint combination with the blue at the top and pink for the rest of the house.

If you look carefully at this very colorful home you see they are all decorated for Marti Gras.

These historic homes were built between 1870-1930.

Most of the streets were lined with beautiful old trees some of which looked as old as the houses.

This house seen below was hiding behind some of the large old trees.

This Historic Home district is a 50 square block section of the Pensacola area.

Each old home was different than the other.

These homes were built beginning in the 1800s when this northwest Florida experienced a "lumber boom."  Northwest Florida has great forests of yellow pine which provided these home builders with choice material for construction of many of these stately homes.

Unfortunately we did not see the inside of these homes but were told that the interiors show a lavish use of quality wood in paneling, ceiling beams, graceful stairways and they have a lot of ornate trim.

This old oak tree seen below must surely be as old as these old homes.  I love the way it is growing across the driveway and on around to the front of the home.

Here we see another stately pink home.

Scrolling in with my zoom lens we are better able to see this beautiful porch area.  The black sign to the left of the double doors says:  "The Watson James Home - Built 1900 - North Hill District."  If you look closely you can see the double Marti Gras decorated door wreaths.

Those pretty bushes on each side of the porch with the red berries are called Nandina.  

I love to see Old Glory blowing in the breeze.

Unfortunately these old homes are not open to the public, but just driving by gave us the opportunity to see many different types of stunning architecture.

I can't tell the difference in the different architectural designs. However, there is a mix of  Queen Anne, Neoclassical, Tudor, Revival, Craftsman Bungalow, Mediterranean Revival.

The below house was huge, but it was almost completely surrounded by trees.
I loved the light green door and matching Adirondack chairs.

You can see that it was a very cold day ...
Someone covered the hanging plant on the tree to protect it from the cold.

The yellow color of this home is so pretty and peaceful.

This home and the ones seen in the background have a newer look.  The red door is so pretty.

This was an unusual construction in that it was long and narrow.

Again we see Marti Gras decorations in this closer up view of this home.
See the masks hanging from the tree and the decorated wreath on the gate.
Even the matching lion statues are decorated.

A lot of the old homes in this area had fallen into disrepair
but have been restored to their original beauty.

A number of these homes are occupied today by descendants of the original builders.

Not long after we drove out of the North Hill Historic District we drove past this old and picturesque cemetery called St. Michael's.  According to Mr. Google the earliest marker in this cemetery is dated 1812.

This beautiful old cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are approximately 3,200 marked graves located here in this eight acre location.

Rest in peace!

It was fun visiting this beautiful city of Pensacola, Florida.  Thank you for coming along on our visit.

Can you believe here we are into the 2nd day of February already.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying these beautiful Winter days.  Wishing you a happy Groundhog Day!

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