Bridge of Lions

Monday, March 26, 2018 |

Well, we went back on the bridge walking trail after a bit of a hiatus--alright, a long hiatus. But my wife and I are still ticking. This time it was to trek to a beautiful bridge, the Bridge of Lions, which connects the downtown of  St. Augustine, Florida with Anastasia Island. We didn't find the Fountain of Youth, but I'll say that walking on the scenic bridge did make me feel just a tad younger. It was definitely worth the walk on a beautiful March day. Impressive indeed were the namesake pair of marble lions that guard the St. Augustine side. We even had our choice of sidewalks on either side of the bridge. The pictures here do not do the bridge justice.

The Bridge of Lions is a surprisingly long third of a mile or so in length, crossing the Matanzas River (a part of the Intracoastal Waterway) and just a stone's throw (or maybe a very long tee shot) away from the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge is not high, registering about 25 feet above the water according to the definitive source of Wikipedia (and judging by my keen sense of height, that seems about right).  And the sidewalk railings were comfortably solid and high. Not a scary walk, and complete with a lovely view of boats, water, and landscape below. After walking on it, we took the drive back to our hotel on Anastasia Island and, to my surprise, it was a drawbridge (in this case, officially a double-leaf bascule bridge). The middle span rose just as I, at the wheel, reached the gates about to come down.  Yes, I should have known. Fortunately, if you can walk across a bridge, not only can you drive across it, but you can also apparently stay suspended on it for at least a few minutes while the middle goes slowly up, and then slowly down. We took video (what else to do?), but it was not very exciting (and not included here).

Here's a little history of the bridge: The original bridge, complete with lions of course, opened at the site in 1927. It lasted a good 79 years before needing replacement. A temporary bridge was constructed alongside to carry traffic for a few years, and the original bridge was significantly reconstructed.  I think it qualifies as a new bridge at the same location, opening in 2010, and the lions were reunited with the new bridge a year later.

In sum, it is a very impressive, non-scary bridge.