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Sister act comes to the Oldest City
Five Canadian women get away to St. Augustine
By Jeremy Hatcher


Sue, Lois, Carol, Ruth and Ticha spent June 10 to 16 together cooking, touring and just catching up on each other's lives in what they call their "Augustine Girls Weekend Getaway" (AGWG).For 18 years the girls, ranging in age from their 30s to 50s, have taken this annual trip that has brought them from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Orlando and now to St. Augustine.

"We thought it would be fun because our last name is Augustine, and we have heard that it was such a beautiful place," Sue said. "It's very similar to Niagara-on-the-Lake where we grew up in Canada, very similar type of historic town."AGWG (pronounced ag-wig) started 18 years ago when the sisters found themselves in the same car after their grandfather's funeral and decided then and there to take an annual trip for just them, no husbands, children or relatives included."We don't see a lot of each other during the year," Lois said.

"It's a nice time to catch up."The sisters' idea of catching up usually includes conversations where they laugh at almost everything. No matter where they go, whether it's dinner theatre at The Alhambra or a night spent gambling their money on a game of Yahtzee, they spend it laughing."We stay up all night," Carol said. "We take tons of pictures, and we have a photo album of every single AGWG."This year's trip has been a little more relaxed than the others. They decided to make the trip longer and spend more time indoors. The sisters agree it's a nice change from the action-packed weekends that have had them nearly running from one activity to the next.

"The first time we went to a resort up north we said, 'I don't know what we have to do here,' " said Sue, who then found out that the resort offered many activities, including horseback riding, tennis and canoeing. So they quickly signed up for them all. "Then they said, 'Oh it looks like you have your whole weekend planned,' and we said, 'No, no, no, that's tomorrow morning.'

"The multitude of activities has caused confusion and some rather strange situations. During an AGWG to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the girls were heading to their car after a night out when they suddenly forgot where they parked. They walked around for a while and still couldn't find their car. The night was foggy and there seemed to be no signs of life. Then, they heard a strange sound in the darkness."All of a sudden we hear this clip clop, clip clop coming down a hill around the corner in this foggy dark night," said Carol, who then described a strange man driving a carriage, something similar to Jack the Ripper.

"He was in a top hat and a cape and he's like, 'I heard you need a ride, I heard you were looking for me.' "The girls got into the carriage reluctantly and the man gave them a tour around the city and then took them to their car. While they were telling the story they couldn't help but burst into laughter.The sisters have had many other memorable experiences throughout the 18 AGWGs. They even make up a different theme for each one, and this year's theme was flag week, which they appropriately named FLAGWG.

They made T-shirts that they wore while in St. Augustine and even an AGWG flag.Every year the sisters' husbands try to find out where the AGWG is having the next party, but none of them have been successful. Their husbands then have to find other ways to keep themselves occupied."Mine has been assigned to paint the house," Carol said while laughing.Next year the sisters hope to spend their AGWG in Boston.

Their favorite parts of this year's trip were staying inside and playing games, and they also enjoyed the historic sites, the beach and the welcoming people of St. Augustine."We just got to know the local people and they're fabulous," Lois said. "They were so inviting to us."




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