Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 5, 2016

Fort Matanzas

Semi-layover day to visit spots around St. Augustine. 

Drove down barrier island east of St. Augustine.  First stop to see lighthouse.


Then south about fifteen miles to visit Fort Matanzas NM.

Very small fort built to protect ‘back door’ water approach to St. Augustine.  Fort sits on small island across Matanzas River from the larger barrier island.  Reached by shuttle ferry courtesy of NPS.  No charge.

Very small fort. Manned by staff of five.  Four soldiers and an officer.


Approaching  fort


Closer view


View from top (observation) level of fort


Gun level


P1030615Ranger demonstrating to Sue how easily she can lift a cannon with aid of a lever.


Fort from ground level.

‘Matanzas’ is the Spanish word for slaughter.  If you are interested you can Google how the fort and river got that name.  Pretty gruesome.

The grounds near the visitor center have a board walk nature trail.


Across the highway from the National Monument is a public beach access.





If she were wearing long pants you would not know.  Very natural gait in all activities.  A little while later she was in water up to her chest.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4, 2016

Historic St. Augustine

Took an Old Town Trolley tour of St. Augustine today.  Similar to the one we took in Savanah in that it has a running narration by the driver about the city and sights seen and has multiple stops at which you can get off, wander on your own, and then catch a later trolley and continue on.

St. Augustine is the oldest settlement/town/city in the New World / United States.  Has existed under five different flags.  Lots of old buildings of several different architectural styles and all in good repair.  There are many tourist attractions but unlike every other tourist destination we have seen the attractions here have a low key appearance or are even concealed.  There is no gaudiness at all.  Driving through the historic city is very esthetic and pleasant.


Former apothecary now is a wax museum.



This monument marks the start of the Spanish Trail.  Other end – San Diego, Ca.  It is made of a very interesting stone called coquina. Many of the buildings and the very formidable Castillo de San Marcos are made of this.  It is very forgiving to external stresses.





Historic entrance gate to the old city.



Oldest school house in North America


View down one of the streets in historic St. Augustine.


Oldest house in St. Augustine



One wing of the huge and impressive Memorial Presbyterian Church built by business tycoon Henry Flagler as a memorial to his daughter who died from complications after giving birth to his granddaughter who also died.  This total building time was less than a year.



This building was built by Flagler as a very large and very upscale hotel.  Over 400 rooms.  Had electricity before White House.  Electrical system designed by Thomas Edison.  Fun fact:  Flagler had to hire people to turn lights on and off for guests as they (the guests) were afraid to touch the switches.  This picture is very inadequate.  This building is HUGE.  Literally covers a whole city block.  The dining room can seat hundreds and has stained glass windows by Tiffany and valued in the millions.  The former hotel is now Flagler College.  Pretty pricy but an impressive place to go to school.



Castillo de San Marcos.  Very impressive.



The very first ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ museum.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31, 2016

Andersonville, Jimmy Carter, and Peaches

About a half hour drive to Andersonville NHS.  This site has several parts.  The visitors center has a museum and memorial to POW’s of all wars, not just the Civil War.  Excellent museum.  Every display and presentation grabs you and makes you think.


POW memorial

Adjacent to the visitor center is the site of the Andersonville POW camp where Union soldiers were held during the Civil War.  The entire site is laid out by posts and corner monuments and portions of the wall are reconstructed.  Today it is just a very large grassy field.  There are Civil War era pictures posted in various spots, taken from where you are standing, that show the horror that it once was.



Reconstructed  corner of prison site.  Two posts on right demark ‘Dead Zone’. Left hand post shows line of tall prison fence. Post on right edge of picture shows position of small sparse inner fence. Prisoners who crossed inner fence would be shot by guards positioned in watch towers.


Looks pretty bucolic now.  Small dot right side center is archeologic marker of one of several sites where prisoners dug crude wells in attempt to find water.


A few hundred yards from the POW prison site is the cemetery. Nearly 13,000  Civil War soldiers died at Andersonville prison during the 14 months it was in operation.  Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, played a large part in locating and properly identifying the graves of those buried there so that proper markers could be placed.




Another half hour drive to Plains, GA – home of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Both were born and grew up in Plains, married there, and always returned there after military service and then again after private and political life.  They live there now.  The compound where they live is private but the rest of the town is available for public visitation including the high school both attended that is now a visitor center and museum, and Jimmy Carters boyhood home.  Many very good informative presentations on both the Carters throughout the town.


Back door of Jimmy Carter boyhood home



Current resident



Front of boyhood home.  House is open to walk through.

Following Plains, an hour drive north to the Lane Packing Company.  First peaches we have seen in the Peach State after driving through a lot of it.  They have a catwalk above the peach packing operation so visitors can watch the process.  Middle of peach season but it is Sunday so no packing happening.  Good descriptive signs on the catwalk give good idea of flow of peaches through the line.  Would have been fun to watch.  Peach soft serve was very tasty though.