A fortunate byproduct of our quest to live on southern islands and forever walk the beach this winter has been the close proximity of so many beautiful historical sites, especially old forts and lighthouses.
We spent January on Dauphin Island, Alabama, within walking distance of Fort Gaines, and five miles from Fort Morgan just across Mobile Bay.
In February we were on Anastasia Island near the archaic Castillo de San Marcos at St. Augustine, Florida.
Heading from Florida to North Carolina we stopped for a week at Savannah, Georgia where we visited Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island in the Savannah River.
And in March we are on Emerald Isle, North Carolina, sharing the island with Fort Macon which we visited yesterday.
We are ending our winter sojourn in early April and heading back to Michigan, and I wanted to post a photographic review of these historical attractions that offered us so much aesthetic intrigue while wandering around the south this winter:
1. Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island, Alabama. This fort was less than 1/4 mile from our campground.
2. Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama.
3. Castillo de San Marco, St. Augustine, Florida (1565). This one is really old and was built with local stone – coquina – before bricks were manufactured in the U.S.
4. Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Savannah, Georgia.
5. Fort Macon, Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
Kaye and I have really enjoyed our southern sojourn and the side trips that have been available to us. I love old architecture, so this was a great place for me to explore while avoiding the hostility of the northern winter. This is the final post to the Southern Sojourn as we are heading back to our new summer home (campground) in Michigan soon.
There are more photos of these beautiful historical sites on my Flickr photo stream here.
And they are available for purchase as prints and other great gifts at my photo galleries and web store here.
It’s the middle of the winter and we are in the middle of our sojourn at St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest town in America. They are celebrating their 450th anniversary this year, so there is a lot going on here. Then again, this is one of those hidden pearls where there is always a lot to enjoy, even when there’s nothing special happening.
When we pulled into town and moved into our campsite near the ocean, we were surprised to see vehicles driving on the beach. Yes, this is one of the few places in the world that accommodates the sport. The beach is a hundred yards wide at low tide allowing plenty of room for walkers, bikers, kite flyers and four-wheel-drivers all at the same time.
The historical fort is well preserved and maintained by the National Park Service. Castillo de San Marcos was built in the 1560’s using the local coral stone (coquina) quarried from Anastasia Island near where we are camped. This is the third of four historical forts I’m visiting this winter. (I’m planning a post next month reviewing all the forts on my itinerary.)
St. Augustine is built to accommodate the thriving tourist industry and there are trolleys running tours every day throughout the historical downtown district. Some of the old narrow streets are closed to vehicle traffic so visitors may peruse the old shops at their leisure.
A great place to get an overview of the area with a bird’s-eye view is the huge old lighthouse dating back to 1861. One of the more recently-built landmarks, it was built of brick. In fact, it took more than a million bricks to construct this 165-foot-tall edifice, one of the tallest in the country.
Kaye and I are engaged in an ongoing challenge of testing the local eateries. It became apparent very early on that we will certainly run out of time before we manage a comprehensive knowledge of the plethora of amazing culinary options here. But we’ll do our best.
Average temps here are in the 60’s during the day and the mid-40’s at night, so we are enjoying our success at finding an affordable location for missing the brutal winter weather back in Michigan.