Monday, December 14, 2009
St. Augustine, FL, September 2006
A few days after getting a cast cut off my left leg, my family departed on a trip to Florida for our first family trip in five or six years. Our destination? Disneyworld! Yaaaaaaaaay, no. Unfortunately at the time, I was a little grumpy about my broken leg. I did not have time to stretch my achilles back out. My left calf was smaller than my forearms. Basically, I was not a happy camper. I very much prefer National Parks to theme parks. So to make the trip a little less miserable for me, on the way home we got to stop in St. Augustine!!! I was excited about this!
Founded in 1565, this is the oldest continually occupied European settlement and port in the continental United States. In this gem of a historic port, is the oldest man-made structure in the continental US, a fort by the name of Castillo de San Marcos. Its construction is pretty amazing. Instead of being built out of brick like many forts, the Castillo was built out of coquina. The word means "little shells", and this is because the "stones" used to build the fort are actually sea sediment mixed with concrete. Whenever a cannon ball would strike the fort, it would essentially absorb the ball instead of shatter like conventional brick. This enabled the fort to never exchange hands under seige. Anytime the fort went from one nation's occupation to another, it was always due to treaties. The Seminole chief Oceola was held prisoner here, briefly, before being taken to Fort Moultrie outside of Charleston, SC. Well, if you know me at all, you understand that I fully soak up the historical stuff. If you manage to stop by on a weekend day, the volunteers that help operate this historic landmark even perform a cannon firing drill. Let me tell you, makes one heck of a BOOM!
Visable across the bay from the fort is the St. Augustine
Lighthouse. The lighthouse is on Anastasia Island, and was built in 1874. When we were there I had a creepy feeling about the place. About a week later I saw it on the show "Ghost Hunters" and completely understood why it was creeping me out. It was a neat place to visit, though. Definitely recommend this town if you're ever passing through!