Fort Caroline and the Timucuan Ecological Preserve

Trip Start Jul 19, 2007
Trip End Jul 28, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, July 22, 2007

It rained on our way to Jacksonville, but cleared up by the time we got to the park(s). We got two stamps at one visitor center!! Ft. Caroline was an ill-fated attempt by the French to take Florida from the Spanish. There is a lot of documentation of the fort, but amazingly, no one has found the actual fort site! A reduced-size representation of the fort is located at the park. We are in spanish moss country and I just can't help myself, I take lots of photos of trees with spanish moss. This tree was right outside the fort.

A mile or so from the fort is a monument to Ribault. This is the highest point in the area. Ribault brought supplies to the fort, he also selected the location of the fort. The views from this spot were beautiful.

We started to take a short walk to the Spanish Pond, also part of the park, but stopped when we saw a sign that said "if it is 4:55 or after when you are reading this sign - turn around and go back to the parking lot - the gates to the parking lot are locked at 5:00" then went on to say that people should not procede without a map of the area as people can easily become lost. Well, we didn't have a map and we just wanted to take a quick look at the pond, not be wandering for hours. 

On our way back to the car we saw an anole on the handrail. It didn't seem to mind us much. We watched for a while and took a lot of pictures of it in which you can barely see it. It was funny to watch it get ready to jump from the rail to a nearby palm leaf. It shifted its weight from one foot to another several times before making the leap.

We made our way back to route 95 and headed south to St. Augustine. Our hotel was right on the beach. We used Priority Club points at the Holiday Inn (so it was free). The hotel had been there since at least 1980. It was basic, but clean. We had a balcony so we could see the ocean.

After we checked in we went to downtown St. Augustine. It's a very charming old town. We went to the San Sebastian Winery to see what Florida wine is like; we were surprised they grew grapes in Florida for wine. We tasted about 6 of their wines. In general, the wine was lighter and sweeter than we usually drink, but we got 2 bottles anyway. We had to buy what we thought we could drink while we were here since wine can't be shipped to Michigan. We chose a white and a red, would have liked the port, but didn't think we could drink all that. We ate dinner at A1A Ale, near the Lion Bridge.
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