Ft. Mose and the Fountain of Youth

Trip Start Jan 16, 2011
Trip End Jan 19, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

After a great night’s sleep, we enjoyed a yummy ham and cheese omelet served by the friendly staff at the Westcott. With no time to waste, we headed out in the direction of the St. Augustine Historical Society to meet up with James. He introduced us to Charles Tingley, the Society’s senior research librarian, who provided some great information about the area, including the contributions of many black soldiers who helped protect the city during its many battles.

From there, we went over to Fort Mose, an area constructed in 1738 by runaway slaves from North and South Carolina who found refuge in Spanish Florida. The 100 Africans integrated within the Spanish society and established a free black town called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, making it the first free African settlement to legally exist in the United States. Ft. Mose later gained prominence by its successful battle to protect St. Augustine against the British in 1740. As it turns out, James and his partner Derek Hankerson, have been vocal proponents of erecting a museum to share the impressive history of the black people who lived there and fought valiantly and successfully to protect the area. 

Our tour continued on to the Fountain of Youth, where James is a living history interpreter, sharing how Native Americans and Spaniards lived and worked together in St. Augustine during its early years. The grounds are an amazing display of birds and plant life, encampments depicting early life in St. Augustine, and sprawling landscape illustrating the area’s vast natural resources. John Stavely, the park’s director, explained that there is something magical about the place, and we wholeheartedly agreed. It was amazing to watch the peacocks prance freely around the grounds and to explore the various living history displays showing the life of the area’s settlers. If you visit, be sure to have a taste of the mineral-rich waters at the Fountain of Youth. Spanish explorers were convinced that these waters held the secret of a long and healthy life. Despite the sulfur smell, Michael and I had a sip of the water. No comment yet on the effects of the water, but time will tell. 

During our tour of the park, we met up with Derek and drove over to the A1A Ale Works for dinner. A delicious meal with new friends at one of the local watering holes; what a pleasant way to spend our final night in St. Augustine.

With one more night at the Westcott Inn, the Globetrotters wanted to experience a different room, so the staff graciously moved our luggage to the Alexandra room for our final night. What a pleasant surprise! The room is located in the inn’s newest building and is just as elegantly appointed at the Ponce room. Quaint, quiet and cozy. 
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