I’m guessing you’ve seen this. You visit a quaint, historical town, and a marker or guide will boast, “Here is the oldest…“, or “On this spot, the first…” Woody and I amuse ourselves at the frequency we hear this type of proclamation: eyes meet, then lock, followed by eye roll.
Our personal favorite is when it’s qualified. For example: “…in the mid 18th century the very first cannonball of its kind was shot from this spot.” Then I fantasize the fast-speak-disclaimer: a cannonball composed of 40% lead shot, 40% iron and 20% stone, set in a fire burning oven at a precise temperature of 2198 degrees. In other words, there were dozens of “very first” cannonballs of the mid 18th century, but somehow THIS spot, or composition, was special. Well, Amelia Island and St. Augustine are perfect examples of this ideology.
First Van Tour of 2019 Concludes
We left Savannah and headed to the A1A, the old “Buccaneer Trail”, Florida’s most storied strip of pavement. Running from the northeastern corner of Florida, along the Atlantic, to Key West. Essentially, it starts (or ends?) on Amelia Island which borders Georgia. A barrier island, so no ferries necessary.
Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island
We stationed ourselves for 4 nights at Fort Clinch State Park. This was an activity-forward campground. Hiking, biking, fishing, beachcombing, historical fort tours, and a free, ranger-led, two hour kayak tour of the estuary on Egans Creek. For a couple bucks we did a day and a night tour of the Fort – a well appointed fort which never saw battle.
It was our last day when we explored the Atlantic Camp Loop, about 2 miles from our River Loop. We had no idea how lucky we were. The vegetation was stunted, small strips of sand separated the sites, and no shade. As much as I thought the Ocean Loop would be *cooler*, we would’ve melted in our rig. Our River Loop was drenched with a heavy canopy of vegetation, and more privacy between sites.
Independent restaurants, fishing, shrimping, swashbuckling history, boating and antiquing would define Amelia Island. Oh, and the “orphanage-home” of the 90’s version of Pippi Longstocking, currently for sale to the tune of about $750,000.
We followed a lead, the old “friend of a friend” trick. Danny the drummer was playing at the Surf Restaurant where we could easily pick him out. Unlike trying to catch a band in most bars across the world, where you wait and wait AND WAIT. On Amelia Island, most bands will start around 5:00 and wrap up between 8-9:00. Get a load of that! (Dang old farts!)
Anyway, Danny was generous with his time and gave us a historical trip around the island. As you know, Amelia Island has a lot of the oldest, first and original, but they also had pirates, Spanish treasure fleets, and has served under eight different flags. I suppose the native Timucuan didn’t count, since they didn’t fly flags.
So, P&P has posted about St. Augustine a few times. St. Augustine is a comfortable, walkable, enjoyable town. You could check a couple of our posts, In Search of the Fountain of Youth, or Midweek Getaway.
For this visit I wanted to do something different. My idea was to go on one of those Ghost Tours you see pop up in every city. But, I just wasn’t convincing enough. Woody’s compromise was to tour a couple art galleries, which is a “Hali’s Thing”. We both won, I saw some beautiful art!
On Thursday we landed back at Carli’s Mermaid Hammock, my first time ever visiting during the Summer… Stay tuned!