Day 2 of our Valentine’s Weekend Getaway | Friday, February 12, 2016
We began our second day of vacation by letterboxing as we made our way to Saint Simons Island. The boxing started right across the street in a hotel parking lot, but thankfully got much better as the day went on. 😉 We made it to the island and found some more boxes on a recreation trail, at an old church, and near a memorial for Rev. John Wesley and Rev. Charles Wesley. The island was very busy that day, and closed roads made the traffic even more backed up, but we enjoyed these short strolls to the boxes as there were no other people around these areas. We then made our way to Fort Frederica National Monument, the first of 4 forts for our weekend trip. This might be my favorite one, for only the fact that it was dog friendly so we were able to walk through and enjoy the whole area together!
The history that we followed on this trip concentrated primarily on how the Wars between the Spanish and English during the 1700’s manifested themselves in Florida and Georgia. To help the reader, the wars will be specifically Queen Anne’s War from 1702-1713 (globally known as the War of the Spanish Succession), the War of Jenkin’s Ear from 1739-1742 (part of the War of Austrian Succession), the French and Indian War from 1754-1763 (part of the Seven Years War), and to a lesser extent the American Revolution (1776-1782)
As a side note, it is very interesting to see how the names of each war change with location.
As the reader may remember from our Savannah trip, the Charter Colony of Georgia was formed in a contested region of land between Britain and Spain by General James Oglethorpe starting with the town of Savannah (1732)
Soon after Savannah was founded, Oglethorpe sought to begin defending the long coast line from Spanish incursion. In 1734 he made an expedition down the coast looking for potential strategic locations, and in 1736 he returned with about 100 men, women and children to found the town and Fort of Frederick (named for the Prince, the name was changed to the feminine in order to rid confusion with South Carolina’s fort and town of the same name.)
Both the walled town and the fort became quite codependent and grew accordingly along with Fort St. Simmons at the tip of the island. In 1737, Oglethorpe returned to England to raise a regiment of troops to help defend the new colony and returned with the 42d Regiment of Foot, otherwise known as Oglethorpe’s Regiment, in 1738. But the Fort and the colony of Georgia as a whole were a threat to Spain and simply added to their grievances against Britain.
In 1739, the episode of Jenkin’s Ear broke out and Britain and Spain declared war upon each other with majority of the fighting occurring in the Caribbean. But Oglethorpe mustered his regiment and set out to attack the Spanish town of St. Augustine and the Fort (Castillo de San Marcos) in 1740. But he was unable to carry the town and had to return to Frederica.
The Spanish, hoping to now claim Georgia as theirs, sent an armada in 1742 under the command of Manuel de Montiano (governor of Florida). First on their list was Fort Frederica.
Although initially successful at landing on the island, Montiano was soon ambushed and routed by Oglethorpe’s men not once but twice in the battles of Gully Hole Creek and Bloody Marsh. Thus repulsed, the Spanish retreated marking the high point of the Spanish during the War.
Following the War, Oglethorpe’s Regiment was disbanded and the Charter Colony soon became a Royal Colony. The Fort no longer manned by any sizable force soon disappeared into history.
Today, most of the buildings from the fort are no longer standing, so it’s up to your imagination to picture what this place looked like back then. They have the general neighborhood mapped out as to where streets were and where buildings once stood. The bases to several homes have been uncovered and preserved so you can get an idea of what the floor plans looked like. There are informational boards giving their interpretation of who lived here or what happened around this area, also showing artifacts that have been discovered around that structure. We enjoyed our time here, and Charlotte enjoyed all the love she got from the park workers.
We then made our way South to our destination for the rest of the weekend – St. Augustine, Florida. As we drove on I-95, we passed by one of the potential bases we could be stationed at one day. If I’m being completely honest, I’d say this one would be my 7th choice…aka last. I’m thankful for the opportunity we have right now to get to know the South, I don’t know if I’ll need any more time here after this. Haha. We made it through Jacksonville just fine and enjoyed the views from the top of the tall extension bridge on 295 on the East side of the city. When we arrived in St. Augustine, it was in the afternoon so we decided to start at one free and puppy friendly attraction – Fort Mose. Here’s the backstory from Curtis:
Fort Mose fits well with our history of Fort Frederica. For they were both founded around the same time.
The beginnings of the Fort began much earlier when the Spanish King declared that any Black English Slave that converted to Catholicism, was willing to take up arms for Spain, and could make it to Spanish Sovereign Land, would be granted asylum. This trend began in ernest in the colonies during the late 1730’s when black slaves from the Carolinas and Georgia began escaping. Governor Montiano seeking to consolidate them constructed Fort Mose north of St. Augustine as a place for these run-aways to stay.
The fort itself was destroyed during Oglethorpe’s invasion of Florida, but was rebuilt soon after where it remained a haven for free-blacks until the secession of Florida to Britain following the French Indian War. (More on that later.)
There wasn’t a whole lot to see here, and the visitor’s center had a $2 per person fee so we just walked around the grounds and found a letterbox. The highs were in the 70’s that day, so we sat out on a pier over the bay and soaked in the sunshine as we planned out the rest of our day. We decided to save downtown St. Augustine for the next day, and just grab a few more letterboxes in areas that would be too far to walk to when parked in the city. We drove to the lighthouse, where there were 4 letterboxes hidden in the parking lot. We couldn’t go into the lighthouse with Charlie, so we enjoyed the views from the ground looking up before continuing on our way.
We found that the town was extremely busy with people, and took note that it would be in our best interest to get up and begin the next day as early as we could to avoid these crowds. We drove back to our hotel (which was a couple miles West, back by I-95 as those were half the price of the hotels in the town itself!) and after dinner, we enjoyed a House marathon on TV. Hotels may be more expensive than camping while traveling, but sometimes just having that little room where we can wind down and get a good night’s rest is just what we need after a day of traveling and touring. Especially after our last experience involved a sleepless night on a rainy, freezing night. 🙂
To see more pictures from this day, visit savingtimeinabottleimages.tumblr.com!