Monday, July 9, 2012

{Vacation Day Three} Beach Walking Makes Me Sore

I'm still making good on my statement of blogging about every day, but it just might be every day :) Last night we walked to the Back Porch for dinner and it was a bit of a haul. Needless to say, when we got back to the room I was too tired to be on the computer. More about that later. I have a much better view this morning than last night anyway. I am sitting on our personal patio looking at the white sandy beach and listening to the waves crash on fresh sand this morning.

So back to "Day Two."

My mom reminded me of a fort in Pensacola out on Santa Rosa Island called Fort Pickens, that we went to when I was a kid. I mentioned it to Tim in passing on Saturday and he thought it would be awesome to see. As you know we stayed at Fort Walton Beach the night before last, which is about 20-25 minutes closer to Pensacola then where we are staying now, so we decided to head on over and check it out. On the drive there we dropped down to Santa Rosa Island once we got to Navarre and drove with water on both sides of us the whole way. There were little big, colorful beach houses everywhere. If you know me this excites me b/c I love those things! All of the colors are just so bright and inviting. I decided the teal-blue one's are my absolute favorite. Even though sometimes the speed limit was 20 MPH it was still a nice drive. Did we drive it back? No. It wasn't that great. We opted for the quicker, main-land drive, but I am glad we drove it at least one way.

There is the beach!!!

We were laughing that it looked kind of cold out there and the sand looks almost like snow. Especially when they have to plow it off of the road.

At the very opposite end of this island was our destination, Fort Pickens. Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida, and its navy yard. The fort was begun in 1829 and completed in 1834. Even though there were no huge battles here so much of the original structure is still in tact that it is was so neat to see. One fun fact is that Fort Pickens was one of only four forts in the South that were never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War. Of course Tim was wondering about ghost stories so after our tour we went into the book shop. I spotted a Haunting of For Pickens book, we were in luck. But better then that Tim recognized the guy on the cover. It was the man working behind the counter! So we got a signed copy and he told us his most favorite story. It is called Minassas and is about a big red bloodhound dog. Since the Union troops occupied the fort in the Civil War they didn't get "news" like they could have today. The conferedates wanted them to know that they were winning battles all over the south so they would bring boats across the bay and throw newspapers out onto the shore. Well after the Confederates won the first Manassas (Battle of Bull Run to the Union troops) they wanted to make a bigger statement so they dropped a dog off on the shore with a note: His name is Manassas and we are coming back to get him just like we did Manassis. History states that never happened but one of the Union officers adopted the dog and it became the Fort's mascot. During an invasion a Union solider heard russling in the bushes and shot the dog on accident. Flash forward to today and they say there isn't a night that goes by that if you are staying on the property that you can't hear howling coming from inside the fort. And he said about every year and a half to two years someone will come to the visitors center and tell them there is a dog in mine shaft number five and you need to come and get him out of there. They'll ask what kind of dog and they say a red bloodhound. 

They used a system to collect the rain water and that was how they got fresh water on the island. It had rained early that morning and you could feel it dripping down the pipe.

Tim looking in one of the gun powder rooms

She said the ground is now about 11 feet higher than it would have been back in the day.

Standing where a canon would have been

Looking out where a canon would have been pointed

Inside of the fort. In a later photo you are going to see a "For within a fort." This is the back side of the big black structure. Once aircraft became a part of the military they started have to disguise their forts better.

This is the big canon on top of the fort you could see in the first picture up above

Looking back at the main entrance from atop the fort

There would have been a canon right there that was big enough to shoot over the wall.

There used to be a gun powder room right there, but it blew up taking most of that section of the fort with it. Also, can you see Geronimo's face on the edge of the wall? It is kind of looking up at the sky. His chin is the big piece sticking out the most. He was captured and held at this very fort.

Soliders and families stayed in these houses. There are only about six left but at the time there were 30 on the point of this island

This is another area just outside of the fort walls

They opened up the lookout tower, which never happens. Tim and I both go a bit shaky towards the top.

First time out on the beach (during this trip)

Toes in the water

After Fort Pickens we headed to the Henderson Park Inn. I was excited to get here and see if it was going to be as great as it seemed. Well it is. It is beautiful and the amenities are out of this world. Upon check-in there were fresh grapes, flowers, chocolates, wine and sweet note welcoming us to our room. Free (well it is included) huge gourmet buffet breakfast, free lunch, free happy hour from 4-5 (which we took advantage of yesterday and met some nice folks), beach chairs, umbrella, towels, snacks, sodas, coffee all day, bikes, boardgames, geez you name it, it's here. After our quick tour we got our suits on and found ourselves a cozy spot on the beach. We were only out there an hour maybe and then made our way back to the Tiki Bar for happy hour. Like I said we met some nice people and say down there until 7:30 p.m. We decided if were going to each dinner we better get ready so we headed upstairs. About an hour later we hopped back on the beach and walked down to The Back Porch. It was about 45 minutes but it was on the beach and stars were shining. Side note, walking on sand really does hurt your feet and ankles. Ouchie. The way back was quicker it felt like b/c we new exactly where we were going. On the way we knew it was near those hotels over there, but we weren't super positive how far.

View from happy hour

The Back Porch

By road it said 2.3 mi, 44 min. We opted for the beach. I was still about 44 min. but we really don't know how far it was.

Being adventurous again. Crab stuffed flounder. It was awesome!!!

PS Tim has been sleeping and showering :)

1 comment:

  1. I loved this blog! It makes me want to go and visit this place! Love the pics and love love love the history part of it. The Civil War stuff is so interesting!!! Glad you are having fun, friend!!!!


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