Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and Fort Clinch

The Enterprise - atomic nuclear powered aircraft carrier
Statue of pirate outside of Bretts Waterway Cafe Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Lighthouse - Fernandina Beach
Purple House near Paper Mill in Fernandina Beach (taken just for Krista)
Pelicans by Brett's (taken for Susie)

Inside Brett's Restaurant
My French Onion Soup (delicious)
June and friend
Outside of Brett's
The Marina at Brett's
The sea shells (just beautiful)
Some of the beaches we toured

Taken from the ferry that we rode from Mayport to make our road trip up the coast to Amelia Island.

January 31st - Tuesday - Cool - Beautiful blue sky 65 degrees

Today was a catch up day after a couple wonderful days of making the rounds of seeing some beautiful sights.

We started early and took the ferry across the St. John's River to see up close what we see from our RV windows, I would not have believed what lay across the river. The beaches were absolutely beautiful and the sea shells were like I think of the snow flakes at home. We talk about God not making two snow flakes alike, and I wonder if there are two sea shells alike. That is why I took the picture. I knew I couldn't take all of them back home with me. Steve was driving and I had him stop the car so I could get out and take pictures, so we all got out and we all looked for shells and Lou loves to run on the beach, so he had a short run before we were off for our day of sight seeing.

Steve knows all of the state parks and we drove through three of them, Fort Clinch, Talbot Islands, and Huegnot, although I think the last was a county park, and all were interesting in all different ways offering everything from horseback riding to canoeing, biking and birding. Anyone that enjoys the outside would enjoy camping at anyone of these campsites.

Our quest took us to another lighthouse and we found that this lighthouse was actually constructed in 1820 on Georgia's Cumberland Island, across the channel from Amelia. Eventually, the channel shifted southward, making the light ineffective as a navigational aid. In 1834, a group of Mariners, Merchants of the Florida Territory petitioned Congress for the lighthouse to be moved to Amelia Island.

As the light rotates, the lens sends a flash of light every 10 seconds, which can be seen for 16 nautical miles.

I am fascinated by life in the Lighthouse and have done much reading on the subject. The poor "keeper of the light" duties were never ending. Oil burning lamps had to be filled nightly. The keeper carried buckets of oil up more than 70 steps to the lantern. Every four hours, keepers had to wind the clockwork mechanism. Winding the cable pulled a 40 pound weight to the top and as it descended, it caused the light to revolve. Keepers also maintained the tower, house and the outbuildings.

We ate lunch at a delightful restaurant on the waterfront called Brett's Waterway Cafe. It was beautifully decorated and the menu was more than we could have wished for. I ordered Five Onion Soup and you can see from the picture, it looked wonderful and it tasted as good as it looked and after I ate that I had fish and chips with cole slaw, that was freshly breaded, I worked on it until I had eaten all of the fish. The chips were as good as the fish, but sadly I had to leave some of them on my plate. We all agreed it was a wonderful lunch and that we needed to walk the streets and see the sights and that is what we did.

On our way home, we stopped at a fresh fish market, and Lou purchased fresh shrimp by the pound and while I gave Estee a bath and a hair cut, he cooked two pound of shrimp and tonight for dinner we had a huge tossed salad with fresh shrimp in it. You talk about something that tasted good. Yummy!!

Today we were blessed with the ship at the top of the page that came in an spent the day, our base is filled with navy men tonight, as it will only be in port tonight and will leave tomorrow, I am still amazed at the size of these ships that come right past our windows. I told Steve I would like to stay right here for another month.

We did get tickets today to go to a dinner theater on Friday night. Lou has never done this so this will be something new for him. I am excited for him.

We got to talk to Matthew tonight that was a first since we have been away thanks to Skype, he even smiled at us, but he doesn't have all of that figured out yet. Tomorrow, it cleaning day and want to do some laundry, and Thursday, we think we have to change sites.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Day at the Beach and Strawberry Pie

Sand Castle complete with a moat and rubber duckies
Steve and Lou looking for sand dollars
June and Steve searching for special shells
Lou on a mission
"look what I found"
I got my side done before Lou did
Lou finishing his side

January 28th - Saturday - Beautiful sunny day, but a bit cooler 68 degrees

I spent the morning making a fresh strawberry pie with strawberries from Plant City. I used the recipe that I used last year that used Jello that is cooked. We all like it, and tonight after dinner we invited June and Steve over for dessert and coffee and enjoyed the fresh berries.

I also got the ironing done in time to fix lunch which consisted of homemade Lentil soup which really hit the spot with the cooler temperatures. After the dishes were done, we all donned our jackets and set off for a walk on the beach. It was a nice afternoon to walk the beach, just a slight breeze, the tide was just going out, so a perfect time to look for choice shells. We did find some large pieces of sand dollars, and some interesting shells, that we put in my sand bucket and carried back to the motor home, to be washed and placed on the picnic table to dry and make the trip home.

We decided it had warmed up enough to take advantage of the early afternoon to wash the motor home down and that job is not completed. I borrowed Steve's ladder and even got the windows washed. It seemed so good to eat dinner tonight and view the river tonight through clean windows.

Lou took a walk up to the chapel, while I was fixing dinner, to check on the time for our service in the morning. We can finally attend church in the morning. We are both looking forward to that. It is supposed to be cold here tonight, in fact, we have frost warnings for tomorrow night. So will have to search my closet for something warm to wear to church. I did bring a shawl that my sister made for me years ago and I imagine that will accompany me to church in the morning.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seeing the Sights - St. Augustine, FL

Cannon at the Fort
June and Steve

Looking down on the Courtyard
The Gun Deck

The Entrance to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine

Flagler College
Flagler College
St. Augustine Lighthouse
See Lou and Steve at the top
Entrance to the St. Augustine Lighthouse
Statue of the Lion at the entrance of the Bridge of Lions
Sign going into the Fountain of Youth
Lou, Ponce de Leon and June
Merry - Go - Round at entrance of St. Augustine

January 27th Windy - Sunny and Cooler 65 degrees

We had a little shower during the night and lots of wind and hopefully the pollen has moved.

As you can see we have been very busy and I will try to bring you up to date on our travels. We spent a delightful fun packed day in St. Augustine. We wondered about leaving Estee, but she did just great, with a nice walk in the morning and the A/C motor home, just like being at home. Lou left the television on for her and we found her in her bed asleep when we arrived back home.

We started with the Fountain of Youth, thinking we would all drink deeply from that and that would revive all of us and we would be "fit as a fiddle" for the rest of the day and endure whatever came our way. Gosh, we couldn't see any difference. From there we traveled to the open air market to shop for fresh fruits and veggies and all types of flea market items. Lou and I got lots of fresh veggies, in fact last evening for dinner we cooked summer squash that was very tasty.

Then we traveled across the Bridge of Lions which takes us across the St. Augustine Inlet to the Anastasia Island where the St. Augustine Light House is located. It was built in 1874 of brick and iron at a cost of $100,000. The lighthouse is 165 feet high with eight flights of spiral staircase. Its bold black and white stripes serve as a daylight landmark. The Lightkeeper's House is a Maritime Museum. I had been having problems breathing that morning, so didn't dare try to climb up the stairs, but Lou and Steve did and you can see from the pictures where Lou and Steve did reach the top.

After the climb of the lighthouse, the guys thought they had worked up an appetite and we drove back into downtown St. Augustine and had lunch, where else, but a seafood restaurant. Steve and I chose clam chowder and a salad, Lou had fried shrimp and June picked a Caesar salad with some sort of a seafood wrap that she shared with Steve. After a time of refreshment we traveled on to The Fort and that was a wonderful way to end our afternoon.

The "Castle" incorporates over 335 years of America's history and culture. Construction of the Castillo de San Maracos started in 1672 making it one of the oldest standing structures in North America. This fortress has served six different flags, survived hurricanes, and withstood bombardments and sieges. The structure has undergone many changes over the years but appears today much as it would have looked at its final completion in 1756.

It was initially built by the Spanish to protect their empire in America. Engineer Ignacio Daza incorporated a type of fortress construction called the Bastion system. The star-like outline of the Castle is formed by diamond shaped projections at each corned of the fort, this design eliminates blind spots for the guards in the sentry boxes and increased the fort's firepower by allowing multiple cannons to fire on the same target, creating a crossfire effect.

We all found it to be very interesting. Lou and I had toured a fort similar to this in Key West, but found this a little different, that this one had a guard house. Once finished walking through this, we were ready to get back in the car and let Lou drive us back to our camp site for an evening of relaxation agreeing we had all enjoyed our day out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tour of Mayport, FL

ship carrying reefers
Navy Ship with sailors on board
Helicopter in training

Ship in dry dock being repaired
Ships awaiting time to return to sea
Looking at RV Park from across St. John's River
The Gettysburg going down the St. John's River
Old Lighthouse in Mayport
Very Old House in Mayport
Ship going down St. John's River tonight at dinnertime
January 24th - Tuesday 70 degrees

I have to tell you about out dinner out last evening first. We went to The Fish Company Restaurant which actually is located in Atlantic Beach, Fl and what a delightful place it was. The food was wonderful. Susie and Noell, it was almost as good as The Sanitary. Lou and I chose an assortment and two plates. The personnel in the kitchen divided the food in the kitchen and presented it to us on two plates, which was a surprise to us. We had a delightful white fish, crab cake, and shrimp and as my sides I chose rice and red beans and cole slaw and of course hush puppies came with it. We enjoyed a glass of wine and smoked fish and crackers for an appetizer. It was a very enjoyable evening. The nice thing about all of this is we get to do this all over again on the third of February for June's birthday.

Today after we had lunch and did up our lunch dishes, we took off for a tour of Mayport and the base. You can see from the sign Mayport was settled in the 1562.

I have tried to label the pictures that I have posted so you will know what they are. The water way that is in from of our camp site is The St. John's River it is hard to believe that it is a river, but it is, it is dredged to be 40 to 50 feet deep to allow these ships to come in and out, they have small boats with pilots that go out to meet them and bring them in and guide them out, so we usually have warning that they are coming in and going out. They even bring cruise ships in here.

It is a very busy base, with ships and plane going all of the time. Tonight we have heard fighter planes going, so that is a different noise, which Lou and I had been used to hearing at MacDill.

Tomorrow we are getting up early and heading out to St. Augustine. There are many things there we would like to see, but as usual time runs out, so we will see what time allows and there is always another day, God willing.

Thank you one and all of all of the birthday greetings, my e-mail box was very full and I tried to get back to everyone, and if I didn't I promise to do so very soon.