May 1, 2009

St. Augustine

To complete our tour of early American History, we needed to visit America's oldest city - St. Augustine. On our move to cooler climates in the north, we stopped to visit for a few days.

The old part of the city boasts narrow cobblestone streets, quaint cafes, interesting shops and tons of historical sites.

Of course, Kim had a particular interest in the oldest wooden schoolhouse. So did all the children in town visiting on field trips.

We found a great pizza place with the best pizza that we had ever eaten. It was so good that we ended up going back again for lunch the next day. If you're ever in St. Augustine, we highly recommend having a slice of pizza from this place.

No trip to St. Augustine would be complete without a visit to Castillo de San Marcos. Construction on the fort started in 1672. The fort is a well preserved structure made with coquina blocks quarried from a nearby island. Coquina is a sedimentary stone made from crushed seashells. The stone is a very good material for forts because of its softness. Cannon balls would sink into the wall rather than shatter or puncture it.

Re-enactors in period dress are always around the fort. They often give historical weapons demonstrations as well as presentations on the life and experiences of the colonists who dwelt here. We happened to catch a cannon shooting demonstration while we were there.

We also enjoyed a few more sights around the city before heading back to the campground.

One quick story about our experience in the city before I head on to the next post. We were walking around in a few antique stores when Sam spied this whale bone carving. After striking a good deal he carried it proudly home. Looking it up on the internet later on that evening, he discovered that it was a mass produced piece of art. No real find. Oh well. It was returned to the antique shop the next day.