Fort Matanzas: Small but Mighty

Black Friday usually means hitting the malls and emptying bank accounts, and while I’ve done these things in the past, I have in recent years started to hate the chaos associated with holiday shopping. So this year, instead of standing in checkout lines or elbowing people for the must-have deal, we took a leisurely trip to St. Augustine for the day.

20141128_102037

Our first stop was Fort. Matanzas National Monument. I had never been to this tiny yet significant outpost that kept St. Augustine firmly gripped in the hands of the Spanish. Upon arrival, we had to sign up for a boat trip as this fort is across the inlet on Rattlesnake Island and is only accessible with a park ranger serving as guide. We had about 15 minutes to burn before boarding the boat, so I spent some time fooling around with my camera on the beach.

20141128_102516The boat ride was quick, but riding over the cool waters made the 55 degree day downright frigid. Within ten minutes we were disembarking and following the ranger to the base of the fort. She went on to explain that once the fort was manned, always with five men and one officer, that the fort in St. Augustine, located only 14 miles to the north, was never attacked from this direction. That probably had a little something to do with the cannons that could fire up to three miles.

20141128_102417

20141128_104826_Richtone(HDR)

After the ranger’s introduction and brief history, we spent the next 25 minutes exploring the outside foundation, peeking into the two rooms, and climbing narrow ladder to the roof of the fort where a Spanish flag still flies. Inside the tiny rooms were the impossibly small beds. A table was situated in front of a fire place. Cramped quarters to say the least.

20141128_110909

20141128_105254

20141128_110056_resized

20141128_105556

20141128_110027_resized

20141128_104543

20141128_110320_resized

20141128_110843

Then our time was up and it was back on the boat for the chilling ride back to the other side of the inlet. Before leaving I made sure to get my National Park Passport Book stamped in the visitor center. While the visit was short, being transported back in history for a few minutes was so much more meaningful than fighting hordes of holiday shoppers. In fact this might become one of our new Thanksgiving traditions. The best part…no fighting for a parking space.
20141128_112611

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Fort Matanzas: Small but Mighty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s