Fort Mantanzas, St Augustine
Fort Mantanzas was the very first place we visited once we arrived in St. Augustine. After over hearing me telling a couple ladies at work that I was going to St. Augustine for the weekend, another co-worker started giving me a long list of places to go. Fort Mantanzas was one of her recommendations. The fact that admission is FREE automatically pushed it to the top of my list of "places to see" once we reached our destination. I mean, you don't have to tell me twice. Not only was it free, but we actually enjoyed ourselves and preferred this Fort over another one that we visited (more on that later). Upon arrival we found out that we had just missed the ferry and would have to wait for another 30 minutes or so. We thought about walking the nature trail while we waited, but we got itchy within seconds of going over there and opted to wait in the car instead.
The day started off gray and stormy, but finally started to clear up as the ferry made its way back to pick us up. The storm was so bad that morning that although we caught the last ferry, it was only the second one to go out that day. Being on the water was breezy and beautiful. We spent the ride over trying to spot manatees and talking about Grey. We seldom leave the house without him, so going away for a whole weekend was an adjustment.
The European history of Fort Matanzas National Monument begins with an incident almost 200 years before the construction of the fort at Matanzas - the Spanish massacre of French forces in 1565. It took place near or possibly within the area which now makes up the monument. The incident initiated Spanish control of Florida for 235 years and led to the naming of the Matanzas River. (via National Park Service)
Fort Mantanzas is small in size but big in history. We were able to see how the soldiers lived while the Park Ranger shared the deep history about the Fort. She also made sure to warn us about the rattlesnakes so that we wouldn't venture off too far - they don't call it "Rattlesnake Island" for no reason. Like the Old Jail and the other sites that we visited, we learned so much about the history of St. Augustine during the 450th Birthday Anniversary.