Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fort Pickens and the beach at night

While staying here in this part of Florida in the RV, we have a "rule" that we must leave the RV and "do something" every weekend. It's super important for morale and sanity. Monday through Friday are for work and school, and weekends are reserved for fun, family bonding, sunshine & fresh air/exercise.  

We've been entertaining the idea of attempting to float the Blackwater River on tubes with the whole family, but it's been a bit tricky to actually coordinate. We planned to go this weekend, but the weather seems to have shifted, and it was simply too chilly to risk being on the river for 4-5 hours with the littles. Soooo....we decided to go explore Fort Pickens instead. We decided to drive along Santa Rosa Island, so it took nearly an hour and half to get there, but the drive right next to the beach and surf was so beautiful!

Ready to enter the ruins of Fort Pickens
A good view to show how close the fort is to the ocean
Fort Pickens was built in 1829 to 1834, the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida, and its Navy yard. It is one of only four forts in the South that was never occupied by Confederates during the Civil War. You can explore the fort with self-guided tour brochures located just outside the visitor center.  It was nice & cool inside, with a pleasant breeze blowing through the fort, and warm & sunny outside. The ants were kind of crazy, so you had to be careful not to stand still for long because they'd climb on your feet & up your legs! The kids had fun exploring the dark tunnels & such with flashlights. Steve tasked Shanan with taking pictures, and she might have taken a few...or a gazillion.

You were free to roam the whole complex as you wished
Except for drills these guns were never fired; the fort was never used in any active battles
The fort is very much intact (for being 170 years old), except for the section in the upper right that was destroyed in an accident
When we felt like we'd seen the place well enough, we left & decided to eat dinner at Thailand's Best in Navarre, thanks to a coupon that Steve had. Steve was quite enchanted with the iced Thai coffee. Jake was a little too loud (isn't he always?? & aren't most 3 year-old boys??). Food was good, but it wasn't exactly Thailand's best. ;)

Every photo has Jake making some kind of silly face
A family that goes to jail together...

Steve surprised us all by suggesting we go back for a walk on the beach after dinner. Of course, he admonished everyone to not get wet or sandy. Who do you think listened? Who do you think disregarded that bit of instruction?  Jake decided to run....and fall down...and run...and fall down...and get very sandy & wet! He had and made so much noise, but that's totally okay at the beach! I had a blast chasing him & trying to keep him from actually going in the water--no small task, I might add. Steve was a good sport & didn't get annoyed by Jake's thoroughly sandy, soaked apparel. I might have stripped him naked for the ride home....Jake, that is. ;)

We enjoyed a surprise stop in Navarre Beach at sunset
Intentionally spending time together with the whole family on the weekends is definitely something that we all see as a big positive for living in the RV again.  RV life isn't a perfect life, but it's definitely a good life!

Pure cuteness
Starting to feel Fort weariness at this point

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