A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
Our two weeks in St. Augustine were a flurry of boat school, shore excursions, shopping for boat parts and food, and time with friends and family. We fell in love with the city: the lush vegetation, the climate, the old home and buildings and narrow streets, the Spanish-style architecture, outdoor seating at restaurants, and the beaches. Although we hadn't intended to spend such a long time in St. Augustine, we were glad in the end that circumstances (weather, minor repairs/improvements, a family emergency) had required us to stay a bit longer in this incredibly beautiful city.
The priority, of course, is boat school, and we try to have school first every day that we are not on a passage. Eoin particularly enjoys his social studies curriculum on ancient civilizations, while Marin likes language arts, social studies, and reading best. Isla's favorite subject is math. Sometimes we do one lesson in 10 days, while other times we are able to to do 1-2 lessons in a 5-day period. It all depends on our travel, boat repair, and provisioning schedules. Having to be flexible is teaching important life lessons to all of us! The kids (and adults) need to be able to effortlessly get back in to the school groove after a few days off for a passage or other commitments. The requisite flexibility and adaptability are skills we are all still developing!
Once the morning's lessons were complete, we'd have some lunch or go to shore for lunch. Some of our favorite places were the Taco Shop, South-A-Philly, Cafe Dolce for delicious crepes, The Hyppo for creative Mexican-style paletas (examples of flavors we sampled are chocolate sea salt, gin pear, strawberry basil, banilla vanana, coconut coconut), The Prince of Wales for English pub food, The Floridian on my birthday for excellent farm to table fare, and Maple Street Biscuit Company. It was very important to make sure to sample the local cuisine because we don't want to eat too much of the food we have stored on the boat before we even leave the U.S!
We also visited St. Augustine and Vilano Beaches. One afternoon we stopped at St. Augustine Beach for a walk and beach combing. Unfortunately, we were unprepared for the beach (no towels or swimsuits) s0 the kids only waded in the water. A few days later while I was pushing a heavily loaded cart through the Publix in Vilano Beach Brian took the kids to visit the beach. Although once again unprepared for the beach (one day we'll learn), Eoin and Isla just couldn't stay out of the water.
Today after morning school and lunch, the Counting Stars and Alkemi families went to visit the Castillo de San Marcos. This old fort is the dominant feature of the St. Augustine waterfront. Construction began in 1672 when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. It was transferred to British control in 1763 as a condition of the Treaty of Paris and was renamed Fort St. Mark. Twenty years later, Florida was returned to the Spanish, who held the territory until 1819 when it was ceded to the United States. The fort was again renamed, this time as Fort Marion. For a time, it was used as a military prison to hold members of various Native American tribes, including the Seminole leader, Osceola, and members of Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apaches. Designated a National Monument in 1924, the fort was removed from military service and transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, and renamed Castillo de San Marcos in 1942.
We attended a Ranger Talk about the fort and the unique properties of the the locally-quarried coquina rock with which it was constructed. Before beginning his presentation, the ranger brought a 14-pound cannonball around for everyone to hold. We were all impressed with its weight! The ranger spoke quite animatedly for about 20 minutes and we all learned a great deal about the fort, its history and functions, and of course, the coquina.
Following the talk, we explored the grounds and different rooms of the fort, finishing with a climb to the top to view the city and harbor below.
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars