St. Augustine, Brunswick, Savannah and Charleston

Yes they each deserve their own post, but there’s a theme here.

After the manatee at Crystal River we moved over to be close to St. Augustine so we could begin to explore the historic cities of the Southeast coast. And first on our list was the oldest in the US, St. Augustine, founded by the Spanish in 1565. It’s a lovely, low slung city on the North Florida Atlantic coast.

As most of you know, the entrance to St. Augustine is dominated by The Castillo de San Marcos, built in the 1600’s to protect the Spanish from the horrible English to the North. They wouldn’t want the English to steal all the gold they had just stolen from the natives in Central America. The more you wander the fort, the more you realize what a precarious existence it was for those early settlers. They were a long way from home.

After the fort we wandered historic St. Augustine, which is interesting and kitschy at the same time. The narrow pedestrian only street is lined with restaurants, bars and shops that cater to tourists. At the same time, some of those bars and shops are in legitimately historic buildings that have been here for centuries. It’s just an interesting mix.

After a little time to also look in on Jacksonville, we headed North to Brunswick, Georgia. It was a fun smaller town on the way to the fancy island resorts. We found a killer distillery, Richland Rum, in Brunswick, It was fun to ride bikes on Jekell Island, where the rich folk from the late 1800’s came to play. There’s also a great Sea Turtle hospital there.

We then moved north to camp in South Carolina, in the Low Country, so we could access both Savannah and Charleston.

Savannah I’ve been to before, but Karin had not. We parked the truck and pulled the bicycles out so we could get the feel of the dozens of tree shaded squares and parks that the city is known for. It’s just lovely. And since the concerns about virus are rising, we have been doing a lot of bicycling. It’s great way to see an area, but also not get to close to folks.

Charleston was next on the list, and here we broke the rule of social distancing for what will probably be the last time in a long time. We took a horse drawn carriage tour of downtown. There were other people near, but not too close. We had our own row. But as I said, it’s likely the last folks we’ll get that close to for some time.

Karin’s issue with walking has been kicking up (need to find her brand of chiropractor) so this was really the only choice to learn a little about the city. And we did. What a lovely city. So many historic old homes, renovated and preserved. We loved it, and want to come back.

Speaking of coming back, one thing we’ve been doing in all these stops is seeing how far the towns are from their marina facilities. Answer, not far at all. St. Augustine, Brunswick, Savannah (Well, close) and Charleston are all along the Intracoastal Waterway. That’s a series of channels, rivers and dredged canals running from Boston, Massachusetts, southward along the Atlantic Seaboard and around the southern tip of Florida, then following the Gulf Coast all the way to Brownsville, Texas. There’s a route people do called The Great American Loop, where you go up the east coast, up the Hudson River to the Erie Canal, through Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan over to Chicago, and down the Chicago, Illinois, Mississippi and Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway to Mobile. Then its around the Gulf coast to Key West….and back to where ever you started. We’d love to do that loop one day and stop in each of these cities for a while along the way.

Well, it’s time to point West-ish. We have a week to spend at a solitary beach spot in the Florida panhandle, then we’ll be heading for Texas. How long we get to stop there will kind of depend on the craziness around the novel corona virus. #washyourhands #flattenthecurve

(All of this was written before the shit hit the fan. Just posting 4/1 as I’m catching up)

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