Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Old Florida Series: Part 3

Next stop on our little tour is the town of Fernandina, located at the north end of Amelia Island, the northernmost of all of Florida's barrier islands, with Georgia just across the inlet to its north. Being so close to the ocean naturally lends Fernandina to take advantage of the abundance of seafood. Each year on the first weekend in May they hold the "Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival" to celebrate that little crustaceon that tastes so darn good when battered and deep fried.

Shrimp boats docked in Fernandina .

The festival is the "Isle of Eight Flags" festival because the island has been under the flag of eight nations over the years: France (1562-1565), Spain (1565-1763), England (1763-1783), the Patriots of Amelia Isand (1812), the Green Cross of Florida (1817), Mexican Revolutionary Flag (1817), Confederate Flag (1861-1862), United States (1821-Present).

Some of the older buildings downtown.

Part of the rich history of the area includes that of pirates. (Now the mascot of the local high school.) Pirates as "great" as Captain Morgan, Calico Jack, Black Bart, and Luis Aury all put in to port there over the years.

"Peg Leg Pete" the pirate statue downtown.

Also important in the towns history is the railroad. Before and during the Civil War, there were only two major railroads in Florida - one ran from Jacksonville west past Tallahassee, and the other ran from Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico to Fernandina on the Atlantic. This made Fernandina a very strategic location for trade and an important military target, leading to the construction of various fortifications over the years, culminating in the US built Fort Clinch, which we will explore tomorrow.

A gentleman decked out in historic train conductor garb.

Finally, I must mention a lovely little cafe we ate at called the Happy Tomato Cafe. Wonderful pulled pork and pulled turkey Bar-B-Que (there is more on the menu, but we opted for BBQ). Great stuff, the way it is supposed to be made. If you are ever in town and want some good Florida BBQ, this is a good place to go downtown.

BBQ Turkey and all the fixins'. Yummy!


dot said...

What an interesting area to visit. I love the pirate statue and one of those BBQ sandwiches would be great right now!

Jonna said...

International... very intelluctual.