Planning Florida trip - suggestions?

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luinrina

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After very much enjoying my trip to Virginia and the Gettysburg reenactment this summer, I wanted to repeat that kind of vacationing and go to another reenactment. @captaindrew keeps recommending Olustee. So I planned a two weeks north Florida ACW trip around the Olustee reenactment in February 2020.

Thanks to @bdtex 's link to this lovely book about the ACW in Florida and other threads about Florida in the Traveler's companion, I've assembled the following agenda:

Day 0: in the evening arrival in Orlando
Day 1: Gainesville: Old Gainesville Depot, Evergreen Cemetery, Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation, Confederate monuments at Alachua County Courthouse grounds
Day 2: Cedar Key: Seahorse Key Lighthouse, Museum State Park
Day 3: Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
Day 4: Tallahassee: State Capitol museum, Fort Houstoun, Museum of Florida History, Old City Cemetery, Call-Collins House “The Grove”
Day 5: Fort Ward (San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park), St. Marks Lighthouse, Suwanee River State Park
Day 6: Olustee reenactment: Civil War Memorial Service in Oaklawn Cemetery, Olustee battlefield hiking
Day 7: Olustee reenactment
Day 8: Olustee reenactment
Day 9: Jacksonville: Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, Confederate Camp Milton, Evergreen Cemetery, Old City Cemetery, Confederate Monument, Monument to CS Women
Day 10: Amelia Island: Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island Lighthouse, Bosque Bello Cemetery
Day 11: St. Augustine: Fort Augustine (Castillo de San Marco National Landmark), St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Loring Memorial, Conf. Monument on Plaza de la Constitucion, St. Augustine National Cemetery, San Lorenzo Cemetery, Tolomato Cemetery
Day 12: Orlando: Confederate Monument, Greenwood Cemetery, in the afternoon/evening departure home

Am I missing anything ACW related in these locations? Anything not worth stopping at?

Does anyone have suggestions I need/should see in this area that's not ACW related?

Also, if anyone has book suggestions about the Civil War in Florida, shoot! :smile:

Many thanks in advance! :thumbsup:
 

OldSarge79

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If you have a little extra time, you might want to consider the Gamble Mansion at Parish, Florida. It's about an hour or so south of Orlando. Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State, stayed at the Gamble Mansion on his flight from the Federals at the end of the war. The place also has a Seminole War history.
A book called Florida's Peace River Frontier has a good bit about the Civil War in central Florida, and might be worth getting.
Since you asked about non-ACW sites, I strongly recommend the Dade Battlefield, just off I-75 at Bushnell, about 30 minutes north of Tampa. Over 100 US troops massacred by the Seminoles there in 1835. Dade's Last Command is an excellent book about it. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.
I was born, raised and spent the first 44 years of my life at Sarasota. Not a lot of history around there, but the Manatee River, just to the north, was frequently the pathway for Union raids into the interior of the state by boat.

 
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Eleanor Rose

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Whew @luinrina ! You may not have time to do any more Lu! I'd recommend taking a cruise with Amelia River Cruises & Charters in Fernandina Beach. They offer a cruise to Cumberland Island (2.5hrs) and a cruise to see the Dungeness mansion ruins (1.5hrs). We've never done this, but we anticipate making a visit to this area this fall so I've been doing some research.
https://www.ameliarivercruises.com/cruises/cumberland-island-tour/

Also grab a drink at the 1878 Palace Saloon. It's supposedly one of Florida's oldest bars and it sounds really neat. If you have a hankering to ride a horse, you can ride one on the beach at Amelia Island State Park. Our friend @NH Civil War Gal got riding on my mind. I've never done it and Tina's rides always sound amazing. Now I just have to convince Douglas. :giggle: Make some time to walk through the Fernandina Beach Historic District. The area is famous for vernacular architecture. Make sure you try some conch fritters!!!

While you're in St. Augustine, make sure you explore the Flagler College Campus. It's absolutely gorgeous and right in the heart of town. I also highly recommend the Lightner Museum @ 75 King Street. You can't go wrong with dinner at Harry’s (46 Avenida Menendez).
 

carrie1

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Key West is worth a visit! "Delmonico's" (218 Duval Street) was still known by that name then when I was stationed there in 1975, and there was a bar there which originated probably with the original facility of 1863. Unfortunately, it was not being used as a regular restaurant when I was there. The sign read "Delmonico's 1863", from what I recall. In the 1930s', so I found out from a publication written by the State of Florida Department of Instruction, it was known as "Delmonico's Grand Spanish Restaurant". I have wanted more information on it since I had left and finally may have a photo from a friend, still coming. If you get a chance, visit Fort Taylor. Parts of the old Naval station are still there, and there is Mallory Square, named after the Secretary of the Confederate Navy Stephen Mallory. The town is full of history, both maritime and Civil War. If I remember correctly, the city was the headquarters of the Union Navy's West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Imagine what one saw there, and those that trekked through Fort Taylor, and Delmonico's. The "Audubon House" is a post-colonial home where the well-known naturalist had stayed and is wonderfully preserved. Below are some of the photos that I took at Fort Taylor when we were not working. The two black and whites are from Photo Airman Bruce Eichhorst of Wisconsin. We were "the sand hogs" of Fort Taylor. I am still wanting photos of the graffiti in the brig, most of which had to be from the War.

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carrie1

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I don't doubt that but on this visit I'll be staying in the central/northern part of Florida only. Key West will be on another trip. Nonetheless, thanks very much for the suggestions and pictures!

I was hoping on another visit. I have not been back there since 1975. Enjoy St. Augustine, if you get a chance! During the war, Mayport, where many of our naval ships are located, was called "Mayport Mills".
 

bdtex

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Also, if anyone has book suggestions about the Civil War in Florida, shoot! :smile:

Many thanks in advance! :thumbsup:
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park is not going to take all day. The day I went there,we also went to Fort Ward (San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park) and St. Marks Lighthouse. Get an early start and you would have plenty of time to do all 3 right. The rest of my party were not early risers/starters like me. They were family members who are also not as enthusiastic as me. Had I been on one of my usual solo tours,I'd have been out the door and on the road 3 hours earlier.
 
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22ndGa

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Lu,
Too bad I cannot be your personal tour guide for Jacksonville! I was born and raised there! I can tell you this, I think that 3 days at Olustee you will be Olusteed out! I would skip any Olustee events for Friday and just go to Jacksonville. Spend Saturday and Sunday at Olustee and you will get enough of the place. The museum of Southern History is at 4304 Herschel St. in Jacksonville and has an incredible display of artifacts. I was once a member of the board of directors, until I chose to retire from the Police Department and go to work for the State of Florida in another law enforcement capacity. If you go on Friday, the Battle of Olustee diorama will have been moved to the Olustee event, so you can see it there on Saturday and Sunday. I think you will enjoy the museum.
If you go to Joseph Stilwell Middle School, you will be at the location of Camp Finegan and the cavalry camp. I went to that school and we often found artifacts in the athletic field. I still have a padlock that I found there around 1968. Check Google Earth and you will see how to get there. Where Lenox Ave ends at I-295 you will see a wooded area to the Northwest. That's where I found a Springfield barrel and lock with a metal detector. The intersection of Lenox Avenue and Old Middleburg Rd. is where a significant battle was fought and the spot is mostly unexcavated. Look east at the creek and that was the battle line. You will see that it is still wooded. No doubt that many artifacts lie buried there. Google the skirmish at Camp Mooney. There is a cemetery there now. These events were part of the battle of Olustee. Jacksonville changed hands 7 times during the Civil War.
 
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archieclement

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I would suggest Battle of the Forts at Pensacola, Fort Pickens, McRee and Barrancas', and of course the naval aviation Museum is top notch.

Fort Mcree is gone, but walk to site on Perdido Key, with usually F/A 18's flying over on training flights

Also puts Battle of Mobile Bay within reach :D
 
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gjpratt

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A book called Florida's Peace River Frontier has a good bit about the Civil War in central Florida, and might be worth getting.
Since you asked about non-ACW sites, I strongly recommend the Dade Battlefield, just off I-75 at Bushnell, about 30 minutes north of Tampa. Over 100 US troops massacred by the Seminoles there in 1835. Dade's Last Command is an excellent book about it. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.
This recommendation was exactly what I was going to make. I second OldSarge’s motion.
 

luinrina

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@bdtex , since you so kindly provided me with brochures about Marianna and have been there: Will half a day be enough to drive over from Tallahassee, do the Marianna walking tour, visit the Riverside cemetery, look at the pre-ACW houses and maybe even head to Greenwood before driving back to Tallahassee? After moving St. Mark's Lighthouse and Fort Ward to Day 3, Day 5 is so far only filled with the Suwanee River State Park. I could shuffle some of the things on my agenda for Tallahasee from Day 4 to Day 5 to squeeze in Marianna for the morning of Day 4. What do you think, is that feasible time-wise?
 

bdtex

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@bdtex , since you so kindly provided me with brochures about Marianna and have been there: Will half a day be enough to drive over from Tallahassee, do the Marianna walking tour, visit the Riverside cemetery, look at the pre-ACW houses and maybe even head to Greenwood before driving back to Tallahassee? After moving St. Mark's Lighthouse and Fort Ward to Day 3, Day 5 is so far only filled with the Suwanee River State Park. I could shuffle some of the things on my agenda for Tallahasee from Day 4 to Day 5 to squeeze in Marianna for the morning of Day 4. What do you think, is that feasible time-wise?
According to Google maps,it's an hour drive from Tallahassee to Marianna. If you left early,a half-day should be enough time to do the Marianna Civil War tour. The Russ House(Visitor Center) might not be open when you get there,but you already have the brochures for the tour. You could go back there when it opens. I have not been to Greenwood,so I can't give you any helpful inormation on that. @rebel brit and wife went to Marianna on their swing through the states. If you decide to go,read this first. The author has a good book about Natural Bridge also. You should read it before visiting Natural Bridge. I've read both.

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rebel brit

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Lu, Bobby's right about half a day being enough time. We did Natural Bridge in the morning and Marianna in the afternoon. We left our car at the Marianna visitors centre and did the 9 stops on the walking tour in about an hour and a half. Maybe more time should be allowed as we didn't get to visit the Riverside cemetery as we needed to get over to Destin before night fall.
Here's a link to the walking tour by Dale Cox.
 
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