Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Celebrating Father's Day at the Fort {2016}

Last year, we celebrated Father's Day and our anniversary by visiting the Biltmore Estate.  This year Father's Day fell a few days before our anniversary, and Eddie had scheduled his first Sustainable Forestry Teacher's Experience in New Bern, NC for the following week.  Before we headed to New Bern on Sunday, we wanted to spend the day with our favorite Daddy.  Since Daddy and his boys love history and especially military history, I thought visiting nearby Fort Fisher would be a good start to the day. Since it was Sunday and Father's Day, the state historic site didn't open until 11:00 so we had a little time to kill before going to the Fort.

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Daddy put in a request for doughnuts, and we obliged.  He wanted to try a local doughnut shop in Carolina Beach that is very popular, but the lines were always so long that we just didn't think it was feasible. Instead, we headed to the closest Krispy Kreme and were delighted with some hot and freshly made glazed doughnuts as well as some of our favorite assorted doughnuts.  Even though Mattox had started the day not feeling very well with a slight fever and cold, he ate his share of doughnuts too. 

Next, we headed back down to Fort Fisher which is at the very southern tip of the island where Carolina Beach and Kure Beach are located.  Here is a brief description of the fort and its history from the North Carolina Historic Sites page:

Until the last few months of the Civil WarFt. Fisher kept North Carolina's port of Wilmington open to blockade runners supplying necessary goods to Confederate armies inland. By 1865, the supply line through Wilmington was the last remaining supply route open to Robert E. Lee'sArmy of Northern Virginia. When Ft. Fisher fell after a massive Federal amphibious assault on January 15, 1865, its defeat helped seal the fate of the Confederacy. Visitors are invited to tour the remains of the fort's land face featuring an impressive reconstruction of a 32-pounder seacoast gun at Shepherd's Battery. Shaded by gnarled live oaks, a scenic trail leads tourists from the visitor center past the gigantic earthworks and around to the rear of the fort. Guided tours and wayside exhibits provide historical orientation. Other exhibits include items recovered from sunken blockade runners.
At the dawn of the American Civil War, the Confederacy took control of a neck of land in southern North Carolina near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and constructed what was to become the largest and most important earthwork fort in the South. Two major battles were fought there, and many Union soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their gallant participation in that fighting. Today only a few of the mounds remain, since much of the fort has been eroded by the ocean.
Much of Fort Fisher has been lost to the ocean since it was just constructed of huge mounds of earth to hold the large guns of the battery defense that protected the important access to the port at Wilmington, but the landscape surrounding the Fort is still beautiful. I wish I would have known that this sheltered beach at the tip of the island would have been a much nicer place for my kids to play in the ocean, but there aren't any bath houses or showers which would have made it very difficult to clean up after a day on the beach.  We all still enjoyed a nice walk on the beach and putting our toes in the ocean one more time.  

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Evan loves a big gun!

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Daddy and Mattox checking out some of the big cannons used to defend the Fort at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. 

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I thought it was kind of sad that the biggest cannon, the Armstrong Cannon was "stolen" as a "trophy of war" after the Fort was finally lost to the Union.  The real Armstrong Cannon that defended the Fort can be seen today at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  

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This fence was recreated to look like the original one that was built around the original Fort.  We will later tour a "real" fort made from stone further north up the coast of North Carolina.  That one looks a bit more exciting, but this one really has such an important history to our nation. 

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Mattox still wasn't feeling great and was enjoying snuggling on his daddy.  He has really turned into a Daddy's boy lately. 

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I love the look of this beach with the large rocks placed to help prevent further erosion. 

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And the ocean here was calm and serene and just felt so nice. 

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Still trying my hand at nature and wildlife photography. 

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We could have stayed here all day and enjoyed the view. 

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I just love these twisty old Live Oak trees.  I guess I would say the Live Oak is my favorite tree.  They can really withstand a lot and are one of the few trees that could thrive in the harsh environment of the North Carolina coast and constantly being battered by rough winds and even hurricanes.  They grow twisty and slanted in the direction the wind pushes them away from the shore.  They are also evergreen (don't lose their leaves in winter) and provide the nicest and fullest shade canopy.  It is like walking in an enchanted woodland.  You can see some beautiful old Live Oaks in Charleston, SC along the old battery too.  We actually planted two Live Oak trees that were just seedlings at our first house close to the northern Outer Banks, and they have really thrived.  They have grown from grass stage to about 20 feet tall in less than 10 years.  

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We took Daddy to eat a good ol' country style meal at the College Diner in Wilmington before we made the long drive up Highway 17 to New Bern.  Mattox wasn't in the mood to eat very much, but he enjoyed helping feed Evan his shrimp and drank a lot of drink.  Brody was enjoying a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs. 

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These boys sure do love their Daddy!  

1 comment:

  1. Glad you all had fun at Fort Fisher and that you also got to see the ocean when it was more calm this time. :)


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