History in the classroom. Trolley field trip around Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island getting on and off the trolley at select points of interest. Visit to Fort Clinch after lunch. Fort Clinch was built for war, not for safety! Stairs are steep and narrow, railings are absent, and walkways are uneven with many trip hazards. Walls are dangerous if climbed. Two large ramps give visitors access to the rampart and gun deck with its 10-inch smoothbore cannon.
Today will be a day of fascination and historical adventure. Through an expert led history in the classroom, learn about the history of the eight flags of Fernandina. First populated by the Timucuan Indian tribe, the area eventually became known as the “Isle of 8 Flags” because, since 1562, it has had the flags of France, Spain, Great Britain, Spain (again), the Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States flying over it at one point or another. Afterward, on our trolley field trip, we will explore the downtown historic district of Amelia Island as our expert shares the story of the visionary whose exhilarating dream so stirred his neighbors that they agreed to move their entire town to the site of a plantation he owned, thereby creating "New" Fernandina in the 1850’s. From the "giant" Timucua Native Americans, to Spanish and French explorers, to the lawless spirit of pirates, to the dignified air of Victorian-era residents, Amelia Island has been home to diverse cultures that have left a truly exciting heritage. Expect the rare privilege of observing the uniquely gracious and historic homes of another century. Allow yourself to get in touch with efforts to preserve the nearly extinct, pristine architectural styles within a small, gifted American town struggling to retain its fragile sense of family and community as well as its birthright and historical integrity.
At a popular local restaurant, located inside a charming historic downtown building, we’ll enjoy a delicious meal selected from a limited menu. An eclectic palette of colors, furnishings and a large garden patio shaded by huge oak trees will invite us to a fun and unique culinary experience. Water and tea are included with your meal. Additional beverages for purchase.
Fort Clinch State Park is a 1,086 acre outpost of pristine beaches and dunes, nature trails, ponds and salt marshes and the island's only campgrounds. Named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, an important figure in Florida's Seminole War of the 1830's who also fought in the War of l812, the fort is one in a system of permanent coastal fortifications. Construction began in 1847 and was occupied briefly by the Confederate forces while it was still being built until it was eventually overrun by the Union troops. It has been meticulously preserved and will provide us with a glimpse as to what life was like over 150 years ago. While here, a re-enactor dressed in period uniform will take us back in time on a field trip around the fort while vividly describing what our ancestors may have experienced here. Inside Fort Clinch, visitors can tour five Bastions, Guard Rooms, a Prison, Enlisted Men’s Barracks, Bakery, Blacksmith Shop, Storehouses, Hospital, Kitchens, Lumber Sheds and Galleries. Every room inside Fort Clinch is furnished to re-create a depiction of the site as garrisoned by the 1st New York Volunteer Engineers in 1864. Close your eyes for a moment and you can almost hear the roar of the cannons!
Presentation on island ecology in hotel meeting room.