In all my years of RVing, I have never spent the winter in Florida. I am really looking forward to this, and especially the birds.
Our first stop was Jacksonville, and our first outing was Kingsley Plantation. The driveway reminded us that we were in Florida now!
The primary crop here was cotton; sugar cane, corn, beans and potatoes were also grown.
The tour of the house was nice -
But I really liked the ruins of the slave quarters, since they had not been reconstructed, and were made out of "tabby". This plantation was unique, in that slaves were assigned a task, and when the task was done, they were free to do whatever they wanted.
After the tour, we took the ferry across the St. Johns River. We were greeted by all these pelicans.
We stopped for lunch across the river in Mayport. No, I didn't have fish...
We then went out to Jacksonville Beach, where we saw the "Deck the Chairs" exhibit, where old lifeguard chairs were decorated for Christmas.
I joined the surfers looking around. They must have been cold - it was a pretty chilly day.
The following day we went to Castillo de San Marcos, the old fort in St. Augustine.
The fort was originally built by Spain in the late 1600s, when this was part of Spain's vast New World empire.
The walls are 14 to 19 feet thick at the bottom; 9 feet at the top. Over 400,000 blocks of coquina stone make up the walls, all of it cut and set by hand.
This cannon was made in Seville, Spain in 1735.
The interior walls are full of interesting graffiti.
Nearby is the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.
Of course, I had to climb it, all 219 steps. This is the view part way up at one of my many rest stops, looking down to the bottom and the Christmas tree.
The original 1st order Fresnel lens, built in Paris in 1874 for this lighthouse, is still rotating. Instead of an oil lamp, it now has a 1000-watt light bulb.
And the view was great!
On the way home, we stopped at Camping World, where we met Santa, and bought a few Christmas presents for ourselves.