Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Daytrip to Florida's Fort Mose Historic Landmark


 While at Anastasia State Park we took part of a day to visit another part of that park.  Fort Mose (pronounced Mozay).  We are not history people, but this park is a great history lesson about the relationships between the local Native Americans (four different tribes), Spanish settlers and Africans (4 distinct cultures) enslaved by the British who, with the help of the Yamasee, escaped from the Atlantic coast of the Carolinas and Georgia.  Very well presented. 


About two miles north up US 1 from Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, at the city gates, is the entrance to this park.  I say this because there is just a small sign on the highway.

The visitor center houses a museum with dioramas, interactive displays, and photos and artifacts of the fort and area circa mid-1700s.  Also, there is a theater with a 15 minute video about Fort Mose and the origin of its people.

The interactive displays are done in a most interesting way.  No pushing buttons or headsets.  Stand in the circle before the display you are interested in and the speaker above starts its "lecture".  The visitor is observing a wall display that shows different words and phrases in English, Spanish and the local Native American language.  The speaker above narrates. To her right is metal art of the Black Militia formed by the escaped African slaves and fought alongside the Spanish and Native Americans to ward off the invading British from Georgia defending Fort Mose and the village.  Again, note the circle and speaker.


Behind the center is a small area under a hammock where park rangers and community volunteers perform demonstrations of the militia activities in character. During the month of February a living history event, Flight to Freedom, is performed.  When park events are not active the area can be used by groups for events.

A pavilion is available for group picnics.

A marsh boat and pole exhibit.


So, where is the fort today? (Board the boardwalk.)

Underneath the marsh between the center and Baya Creek and Robinson Creek.  Discovered by archeologists the remains of the first Fort Mose lies under that clump of trees near the horizon.  It was destroyed when the British from a Georgia outpost invaded the area.  But, the locals defended well and sent the British back to Georgia.  The trail leads to the Fort Mose I area.  You can hike or bike it.

Well beyond this clump of trees, lies the remains of the rebuilt Fort Mose.  Again, we have to take the word of the archeologists and the rangers.  Now it is but a marsh. A birders paradise, Roseate Spoonbills, Ibis, Wood Storks and in autumn, migrating Bald Eagles inhabit the marsh and adjacent hammock.

We were also blessed with this Little Blue Heron's appearance on the 700 foot boardwalk into the marsh.


Later he moved to the reeds.

This has to be the brightest green lizard I've ever seen.

A second short boardwalk allows kayakers to dock at the park behind the center.  The marsh waters are full of oysters beds.  

Along the path between the Visitor Center and the boardwalk into the marsh are 8 information posts, each with a factoid about Fort Mose and its residents.  Nicely done with a cast replica of an item relative to the text.

Views from the boardwalk


Into the hammock. Sounded like many birds in there.

OK, where is the owner of the flip-flop?  No gators in sight, either.

Tree art for the day.


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