Sunday, June 28, 2009
Today is Sunday, the 28th of June. Walter and Linda came by early in the morning and took us out for breakfast. We went to a local hangout in Morehead City, called the Captain’s Table, where the service was quick, the breakfast was served hot and the food was pretty darn good! After breakfast, we ran some errands, getting batteries, some sundries and the obligatory trip to West Marine and the hardware store (Hey! It’s a boat!)
Once our mutual errand running was finished, we all went over to Atlantic Beach, which is a family oriented town for people who want to spend their vacation playing with the kids and relaxing on the beach. It was like stepping back in time to the 1950’s. Small, single-level, rental properties and doublewide trailer parks make up the most of the residential area, while a distinct lack of big condos and towering apartments make for a great stretch of public beach that’s accessible to the tourists.
From Atlantic Beach, it was off to Ft. Macon, a beautiful, year-around State park that charges NO admission. The park is the site of a fully restored 18th century fort that guarded the Beaufort Inlet, protecting the area from naval attacks.
Named after U.S. Senator from the State of North Carolina, Nathaniel Macon, Fort Macon was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Construction began in 1826 and was completed in December 1834, at a total cost of $463,790. At the beginning of the Civil War, North Carolina seized the fort from Union forces. The fort was later attacked in 1862, and it fell back into Union hands. For the duration of the war, the fort was a coaling station for navy ships. Often an ordnance sergeant acting as a caretaker was the only person stationed at the fort.
Fort Macon was a federal prison from 1867 to 1876, garrisoned during the Spanish-American War and closed in 1903. Congress sold the fort in 1923 to the state, making it the second NC state park. At the outbreak of World War II, the US Army leased the park from the state and actively manned the old fort with Coast Artillery troops to protect a number of important nearby facilities. The fort was occupied from December 1941, to November 1944. On October 1, 1946, the Army returned the fort and the park to the state.
Since then, the Fort has been available to the public with beautifully restored buildings and grounds. The self-guided tour gives a very clear picture of what it must have been like to be stationed at Fort Macon during various periods in its service as a fort of both the United and Confederate States. Needless to say, we had a great time exploring the fort.
With the tour of the fort complete, it was time to go back to Beaufort and to the boat. Also, Linda had to go to work, Walter had a boat to show and Kim and I had things to do to ready the boat for our departure in the morning. A late supper at the Dock House Restaurant, rounded out the day and then it was off to La-La-Land to get a good night’s sleep, so we’d be sharp tomorrow morning.
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