While driving from Robert Louisiana to Pensacola Florida we observed a man alongside the highway emptying his trash into the woods on the side of the tree line. Never saw that before. Also it surprised me in La how many people we saw hitchhiking – thought that was illegal everywhere.
We arrived at Blue Angel Naval Recreation Area and were greeted by Mark whom was the friendliest person I have met in ages. He had us in stitches -sure is nice to meet such a happy person.
The campground sits right on the water and is just so pretty. I could sit for hours watching the sun hit the water. This campground has full hookups, cabins, tent sites, marina, sailboat rentals, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, propane, launch ramp, paintball, disc golf, fire rings, and laundry. The campground is about 8 miles from the base where they have another campground called Oak Grove Park.
The Naval Air Station is a beautiful base which was started in 1826 as a Navy Yard. It has about 8423 acres and the main mission is to train aviators from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. This is the first Military Base that has part of a National Park on it. Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is here. We toured Fort Barrancas and the advanced redoubt of the fort. This fort was built starting in 1845 as part of a defensive network for the Navy Yard. The Confederate troops did attack the fort in 1863. When you look at these old forts it amazes me how they built such structures so many years ago that still stand today.
We got a tip that the best place to get seafood was at Joe Patti Seafood Shack so off we went. It reminded me of the fish market in Seattle – the only difference is they do not throw the fish but the amount of seafood is the same. We bought enough for about 6 meals and then went back the last day to get more. Those wonderful shrimp, fresh tuna, swordfish and scallops are soooooo good.
One day Jeff, Tim’s brother, drove up from Panama City to spend the day with us. We went to the National Naval Aviation Museum on base for a wonderful day. We saw an IMAX movie, had a tour of the flight deck by bus, saw WWII aircraft, Blue Angels planes, flight decks, early aircraft, WW1, Presidential helicopter, and Coast Guard aircraft. The nice thing about this museum is you see it, touch it and live it. Jeff was part of the aircrew during Vietnam so he really enjoyed it. After that special time we headed to the Oar House for a wonderful seafood dinner. Great day, great food and great company.
Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum was another great stop. The lighthouse was built from 1856 until 1858. The first light went on in 1859. The lighthouse is the oldest and tallest on the Gulf Coast. It is still active today as an aid to navigation. You can see its powerful beacon 27 miles out to sea. There is 177 cast iron steps to reach the top and Tim and I enjoyed the climb. We did it!! We then toured the Museum which was pretty nice. Tim got a nice tshirt to add to his collection.
We took a nice ride to Fort Pickens located in the Gulf Island National Seashore. This National landmark has sparkling blue-green water, white beaches and coastal marshes. It also has a fort, trails, picnic area and campground. The Gulf Island National Seashore was established in 1971 to protect the barrier islands, wildlife, salt marshes, historic structures and archeological sites along the Gulf of Mexico. The area is just beautiful and we will definitly return someday to enjoy it even more.
One day I could hear the blue angels flying but could not see them thru the trees. We have seen them fly before and it sends chills thru me.
Our next stop was Grassy Pond Recreation Area which is run by Moody Air Force Base. It is not located on base but about 25 miles from it. Great camground with 39 sites, full hookups, tenting, cabins, laundry, showers, tables, pond, fish, boats, playground, hiking and a pool. It is located in a very quite area and while there we had mostly great weather which we enjoyed sitting outside and reading. We also did bike riding and they have a great 3.1 mile hike around the pond. Lots of flat and then lots of hills to get you really hiking lol. While here we went out to dinner one night at Cracker Barrel and enjoyed the food.
Our next stop was also in Georgia – stayed tuned.