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Fishing shrimps in Pensacola, Florida

Not everyone has the chance to catch their own shrimp. I caught mine by mistake but I kept them anyway. My son and I were fishing on the old Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge at Pensacola, Florida. When the old concrete bridge that crossed the bay was replaced by a new and modern structure three miles long, the city made the old one into a recreational fishing bridge.

I understand that one of the hurricanes of the past few years did her in and there’s nothing left now. It’s sad because “the bridge” was my favorite night fishing spot of the area, as it was for hundreds if not thousands of other fishermen.

Almost any warm evening, especially in summer, fishermen of both sexes would be lined up on the railing of the bridge with their lines cast as far out into Pensacola Bay as possible. Every once in a while someone’s rod would jerk; the angler would pull back and set the hook; then pull in everything from mullet to flounder. Just about any fish was possible from that bridge.

Each time I fished at the bridge, there was a festive mood with all that were fishing. Entire families were there as well as the lone fishermen huddle over a cup of coffee late in the evening. Fishing rods were lined up like soldiers against the concrete railing. Everyone had his very own lawn chair, blankets or sleeping bag. Charcoal grills were set up and the aroma of hamburgers would be swept along by the ocean breeze from one end of the structure to the other. From time to time someone would come by selling bait or cold drinks. It was as if every night was a holiday! Frankly, I never caught many fish from that old bridge, but I had a lot of fun trying.

One particular evening in early July around midnight, we’d gotten bored with the lack of activity from our rods and reels, so we cut up one of the smaller fish into two pieces to be used for bait. We’d brought along two crab traps, so we baited them with the fish and lowered them over the side of the bridge until they touched bottom. Then we let nature take its course. It was time to catch some Blue Crabs for dinner the next evening!

A half hour later we pulled up one of the traps to see if we had any crabs. There wasn’t even one! There were however five large shrimp in the basket. We lost one when it fell out of the trap on the way up to the top of the bridge. We scooped the other four up and put them in our bait bucket for later use.

The second trap changed our minds about using the shrimp for bait when we pulled it up. We had an even dozen large shrimp in this basket. That settled it; we had to keep fishing for shrimp until we had enough for a meal! There were very few small shrimp in the baskets; most of them were large or jumbo; just the kind to cook on a charcoal grill!

The next couple of hauls were very poor, only one shrimp between the two baskets. We checked our bait and dropped the traps into the water about 15 feet below. While we were waiting for the shrimp to come to the traps, we continued to fish with our rods and reels. My son and I each caught a nice flounder. By the time we put them in the cooler; it was time to check the crab traps again.

This time there were about twenty each in our baskets. After seeing that we were catching shrimp, folks up and down the bridge had dug out their crab traps and were having good success also! I have no idea why the shrimp were so plentiful under that bridge that night. I’ve caught a lot of crabs there but that was the only time the shrimp were that plentiful. We lost a lot of shrimp due to them falling out of the basket as we hauled them up, but we finished the night with about 8 pounds of shrimp!

Folks have told me that the city is going to build another fishing structure to replace the old bridge in Pensacola. I hope they do, but it won’t be the same. I know you can’t live in the past but if I could, I would stake my claim on a spot about two hundred yards from the southern shore on that old bay bridge and throw out my traps

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Pensacola vacation

Soon 2 chipotles ll open in Pensacola, Florida

We don’t know where they are going just yet, but a Chipotle external communications representative confirmed to the News Journal that the revered fast casual Tex Mex chain plans to open two Pensacola locations this fall. For all service of chipotles for delivery and chipotles delivery and all chipotles menu meats to be chipotles near me at all

The company was unable to provide any further details. 

Northwest Florida Chipotle fanatics were pump-faked in July of 2018 when a billboard in front of Gulf Breeze’s Tiger Point Publix complex displayed a Chipotle logo, implying the chain’s highly anticipated area arrival. 

But both Chipotle and the vice president of the commercial real estate agency that developed Tiger Point stomped on our dreams when they set the record straight. 

“Someone must have taped that logo on there,” said Beck Partners VP Stacy Taylor to the News Journal in July of 2018. 

“Just confirmed with the real estate team that there are no plans for a Gulf Breeze location and they’re not in communication with the developer,” a Chipotle’s PR rep added around the same time.”They’re looking into the signage as we speak.”

To say Pensacola has desperately desired a Chipotle for quite some time would be understating it. A Facebook group page of the chain restaurant, aptly named “Bring a Chipotle to Pensacola,” was created in 2011 and has remained very active since. 

For the better part of a decade, members have shared insider info, rumors and stories in which they have personally messaged the company in hopes of getting the good news they’ve craved for so long. 

The News Journal will track the progress of the two confirmed Chipotles as the winter rolls on. Stay tuned. 

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Pensacola vacation

Orange beach the best for family vacation

The proximity of Orange Beach real estate to cities and airports is a convenience that increases its value for investors. It is about an hour’s drive from Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama airports. Most of the cities in the southeast are also quite close bay.

Orange Beach real estate offers a lot of single family homes, mainly on the waterfront, and condominiums for sale. Some fully furnished properties rentals are also easily available. To invest in real estate here you just have to choose a property management firm and leave the rest to them. In the waterfronts luxurious beach houses provide the ultimate in living. Many of these even provide a boat slip and dock.

Condos – The Best Investments

Orange Beach real estate provides condos in different sizes and in various price ranges. Luxury beach front properties with boat docks, panoramic views and security are readily available for a price. For those with a budget, complexes at very affordable prices with amenities such as hardwood floors are available in condos. Other condominiums and single family houses with golf courses at the back are also available at the waterfront.

Entertainment and Shopping

Orange beach offers a variety of entertainment. An amphitheater which features regular live concerts encourages the locals, especially the students to showcase their talents. Golf courses are also there to allow the amateur golfer to improve on his drive.

A marina, a private beach club, fishing outfitters, and pools, are other forms o entertainment available here. If you take some time to stroll down the seaside you will come across many shops which cater to your daily needs. You can also treat yourself to a meal of exotic seafood at one of the many cafes and restaurants.

A movie hall also provides entertainment if you want a change of scene. Parks with various forms of entertainment like ferris wheels are also evident at Orange beach. Art lovers can visit the OB Art Center at the Orange Beach Hotel and view the works of local artists. Dolphin Cruises and fishing expeditions are also organized in this beach which houses the largest Charter fishing fleet on the Gulf of Mexico. OB also celebrates many festivals like the famous annual Mardi-Gras Parade.

Orange beach is famous for its artificial reef which was created by sinking the 888 ft USS Oriskany Aircraft Carrier and this draws scuba divers from all over the world generating considerable revenue.

The culinary offerings in this area are legendary, especially the seafood. This is a local specialty that can compete with the very best in the country. There are restaurants to satisfy everybody. You can enjoy an a la carte meal at any of the luxurious restaurants or you could snatch a quick bite at a beach pub. You could also choose an open air restaurant for a refreshing outdoor meal.

Orange beach real estate has really got a lot to offer to all. You could be a one time tourist enjoying the beautiful seaside with its fabulous weather or you could be a permanent settler, the place has it all.

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Pensacola vacation

Pensacola Beach hotels

Pensacola Beach hotels offer everything needed for families, business travelers, golfers, and other vacationers in Pensacola Beach. This area is one of the affordable tourist spots in Florida with numerous attractions including sandy beaches, emerald green waters, zoos, amusement parks, race tracks, miniature golf courses, and Marine Park.

Visitors can find a choice selection of hotels within the city limits to make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable. The accommodation options include inexpensive hotels, luxury hotels, and business hotels. You can also find everything from motels, condos, inns, suites, resorts, condominiums, lodges, and vacation rentals catering to the varying tastes of the guests. Generally, room rates of hotels range from under $60 to over $200.

Pensacola Beach hotels house some of the finest restaurants, serving every type of world flavor.

The Best Western Resort, Clarion Beachfront Suites, RMI Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, Paradise Inn, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, and Springhill Suites by Marriott are some major Pensacola Beach hotels perfect for families and travelers.

Pensacola Beach hotels are at a convenient distance from popular city attractions such as Bonifay Water Sports, Reel Eazy Charters, Pensacola Beach Air Show, Island Palms Miniature Golf, and Tiki Island Golf and Games. To engage you during your stay, these hotels arrange a wide variety of outdoor adventures and golf packages. Pensacola Beach hotels are furnished with stylish amenities and facilities that ensure a pleasant vacation. Guests can also experience a wonderful variety of shopping, water sports, and recreation and entertainment activities. Those wishing for a change of scenery can plan visits to nearby area attractions.

Hotel booking can be made through travel agents, who can help you to get the perfect room for your vacation with family or friends. Online reservation facilities are provided by most of these hotels. Group discounts and special vacation packages are provided to attract more guests.

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Pensacola vacation

Pensacola beach and ocean waves

When it comes to spring break, Florida is still the most common spot to travel to.

The hot spots in Florida for spring break primarily include Pensacola Beach, Daytona Beach, Miami and the Florida Keys. These destinations provide a variety of beaches, days filled with plenty of sunshine, plenty of frosty beverages and tons of spring breakers who love to play in the sand, surf the ocean waves and drink gallons of adult cocktails.

The Florida Keys offers several places to shop and eat as well as learn more about the state of Florida. Most people though just go there during spring break simply for the refreshing and relaxing atmosphere.

Another enjoyable pastime is walking along the miles of beach, looking at the different sized seashells and sand dollars that are washed onto the shores from the endless waves of the mighty ocean. You can also look out into the horizon of the ocean and see shrimp boats and sail boats in various locations.

Sailing is another fun thing to do, if you know how. You could rent a boat for a full day and head out onto the ocean for yet another point of view of Florida.

To a lot of students, and the parents of the younger students who take their children on vacation for spring break, Florida is like paradise. There are so many adventures and activities there, that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to see and do it all. When nighttime rolls around, these active families usually can’t wait to hit their hotel room and fall asleep, resting up for the next day’s adventure.

When it comes to the typical college students on spring break though, the real fun starts when the sun goes down. This is when the night clubs, restaurants and bars start to open up and the wild and crazy nightlife begins. These night time activities are probably what spring break is most famous for. It is the focus of many TV shows and movies.All in all, college students from across the nation tend to flock to Florida for spring break as there seems to be a little something for everyone. It can be a relaxing getaway or a wild blow off of stress to clear the mind before returning to the books on campus. Also, by traveling in groups the students can help keep their travel expenses to a minimum by sharing rooms, gas, rentals and other related costs.

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Pensacola vacation

Pensacola, Florida the best place to have your vacation in USA

Pensacola is a well-kept secret. Most people who live outside the state have trouble pin-pointing it on a map. Take a minute and become familiar with this amazing area, because Pensacola has a lot to offer for those looking for a low-cost, luxurious vacation.

Pensacola is located on the western panhandle of Florida, near the Florida/Alabama state line. Unlike the more southerly beach areas of Florida, Pensacola’s tourist season is late spring to summer. The off-season for most Pensacola area hotels is from Labor Day to the month of March, so that’s when prices are lowest. The Pensacola area boasts two separate but beautiful beachfront areas: Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach. Perdido Key is to the west of Pensacola, adjoining the beaches of Alabama. Pensacola Beach is just southeast of the city of Pensacola, on a gorgeous barrier island. Both beaches offer sugar-white sands, sparkling emerald-green Gulf waters, and a wide array of accommodations, restaurants, shopping, and nearby attractions.

Perdido Key is the less-heralded of the two areas. Primarily a residential and second-home community for natives and snowbirds, it features a glistening white beach lined with high-rise condos. Nearby Ono Island is a haven for the rich and famous who want to enjoy the gulf in privacy. Although mostly used for homes, many units on Perdido Key are available for rent by the day, week, or month. Check with a local real estate agent. If you visit in summer, don’t miss the nearby Waterville water park, which also has go-karts and other dry-land fun. It’s just one of several attractions nearby. Golf courses abound in the area, and most are very reasonably priced.

If you like antiques, both Pensacola and the Eastern Shore area of Alabama offer many great shops within an hour’s drive. Prefer to enjoy the beach? The temperature is great for swimming as late as October, and you can enjoy it for less money, in quiet and peace. In summer, beachgoers multiply in numbers, and it’s a great time to meet people from everywhere.

Pensacola Beach is more tourist-oriented than Perdido Key, but don’t let that keep you from seeking a quiet vacation spot on this beautiful island. Again, prices and crowds are smaller in the fall and winter months. Sailing tours, dolphin cruises, jet-ski rentals and much more are offered from this area. The nearby Panhandle Butterfly House is a must-see for nature lovers and offers a Monarch Madness Festival and butterfly releases in the fall which are breathtaking displays you’ll be glad you didn’t miss.

Whichever beach you choose, be sure to venture into Pensacola for The National Museum of Naval Aviation and McGuire’s Irish Pub. Tour historic forts and learn Pensacola’s intriguing history. Shop Cordova Mall and the boutiques downtown.

These are just a few examples of hidden gems you’ll find in the Pensacola area. Come see the place “where thousands live the way millions wish they could!”

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Pensacola vacation

Discover Pensacola the heart of Florida

Located in northwest Florida, ten miles from the Alabama state line on its panhandle, Pensacola is rich in historic, military aviation, and natural sights, all with Florida’s signature sun, sand, seafood, and water aspects.

Pensacola:

Although St. Augustine, on Florida’s east or Atlantic coast, is considered the oldest US city and took root after Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles sailed to it and established a colony, Pensacola, on the state’s west or Gulf of Mexico side, could have claimed the title if its own settlement had lasted.

Six years earlier, in August of 1559, Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna dropped his own anchor in an area local tribes named “Panzacola,” for “long-haired people,” with the intention of carrying out Luis de Velasco, the Mexican viceroy of Spain’s order of establishing a settlement on the bay.

Well provisioned and prepared, he was equipped with 11 ships and brought 1,500 would-be colonists, among whom were African slaves and Mexican Indians. But history was forced to take the wrong fork in the road when a fierce hurricane decimated eight of de Luna’s vessels on September 19.

Nevertheless, in an effort to salvage the expedition, he sent one of them to Veracruz, Mexico, to elicit aid, leaving the immigrants to eke out an existence on shore and survive by draining the supplies they had brought. Yet, instead of re-provisioning the colonists, the ships, arriving a year later, only rescued the survivors by taking them to Havana and leaving little more than a military outpost by the spring of 1561. By August, the handful of soldiers abandoned the new land site and returned to Mexico, deeming it too dangerous for settlement.

Although it was beyond knowledge at the time, a claim-to-fame as the oldest, continuous US city it would never be able to make.

It would be almost 150 years, in 1698, in fact, that foreign forces would once again seek to gain a foothold-in this case, Spain established a more successful garrison in what would become modern-day Pensacola and toward that end laid out a colonial town.

As has so often occurred throughout history, land, once claimed, became the prize others sought, often by military means, and Pensacola proved no exception. Spaniards initially surrendered to the French in May of 1719, but it was hardly the end of its ownership. France, Spain, Britain, and Spain once again would take possession over the next century, until the latter finally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821. Because the Confederacy also “took up residency,” Pensacola is considered the “City of Five Flags.”

A significant portion of its almost 500-year history has been preserved and can be experienced in the Pensacola Historic District, which is managed by the UWF Historic Trust, itself an organization supported by the University of West Florida, and it consists of 27 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Admission, only purchasable for a week, includes guided tours and visitor entry, and tickets can be obtained at Tivoli High House.

Important structures are many. Seville Square, for example, is the center of the old settlement and served as one end of the British route’s parade ground, ending at its twin, Plaza Ferdinand VII. It was here that General Andrew Jackson accepted the West Florida territory from Spain in 1821 and first raised the US flag.

A small, preserved section of Fort George, a target of the American Revolution’s Battle of Pensacola, is symbolic of British occupation from 1763 to 1781.

Original houses abound, including the Julee Panton Cottage, the 1805 Lavalle House, the 1871 Dorr House, and the 1890 Lear-Rocheblave House.

The Old Christ Church, located on Seville Square and built in 1824 by slave labor, is the oldest of its kind in the state to still occupy its original site.

There are also several museums: the T.T. Wentworth, Jr., Florida State Museum, which was constructed in 1908 and originally served as the City Hall, the Pensacola Children’s Museum, the Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center, and the Museum of Commerce.

Although not technically part of the Pensacola Historic District, the Pensacola Grand Hotel is located on the site of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s passenger depot, which itself was constructed in 1912 to replace the original 1882 L&N Union Station that served Pensacola for 58 years. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Restored in its original splendor and transformed into a hotel with a 15-story glass tower, it retains much of its early decoration, including a French clay tile roof and a ceramic mosaic tile floor, and is adorned with period pieces, such as a solid, drop-cast bronze light and antique furnishings.

Its opulent “1912, The Restaurant,” located on the ground floor, features entryway Biva doors from London, a cast-bronze French-style chandelier from Philadelphia, 1885 beveled glass from a Victorian hotel in Scranton, and scalloped-shaped grill work from Lloyd’s of London.

Naval Air Station Pensacola:

There are several significant attractions on Naval Air Station Pensacola, which can be accessed by the visitor’s gate and requires identification, such as a license, to enter

Located itself on the site of a Navy yard that was erected in 1825, it began as an aviation training station at the outbreak of World War I with nine officers, 23 mechanics, eight airplanes, and ten beach-propped tents, and was considered the first of its kind.

Dramatically expanding because of the Second World War, it trained 1,100 cadets per month, who collectively flew some two million hours. After its Naval Air Basic Training Command relocated its headquarters from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Pensacola, pure-jet aircraft were incorporated in the syllabus. Today, 12,000 active military personnel, 9,000 of whom receive aviation training, are assigned to the station.

The world-renowned National Naval Aviation Museum, also located here, is the largest and one of Florida’s most-visited attractions. It began not as a tourist sight, but instead as a means of including naval aviation history in cadet curriculums, for which there was neither sufficient time nor funding for the traditional book-and-study modality.

The facility, initially housed in an 8,500-square-foot wood frame building that hailed from World War II, became the locus of selection, collection, preservation, and display of aircraft and artifacts that represent the development and heritage of the service branch. It opened its doors on June 8, 1963.

Ever-expanding, it currently has 700 airplanes in its collection that are displayed in its 11 other official Navy museums throughout the country, but some 150 pristinely restored ones are still exhibited here after a new facility with 37 outdoor acres and 350,000 square feet of indoor space was completed. Admission is free.

Subdivided into the South Wing, the West Wing, a second-floor Mezzanine, and the separate Hangar Bay One, it traces the evolution of Navy aviation and the aircraft it operated from its inception to the latest Middle East conflicts.

The A-1 Triad, for example, was so named because if operated in the three realms of air (wings), water (floats), and land (wheels). The Nieuport 28, in the World War I section, facilitated aircraft carrier experimentation, while the mammoth Navy-Curtiss NC-4, at the threshold of the Golden Age exhibit, was the first to traverse the Atlantic from Trepassey, Newfoundland, to the Azores Islands off of Portugal.

Speed from jet fighters during the Cold War is represented by such types as the McDonnell F2H-4 Banshee, the North American FJ-2 Fury, and the Russian MiG-15.

Centerpiece of the West Wing is the “USS Cabot” island and a replica of its carrier deck, which is surrounded by an extensive collection of mostly World War II aircraft, including the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, the Vought-Sikorsky FG-1D Corsair, and the General Motors (Grumman) TBM Avenger.

Of the numerous exhibits on the museum’s mezzanine, which itself overlooks both the South and West Wings and can even be accessed by airliner ground stairs, there can be none that offer a greater contrast to each other than those devoted to lighter-than-air aviation and space exploration.

Evolved from the spherical balloon first successfully flown by the Montgolfier Brothers in 1783 in the first case, airships were large, controllable balloons which attained lift by the buoyancy principle themselves, but incorporated engines for propulsion and rudders and elevators for, respectively, yaw (steering) and longitudinal (pitch) axis control. Suspended gondolas housed the crew and passengers. Rigid types featured internal frameworks, which were not required by the non-rigid ones, such as blimps.

Gondolas or control cars from the Navy’s L-8 and World War II-era K-47 airships are on display. The latter, delivered on May 19, 1943 at Moffett Field, California, had a 425,000-cubic-foot internal volume.

In the second, or space, case, a replica of the Mercury Freedom 7 space capsule, the original of which was launched at 116.5 nautical miles and was air/space borne for 14.8 minutes, represents Naval Aviation’s contributions to the Space Program, because Naval Aviator Alan B. Shepard became the first American to enter that realm on May 5, 1961.

Also on display is the original Skylab II Command Module, which orbited the Skylab space station during 28 days between May and June of 1973. Operated by a three-member, all-Navy crew, it set several records, including the longest manned spaceflight, the greatest distance traveled, and the greatest mass docked in space.

Visible from both the mezzanine and the main floor is the 75-foot-tall, 10,000-square-foot Blue Angels Atrium that connects the South and West Wings and features four Douglas A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond painted in the aerobatic team’s dark blue livery.

Hangar Bay One, with 55,000 square feet of exhibit space, features such aircraft as the Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King, which transported presidents Nixon and Ford during the 1970s; the Douglas R4D-5L Skytrain, which became the first to land on Antarctica’s South Pole in 1956; and the Grumman F-14D Tomcat, the supersonic, swing-wing fighter that logged the last combat mission.

Visitor services include complementary tours, a laser-powered giant screen theater showing multiple daily films, two gift shops, and the Cubi Bar Café.

Practice flights of the famed Blue Angels flight demonstration team can be viewed at the Museum Flight Line, north of the museum itself.

Another historic attraction on Naval Air Station grounds is the Pensacola Lighthouse.

Because of the strategic importance of Pensacola Harbor, Congress appropriated $6,000 in March of 1823 to construct a lighthouse, choosing an appropriate site in June, but temporarily substituting a floating alternative, the “Aurora Borealis,” until construction was completed. Transferred from the mouth of the Mississippi River, it was positioned behind the western end of Santa Rosa Island.

The permanent structure, a 40-foot-wide, white brick tower with ten whale oil lamps, each of which was strengthened by a 14-inch reflector, was first lit on December 20 of the following year and enabled sailing vessels to steer toward it and then enter the harbor.

Although it proved more useful than the floating boat it replaced, it began to reveal its deficiencies by 1850: it was obstructed by trees on Santa Rosa Island and its light was too dim to serve as an effective navigation aid, prompting the newly-established Lighthouse Board to recommend a replacement that would rise at least 150 feet in height.

Responding to its request, Congress allocated $25,000 in 1854 and an additional $30,000 two years later. Construction of the new facility, located a half-mile west of the original, was completed in 1858. Rising 159 feet from a 30-foot-diameter base and tapering to a 15-foot top, it was first lit on New Year’s Day, 1859, by Keeper Palmes. It featured the most powerful lens then available, a first-order Fresnel one.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Pensacola Lighthouse offers the visitor a glimpse into mid-19th century light keeper life, with a Visitor Center and Museum Shop located in the 1890s Carriage House, the Richard C. Callaway Museum in the 1869 keepers quarters, and the 177-step lighthouse itself, which can be climbed for views of Pensacola Bay.

Yet another historically important attraction on Naval Air Station Pensacola is Fort Barrancas.

“Situated on the bluffs overlooking Pensacola Bay, Fort Barrancas was built to protect the United States from foreign invaders,” according to the National Park Service. “Once considered vital to national defense, today Fort Barrancas illustrates the evolution of military technology and America’s values.”

Shortly after Spain ceded Florida to the US, the United States Navy selected Pensacola Bay as its main Gulf Coast Navy yard and concurrent with the decision was the dispatch of Army Corps of Engineers officers to survey the coastline with the intention of constructing fortifications to protect the Navy yard itself.

Built over the ruins of the 1798 Spanish fort designated Fort San Carlos de Barrancas-“Barrancas” being the Spanish word for “bluffs”-it was the third such fortification on the bay. The existing, 1797 Batteria de San Antonio was retained and modified.

Taking form between March 21 and September 21 by the hands of enslaved laborers, who worked from sunrise to sunset, it incorporated significant armament, including ten 24-pound cannons.

Although it was built as a defensive structure, it only engaged in combat during the Civil War.

Because of new developments to cannons and naval war vessels, the US government began evaluating proposals for new coastal defenses in 1885 and after the curtain closed on World War II, it was declared surplus in 1947.

A trail leads from the Visitor Center to the actual, kite-shaped fort, whose prominent features encompass a scarp and counterscarp, a ditch, a drawbridge, a sally port, a guard room, an open parade area, and a water battery. A tunnel connected the latter two. Cannon projectiles fired from the water battery itself were intended to ricochet off of the bay and hit ships at their water lines.

The fort’s four-foot-thick by 20-foot-high walls, comprised of six million bricks, features archways and valued ceilings.

The nearby Advanced Redoubt, constructed between 1845 and 1870, protected the northern side of the peninsula, location of the Pensacola Navy Yard.

Pensacola Beach:

Bridge- and causeway-linked, via Gulf Breeze, to the mainland, Pensacola Beach, eight miles from downtown Pensacola and accessed by Interstate 110 South, is a narrow stretch of sugary sand on the barrier island of Santa Rosa, overlooking emerald waters of the bay and the Gulf of Mexico and offering ocean-related activities, such as swimming, sun tanning, fishing, snorkeling, sailing, and diving. Fiery red, chartreuse, and purple sunsets regularly paint the sky.

Beach-fronted hotels are numerous, such as the Surf and Sand, the Margaritaville Beach, and the Portofino Island Resort, along with known names like the Hampton Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, SpringHill Suites, and Days Inn. Florida-indicative seafood restaurants, with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the water, include those such as Hemingway’s Island Grill, Flounder’s Chowder House, the Grand Marlin, Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach, and Peg Leg Pete’s.

Stretching 1,471 feet into the water, Pensacola Gulf Pier affords fishing for bluefish, pompano, redfish, Spanish mackerel, and spotted sea trout. Flounder is not to be ruled out.

The self-guided Footprints in the Sand Eco Tour, marked by informative signs, affords the opportunity to learn about local plant and animal life, including dolphins, sharks, turtles, birds, fish, and flowers. Each one explains a different ecological topic.

Pensacola Beach is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which itself stretches 160 miles from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to Cat Island, Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, bayous, marine habitats, and historic forts. The park headquarters, offering orientation films and exhibits about the Live Naval Oaks Area, is located in Gulf Breeze, the island between the mainland and Pensacola Beach.

Shaped by the Gulf of Mexico the national seashore preserves pockets of American history and culture and encapsulates the visitor in Florida’s flora and fauna. In the void formed by the water and sky, for instance, dolphins surface, starfish swim, and pelicans and seagulls allow the breeze to carry them across the panorama.

One of the Gulf Islands National Seashore’s historic preservations is Fort Pickens, located on the western end of Santa Rosa Island directly across the Pensacola Bay Harbor entrance from Fort Barrancas. Named after Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, a patriot who fought with distinction in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War, it was once the largest brick structure on the Gulf of Mexico.

Tracing its origins to 1821, when the Third System of coastal forts was extended to include protection of Pensacola Bay and its mainland shore communities, it adopted a secondary purpose four years later when legislature to establish a Navy yard and depot was passed. As part of the trio of defenses, it was intended to guard the western end of Santa Rosa Island in cooperation with fortifications of the bluffs north of the channel and on the eastern end of Perdido Key.

Its construction, under the supervision of US Army Corps of Engineers, commenced in 1829 after the government acquired 998 acres of land and the pentagon-shaped structure, built up of more than 21.5 million bricks and equipped with more than 200 cannons, was completed five years later.

“(Workers) used construction materials such as lime, water, and sand to mix mortar; lumber for grillage and to build wharves, scaffolding, and support buildings; lead sheets to waterproof casemate arches and for gutters and drains; granite for steps and traverse stones; copper sheeting, bars, and fixtures for use in powder magazines; (and) brick for the main work and counterscarp,” according to the National Park Service.

Requiring a garrison of 500 men during wartime, but able to accommodate double that number in emergencies, the five-bastion structure, consisting of a single tier of casemates and a barbette tier, was capable of unleashing a ring of fire from its seaward-facing walls.

In the event, the only combat it ever experienced occurred during the Civil War.

Today, visitors still enter Fort Pickens through its original sally post, the main entrance secured with heavy oak doors. The plaster-lined quarters served as both residences and hospital rooms. The arched casemates provided protected artillery positions and a base for the second level cannons. Three main chambers, each holding 1,000 pounds of gunpowder, were connected by a tunnel system. The powder magazines, storing the fort’s black power supply, were wood-lined to keep them dry and necessitated the slipper-covered boots of soldiers who entered them to prevent potential ignition from sparks. The generator room was the location of the steam-powered generators installed in 1903 to provide electricity for searchlights and other modern equipment.

The counterscarp formed a dry mount to protect the fort from land-based assaults. Rain water was collected and stored in cisterns for drinking. And the tower bastion, pointing directly across the channel, ensured the harbor’s protection