My human loves to study the past. Where can we go for a taste of Southern history served with a heap of adventure?
Beau the Bluetick Coonhound
Northeast Florida has many historic sites and beautiful preserves. One of the perks of being a dog is having time to explore these places with my human and discover something new.
If you yearn to uncover the past, visit Camp Milton Historic Preserve, on the western edge of Jacksonville. This preservation protects one of the most important Civil War sites in Florida.
Fun Fact: Camp Milton was the eastern Florida military headquarters for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War; it’s been said it was the largest Confederate encampment in Florida in 1864.
I arrived early to beat the heat. A few steps into my walk, I came to a fork in the road and turned left — as usual — not knowing what to expect, but eager to find out. I took a twist, then a turn and there I was — at the foot of a boardwalk. The wooden planks stretched almost a mile above earthworks built by the Confederate troops under the command of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, who was also an engineer, in 1864. Read signs along the path, or just chase lizards, like I did. The scent of sweet magnolias filled the air as I circled the loop.
It took a hop, skip and a jump to get back to the main trail. The paved path was lined with heritage trees, which sprouted from seeds or cuttings of trees that held historic significance. I marked an oak and later learned it took root from an acorn handpicked from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home. I sniffed around a tree grown from a honey locust from the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Such a cool way to connect with history!
I was ready to plop down and roll around in the grass, but an old cabin caught my eye. It was surrounded by an authentic Florida farmstead and small garden. A passerby told me it has Civil War artifacts on display, but it’s open only at certain times. I so badly wanted to sneak under the rope and dig around, but my leash kept me back.
Behind the farmstead, there’s a reconstructed bridge leading to more trails, and since I like walking, I was off. The well-marked trails, shaded by tall pines and live oaks, were fun.
I took one more look around the well-kept ground, then went back to the parking lot. Camp Milton is most definitely a wag-worthy adventure and a perfect place for a short hike or a history lesson. It’s just off I-10; take Exit 351.
Have fun and learn lots!