Fort Walton Beach Off The Beaten Path

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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Fort Walton Beach

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    Little Chapel in Vandegriff Park

    by Yaqui Written Apr 8, 2012

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    On the historical walking tour, you can get a map from the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

    The plaque above the door reads:

    Served as an Office of First Methodist Church Circa 1940. Restoration sponsored by Histortic Preservation Society of Greater Fort Walton 1993.

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    Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum 1912

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    This on the historical walking tour, you can get a map from the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

    This one room schoolhouse was built in 1912 as Camp Walton Schoolhouse. It housed eight grades and later they added an addition to the back to house the high school grades. It was restored by the Junior Service League and Okaloosa County School Board. Lovingly restored and appreciated.

    Located at Heritage Park & Cultural Center on 139 Miracle Strip Parkway (U.S. Highway 98)

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    Garnier Post Office Museum1918

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    This on the historical walking tour, you can get a map from the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

    It served as the local post office for the Northwest area of Florida and was built with cypress wood. They have since added a ramp to have easy access for people with disabilities and houses Civil War artifacts too.

    Located at the Heritage Park & Cultural Center at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway (U.S. Highway 98)

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    Gulfview Hotel 1906

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    This on the historical walking tour, you can get a map from the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

    Was built in 1906 and was continously in business till 1986. It has 9 cottages that surround the hotel. Listed on the NRHP# 92001402.

    Theodore “Pop” Staff and his young wife, Molly, two sons and three daughters left their plantation life at Medina, Mexico and settled in shores of Santa Rosa Sound and Camp Walton, Florida and had three other daughters, Florence, Emily and Louise. Forced northward by the revolutionary forces in Mexico, Mr. Staff joined his father-in-law in the management of the Gulfview Hotel, which is still behind the Staff Restaurant that began here in 1931.

    Located at 12 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE., Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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    Old St. Mary Church 1941

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    1941
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    This on the historical walking tour, you can get a map from the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

    The first church was a white frame rectangular building with a bell tower, seating about fifty people. It was built in the vicinity of what is now the corner of First and Shell Streets. It was destroyed during a hurricane. In 1939 the new pastor, Fr. Sherman, reportedly prayed to the Blessed Mother to help him build a new church. She did! The church funds consisted only of $400.00. It was decided that the entire amount was to be used to build a grotto in honor of the Blessed Mother, with the prayer that she would obtain the necessary funds for the new church. Soon the funds began to come in allowed the building of the new church. The grotto can still be seen beneath the vines next to what is now called Old St. Mary Church.http://www.saintmarychurchfwb.org/history

    10 St. Mary Ave. SW Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 , just north of US Highway 98 (Miracle Strip Parkway). It can be approached from I-10 by taking the Highway 85 south exit just west of Crestview Florida. This road becomes Eglin Parkway NE when you enter Fort Walton Beach.

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    Fort Walton Cannon

    by Yaqui Written Apr 8, 2012

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    It reads:

    This was the principal armament for the Civil War Fort from which this city derived its name. It was sent here from Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, Florida by General Braxton Bragg, CSA, after a Confederate Company, Walton Guards, 1st Florida REgiment CSA, was shelled here in 1861 by Union Filed Artillery firing from Santa Rosa Island.

    The Walton Guards converted an Old Indian Mound, located 200 yards southeast from here, into the earthwork of Fort Walton and mounted this cannon, a Naval Carronade which fired 18 lb. shot.

    The Fort was abandoned on August 26, 1861. This cannon was spiked and buried at the site of the fort.

    Located at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway (U.S. Highway 98) out front near the Temple Mound Museum.

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    Fort Walton Historical Marker

    by Yaqui Written Apr 8, 2012

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    It reads:

    Originally called Camp Walton, this Confederate installation, constructed in 1861 to guard East Pass, was garrisoned by a company of Florida militia called the "Walton Guards". Several small skirmishes with federal landing parties occurred near here. The Camp was abandoned following the Confederate evacuation of Pensacola, and the garrison, a part of the First Florida Infantry Regiment, was assigned to duty on the Tennessee front in early 1862.

    Located at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway (U.S. Highway 98) out front near the Temple Mound Museum.

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    Fort Walton Temple Mound

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    Fort Walton Temple Mound was built 1,000 years ago, it was the centerpiece of a large group of smaller mounds. It stands 17 feet tall and is 223 feet long. The most senior member of the elite class was typically the leader of the community. These men, or women, were thought be descended from the solar deity and their authority was granted through a past line of rulers. Chiefs, members of elite families, and persons associated with certain rituals woere special costumes which displayed their rank of office and accorded them special treatment. The were buried in the floors of buildgs with extraordinary objects and special paraphernalia. Such burial gifts included or shell pendants, pottery vessels of unique shape and design, favorite personal items, rare minerals, lithic items, pipes, weapons, game sticks or favoriet pets. A very impressive site.

    Located at the Temple Mound Museum at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway (U.S. Highway 98)

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    Navy Planes

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Blue Angels
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    We've made two trips to visit this museum without seeing everything. The museum is way too big to see all of it in one visit - 291,000 square feet of exhibit space and 37 acres of grounds. This is one of the three largest air museums in the US - the other two are the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and an AF museum in Ohio.

    And it is free

    I took pictures of the model of the Essex (aircraft carrier - photo 2). I though Bob was on the last cruise in this ship in 1962 when the keel was broken by a North Atlantic winter storm, but the info said that the Essex was not decommissioned until 1969. I didn't see a model of the Intrepid.

    Both of us took pictures of the N3N (photo 3) which was the trainer seaplane in which Bob took his first flights on at the USNA and which gave him the idea that he wanted to fly instead of do submarines, and we both took pictures of the T-28 and T-34 which were the trainers that he learned on when he was in flight school here in Pensacola. I also took pictures of the four A-4 Skyhawks in formation suspended in the Blue Angels Atrium.

    The Flight Line Tour which they used to have was not available because of storm damage. When it is running, the Bus leaves from the museum entrance every half hour 10:00 AM through 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM through 4:00 PM Tickets are free and available at the Information Desk

    On the second visit, we went to the IMAX "History of Flight" show (there is a charge for that). Afterwards we walked around the museum - listened in on a tour group, took a weather quiz, and took pictures of Cessna OE-1 (Army L-19) that Bob's brother flew

    The museum is open 9:00 to 5:00 every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day

    Address: 1750 Radford Blvd. Suite C N.A.S. Pensacola, FL
    Directions: From I-10 East or West:
    -Follow signs to Pine Forest Road (Exit 7, Route 297)
    -Take exit and go about 1.5 miles to Blue Angel Parkway
    -Turn right and drive about 12 miles to the back (west) gate of N.A.S.
    -Continue for 3 miles and Museum on the left.

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    Gulf Islands National Seashore - Naval Live Oaks

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Beach in front of Visitor's Center
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    To get to Naval Live Oaks (an 1,378 acre woodland area in Gulf Breeze, Florida) take U.S. 98 east from Pensacola, Florida. The Naval Live Oaks Area is just east of Gulf Breeze on U.S. 98. But we were coming from the condo meeting in Fort Walton Beach so we went west on US 98. We got to the Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitor's Center at the Naval Oaks section about 11:50. This center is open all year 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Closed on Christmas day.

    The Fort Pickens part of the site (out west of Pensacola Beach) is closed due to hurricane damage, and the Naval Oaks center didn't have their normal tape show because the auditorium and the tape equipment was damaged in the hurricanes.

    But we did request and see an orientation film about the park called "Trees for Defense" on the historic use of live oak trees for national defense. The live oak wood is the heaviest of all oaks, a cubic foot may weigh 75 pounds and it is resistant to disease and decay. The USS Constitution, built in the 1790's which saw action against the British during the war of 1812, received the nickname "Old Ironsides" due to the strength of its live oak construction.

    We also looked at the exhibits which included an exhibit on a cross-section of a wooden vessel (photo 2). Afterwards, we went hiking on one of the shorter trails (third picture). We saw several birds (fourth picture) and there were signs pointing out various types of vegetation.

    Also on the site: Eastern National bookstore. Picnic area with a pavilion, individual picnic tables, restrooms, drinking fountains, outdoor showers, and a youth group camping facility

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    henderson beach

    by doug48 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    henderson beach

    henderson beach state park is located on CR 30 about 5 miles east of the town of seaside. henderson beach state park offers a beautiful white sand beach, fishing, nature trails, and camping. henderson beach is less well known as near by grayton beach and usually less crowded. for more information see my grayton beach pages.
    from fort walton-destin take US 98 east to CR 30A. take CR 30A southeast about 4 miles past the town of seaside.

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    watercolor resort

    by doug48 Updated Jun 11, 2009

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    watercolor shopping

    a nice side trip from the fort walton-destin area is the watercolor resort complex at grayton beach. this upscale resort has a luxury ocean front hotel, a couple of excellent restaurants, and a shopping area. a very nice place to stop when in the grayton beach-seaside area of northwest florida. for more information on this area see my grayton beach pages.
    from fort walton-destin take US 98 east about 20 miles to CR 30A. take CR 30A southeast about 5 miles to watercolor.

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    seaside

    by doug48 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    seaside

    a very interesting side trip from the fort walton-destin area is the planned community of seaside. this tiny town has an interesting collection of northeastern style beach cottages. seaside has a very nice shopping area, several good restaurants and bars, and a beautiful white sand beach. for more information on the interesting area see my grayton beach pages.
    from fort walton take US 98 east about 20 miles to CR 30A. take CR 30A southeast about 8 miles to the town of seaside.

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    grayton beach

    by doug48 Updated Jun 11, 2009

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    grayton beach

    when in the fort walton-destin area a very nice side trip is to grayton beach state park. this beautiful beach is considered on the best beaches in the state of florida. grayton beach state park offers swimming, fishing, canoeing, nature trails, and camping. also when in the area be sure to see the water color resort and the town of seaside. for more information about this beautiful section of northwest florida see my grayton beach pages.
    from fort walton beach take US 98 east about 20 miles to CR 30A then about 5 miles to the park.

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    Air Force Armament

    by grandmaR Updated May 5, 2006

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    Fat Man - 2nd A-bomb replica
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    Eglin AFB (Air Force Base) is quite close to Fort Walton Beach. There is a museum on the base (but accessible -located outside the main gates of Eglin Air Force Base on Hwy 85 and and State Road 189-7 miles North of Fort Walton Beach, Florida) which is called the United States Air Force Armament Museum. .Since it is outside the gates, you don't have to go through security, and it is FREE.

    There were four planes inside the building
    * P-51 Mustang and P-47 - World War II
    * F-80 Shooting Star - Korean War
    * F-105 - Vietnam War
    and over 25 more outside - SR-71 Blackbird, A-10, B-17, C-47, B-25, T-33, F-4, F-15, F-16, F-84, F-86, F-89, F-100, F-101, F-104, F-111, RB-47, RF-4, O-2, C-131, B-52, B-57.

    The 32 minute movie "Arming the Air Force," a history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of armament, is shown continuously.

    This wasn't just an airplane museum though - it was a weapons museum. They had a whole display of guns (a Browning automatic training rifle was way bigger than I would have thought - third photo), and a replica of the Fat Man (first photo) - the second nuclear bomb used in WWII in Japan. They had a model of the Pratt Whitney R4360 engine which you could turn on and see it running, a cockpit of a Warthog trainer, and a model aircraft exhibit.

    My big moment was asking them why the ABCCC (Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center) Exhibit Entrance was labeled "Door Closed" and "Do Not Enter", so that people were forced to go in the exit door, which was open. (It was because no-one had opened the door - if the door was open, the signs on the door wouldn't be very visible). This was a mock-up of the inside of a plane with a whole bunch of desks for people to sit and do navigation etc.

    After Bob walked out and looked at the big black plane (which was so big it was hard to get it all in one picture) called the Blackbird (fourth photo) in the front of the museum.

    Museum open is 9 am to 4:30 pm, daily.
    Closed on all federal holidays

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