Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Back in the USA – Fort Ticonderoga

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It's a beautiful fort.

It’s a beautiful fort.


On Monday we were back in the United States. In New York State to be exact, and we had a plan. We were going to visit a fort and a set of waterfalls. We figured we could do both in one day. After all, we were becoming experts on forts this trip.

We figured wrong.

We spent the entire day at Fort Ticonderoga. We were there shortly after they opened, and we attended the last talk of the afternoon. The fort is now part of a nonprofit, with an educational mission statement. Each year they present the fort as it might have been in a particular year in history. We saw it as it was in 1755.

Our guide, as a resident of the fort in the mid 1700s.

Our guide, as a resident of the fort in the mid 1700s.

The stone fort sits on a peninsula of land in Lake Champlain, near the border to Vermont. It was built to control river traffic and it was held by the French first.

Watching over the lake.

Watching over the lake.

Most of the talks we heard were about the French and Indian War which started in 1754. Our guide said that it was actually a war between the British and the French…but since the British won they got to name it, and they named it the French and Indian War, though there were Native Americans fighting on both sides.

There were over 100 cannons in the fort in the mid 1700s. Over the years the fort fell into disrepair and most of it was destroyed during many conquests and losses. Today the cannons on the outside were purchased during the reconstruction of the fort in the 1950s. The blue ones are actually brass and were purchased from a Spanish fort. They are very ornate.

Beautiful cannon handles.

Beautiful cannon handles.

There are only two cannons at the fort today that are original. They are in the center of the fort and seem quite small compared to the cannons out along the edges of the fort.

At home where they should be.

At home where they should be.

Another interesting thing we learned is that the people providing the information dressed in period costumes live the 1700s soldier life at the fort. Beyond dressing and talking about the period they also eat the food of the period. That can get pretty boring.

Making bread in ovens dug into the clay.

Cooking in ovens dug into the clay.

Apparently the most common food stuffs sent to the fort back then were dried peas, salt pork and wheat for bread. The young man making bread told us he was on week 21 of eating pea soup every day.

There is also a full time shoemaker at the fort. He said he learned the craft through apprenticeship. He makes all the shoes for everyone at the fort, and repairs old shoes.

Making 18th century shoes.

Making 18th century shoes.

Every soldier would get new clothes once a year. There would not necessarily be a shoemaker at the fort, most soldiers repaired their own clothes.

We also got to watch and learn about different battle techniques.

Ready, set, FIRE!

Ready, set, FIRE!

Then we went on a tour of the fort gardens. The area is located in very fertile farmland, so the fort had a 6 acre farm growing vegetables to augment that pea soup diet.

Beautiful gardens.

Beautiful gardens.

Today there is a small vegetable garden growing crops that would have been grown back in the 1700s.

Our garden expert.

Our garden expert.

Everything that is harvested there is used in the fort restaurant.

In the early 1900s the fort and most of the peninsula was purchased by the Pell family. (Yes the Pell grant family.) They built a summer home near the gardens and began to restore the fort which was in ruins.

Over the years different members of the Pell family worked on the restoration and lived summers on the beautiful land. There was a house garden full of flowers inside a walled garden that is still maintained today.

Pretty inside the walled garden.

Pretty inside the walled garden.

The house is falling into disrepair, and the park is working to find funding to preserve it as well.

Fixer-upper.

Fixer-upper.

The last talk of the day wasn’t held in the fort. It was across the lake, up on top of Mount Defiance. During one of the skirmishes someone took two cannons up to the top of that mountain to threaten the fort. It didn’t work…but the mountain was named at least in part because of that act.

The fort stands strong.

The fort stands strong.

The view from the top of the mountain is stunning. You get a birds eye view of the fort and the surrounding country which is filled with rolling hills and farms.

Farmland for as far as you can see.

Farmland for as far as you can see.

The talk on top of the mountain was about a specific battle between the British who had 3x as many troops as the French who were defending the fort. The British felt so sure that they could take the fort they had the local Indian chiefs sit up where we sat that day, to watch the battle. It didn’t turn out well for the British, but it’s a long story. I guess you’re just going to have to go visit the fort for yourself. I promise you won’t regret the time spent. I bet you’ll find yourself just like us, lingering, learning, listening.

And imagining.

The view from inside.

The view from inside.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

7 thoughts on “Back in the USA – Fort Ticonderoga

  1. We visited the fort mmmhmmm years ago when Gep was four and I was pregnant with Kat. I remember that trip fondly despite the fact that we were camping with only a canopy and a station wagon and it rained. A lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like pea soup, but even two days of it is MORE than enough — I can’t imagine eating it ever single day for 21 weeks! That’s a LOT of peas, you know. The gardens look quite pretty, though, and I’m fascinated by the views!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. that is a lot of wonderful memories you have made – something to look back on when winter comes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You saw the coolest things! You even went back in time
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Catching up on your blog this morning. Looks like a lot of great adventures! This is what I hope for myself someday!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m working backwards so I can enjoy the rest of your trip. I just put Fort Ticonderoga on my list of places to visit. Imagine having pea soup every day for 21 weeks. I think I’d get tired of eating. Might not be a bad way to lose weight. lol!

    Thanks for sharing all the cool things you saw on your trip. It’s nice to travel with you. Great images, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was raised in upstate NY so when I saw Ticonderoga in your blog heading, I was like, “wait, that’s in New York!” So glad you enjoyed your trip there. Yes, there are quite a few forts in NY state – reading through your post makes me realize how little attention I paid them when I was close by. Wow, can you imagine eating pea soup all those days in a row?? NO thanks!

    Like

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