Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fort Caswell

I can only hope that this post will make any sense at all...it's 10:45pm...I am STILL trying to catch up on sleep from my weekend trip...and I'm waiting for the washer to finish so I can put clothes in the dryer so Dylan will have the correct uniform for his game tomorrow!  Whew...what a week...and it's only Tuesday!  Dylan has a game tomorrow night AND Thursday night (thankfully at home!) and then we have movie night for the kids at church on Friday night...and I agreed to go to a Fall Festival workshop Saturday morning.  I think I may have to have a caffeine IV put in so I can make it to Saturday!  My prediction is that I crash...and crash hard Saturday afternoon.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about my trip over the last weekend before it got to far away.  Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Fort Caswell.  Our church's youth group would attend summer camp at Fort Caswell every year.  When people talked about going to Caswell, it was kind of like hearing people talk about going to Disney World.  They talked about the fun time they had, the people they met, the experiences they had and how all of these things would bring them closer to the Lord.  My parents chaperoned many of these trips...but for my sister & I, this meant a week at our grandparents.  For my parents, it was a week that they shared with a group of young people in a place that was simply wonderful to them. 

As I moved toward Youth age in our church, I couldn't wait until it was MY turn to go to Youth camp at Fort Caswell.  And, quite honestly, the place lived up to the hype.  Each summer, I spent a week in youth camp at Fort Caswell.  This is where I came to know Jesus as my Savior.  This place is where I made and strengthened friendships...the kind that last forever.  Every year when we arrived, I would just feel the presence of God wash over me when I'd step off the bus.  For six summers, I had the priviledge of enjoying Fort Caswell and everything that it had to offer.  I truly cherish the memories...they aren't all deep and gooey...some are just plain funny and silly. 

My best friend, Ashley, was on most of those trips with me.  Her husband, Zac, also went to Caswell with his Youth group...but we are pretty sure they weren't there at the same time.  However, he has the same precious memories of this place.  And a few years ago, they began visiting regularly for mini-vacations.  First of all, you can stay there for $30/person/night.  For a weekend trip, that's an incredible deal for the beach!  But they also loved sharing the memories of this place and making their own.  A few years ago, they invited me to go with them, but I really didn't have the money to go...and I had to cancel.  Then a few months ago, they asked if we would be able to swing a trip in honor of Zac's birthday (Sept 10) and I agreed.

You wanna know a secret???  When it came down to it, I really didn't have the money to go this time either. :)  But I prayed and prayed and prayed...and God provided...cool, huh?

Anyway, we planned to leave on Thursday.  I had to work on Thursday...but I swung getting off at 4pm.  I work about 5 minutes from Zac & Ashley's house...so the plan was for Zac to go and pick up Dylan from school...I would leave my already packed car at their house so they could pack their stuff...and as soon as I got off at 4pm, we would be on the road.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Yeah...the best laid plans...

First problem...Ashley had one flat tire and another with a whole in it on Wednesday...so, Zac was going to have to take her car to get two new tires on Thursday...before we left.  No problem...his work was slow Wednesday, so hopefully he will be able to take off early and get this done...still pick up Dylan and we'd be on schedule.

Second problem...since we are unsure of Zac's work situation, we have to arrange for Dylan to get home from school...otherwise it would be 4:00 before he got off the bus...and that's the time we are leaving from Zac & Ash's...which is at least 20 minutes from our house.  No problem...my Mom offers to pick Dylan up.

Third problem...evidently pick up from the high school is CRAZINESS and Mom doesn't leave the school until close to 3:15...getting Dylan back to my house to meet Zac at 3:30...which means that Zac gets home at 4pm.

Finally...we got the car packed...and we leave Zac & Ashley's house at 4:55pm...breaking our necks to get to the bank before 5pm so Zac can deposit checks.  By 5:00pm, we are headed toward I-40 on our way...and Zac says to Ashley, "Did you pack my tennis shoes?" To which Ashley replies, "No".  So, back we go to their house...Ashley goes into the house to get his shoes...then she can't find her sunglasses...which she finds a few minutes later...in her purse.  And we are off again at 5:30pm.

After we finally got on the road, it was pretty smooth sailing.  We stopped for dinner...we stopped for bathroom breaks...

Now, when I'm on a trip and we stop at a convenience store for a bathroom break, I need some candy.  My absolute favorite...which NO ONE has...are Chewy Sweetarts.  I love them.  They are my most favorite.  But a good second best is Fun Dip.  I mean, what's better than taking a stick made completely of sugar...licking it...sticking it in pure sugar...and licking the sugar off the sugar stick???? 

So, we stopped at this store on the way...I do my usual survey for Chewy Sweetarts...can't find them...and then I spot Fun Dip.  I'm in heaven.  I bend over and pick up the pack...and think, something's not right.  I begin pressing all over the packets and can't figure out why there doesn't seem to any sugar in the packets...Ashley & Dylan are just looking at me...they are trying to form words...they are pointing at something.  What's that???  A pile of sugar on the floor that is pouring out of the Fun Dip pouch.  And what do I do???  Throw the pack back into the box of Fun Dip like it's a hot potato.  By this point, we are rolling...but what really set Ash off was me bending over, picking up another packet of Fun Dip that's UNDER the open packet...dusting the sugar off that I have JUST spilled on it...and proceeding to the register.

We were still laughing about it on Saturday.

Finally we arrived and crashed...not to see the light of day until Friday morning. 

Now...I'm not going to give you a play by play, minute by minute account...I would be here forever...and I have pictures!!!  Basically our days went like this:  wake up, eat breakfast, go to the beach (the boys fished), shower, and then it would be evening.  We went to Southport Friday night...tried to convince Zac & Dylan to let us stay so we could watch Mary Poppins at the "outdoor theater" that they had going on.  Saturday, we just poked around Caswell and then Sunday it was home again.

A little background on Caswell...I know you think this post is going to last forever...I'm afraid it might! :P

Anyway, Fort Caswell is situated where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.  The Cape Fear was a main supply river in the 1800's.  Fast forward to the Civil War and you can see where the fear would be.  If the Union Army tried to take the Cape Fear, the Confederates would be completely cut off from supplies.  So, Fort Caswell was built to protect the mouth of the Cape Fear. 

I don't know the exact history...but from what I do understand, the Fort was never used during any actual battles and in 1949 it was sold to the NC Baptist Assembly to be used as a conference center and Youth camp.  Many of the original buildings remain, including the barracks and a lot of the forts themselves.  Including some from the Civil War.  If you want to know more about Fort Caswell, you can click here.  You can click on "About" and there's a section about the history.

It really is a beautiful place...and if my internet connection wasn't so slow and if it wasn't now 11:30pm, I would upload some pics.  But since I've written a novel already and I really need to sleep now...I'll have to do that tomorrow.  If you just can't wait another minute, I've made my Facebook album of this trip open to the public...so, click here and you can access 97 of the 134 pics I took over the weekend.  :)  Enjoy...and for those patient people out there...I'll do Fort Caswell, part 2 tomorrow!



BigSis said...

Where do you get a caffeine IV? I seriously need one!

shortmama said...

I always dreamed of going to camp when I was a kid but never got the chance to go!

dollycas aka Lori said...

Our last name is Caswell, and while planning a trip back in 1997, long before my accident, I searched on the internet for other places to visit as we were taking the kids to Washington DC and saw a listing for Caswell Beach in North Carolina, and we knew we had to go there. We lengthened our vacation to 2 weeks and spent one entire week at Caswell Beach and toured Fort Caswell. I had no idea we could have stayed there. It was the best vacation we ever had and if there is anyway possible we will be retiring in North Carolina. I have such good memories of that vacation!