Tom and I are wrapping up our time at Fort Frederica National Monument. We have been here six months, which is the longest we have worked or lived anyplace since we retired. Of course, we weren’t planning on being here this long, but Covid-19 has disrupted lots of plans this year. Next week we will head back to Ohio to see our family.
But there are still some projects we are wrapping up and some things we are getting done before we go. The park started building an Archaeology Education building in April and we thought it might be done before we left. However, the building currently looks like this. The contractors who began the job didn’t remove the stumps beside the foundation. They also did not level the foundation and it is not plumb. They came and worked for two weeks then they disappeared. I’m hoping they got sacked because what they have done so far stinks. But this is the way things go in the park service.
Fort Frederica has applied for Phase 2 reopening, which means the buildings will be open with limited capacity. They put a plexiglass cage up around the Visitor Center desk and will limit the number of people in the Visitor Center at a time. Customers in the Bookstore are not supposed to touch anything. They will not be showing the movie and are taking out all the games and the colonial clothes. In other words, anything fun will be gone. Tom and I hope we are gone before Phase 2 because it doesn’t look like anything we will enjoy. But there will be tours of the grounds and living history programs outside, so that will be good.
Even while Tom and I are wrapping up, others are gearing up for bigger crowds. Don and Jane Tinsley, long-time volunteers who arrived June 1, have been weeding the gardens and cleaning up the foundations of the houses. We are currently getting about 200 visitors a day. With this number it is easy to keep social distancing. But, as the numbers increase, the area around the breezeway especially will feel crowded. During living history training on Saturday, some people kept coming too close. Definitely time for us to be moving on.
Our six months at Fort Frederica have been a blessing. We are so thankful that they let us stay here and work during the two months the park was closed. It gave us something to do during the time of self-isolation. Unfortunately Georgia and Florida are moving full speed ahead with reopening. Although most people are doing good at social distancing, they don’t wear masks or avoid restaurants. Tom and I are ready to leave our jobs and head to Ohio where we can be more selective about the company we keep.