As our day exploring was running down, we made one diversion from the center of Hampton to Fort Monroe. Up until last year, this was apparently still an active military facility. Now it has been vacated by the military and is open to access. The feeling of the place is still very clearly that of a military base, even if the large number of troops are no longer there. It is also plainly very old.
At the center of the Fort is an old Victorian style structure with massive stone walls and a moat. There are a few entrances you can drive through and inside is the heart of the fort. It appears that the housing has been turned over to people now so, while it is quiet, it isn’t deserted. I have no idea who the housing now belongs to but it is certainly interesting to drive around.
Outside the main fortifications are plenty of other buildings. These include gun emplacements as well as some very nice high end housing. As you drive around you come to some nice houses that you assume must be for the senior officers. Only as you come around the next corner and see even bigger houses do you realize that the really senior officers must have been there. Indeed, as we walked along looking at the buildings, one of the residents came out and said hello. She told us that this was Generals’ Row while the other houses were Colonels’ Row. I am guessing the enlisted guys did not see much of this area.
The access to the shore means that plenty of people come to the piers to fish or to walk along the beach. I have no idea what the future holds for this place but it certainly is worth a diversion if you are in the area to see something that is a bit frozen in time – at least for now.