Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Graceful Pelicans

I felt bad about calling the pelicans ungraceful the other day, so I thought I'd show you them at their best: in formation, wingtip to wingtip and an inch above the water. This particular posse glided along for about 45 seconds before I saw a wing flap.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

St. Joseph's Convent

This pretty yellow house was the original convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph back in the 1800's. The Sisters started the St. Joseph's Convent school which has now evolved into the well-respected and well-restored
St. Michael's Academy. Two of the Sisters died helping fight the yellow fever epidemic of 1877; two caught it, but survived. Now this house is owned by my friend, Pam.

Monday, February 26, 2007

More from our Artisans

All of my shots had glare today so I'm putting one up from Saturday's walk that I didn't get to use. This is the back deck of a pretty little art gallery/ studio that's always bright and colorful. And, to our friends and family up in the snowy, cold north, this color's for you.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Church

The churches were all doing bustling business on this beautiful Sunday morning. Clockwise from top left would be: Baptist, Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal. There are several more churches in the Historic District, but these are all my time would allow me to photograph this morning.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church was designed by the same architect as our inn: Robert Schuyler. He was considered by many to be the finest architect of the day, so George Fairbanks brought him down from New York to build our (their) house. While Schuyler was here, Fairbanks had him design the Episcopal church. Fairbanks was a devout Episcopalian and was one of the founders of the College of the South (now known as the University of the South) - an Episcopal university in Sewanee, Tennesee. The Fairbanks' primary residence, called "Rebels' Rest," is now a guest house at the university. The residence in Fernandina was just a winter home. We use it year-round.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gettin' Set Up for the Chili Cook Off

Today was the big chili cook off. Any excuse for a party around here. Big vats of chili, big slides for the kids, big sunshiney day. It all added up for some nice funds being raised for several local charities. Mark it on your calendar for next year; it'll be an annual event.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Another Daily Treat

Once you've seen one sunset here, you pretty much want to see the rest of them....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bailey House

This is one of the prettiest Victorians that you'll ever see. The
Bailey House used to be a bed and breakfast but is now a private residence. If you look closely at the porch, you'll see Victorian era carousel horses. At Christmas time, the owners play carousel music through speakers on the porch. Naturally, the horses all wear pretty red bows.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Last Flight Out

I've always liked Harry's window at his shop Last Flight Out. He's got a pretty eclectic collection of humorous signs and memorabilia. Unfortunately, you'll have to take my word for some of it because it's a little hard to read with the reflection. I was going to reject the photo but I really like the reflection of the other pretty buildings across the street, so I recommend that you follow the link to his website so that you can see how Harry kind of embodies the spirit of "us island folk".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Please Wait Your Turn at the Buffet

The fishermen around here always have an attentive audience while they clean their catch. The pelicans are usually polite but I've seen them try to pluck the fish right off the boat. I love to watch as they're flying along way above the water and suddenly spot their prey below. They simply stop flying and drop into the water as if they've been shot out of the sky. It's the least graceful thing you'll see - particularly in recognition of their ability to glide within an inch of the water for long stretches without even flapping their wings - one of the MOST graceful things that you'll see.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Voyager's Back

This 100ft schooner known as the Voyager has just returned after getting a fresh paint job for the season. You can take a two hour sunset sail aboard her several evenings a week.

The owner of the Voyager selected Fernandina for his base because of the significance of schooners to the area. Fernandina was a major port in the early days of the United States and the schooner was the transporter of choice. Our river was filled with these ships waiting to bring their cargo to port. If you take the sunset sail, sit back by the captain - Jay - and ask him about it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pretty Porch

This pretty porch always catches my eye. And I like frogs.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pirates On The Run

Today was our Pirates on the Run 10K Race that goes right by our inn. As you can see, we were invaded by pirates of all shapes and sizes; and we've got some interesting race marshalls too. In case you don't know, September 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. It's easy to learn because the pirate alphabet only has two letters: RRRRRRRRR and IIIIIIIIII.

If you'd like to see more photos from the race or get more information about running opportunities on the island, click here.

Friday, February 16, 2007


On my walk this evening I saw my two favorite sushi chefs hard at work, as they would be on a Friday night, and I popped in to grab a quick photo. Never interrupt a chef at work. Tandy and Tony are at "Bonito," a really great Asian Fusion restaurant just up the street from our inn. One time a guest asked me what "fusion" meant and - before I had a chance to offer an explanation - her husband answered "expensive"...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Little Italian Restaurant on the Corner

We have lots of little independent restaurants around town including this one called "Luigi's". Many patrons elect to eat outdoors on this wonderful little patio - which is open year-round.

Confession: I left without my camera on tonight's walk and this was actually taken the other day. Truth in journalism...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Just thought you folks up north might want to see some flowers today...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fresh Shrimp, Anyone?

This is looking north from the town docks toward the "working" end. These shrimp boats are all individually owned and operated and are a dying breed due to the high expense of operation. You may not be aware that Fernandina is the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. In the early part of the last century, a New England fisherman who had relocated to Fernandina came up with the idea to outfit his boat with large fish nets to try to increase the catch of the abundant supply of shrimp in our waters. He was wildly successful and revolutionized the industry. Many of the shrimp that you eat today have been caught in and around our waters.

A child of this innovation was The Burbank Net Company who made and supplied these hand-tied nets for all types of fishing and shrimping boats. As time passed and large corporations began taking over the shrimping industry (by farm-raising shrimp), Burbank branched out and began making nets for soccer and lacrosse goals. The company still supplies a large percentage of those currently in use. The Burbank Net Company continues to operate in Fernandina today and offers tours, if you're interested. And, if you're REALLY interested, here's an interview with Billy Burbank III conducted in 1980.

That is not a shark fin in the water; it's a landing pelican. More about the "Imperial Walkers" in the distance on another day

Monday, February 12, 2007

Through the Neighbor's Gate

 As a Victorian town we have alot of beautiful wrought iron fences, but I like what's behind the gates. My neighbor, Sarah, has quite a bit in bloom right now including - but not limited to - roses, this heavily laden orange tree and these yellow trumpet thingies. Sometimes I see Sarah on my walks while she's walking her sheepdog, but it takes her twice as long because her dog thinks that there is a cat hiding under every car.
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

blue door artists

These stairs make me smile every time I walk by - or up - them. They really invite you up to see what the "blue door artists" are creating in their studios. There are several local artists that paint, sculpt, weave and make jewelry at the top of these stairs. You can watch them work or purchase a completed piece. Fernandina has lots of galleries featuring the works of very talented local artists working in a variety of media. Some offer workshops and classes too. Our main arts (and shrimp) festival is held the first weekend in May every year. You can get more information here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Snak Shak

I can never decide if our old-fashioned candy shop "Snak Shak" is more enticing during the daytime or evening. They have Sugar Babies, Mary Janes, Dots, Moon Pies, BB Bats and wax lips. Even the little wax Coke bottles with the non-Adkins-like-subtance inside. But I'm all about the Mallow Cups.

Amelia River at Dusk

Due to technical difficulties (dead camera battery), I didn't get to post last night but this is the Amelia River at dusk. Most of my walks involve the river because it's one of the rewards of living here. Our marina is right at the foot of Centre Street and the docks stretch out for quite a ways along the river. Across the river are the uninhabited islands of Tiger and Little Tiger. They're the "country home" for many Fernandina birds.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Happy Dog

Fernandina is the kind of place where you can go to the coffee shop, leave your dog outside while you go in to buy a treat for the two of you, and the dog will still be there when you get back. And he will have had 15 people stop to pet him while you were inside. Many of us think of Fernandina as Mayberry on an island.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Open for Business

Fernandina doesn't follow conventional corporate policy when it comes to much of anything, including announcing whether our businesses are open or closed. (That's why we love it here.) Here is how the consignment shop "Buy-Gones" makes their announcements.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Waas House

The Waas House is one of my favorite houses in the Historic District. The owners have told us that - because their house is so large and grand - some of our guests have mistaken it for our inn and tried to check in there. In the early part of the last century William T. Waas, the town doctor, bought the house and added a major Queen Anne style wing with a touch of Gothic Revival. It is one of the largest private residences in the Historic District.

Monday, February 5, 2007


Amelia Island's mascot is the pirate - given our history with their likes - and here's one who will greet you at the oldest operating saloon in Florida. The Palace Saloon has been (and is) host to Rockefellers, Carnegies, pirate-types, professionals and tradesmen. They're now known for their particularly potent Pirate's Punch.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Centre Street on Sunday Morning

This is the foot of Centre Street where all of our little shops and restaurants are located. Things are a little sleepy on Sunday morning as families are getting out of church and heading for Sunday breakfast at our Mom and Pop coffee shops and cafes. Note the railroad tacks crossing in front. Nobody around here minds when their walk is interrupted by one of the trains headed to or from the port. Not many people know that Fernandina boasts the western most deep water port on the east coast.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Willy and Polly

This is our wonderful trolley "Polly" and her wonderful owner and conductor "Willy". Together they'll take you for a thirty-minute narrated tour around the island. They tour every day except Sunday when Polly sleeps.
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Friday, February 2, 2007

My Starting Line

This is the sidewalk that runs in front of our inn where I start my walk each morning. In two and a half blocks, I'm on Centre Street where the townspeople gravitate to see what's going on in Fernandina each day. You really never know which of our cast of town characters will be out and about.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A New Beginning

I created this blog for a couple of reasons. In keeping a commitment that I made to myself, I have been walking at least thirty minutes every day since the first of the year. On these walks, I get to stroll through what I think is one of the most charming towns on earth. On every walk, I see at least 10 things that make me smile. I intend to show you a photo of one of those things (person, place, animal, flora, house, event or scene) so that you can enjoy our town right along with me.

The second reason is so that you can keep tabs on my commitment to myself. I pledge to put a photo from the CURRENT day's walk on this blog every day. My goal is to begin running in about another month, so it could get tricky taking the camera along but I'll be thrilled to cross that bridge when I waddle over it. So....... no excuses. I invite you to keep tabs on me and to enjoy my little town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida right along with me.

I turned 49 today. This is my "before " photo. You'll see me again when I turn 50 - February 1, 2008. I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me.
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