Monday, April 30, 2007

Hazy Sunset

We feel bad for our friends in Georgia who are experiencing some pretty tough times with the wildfires there. Fortunately, we're unaffected except for the hazy sunsets and brilliant red moons due to the smoke and ash way up high. We're told that the fires are about 70% contained and there's a shot at some rain in the fire region this weekend. We'll keep our fingers crossed for them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Three Lions

One of the guard lions is sleeping. Just another gorgeous door in the Historic District. It's appropriate that this is the door to the Tabby House. Smart cat.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Watering Hole

This "watering station" on Centre Street was designed to quench the thirst of all who passed. Back at the turn of the century, horses were the primary concern as they were the main mode of transportation and commerce, so their "trough" faces Centre Street. On the other side, you'll find a fountain at "people height," and below that, a trough for all of the smaller four-legged creatures. Still today, most islanders are concerned for the welfare of our animals. You'll find bowls of water along the sidewalk and dishes of cat food on many porches for the strays. When we live in such beautiful surroundings, it's only natural for us to be connected to our furry friends - large and small.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Jasmine

There have always been four things that I've waited for in my life i.e. they're either happening or I'm waiting for them to happen again: strawberry season, the Olympics, honeysuckle and Silver Queen corn. Since moving to The South, I've had to add a fifth: Confederate Jasmine. I never knew that anything could compete with honeysuckle. Let me just say, "wow". There's not a doubt in my mind that one day I'll be found asphyxiated from OJing (over jasmining). The whole island is getting ready to smell like it; it will be at its peak in about a week. And the best spot on the island for a nap (if you can turn off your sensors) is right under our Jasmine arbour next to the pool, pictured here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Port

Fernandina's port is the westernmost deep water port on the East Coast. In other words, this is as far west as the big tankers can get by water before unloading their cargo. It's much cheaper for companies to ship by water than over land, so this is an advantageous location. Once the cargo is unloaded here, it can move over land either by truck or by rail, as the train tracks run right up to these loaders that you see here. Every time that I see these loaders, I'm reminded of the Imperial Walkers in "The Empire Strikes Back". I'm sure that George Lucas was inspired by these to create those masterpieces. But, I digress.

The fact that Amelia Island is so far west comes into play during the hurricane season - in a good way - but we'll get more into that later. If you get out your map, you'll see that we're as far west as Cleveland, Ohio. We're as far west on the East Coast as you can go.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fish in the Air

And the pelicans are ready. I had to practically push through this gang who decided to get a jump on their friends waiting in the water for a toss. They were definitely much closer to the food source while on the dock. In fact they were almost standing on the food source's feet.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Egan's Creek

Egan's Creek runs pretty much through the whole center of the island. It's a great refuge for wildlife and fishermen. It borders a beautiful marsh that connects it with Ft. Clinch State Park. Really nice for nature lovers.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Summertime...

...and the livin' is easy. Amelia Island kids are like kids everywhere; they just find a good place to drop a line and then enjoy the day. It seems to me that the kids around here have a few more fishing options than where I grew up, but we had a few more hills to climb. It's quite flat throughout most of the island. There's a slope in the middle of the island that the locals think is a hill, but if you're from outside of Florida, you'll know that it's just two extra pushes on the bike pedals.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Jazz in the Garden

The Les DeMerle Jazz All Stars played this afternoon in the courtyard of Joe's Second Street Bistro for a great concert on a perfect Sunday afternoon. As you can see, it was sold out. If you're a fan of jazz, you might be interested to note that Les sponsors the Amelia Island Jazz Festival in October. October is one of my favorite months on the island. We have absolutely perfect weather and the kids are all in school so the adults have perfect pool, beach, jazz and nature-loving days.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Katie Ride


David and Susan Caples, organizers and sponsors of the Katie Ride for Life, an event to raise awareness and funds for organ and tissue donation. Katie was their high- school aged daughter from whose tragic death they found inspiration to give others a chance for life.





Riders of all ages and abilities participated on this beautiful island day.






The food station was second only to the massage station in popularity today.






It's a very popular island event. Even our banker (left) rode today. It was Vicky's third consecutive annual ride.



If you're so inclined, you can donate through the link to the Katie Ride. If you don't know much about organ donation, you can educate yourself through the site, as well. And next time you renew your license, please consider signing up to be an organ donor. The life you save may be in your own family.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Florida House Inn

The Florida House Inn is the oldest operating hotel in Florida. It's hosted presidents, senators, congressmen and rowdy Carnegie and Rockefeller boys. It's now known for its lively bar, The Frisky Mermaid. You can listen to live bands every night of the week. If you're so inclined, Sunday from 4-8 is Shag dance time, lessons included.

FYI, the Florida House is proudly displaying the eight flags that have flown over Amelia Island; we're the only place in the US with that distinction. The first person to e-mail me with all eight flags in the correct chronological order will be sent a $50 Fairbanks House gift certificate. You can find my email address on the top left of this blog.

Update 4/23 - We have a winner: Sandy Fountaine-Laberge of Feeding Hills, MA. Thanks for reading, Sandy. Hope to see you soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Morning America on Amelia Island

In a departure from my usual photo postings, I'm going to let the (much more) talented crew of Good Morning America show you a different view of Amelia Island. This segment was shown this past Sunday morning and shows a side of the island that I haven't touched on very much: sand and beach. I'll be showing more of that part of the island when I start running for longer distances because I'll be doing that in different locales. For now, enjoy this wonderful footage.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quarter Mile Into the Ocean

And I'm still on the fishing pier at Ft. Clinch State Park. It always amazes me just how long the pier is. And how secluded. It's a nice place to take a peaceful walk in solitude.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jumping Girls

This group of "girls" were the "Emerson Basement Babes" here for a college reunion on a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun getaway package. We love these! As you can see, most girls really DO just wanna have fun. We also had two sisters celebrating 40th birthdays, two friends celebrating one's pending nuptuals, and three sisters just getting away from the pressures of family life - all at the same time. When I get the technical difficulties worked out from having two blogs under the same account, I'll be posting lots of photos like this on a separate blog that you can access from our Girls Just Wanna Have Fun page.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mermaid

This whimsical mermaid is one of several murals on the outside wall of Eileen's Art and Antiques. Local artist, Eileen Shannon Moore has a wonderfully eclectic shop full of her personal watercolors on canvas and windowpanes, as well as works by several other talented local artists. You can also find antiques and funky home decor items in addition to handmade jewelery by local artisans. I never go in during one of my planned walks because I'd miss the fun of exploring for hours.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Otters!

While the nor'easter is blowing snow into the northern states, it's just plain blowing here. The high winds created some really low tides drawing these two otters to the riverbank to play and look for food. Otters are a common site in the Amelia River but we usually just get to see the tops of their little heads as they play and fish. It was a real treat to see them rolling around in the mud. Soon the water will be warm enough for manatees. The dolphins are already plentiful. If you're interested in the likes of these, come down for our inaugural Wild Amelia Nature Festival in May.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Boomer

Boomer is one big boy. He weighs over 2400 pounds and is, reportedly, the biggest horse in Nassau County. When he came to pick up one of our "girls groups" for a tour this evening, I went through a whole bag of carrots, an apple and some Spanish Moss (he loves it). When we do our guest carriage tours for the whole house on Christmas Eve, we usually go through about 10 pounds of carrots since he gladly accepts handouts from each and every guest.

Friday, April 13, 2007

This Never Gets Old

Sigh.... If you'd like to see an Amelia Island sunset in action, be sure to watch Good Morning America this Sunday, April 15th. They'll be showing their Weekend Window segment that was shot on Amelia Island a couple of weeks ago. You'll really be able to get a sense of the natural beauty of the island.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Petunias

I just love the color of the petunias that we've recently planted out front.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Boat Names

I like to walk along the riverfront and look for some of the more creative names for boats. We get alot of boat traffic this time of year because of the snowbirds making their way back up north after spending the winter in Florida. The Amelia River is part of the Intracoastal Waterway and we're the last stop in Florida so this is a really active time. Some even come in off of the water to spend the night at our inn so that they can sleep in a real bed and take a real shower. We even catch some of them on their migratory path in both directions.

Note to non-Floridians: Snowbirds are people who flee the snow up north for the winter to spend several months in the favorable Florida climate.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Pretty Door

Doesn't this porch just say "come on up"? One of the nice things about Fernandina is that back in the 1800's when the town was built, there were no such things as backyard decks or barbecue pits. Every house had a front porch and people chatted with passersby. The same thing happens in 2007 in Fernandina. I've sometimes thought that our guests have gotten lost and ended up on the wrong porch, only to find out that they've been invited up for a chat by a neighbor. We get a little more like Mayberry every day.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Best Burger in Town

No, the title is not a mistake. Inside this Exxon station is T-Rays, a great breakfast and lunch place - mostly a secret hangout for locals. It's been voted to have the best burger in town for several years running. There's a sign inside that says "Eat burgers, get gas". I love Fernandina.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter




Saturday, April 7, 2007

Pretty Post Office

Our beautiful post office used to be the customs house with a federal courtroom upstairs. The post office is still functional downstairs but the courtroom is now available for rental for weddings, concerts and parties. It's a really gorgeous building.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Sorry About the Snow Up North

Why don't you come down to Amelia Island and sit on Main Beach for sunset? We've been sold out this week but we've got good availability for the remainder of the month...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cumberland Island





I took my walk on Cumberland Island today courtesy of the Greyfield Inn, another member of Select Registry. Cumberland is a truly magical place, as you can see. There are herds of wild horses roaming, untouched sand dunes and 500 year old oak trees. If you'll be a guest of the Fairbanks House, ask us about arranging for a daytrip over there if you won't be fortunate enough to stay overnight at the Greyfield.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ten Year Pin

This is Dick and Judy Cooper. They've now come to the Fairbanks House for ten straight years. They come every April from England for five nights during the Bausch and Lomb tennis tournament. They say that it's easier than getting tickets to Wimbledon. They're truly delightful guests and we look forward to "Dick and Judy Cooper Week" every year. And we're honored that they stay at our inn every year. Cheers!

Birds and Bees Corner

There are lots of these around town: little pockets of vibrant flowers and a stopover for birds and bees. There's always something in bloom on the island, so the birds don't usually have a problem finding anything to eat; lots of berries everywhere, and plenty of nectar for hummingbirds. We have a large number of migratory birds that come through the island, as well. In fact, at the inn, we usually have two days every spring when flocks of every type of bird that you can imagine congregating all around the yard (primarily around the patio) stripping all of the hollies and palm trees of their seeds and berries. This year, we even had a group of Cedar Waxwings that lined up and passed berries down the line to each other.

If you're interested in birds, bees, flora and fauna, you should come for our Wild Amelia Nature Festival the thrid weekend in May. It's shaping up to be a really nice event.

P.S. If you're counting, this post is a day late because I couldn't log on to update the blog last night. I could view it, but just couldn't get in.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Celtic Charmer

This is my friend, Sarah: as authentic a shopkeeper as there could ever be. She was raised on a farm in Ireland and now owns an Irish shop on Centre Street called Celtic Charm. I'm tempted to buy everything in it, and - from the bags that show up in our guest rooms - I'm sure that some of our guests have tried to do just that. We do most of our Christmas shopping there too. Sarah and her husband go back to Ireland several times a year to restock. It's hard to stay focused on my walk when I walk by the shop.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sunset Porch


This pretty sunset porch is one of many that you'll find throughout Fernandina. Around here, you can start your day watching sunrise with your toes in the sand, walk over the dunes to Ft. Clinch State Park, cross the marsh in the middle of the island and walk into town to the riverfront for breakfast. The island is only two miles wide at its widest point. You're always near water. So we like to take advantage of our sunrises and sunsets, since we have such great unobstructed views.