Thursday, May 31, 2007

Job Fair

These are my friends Deb and Charlene from a friendly competitor, Elizabeth Pointe Lodge. We were all at a job fair last night accepting applications from worthy applicants. Not only do we refer guests to each other, but it's not uncommon for us to refer job applicants to one another, as well, if we feel that a better fit can be found at the other property. We're both members of Select Registry and we like both properties to serve our guests well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

He Wants to Walk With Me

I'm sure of it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wanna Buy a House?

This recently restored house is now on the market. It was in horrible condition before this outstanding restoration. Someone has taken a lot of time and effort to do things properly. We're told that, on average, we lose one historic home a year within the district to fire, neglect, etc., so we're always heartened to see one saved - particularly in so nice a fashion.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nice Back Seat

This was parked outside of the ice cream shop tonight. Looks like a nice comfortable ride in that back seat. And it's been an absolutely perfect weekend weather-wise for this type of vehicle. This has definitely been the nicest Memorial Day weekend that we've had here in quite some time. And the forecast calls for more of the same. Don't mind one little bit. I might even bum a ride from this person.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chamber Music Festival

Today was the kick-off for the fifth annual Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. It's a three-week event that always starts with a free concert in Central Park. There are events every day, including workshops in the schools, candlelit concerts at Ft. Clinch, galas at the Ritz Carlton and "Beer and G-Strings" concerts at the Palace Saloon. While the festival is crawling with world-class musicians, several of the events are low-key and the musicians are quite approachable. They love the small venues and our small island. It's on for the next three weeks and well worth the trip for any music lover.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Lots o' flags around town along with lots o' people. It's a beautiful weekend here, one of the prettiest Memorial Day Weekends in recent memory. We've got beautiful blue sunny skies with the temperatures running around 80 during the day and 60 at night. My idea of perfect. Hope yours is the same.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Amazing Restoration

I'm so sorry that I don't have a "before" shot of this house. We used to joke and laugh about buying it and "fixing it up," knowing full well that it would have to be knocked down and rebuilt from the ground up. We were wrong. Some enterprising soul purchased it and actually restored it from its haunted house condition to this cute cottage that you see here. And, my favorite part is that we've now got another great porch in Fernandina.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

La Bodega

This is my friend Lisa (on right) taking a break between her busy lunch rush and her busy dinner rush at her restaurant, La Bodega, another one of our courtyard cafes here in Fernandina. Lisa is a southern girl, born and raised in Fernandina so she knows how to cook "southern" better than most anyone on the island. If you like things like crab cakes and fried green tomatoes, or grits and collard greens, you'll be at home here. You'll also be at home if you like upscale fish preparations, vegetarian dishes or Thai-influenced food. She's got quite an eclectic menu and a very pleasant setting. She's also got one of the few places where you can feel comfortable in jeans or shorts while enjoying a more (reasonably priced) upscale food experience. Unfortunately, I still haven't convinced her to have a website so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Marsh

This is a section of the marsh between Egan's Creek and Ft. Clinch State Park. It's quite an ecosystem and provides hours of wildlife entertainment and serenity. The powers that be on Amelia Island are good about putting benches in place so that you can enjoy all of our wonderful "scenic overlooks".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bosque Bello Cemetery

Established in 1789, Bosque Bello Cemetery has one of the most serene settings I've ever seen. It's absolutely filled with Live Oak trees with long beards of Spanish Moss. It fills a slight downhill slope almost to the river. Sunset is beautiful in here. Some say that the view is wasted on the current tenants but I think it's perfect just the way it is.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Le Clos

We have so much amazing food in the Historic District that I'd be hard-pressed to name a favorite restaurant (and I'm not being politically correct). I could, however, name my favorite meal. That would be the Sea Bass in lemon beurre blanc with warm chocolate cake for dessert at Le Clos. My cousin Dan calls it his "death-bed" meal. If you'd like to get it, you can usually just ask for the "Theresa Special". They'll ask you if you want it with or without the escargot appetizer because I don't like to be predictable.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Beautiful Trail

My walk took me through some of the trails at Ft. Clinch State Park today. This is called the Willow Pond Trail. The ponds are completely algae covered and sporting a few gators. There are some nice benches for you to just gaze out and listen to the birds, but the forest canopy always catches my eye. My husband, Bill, and I were on this trail for about an hour and only saw two other people toward the end. Serenity now...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More than Mansions



Not all of the houses in the Historic District are mansions. I've shown you a lot of the larger homes because they're the most talked-about features here - frequently referred to as the "crown jewels" - but real families live in these historic homes, as well.




Many families have raised children in the Historic District in lovely smaller houses like these.




Admittedly, it's getting tougher as property values skyrocket but many houses downtown have had the same families in them for years. Natives here know what they've got and they're reluctant to give it up.





We're just honored that we're counted among their ranks. We're definitely not natives, but - in true southern hospitality style - we're welcomed as "locals".

Friday, May 18, 2007

Snak Shak Russ

I stopped in to the Snak Shak on my walk tonight to say "hello" to my friend, Russ (on the left), and he proceeded to tempt me with all sorts of his amazing candy. I resisted, and he rewarded me with a bottle of Voss water. Crystal clear taste, I must say. I nearly caved when he started telling me about their new frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick but he won't be getting any more in until tomorrow when he'll be meeting the truck half-way from Key West. Saved by the commute.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Riverside Beach

This beautiful white sand beach is actually on the river side of the island. It's just next to the campground at Ft. Clinch. The Amelia River runs along the western side of the island, so this is looking north. If you gaze up the beach across the northern tip of the island, you're looking across the Cumberland Sound between Amelia Island and Cumberland Island, Georgia. The sandy beach that you see across the way is Cumberland Island. It's quite common to see the wild horses hanging out on that beach, as well.

Just around the bend on this Amelia Island beach is the actual fort (Ft. Clinch), right where it should be to defend the island. And, right in front of that is where the nuclear subs from King's Bay (Georgia) turn around. The water is quite deep in the Cumberland Sound; it's a natural turning basin for the subs doing maneuvers. From the northern tip of Amelia Island, you can see the submarine hangars in the distance. Amazingly large.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Canopy Moon

This is Adam, the owner of a new late night eatery called "Canopy Moon". It's a little hard it to see behind big boy Boomer (who stopped in for a latte), but it's a cute little coffee and lite bite outdoor cafe that serves 6pm - midnight. In addition to hot drinks, they serve quesadillas, wraps, salads and other lite fare, as well as an assortment of desserts. We have lots of outstanding food here in the Historic District, but not too many places that serve late. So if you check in late or go to a movie, you'll still have someplace to grab a bite to eat before settling in for the night. The dessert list looks mighty tempting too... We wish them great success and appreciate that they're providing a great late night service for our guests, and locals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to Relax

After my run in Ft. Clinch State Park today, I wandered over to the campground side of the park. I came across this nice couple from Gainesville who were just soaking up the view of the river while relaxing under a very old shade tree. He was sketching and she was just enjoying the blue skies and the breeze. The campgrounds at Ft. Clinch are some of the prettiest that I've ever seen. Just up the beach from this photo is a nice sunset deck where many of the campers gather each evening to watch the sun drop down behind Little Tiger Island. If you're making plans to camp this summer, just be aware that the parks runs at 100% occupancy so you need to make your reservations well in advance. Or you can just stay at the Fairbanks House and ride our complimentary bikes there...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fins

Fins is one of our newer restaurants and - as the name implies - is a fun seafood restaurant right on the beach. You can eat indoors in the seashack dining room and bar or outside on the deck with the sand around the edge and the waves straight ahead. If you're not into seafood, they've got great burgers too. They're right at Main Beach, so it's easy to hang out on the beach for awhile and head up for a drink or some lunch. I really like the salmon club.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

River Water

The river was like glass tonight. It usually is right around sunset. And it's usually a time to see lots of dolphins because they're so easy to spot when the water is calm but I didn't have time to wait for them tonight. I had to hurry back to the inn because everyone in town was out tonight enjoying the beautiful evening and - after stopping to chat with at least 15 people - my 30 minute walk was already up to an hour and a half. Once again, my patient husband did the entire cleanup after social hour... He's a very good man.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

One of our housekeepers, Liz, stopped by tonight so that we could take pictures of her on her way to the prom. By day, she cleans up rooms, by night she lights up rooms. Liz is a really great kid; a straight "A" student, an active volunteer, a good housekeeper and a very funny girl. If you're a guest at our inn, ask her to share her English accent with you. She likes to serve breakfast that way sometimes. We approve.

Friday, May 11, 2007

No Smoke, No Fires, No Tropical Storms

I took this photo a couple of hours ago to show you that the fires, smoke and storms that you hear and read about are not happening here. If you've been following the news, you would think that there is a natural disaster happening in every part of the state. Just remember that Florida is a very big place.

It's a sunny, clear, beautiful beachy Mothers' Day Weekend on Amelia Island. Just like the rest of them.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More Jasmine

It's at its peak right now and if I could figure out a way that you could scratch and sniff the screen, I'd do it. Pure heaven all over the island.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pretty Roses

I just thought that these were pretty.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Wicked Davey's Fancy Saloon

Wicked Davey's Fancy Saloon is one of our newest restaurants in town. They've done a beautiful restoration of a late 1800's building, adding a deck with a fire pit for nice outdoor dining options year-round. They've got live music most nights, as well. They've got a really nice tapas menu, along with full dinners, but no website; hence, no link.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Island-Style Real Estate Transactions

The couple on the right, Jim and Maureen, were our next door neighbors for several years. About five years ago, they sold their beautiful Victorian to John and Jean, the couple on the left, and moved to Orlando. Even after five years, they're still quite friendly showing that on Amelia Island, even real estate transactions can be amicable. John and Jean are great neighbors (as our guests will tell you) but we're always happy to have Jim and Maureen in town.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Shrimpfest








Saturday, May 5, 2007

Georgia Bulldog

The Georgia Bulldog serves as a research and educational ambassador for the shrimping industry. It always makes an appearance at Shrimpfest and leads the shrimpboat parade on Sunday right after the blessing of the fleet. Naturally, she makes another appearance in late October for the Georgia/ Florida football game and is reported to have the best party of the weekend onboard - by invitation only. You really need to know somebody to score a spot on deck. Shrimpfest weekend, she's open for tours.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Climbing Wall

Becky and Eric Hahn, guests of ours, run the climbing wall at Shrimpfest every year. They're set up in the Fun Zone along with several other non-shrimp-or-artsy exhibits. As the name indicates, it's great fun. When I walked by tonight, a kazoo orchestra was just getting started.