Saturday, June 30, 2007

Boaters' Welcome

This is the view that boaters get when they'e entering our marina from the south. A nice, tidy little town on the banks of the Amelia River.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Night at the Putt Putt

And it's crowded. This is the miniature golf course at Main Beach. It's been here for many, many years. It's a throwback to the days before the windmill, mousetrap and angry clown obstacles. In fact, it may be a par 18. The same families have been vacationing here for years and are now bringing their grandchildren instead of their children to Norma Jean's. They used to make the best homemade milkshakes that I've ever had (and I've had enough to know a good one) for $.80. I haven't inquired for a long time and I didn't want to tempt myself in an effort to find out. For putt putt snobs, we have another course on the island that's quite a bit more challenging. I like this one.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rogue Pirate

Sometimes we find them just walking the streets. He seemed to be the lone swashbuckler out - no sign of a large invasion. Must stay alert though. We never know.....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not Just a Sleepy Little Island

See, everybody wants to come here! (It helps to click on the photo so that you can enlarge the print.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pippi's House

Back in the 80's, there was a remake of the Pippi Longstocking movie. It was filmed here, on Amelia Island. For those Pippi fans out there (and you know who you are), this house played the role of Villa Villekulla - Pippi's House. As a fan - and, as one who was called "Pippi" by her friends when she wore her red hair in braids as a child - I think that this is a great representation. And it also sits overlooking the Amelia River, just as the seafaring Pippi would want it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ahoy, Neighbor

Some people are just really into boats. That, of course, is only natural if you live on an island, but some people are REALLY into boats. This whimsical house is in Old Town, the site of the original settlement of Fernandina. When Senator David Yulee brought his railroad over to the island, he convinced everyone that a better location for the town would be about a mile to the south, where the town of Fernandina sits today.

This post is dedicated to requester Dick Keller in Ohio.

We Have a Winner

To the question about the Swingin' Medallions. The song was "Double Shot (of my baby's love)". We had several correct answers (some of you read my blog late at night) but the first one in was from Barbara Shapiro of Tallahassee, Florida. Congratulations Barbara. And thanks to all of you for reading and responding. We'll be offering more gift certificates periodically so make sure that you stay current with the blog.

I offer my apologies for the delay in posting that we had a winner. I've periodically had trouble posting the last couple of weeks. My postings show that they've uploaded and they're in the list to edit but they don't show up on the blog until the next day - even if I reload them. I don't think that it's me, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears... Gosh, I hope that this one posts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Oopsie

Looks like somebody forgot to check the needle on the gas gauge before heading out for the fishing trip this afternoon. Good thing Mr. Red Tugboat was there for the rescue. Oh well, at least it was a lovely evening for a tow.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Party Band of the South

You may, or may not remember the one-hit wonders, the Swingin' Medallions, but they're as popular as they've ever been here in the South. Jimmy Buffett sings of a "son of a son of a sailor," but I'm pretty sure that these guys are the sons of a son of a son of a Swingin' Medallion. We're at least three generations down from the originals but these guys deserve their moniker of "The Party Band of the South". They earn it every time they perform. They were playing tonight at the wrap up of the kingfish tournament at the riverfront. They'd actually just gotten underway when I came by on my walk but it looked like it was shaping up to be quite the party.

I'll send a $50 Fairbanks House gift certificate to the first person to e-mail me with the Swingin' Medallions' big hit. (Previous winners and family not eligible...)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Looks Like a Country Road

But's it's actually right in town. This is Sixth Street just a few blocks north of Centre Street. Amelia Island is nothing if not contradictions. In the space of about a mile and a half, you can go from having your toes in the Atlantic Ocean to giant sand dunes, through an ancient maritime forest, past a wide marsh, through our "Anytown, USA" suburb, into an 1800's Victorian fishing village still sporting old forest and 500 year-old oak trees to the Amelia River - home of a large fleet of shrimp and pleasure boats, and killer sunsets. We've always said that we have a little bit of everything, not too much of anything, and that's how we like it here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Honeysuckle!

I honestly didn't know that we had honeysuckle here. I thought that I'd left it behind in Baltimore. And it smells just as sweet as I remember. It's amazing the things that you'll discover when you take the time to stop and smell the roses in your own town. I hope my neighbor doesn't mind me hanging out in her yard until honeysuckle season is over. I'll make her some muffins... every day.... 'til July.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why, Here's Another!

In fact, this house has two levels of porches all the way around. I'd like to live there...

Another Pretty Porch

What can I say? I'm a sucker for pretty porches. And we've got alot of them here.

P.S. Technical difficulties with internet connection prevented me from uploading this yesterday. My family can call off the search party. I'm fine.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Secret Path

So I'd seen heavy equipment next to this path inside of Ft. Clinch State Park for quite some time now, so I decided to investigate tonight after my run. Seems that they're building a really great observation deck overlooking the marsh toward the lighthouse. It's due to be finished in September, when I'll take a photo of the whole thing. I just enjoyed the surprise when I came around the bend in the path to catch my first glimpse through the opening, and I thought that you might enjoy this angle too. Yes, there was a nice sunset shaping up on the other side of these trees. As you know, we get alot of those.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gift Certificate Winner

Thanks for all of the nice e-mails with suggestions, input, comments, compliments and requests for my blog. I'll try to work as many in as I can. Some of you have asked for a photo update on me for my fitness progress and I'll probably be doing that sometime soon. You seem to like the format and mostly want me to keep on keepin' on. I can stop my positive affirmations in the mirror: "I"m good enough, smart enough..." Just kidding, but thanks for the feedback.

Congratulations to our gift certificate winner: Rebecca Anaya of Gainesville, Georgia. We'll be sending Rebecca a $50 Fairbanks House gift certificate. I'll offer other opportunities to win throughout the year, so keep reading.

And keep sending feedback. Good, bad, interesting or corrective, I'm always interested.

Beer and G-Strings

Tonight, the Chamber Music Festival puts on another of their "Beer and G-Strings" concerts at the Palace Saloon. There are several of these in the three-week festival and, naturally, they are among the first concerts to be sold out. Tonight's concert features Latin dancers and tomorrow's is called "Cello Mania". As I've said before, they've got their hi-brow events and their lo-brow events. It's a nice mix.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Skipper

Captain Jay Scott, getting ready to set sail for the evening sunset cruise on the Voyager. They had a nice size crowd aboard and a fabulous evening for the two-hour sail. These long June days are great for adding one more tour to your day.

Don't forget to get your blog feedback and suggestions e-mailed to me. We'll be drawing for the gift certificate tomorrow evening from all who have sent in their thoughts and ideas.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Old Schoolhouse

We're told that one of our cottages was the original one-room schoolhouse in town, but this building was definitely the first large formal school. The architect was the same Robert Schuyler who built the Fairbanks House. Note the same rounded windows and the telltale tower on top.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yes, We Have Theatre

We're often asked about plays on the island. We have two very good community theatres (their preferred spelling) on the island. This is Amelia Community Theatre or ACT, and it's the larger of the two. In fact they're expanding their building now to stage even larger productions and to have a rehearsal stage. ACT and FLT (Fernandina Little Theatre) usually alternate their schedules so that there's more coverage during the year. Many locals treat opening night as a black tie event and get all gussied up. The quality of the productions is generally quite good. If you'll be staying with us and you'd like us to get you advance tickets, just let us know. They're frequently sold out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Mexican Restaurant

The recent addition of Pablo's rounds out our ethnic food choices rather well in the Historic District. While we don't have a complete set, we've now got Mexican, Spanish/ Portuguese, Brazilian, Asian Fusion, Italian, Thai, Cuban, Continental, French, Pacific Rim and American. I actually surprised myself with that list. We're still a quaint little town but we've got really great dining choices. And they've apparently gotten even better since the last time I thought about it.

P.S. Irish too. Or is that Irish stew?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The British Were Coming! The British Were Coming!

Amelia Island is like the Forrest Gump of islands. We seem to have been "present" for every major war, skirmish, invasion or uprising that's occurred in the last several hundred years. Our Museum of History does a great job of providing the details of this colorful past. These days our invasions come in the form of tourists, and we're grateful. I don't think that we'll be changing flags anytime soon, but we'll keep the welcome mat out for anyone who wants to come ashore.

P.S. Thanks for the good blog photo suggestions that you've been sending. Keep 'em coming. And, don't forget, we'll be drawing for the $50 Fairbanks House gift certificate on Sunday.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunset Over Tiger Point

This is Tiger Point Marina - one of several commercial marinas on the island. These folks have reasonable rates and a nice marina. We don't have room in our parking lot for our guests' boats or trailers and it's illegal to park them on the street, so we usually recommend these folks. They have good rates and customers are allowed to use their boat ramp for free so it's a good deal. And there's always a great view of sunset.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wanna Buy a Fuzzy Hat?

Then this colorful selection on Centre Street should fill the bill nicely. Also got ya covered if you were in need of some Koozies or fireworks. What can I say? Every tourist destination sports a shop where you can buy those "must-have" souvenirs at a lower price than the airport gift shop.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's Time for Requests

For the last four and a half months I've tried to show you a little slice of our town, and some of the island as a whole - or at least as much as I pass on my walks and runs. There's lots more that I haven't shown, and I'll be continuing to do this every day, but I've decided to take requests. Is there anything that you haven't seen that you're wondering about? Is there anything that you'd like to see more of? Should I keep going with the current format or would you like to see something different? I'm genuinely interested in knowing.

Please e-mail me at email@fairbankshouse.com, or click on the e-mail link at the top left of this page. And I'd love to know what your interest is in my blog. Are you a potential visitor to the island, a former Fairbanks House guest, a fellow soldier in the fitness battle, someone looking to relocate, or what? I truly look forward to your input.

And to entice your cooperation, we'll enter all e-mail respondents into a drawing for a $50 Fairbanks House gift certificate. The winner will be drawn, and announced Sunday, the 17th of June - Fathers' Day. Sorry, Dad, you're not eligible.

Local Hardware Store

Even in the days of big box stores, we still have our little in-town hardware store right up the street (handy for owners of historic houses). It really is the old-fashioned personalized service - independently owned - one of everything in the store - let you put your purchase on an account - got a record of your paint colors from 1990 - give you a calendar every Christmas - knew your Daddy - knows your name kind of place.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Space Shuttle

We get a great view of the Shuttle lift-offs from the tower on top of our house. Tonight, it was occupied so I had to settle for looking up on my walk. Lots of locals go sit on the beach for launches because it's a great unobstructed view. Most of them don't have towers on their houses...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Any Rocky Horror Fans?

Nuff said.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Angels Porch Cafe

Angels Porch is a reasonably priced cafe open for lunch seven days a week and dinner every day but Monday and Tuesday. Gino and Marlea, the owners, are Portuguese and Brazilian (respectively) so it's not your typical sandwich joint. They might have chicken sald and quiches but they'll be made completely differently than anyplace else that you may have had them. Gino and Marlea also happen to be two of the nicest people on the island so we love sending our guests there. And it's another one of those rare places to get sandwiches in the evening in town. Most places switch to a different menu for dinner but Angels Porch has the same menu all day. It's definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beautiful Courthouse

This gorgeous 1800's courthouse was completely restored about five years ago. In the "they don't build them like they used to" category, workers reported breaking numerous drill bits and other pieces of equipment trying to drill into the pine framing and floors. It was so tough that they couldn't drive nails into it. Eventually, technology won out and the results are magnificent. Come see the courthouse where William Jennings Bryan spoke.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Follow the Yellow Brick Line

Or at least the yellow painted line... to get to the beach. Centre Street connects the river to the ocean since it runs the width of the island. As I've said before, the island is only two miles wide at its widest point so you're never far from either. In town, the street is called Centre Street, but as soon as you cross out of the Historic District, it changes names to Atlantic Avenue - and you're headed right at the Atlantic Ocean. Most of our guests just bike to the beach but all 13 miles of beach are open to the public and there's all kinds of free parking so you can also get in your car and select one of the 50 beach accesses on the island.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Egans's Creek Greenway

Fiddler Crab

Gator on Bank

Egan's Creek Greenway runs through the center of the island. The land was purchased and preserved by the City of Fernandina. With the rate at which land in most parts of of Florida is being developed these days, we're grateful that we've preserved at least this much of it. This has been an excellent use of taxpayer dollars.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

We Love Barry

Because he gave our guests an excuse to model their snappy and fashionable grocery bag tropical storm hats. No spirits dampened here. In fact, all of our guests were pleased that we finally got our rain. Barry was the perfect gentleman free of any unpleasant tropical storm characteristics. We had a couple of nice breezes - no gustier than any other day - and no thunder, lightening, high winds or flooding. Just really nice rain. Thanks Barry. And, for those of you keeping score, yes - I walked today. Haven't missed yet.

Friday, June 1, 2007

What Tropical Storm?

These two Fairbanks House guests aren't letting the threat of tropical storm Barry ruin their weekend. Two moms here for some much-deserved R&R. In case their families are reading this, these ladies were actually on the hunt for dinner when our paths crossed in front of the Palace Saloon. I just turned them around and used the Palace as a backdrop. I promise.