Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Good Omen

I was on my way to a meeting this evening when the sun came out in the west while it was still raining in the east. And I know what that means......... rainbow! I did the best that I could while standing in the street and hoping for no traffic while I got the shot. Next year, I'll get a camera with wide-angle because this baby was full and dropping into the ocean on both ends. But I consider it a good omen for the wonderful year that I've had getting much fitter, sharing my island with you and telling you about the comings and goings of our little town. It's a good omen for the year to come too because I've signed up for the Fitness Challenge again at the local health club to continue my quest for health. This time through, I'm adding strength training to my walking and running. That way I can eat whatever I want...

See you tomorrow on my big 5-0.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ocean Anticipation


No matter how many times I walk over to the beach I absolutely love when I'm almost there and I catch the first glimpse of the ocean on the rise past the walkway. I get the same rush as I've gotten since I was a little kid. It's great living in a place where you can kind of sneak up on the ocean and make that anticipation last a little longer. It's only possible because we haven't destroyed our dunes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Favorite Trail

I've walked a lot of miles on a lot of trails in the last year and this is one of my favorites. It's called Willow Pond Trail and it's about two miles from the entrance of Ft. Clinch State Park. It's so quiet that you could have been dropped off in the middle of the Amazon for all you know. Except for the Live Oaks. It's just peaceful and beautiful and cool in the warm months and bird-filled in all of the months. When you come to visit, ask us for directions. It'll drop your shoulders four inches and your blood pressure forty points.

Monday, January 28, 2008

One of My Favorites

I walk by this house all of the time but it's occurred to me that I've never featured it on my blog. It's got everything that I like: nice lines, great Victorian detail, pretty shrimp bisque color and - as we all know by now - I love a great porch.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Smart Dog

Now this dog knows what to do with a nice day. He was riding all over town like this. A true island dog if I've ever seen one.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pretty Stained Glass

My sister, who was here last week, asked me to find out about a tapestry that she'd seen in the window of the Island Art Association. I've been down there a few times this week to try to find it but my walks have been after they've closed so I've been trying to find it through the window. Sue, I'm sorry that I haven't found it but this lovely piece has caught my eye each time. Is this okay instead?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Anybody Need Some Flowers?

We're having a cold snap here too but for us, it just means that the azaleas aren't in full bloom yet. I thought that some of you guys up north might like to see a little color about now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Renovation

This pretty Victorian on Sixth Street - between Centre and Ash - has been in need of some love for quite some time. I can't wait to see how this one springs back to life. It's got such great detail. The houses on either side of it have been beautifully rehabbed so this will make a really pretty picture when it's finished.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

155 Years of Marriage

These three lucky couples have been married 155 years between them. They've been friends and travel buddies for years now and we were fortunate to have them stay with us for the last couple of nights. May we all be so lucky in love and life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Amelia Island Plantation

We send lots of our guests down to this resort on the southern end of the island for some extra shopping, golf, dining or for a resort spa experience. We've got all of that in town but it's nice to get a different perspective sometimes - particularly when it's only 10 minutes from us.

The island is only thirteen miles long but it has amazing diversity. The Plantation (never a real plantation) has done a great job of nestling its construction into the trees rather than clear-cutting like some developers.
This sculpture can be found in the courtyard of the interdenominational Amelia Island Chapel, also the home of several concerts in the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival series. In fact, several fundraising concerts are held throughout the year here. It's a lovely resort and we're fortunate that our guests - who prefer the more personal experience of a bed and breakfast - can still take advantage of resort services close by.

Monday, January 21, 2008

East Meets West

Approaching the docks and looking west, I saw this fabulous sunset...

...and after I turned around to come back, I looked east and was pleasantly surprised by this great full moon. Not a bad two-fer.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Seesters!

I was thrilled to have my two sisters and a sister-in-law come for a visit from Baltimore and Richmond, respectively. They stayed in our Servants Quarters Cottage (exterior under repair) just like so many of our other girls groups who come for some down time. And, like our other girls, they hit the consignment shops, the shops in town and our new Coldwater Creek (75% off sale...). We all went to Pablos for dinner. There may have been some excellent sangria and an embarassing sombrero incident involved. A fun time was had by all - mostly me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today I Saw...

...every tree loaded with robins...

...a couple of Kathys at the farmers' market...

...a little brightness on this cloudy day...

...and a boat name that gets it right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Fernandina Treasure

Mr. Ron Kurtz - as seen here through the window of Amelia Island Gourmet Coffee, Ice Cream and Fudge - is considered an island treasure around here. He used to be the director of the Amelia Island Museum of History and is still an authority on all things Fernandina. He's written a couple of books on the subject and is a great story teller to boot. If you ever see him in the coffee shop, just sidle up beside him and ask him something about the area. You'll be on the way to hours of entertainment.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bird's Eye View

... of the sunset.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Missing Christmas?

Many of us are ready to move on through the full range of holidays and seasons of the year but for those that carry the Christmas spirit in their hearts year-round, we've got Christmas On the River. Not only can you find many of the collectible ornaments and "villages" but lots of ornaments and collections with a local theme. Shrimp lights for the tree, anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pretty Door

This house has undergone an amazing restoration over the last year and they're still working on it. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get a good photo because it sits right on the sidewalk and there are trees between the sidewalk and the street. Hopefully, you can at least appreciate the cool colors that they've selected.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cats and Rainbows




Two things caught my eye today: this no-reason rainbow




and last night's cats have multiplied.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not Meerkats

But these cats in the window of Go Fish are adorable anyway. I want them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Green Bay Wins

At least according to Brett Favre's enormous talking head on the amazingly big screen TV at the Palace Saloon. I actually saw this from the other side of the street through the window and could tell what was going on. That's one big TV. (I shot this through the window.) And that's a good thing for sports fans and film fans who will be enjoying this same view later this month for another screening in the Amelia Island Film Festival series. La Vie en Rose looks pretty darn interesting. Check their website for other events.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lone Shrimp Boat

Their numbers are getting fewer and the independent shrimper is fighting for survival. Fuel and insurance costs, and competition from shrimp farms and foreign producers have made this a rapidly disappearing lifestyle. We frequently see the boats but they're mostly on the docks these days. For some, it's just too expensive to even take the boat out. This is sad on a number of levels for the shrimpers and for the consumer. The locals are fortunate to know the taste of fresh wild shrimp; many consumers outside of the area have never had that experience - and there is a difference. Some of our restaurants still serve the local ones so ask us when you're here.

Speaking of shrimping, here's a link that I featured many months ago to an interview with Billy Burbank of the Burbank Net Making Company. They used to just make shrimp nets but now they make backstops, goals and other sports related nets. It's from 1980: Billy Burbank III. It's long but I find it fascinating.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pablos

We had a belated "company" Christmas dinner at Pablos tonight since the cold and flu season took its toll on our staff over the holidays. Everyone is back on their feet now so we took advantage and had a great dinner at this relatively new Mexican restaurant on Second Street. We all loved our dinners, from the Florida (local) shrimp burritos to the carnavitos (sp?) and beef taco salad. The prices are reasonable and it's got nice atmosphere. In addition to the small dining room and bar that you see here, they have a large dining room upstairs and some patio seating out back. We definitely recommend this to our guests. This is not an ad; we paid for our dinner. And yes, we walked to dinner.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Like Glass Tonight

Another beautiful day turned into another beautiful sunset tonight, which I missed by about 20 minutes, and the water was incredibly calm to boot. Just a really nice exhale all the way around.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Nice Afternoon for a Drink

We're back in the upper 70's now and it was a beautiful afternoon for a drink on the porch at the Green Turtle, or for lunch on the patio at La Bodega. Our grass refuses to go dormant for the season and it looks like we'll have to mow all 52 weeks this year. Hmmmm... a sign of things to come?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Missed the Right Whale

I got a call from a friend today who told me that there was a Right Whale off of the middle of the island so I headed over there to take my walk on the beach to catch a glimpse. Unfortunately the whale had already made its way south and I missed it but it was a beautiful afternoon for a walk on the beach anyway. I should have another shot at seeing a Right Whale because this is the time of year that they calve off of our shores.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Oranges Are Okay

So I was reading in the paper today that there's really no danger to citrus unless temperatures reach about 28 degrees and stay there for at least four hours. Our twenty minutes of 32 degrees last week didn't hurt a thing, as you can see in the photo. In fact, they looked pretty gosh darn tasty today.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Last Night for Christmas

We've had our Christmas decorations up since before Thanksgiving so we'll begin taking them down tomorrow. If you had thoughts of heading here for a last glimpse, don't panic because it will take us awhile to take them down. We have twenty one trees, ten mantles, twelve rooms and six porches to undecorate so we'll begin tomorrow but we surely won't finish.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mmmmmmm

So the weather's back to normal and my walk was on the dance floor at Amelia Island Plantation tonight during the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner dance and awards banquet. I danced off enough calories to indulge in this excellent dessert and have a little wine to boot. We really have a great Chamber of Commerce and are thrilled to have been awarded the Chamber of the Year award for the state of Florida this year. It's truly a testament to a tiny little island to have such a passionate membership that we could achieve an award like this. It's not entirely surprising though because Amelia Islanders are passionate about most everything that we do... including dancing and eating desserts.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Brrrrrr

Well, I know that my blood has thinned enough that I can be considered a Floridian now because I took my walk up and down our steps inside the mansion today. We hit 32.0 for about twenty minutes this morning so we've officially had a freeze. And then it got windy. And then I became a wimp. In a cursory overview of our plants today, it appeared that nobody suffered any damage. I'll check on our neighbor's orange tree later. So, that was our big event and we're headed back to normal temperatures but thanks for going through our winter with me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Oranges in Danger

Last night they predicted 31 degrees and it got down to 38. Tonight they're predicting 24 so we could get an actual freeze. I don't know if the owners of this orange tree ran outside tonight and picked them all just in case but I'll check it out tomorrow. Regardless of the reading on the thermometer, let me just say BRRRRRRRRR!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

...And a Wind-y New Year...

Mother and child were practically getting blown off of the dock this afternoon as the winds kicked up with the approaching cold front. If we get the temperatures that they're predicting, we could see readings that we haven't seen in many years around here. Freeze watches are in effect for tonight and warnings for tomorrow night. They're usually off in their predictions for the island though due to the influence of the ocean temperatures on our climate. We'll bring the plants in anyway, and throw some old blankets outside for the stray cats. I'll let you know how it goes.