Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Florida Birding Trail

We've had several birders who've stayed with us recently and that made me realize that I'm not sure if I've mentioned that Amelia Island is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.  I've written a few times about the migratory birds that stop at the Fairbanks House "diner" for two days on their way up north but the entire island is actually a stopover point for many flocks on the journey.  They'll rest up, fatten up then fly up to their next stop along the coast - much like our wonderful snowbird guests who will be doing the same in April.  We enjoy both the avian and the human varieties of guests headed north.  This kiosk of information can be found inside Ft. Clinch State Park, home to many year-round forms of wildlife, well worth a visit.

Fairbanks House

Saturday, February 27, 2010


But pretty through the birches.

Fairbanks House

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another in the Series "Favorite Fernandina Beach Doors"

This one is at the corner of 7th and Beech for those of you geotagging.  And for those of you who just like pretty things, a reminder that the big antique show will be going on tomorrow at the Atlantic Rec Center and the first Amelia Island Garden Show will be going on next weekend in Central Park, just a short walk from the inn. Also next weekend, the first in the annual series of First Friday Sounds on Centre concerts will be taking place from 6-8.  Be ready to dance and party with the locals.  We still have a few rooms for both weekends - but nothing for the following weekend for the Concours d'Elegance.  In fact, we have very few rooms available all week long.  Northerners, take note.  Don't let all of your neighbors beat you to the Amelia Island sun.

Fairbanks House

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friends of the Library

As chair of the Cookie Tour of Inns, I had the pleasure of presenting a check for $1400 to the Friends of the Library this evening on behalf of the Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Association. With each of the tours that we've done, we've partnered with a nonprofit organization to bring attention to their good deeds, and to raise funds for their cause. A portion of the proceeds from all of the tours that we've put on in the last 15 years has gone back to our community that we care so much about and who has always been so supportive of our inns. We're proud to have raised tens of thousands of dollars for these organizations.

And this year it was the library's turn. As in many communities recently, funding for our library system has been cut and the good folks of the Fernandina Beach Friends of the Library raise funds year-round to support programs at our library. We're grateful for the work that they do and for the outstanding job that many of their volunteers did as docents at our inns during the tour. Chances are, if someone was telling an interesting story to you during the Cookie Tour this year, it was one of these folks right here. And, since most of them were too busy during the tour to enjoy the cookies, I made them a fresh batch today and begged them to show their enthusiasm for the photo op. Clearly, they're quite theatrical in addition to being outstanding docents. But these were sugar cookies with a dark chocolate mint fudge topping so maybe it wasn't an act. Thank you Friends of the Library. Spend the money well and enjoy the cookies. And everyone else, please support your local library.

Fairbanks House

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ghosts at Fairbanks House?

Nope - just the Mulhern Girls on a sisters' getaway.  Sorry, no ghosts here, just lots of life.

Fairbanks House

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Day Went to Eleven

Crystal clear blue skies, 70 degrees, un-be-lievable. And the redbuds were so excited about it that they burst into bloom. Ahhhhhhhhh......

Fairbanks House

Monday, February 22, 2010

Play Ball!

But not just yet.  The season will have to wait just a bit longer while they're finishing up with the infield here in Central Park.  Let me just say that I'm old fashioned when it comes to infields.  I like grass.  I don't like "skinned" infields.  And I'm not even on the fence about that.  So we'll check back with this field in a few weeks to see what they've got in store.  Fingers crossed.

Fairbanks House

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Neighbor

I was greeted by this little furball up the street today who seemed to think that when I squatted down to take her photo that indicated that there may be food involved.  Hence, the tongue.  By the unique stripe on her back leg, I'd say that she's related to a cat that used to sleep in the sun in our back yard a few years back.  When I would go to greet him, he would stand up and rub against my legs in an ever-increasing velocity of a circle.  When it reached a frenzied pitch, he turned around and attacked my leg in a most convincing and painful fashion - all without me ever having touched him.  I stopped saying hello.  Hope this trait skips a generation.

Fairbanks House

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Magnificent Day on Amelia Island

It was an exquisite day on the island today with blue, blue clear skies and temperatures in the mid 60's. Still a little below normal but fabulous by any definition. And everybody and their dogs were out enjoying it. The farmers market was showing some pent-up demand for plants and flowers and they were two thirds gone by the time that I got there.

Then I wandered over to the chili cookoff on Third Street where I ran into our guests Joan and Larry Michaelree who were enjoying their last few hours of sunshine before heading back to the cruel winter of upstate New York.  They were with us all week and ended on a high note.

Lastly, I headed over to the bikers' rally in Central Park where I was disappointed that I hadn't brought my wallet to buy a Butt Buffer. Oh well, I hope that they did a brisk business none the less. All in all, a fine day on the island.

Fairbanks House

Friday, February 19, 2010

Florida Sunshine and a Patio for Lunch

Cafe Karibo is always a favorite spot for our guests for lunch or dinner, but on a warm, sunshiny day like today, their patio's magnetic powers kick in and it's thee place to be.  We love Cafe Karibo because you can order off of their lunch menu all day and you can choose from their regular menu or the Cafe Karibrew menu from their brewpub next door.  It's always worth a visit, regardless of the weather.

Fairbanks House

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amelia River Serenity

We encourage our guests who arrive stressed out and in need of calm to just go sit by the Amelia River - anywhere - and stare.  Pretty soon, the shoulders start to drop, the pulse slows down and the rythm of the island takes over.  Many people are under the mistaken impression that a sense of relaxation only comes from sitting on a beach and looking at the ocean.  They're wrong.  I challenge you to take the test.

Fairbanks House

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fernandina Still Life

This lovely flower/ duck arrangement is sitting outside one of my favorite shops on Centre Street, French Market Antiques.  Not only do they have beautiful things inside the store, but in their sidewalk displays.  It's always a treat to walk by because I always see something that I want.  And our guests apparently have the same taste.

Fairbanks House

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Almost a Restaurant

The face lift continues on the old Bank of America building on Centre Street.  The brick face and added columns with porch space and "curb appeal" have created a buzz all over town with regard to who the lucky tenant will be.  I've been told "restaurant" several times but I don't know any more than that.  Anyone?  We're just grateful to owner Don Shaw for the investment in the community and for the overhaul. And for those of you non-locals, this is very close to Fairbanks House so there will be yet another "walkable" restaurant from the inn.

Fairbanks House

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine Lights of Love

We save some of our Christmas lights to turn back on for Valentines weekend.  They get one more good airing out before having to be tucked away in bins for the rest of the year until they show themselves in November.  Because of the Presidents' Day holiday today, they got one more night of glory.  Thank you red lights.  You've served us well.

Fairbanks House

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines on a Carriage

Chad and Jonell have been enjoying a very romantic Valentines weekend with us and they capped it off today with a nice carriage tour in the sun.  It turned out to be a beautiful day and our Brits spent a bit more time at the pool.. In fact, they've got a nice sunburn to prove it.  They'll be the talk of England.

Fairbanks House

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brits in the Amelia Island Sun

Dick and Judy Cooper are enjoying their twelfth visit to Fairbanks House from their home in the south of England in search of the Florida sun.  And find it they did - right next to the pool today.  Our sunny skies are back and our temperatures are slowly finding their way back to normal.  No doubt that we've lost our way a bit but we should be seeing more bare feet, ball caps and smiles like this from this day forward.  The kids on Amelia Island were all hoping for snow - because they've never seen it - but most of us are just fine with scenes like this.  Welcome back Dick and Judy.  We're already counting down the days to your lucky 13th visit next year.

Fairbanks House

Friday, February 12, 2010

No Amelia Island Walk Today

So no photo. Too gosh durn rainy to walk. You may have read that North Florida was getting snow today. Yes, we're North Florida. No, we didn't get snow. The state's really wide at the top here. The Panhandle was expecting some - and hoping for it since they might as well have something to show for the cold wet weather that they've been having - but I'm not sure if it happened. But, to repeat, no snow here. Back out walking in the sunshine tomorrow.

Fairbanks House

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back in Sunny Florida

The reason that I've been MIA over the past few days is that I've been at a conference of the Southeast Region of Select Registry innkeepers at the beautiful Pine Crest Inn in Tryon, NC.  Fairbanks House is privileged to count itself among this incredible group of inns and bed and breakfasts that represent (quoting Will Smith) the best of the best of the best in North America.  The organization has been around for over 30 years and maintains rigorous standards for membership, complete with lists of requirements, innkeeper experience, community support and surprise inspections.  We've been members for twelve years now and we continue to be inspired by the talent and generosity of our fellow Select Registry innkeepers.  Every year around this time we get together to swap stories, concerns, great meals and good ideas.  Given the challenges of this past year, our theme at this year's meeting was "What Works".  I've come back with some pretty good ideas so look for some new packages at Fairbanks House soon.  Please know that I'm always open to your ideas for what works and would love to have them emailed to me, posted here, or on our new Facebook page, where you're all invited to be fans.  You'll find a link in the top left corner of this blog.

By the way, this is a photo of the Southern Touch on Centre Street getting a face lift - inside and out.

Fairbanks House

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Snowpocalypse Here

For our friends and family in the Mid-Atlantic region who got walloped today - and yesterday - we send you sunshine, blue skies and pelicans to help you think warm thoughts until such time as your body parts thaw, you're able to stop dressing like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and you don't have to wear your golf spikes to stay upright when trying to get to your car.  This too shall pass.  And if it doesn't, we'll be happy to offer you a Snowpocalypse special rate so that you can sun with the pelicans.

Fairbanks House

Friday, February 5, 2010

Where Barnacles Go to Die

I took a look under the docks at the Amelia River when I was trying to find the otters.  You see some interesting things there - particularly at low tide.  I found the barnacle graveyard.

Fairbanks House

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Antiques and Collectibles

This sweet pup was serving as the greeter this afternoon at one of our guests' favorite hangouts:  Eight Flags Antiques.  There're some fairly decent collecting opportunities on the island but even our guests who have no interest in collecting wander into Eight Flags.  You absolutely never know what you're going to see there and it's fun just to look - although many of them buy.  From furniture to baseball cards to coins, antique tools, ancient Amelia Island memorabilia, Beatles albums, books and clothes, this place is a great spot to kill a few hours, regardless of the weather.  In addition to providing some pretty solid entertainment, it provides history buffs with more than enough interesting items to fill those gaps in knowledge.  And, if none of that interests you, just pet the doggie.

Fairbanks House

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentines Sweets

Yes, Patty Cakes Bakery is now open right here in Fernandina. I haven't had a chance to sample the goods yet but I've heard lots of great reports from locals. And I really like that they're open seven days a week. Our guests are always ready to spend in our local businesses regardless of the day of the week so we're pleased to give them another Sunday option.

If you'd rather not fend for yourselves on Valentines weekend, we're pleased to announce our Three R's Package for that weekend: rest, romance and relaxation. Bookers of this package will find roses, chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine in their room upon arrival. They'll be treated to a Saturday tour with Amelia River Cruises and then a Sunday sleep-in followed by Valentines brunch at Beech Street Grill. This package can be added to any two night reservation for $175 or any three or more night reservation for $150. We've still got a couple of rooms available, so why don't you take advantage of the long Presidents' Day weekend and spend some time with us?

Fairbanks House

P.S.  I've added another poll question to the left.  Appreciate the responses so far.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Espana on Amelia Birthday Dinner

We went for a one-day-belated Happy Birthday To Me dinner at Espana tonight and BOY, was it delicious. My handsome hubby dinner partner is simultaneously demo-ing our Vino Verde wine, our creme Catalana dessert and our Moscatel dessert wine. Yes, there are some redundancies there but it was my birthday celebration, okay? Muy delicioso. And it tasted good too. We started with tapas of eggplant and polenta (two separate appetizers) and moved onto the chicken and seafood paella for two. I see our guests coming back after ordering this dish with leftovers but we managed to kill it. We've definitely earned the Alka Seltzer. Thanks Roberto, Marina and Staff; we loved it!

Fairbanks House

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Anniversary

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my blog. So I celebrated it with a windy walk before the rain comes in tonight. I started the blog with the hope of 1)showing you a bit of our little slice of paradise 2)keeping to my walking program 3)entertaining you (and me) a little bit each day. So... I've mostly kept my end of the bargain, but I want to know what you think. Is there something that you'd like to see more, or less, of? Has it been helpful in your vacation decision-making process? Have you learned anything? Would you prefer that I mix it up to include recipes, upcoming events, more guest photos, etc? Do you have a favorite blog post or photo? I'd really appreciate the feedback. Anyone who comments will be entered into a drawing for a free night at Fairbanks House. And there will be five more winners of $50 gift certificates. I'd really prefer the comments to be attached to the blog but if you're too shy, please e-mail me at I thank you all for your readership and I especially thank my regular readers - and "comment-leavers". Let's hear it! I'm going to have a beer now. Cheers!

Fairbanks House

P.S. And if you don't care to comment for whatever reason, at least take the poll(s) at the left. Thanks.