We recently took a two-night trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston has a historic district, great restaurants, an active tourisism program and has a fort complete with history. That makes them competition for Amelia Island and it is always good to know what your competition is up to so off we went.
Charleston is a beautiful city with some interesting architecture. We took a horse-drawn carriage tour of some of the neighborhoods and checked out their waterfront. They have a nice waterfront park with a huge pineapple fountain and a paved promenade that runs most of the waterfront.
Our big trip for the weekend was the boat ride out to Sumter Island National Monument. The fort was an integral part of the civil war and is a reminder of “the unpleasantness” (as Charlestonians may call it). When the tides are out, the island’s mudflats are spectacular!
I did get an appreciation for many comments that the Addison’s guests make about eating too much whilst on vacation. Breakfast (enhanced continental at the inn), lunch, Happy Hour and dinner is just way too much food to be eating on a daily basis. The restaurants, at least every one that we ate at, were wonderful.
Over comparison between Charleston and Fernandina Beach? Both cities have a lot of great restaurants and the food / service quality is comparable. History? Both cities are steeped in it but Fernandina has more pirates. Civil war forts? Fort Sumter may have more of a direct connection with the Civil War but Fort Clinch on Amelia Island is better looking. And you don’t have to take a boat ride to get there.
This breakfast is so good that I ate one while sitting out on the veranda this morning and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I usually eat standing up in the back of the kitchen but this breakfast was worth sitting down.
Picture a toasted English muffin topped with crispy bacon and an oven roasted herbed tomato. Fresh herbs out of the garden. On goes a poached egg and the whole breakfast is drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Not the bottled sauce either, but the real deal. A side of Bobo’s breakfast potatoes and a sprig of thyme as a garnish and you have the Addison’s Eggs Blackstone.
The whole breakfast started with a Peaches and Cream Tart and included fresh squeezed OJ and plenty of hot coffee.
This menu is a keeper!
The B&B Holiday Cookie Tour has once again been a tremendous success. For those of you unfamiliar with the tour, the local B&Bs open their doors to the public for an opportunity to view Christmas decorations and at each inn they also get a cookie and the recipe card for that cookie.
This year we had over 700 people through the Addison. Two of the many decorations really struck a note with the guests. The first was the heavily ornamented Christmas tree in the front room. No garland, no popcorn strings, just lights and ornaments. So many ornaments. Someone said there is 863 ornaments on the tree.
The second big attraction was the pirate sock monkey tucked into a sleigh on top of the breakfront by the kitchen. Sometimes in life you have to look in the back corners to find the treasures.
Shannon did a great job with the decorating this year. I do the heavy lifting (put up the tree, string the lights…) but it is her decorating sense that really makes the decorations stand out.
It was great to see Mark and Matthew of Jumping Rocks Photography when they visited us last week all the way from Philadelphia. Jumping Rocks does our website photography and this was their third visit with us. They came highly recommended in 2008, shortly after we bought the inn, and then again in 2011 when we redid the website.
This shoot was a little shorter with photography of the three guest rooms with the most significant upgrades. They also did some exterior shots that turned out really well. It just proves that thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment and twenty years of architectural photography experience produce much better results than me with my iPhone
It is never to early to be thinking of and planning your Christmas break as the following press release reminds us…..
Banish the “bah humbugs” and travel back to Tiny Tim’s time as downtown Fernandina Beach transforms into an authentic Victorian holiday festival during the inaugural Dickens on Centre experience, December 4 through 13. Hear heavenly carolers and roving musicians. Marvel at jugglers and stilt walkers. Taste Victorian-style goodies. Meet an old-fashioned Saint Nick, sample Victorian goodies and visit local shops for unique gifts. It should be as fun as the Dickens. Visit AmeliaislandChristmas.com. and make memories that last of your own Christmas past.
I want to dress like Tiny Tim! Where can I find a ukulele?
Our glorious fall weather is upon us! The days are cooler and the humidity has dropped. We don’t get much of a leaf peeping season here with only one tree on our street that changes colors. The rest of the trees, especially all of the palm trees, are pretty consistent with their green color year round.
The ferns in the courtyard (photo) are really enjoying the weather. The Australian Tree Fern is enormous this year and the hanging ferns are really doing well.
I took a short walk downtown this morning and saw the first real sign of fall… a young woman, probably from out of town, wearing a sweater, a scarf and high boots.
I checked out a few restaurant construction sites whilst out. The brewpub is close to having the exterior finished, just waiting on the huge skylight to seal the building. There were trucks of all the trades parked out back so stuff must be happening inside. I am really looking forward to the opening!
The crepe shop down the street, across from Nana Theresa’s Bakery, is coming along nicely. Roberto of Espana has added on to his building and that looks ready to open soon. Luca’s (a second restaurant downtown for Luca of Ciao Bistro) looks about ready to open as well. Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, on 8th Street, has taken another building across the street from his restaurant and will soon open a barbecue restaurant.
So much to see on such a short walk and so many new restaurants to tempt us!
We’ve had a bit of rain lately and guests always ask for rainy day activities. A road trip to the islands south of here is a good way to spend a rainy day. First stop is Talbot Island State Park. The beaches there are natural, not replenished wide beaches like on Amelia Island, with the water right up in the tree line in spots. Be sure to see the petrified trees in the Boneyard.
Next stop is Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. This is a beautiful spot right on the river. The restored plantation house, barns and foundations to the slave quarters are all in the park. This was a real working plantation and some of the gardens have been recreated.
Ready for some lunch? Hop across the Mayport Ferry ($6 per car) from Fort George Island to Singletons Restaurant. If the rain has stopped you can eat on their riverside porch and watch the boats go back and forth. Be sure to check out the back room where they have hundreds of carved wooden boats.
That makes for a full day of sight seeing and dodging rain showers. Now back to the Addison for Happy Hour!
New this year, Flying Fish Adventures has added Sunset Cruises to their busy schedule of guided Jet Ski Tours. Experience the amazing Amelia Island sunset on our evening Sunset Tour. See dolphins, beautiful views, and maybe the green flash!
Northeast Florida includes thousands of acres of tranquil inland marshes, secluded sandy beaches to explore on one of Kayak Amelia’s many guided kayaking Eco Tours. Once in a full moon, Kayak Amelia will schedule meditation paddles, which combine the practice of meditation with paddling through the smooth water on this glorious full moon or sunset evening. You will glide through the water working with breath and motion, in tune with the rising full moon.
Our “do not miss” tour is with Amelia River Cruises. Their sunset cruise is designed especially for adults and is one of the finest ways to end the day or begin the night. The view on the Cumberland Sound can be as spectacular as a legendary Key West sunset. Enjoy a glass of your favorite BYOB beverage and listen to some of Fernandina’s finest local musicians on board. With the wind in your hair and the smell of sweet salt air, you will float away to a tropical paradise where all of your worries disappear and a sense of relaxation and appreciation of nature takes over you.
Which ever way you choose to enjoy the sunset, advance reservations are recommended. The Addison’s concierge service will be happy to assist.
There are a few changes in the Amelia Island restaurant scene coming upon us. The first is the closure of Halftime Sports Bar on 8th Street. John and Bretta (back of the picture, photobombing an otherwise brilliant group photo) made a good run of it and I will miss seeing them on a regular basis.
Two additions to the restaurants, coming soon, are a brewpub and a creperie. The brewpub, with the impressive façade. is taking the place of O’Kanes Irish Pub. The building was torn down due to structural issues and is being recreated as a brewery with exceptional food. Two local restauranteurs, both with great food on their existing menus, will be collaborating for a whole new experience on Amelia Island.
The other new restaurant, with the tree shaded courtyard, is a creperie. It is right across the street from Nana Theresa’s Bakery and will offer something completely different from anything else in town. They haven’t gotten to the point of printing a menu yet but what a delicious, light lunch that would be!
A big “Thank you!” to all of our guests who posted reviews on TripAdvisor.com in the last year. Those reviews resulted in another Certificate of Excellence for the Addison on Amelia from the world’s largest travel site. But wait there’s more…. Because the Addison has been awarded the TA Certificate of Excellence for 5 years in a row we are now in the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame.
In such a short time the travel industry has changed. It wasn’t that long ago that if you owned a B&B you HAD to be in the AAA Travel Guide, a short fat book with small print and smaller black and white photos that was published annually and was a must-have for travelers. Then came the internet and consumer content sites where anyone and everyone could voice their opinion of a restaurant, B&B or tourist attraction. I’m pretty sure nobody lugs around a AAA Travel Guide anymore.
I’m not sure what the TripAdvisor.com Hall of Fame is. Is there an induction ceremony in an actual building, maybe in Cleveland? Will food be served? Would I have to wear long pants? Black tie? So many questions.
Thanks again for the reviews. We enjoy what we do here at the Addison and I’m glad that you enjoy what we do as well