White Oak Conservation Center is just a 45 minute drive from the Addison. Until recently they have been closed to the general public for tours but that is changing. Lee and I took one of their tours yesterday and had the most fun (educational fun) that we have had in ages.
White Oak specializes in the conservation of some of the world’s most endangered animals. White Oak is home to species such as cheetah, rhinos, okapi and many more.
We toured in an open van with Randy who knows so much about the animals, why they are endangered and what is being done to protect the species. We saw cheetah (cubs and full grown), three varieties of rhino, antelope, gazelle and, my favorite, the giraffes. We got to feed the giraffes and I had my arm muzzled by a baby rhino. This is a real up-close and personal tour.
The two hour tour starts at 10:00 mid week only and is $100 per person. Lunch is an additional $25 per person if requested. Advance reservations are a must! Check out this amazing facility at www.WhiteOakWildlife.org
One frequently asked FAQ question that we get is “Do you ever shut down the inn and go on vacation?”. We do occasionally shut the inn down during slow periods for maintenance purposes but once every few years family comes to visit and we close the inn to spend a little quality time with them. And paying guests here for a romantic weekend just might not find the charm of naked little grandchildren running in circles in the courtyard laughing their faces off.
Eldest son, Matt, and his family were here for most of last week. When they left their home in northern Alberta it was minus 39 so they were really enjoying the 70 degree January weather here on Amelia Island. The family got a little beach time and parents got a break from the kids while Grandma Shannon just loved looking after them.
One family outing was the Amelia River Cruise which is always fun. The picture shows Olivia (2 years old, almost 3) driving the boat while her father and Pajama Dave (local legend, far left in photo) watch on and offer advice.
We heard today that they have arrived safely back at their home after an incredibly long air journey. The Addison is back open. We have a pretty busy week ahead of us due to Amelia Island Restaurant Week and are looking forward to a full house this weekend.
Here we have a passive, green approach to mosquito control. Bats will eat 600 mosquitos an hour as they fly around at night. All they need is somewhere to live.
This bat house was just installed on the back of one of the Addison’s courtyard buildings where it is out of sight. It is a deluxe 2-hole house. Apparently if you put up a 1-hole house all you get is bachelor bats. A 2-holed house attracts breeding bat families. The local bats must be pretty small as the slot for them to climb up in and roost is only 1/2 inch wide.
The mosquitos haven’t been too bad this year. I have been sweeping citronella pellets through the cracks in the decks to keep mosquitos away but that just moves the problem to another area. Having a few bats flying around town at night should really cut back the flying bug population.
A big thank you to our local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for paying for the bat house and it’s installation.
Build it and they will come!
It is a little chilly outside this morning so I put the fire on in the living room. Yesterday we were running the air conditioning, this morning the heat and fire. Yesterday everyone ate breakfast out on the courtyard veranda. I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case this morning. This will be our coldest day this week with a high of 56. And it isn’t even winter yet!
The first day of winter is tomorrow and it is also the anniversary of our purchasing the Addison. We’ve been running the inn for nine years now. We attract the nicest guests with many returning to us for special events year after year. Over half of our guests last night are repeat guests. One young woman first came to stay with us as a solo traveler, returned with a friend for a girl’s getaway weekend, then on her honeymoon and now is here celebrating their first anniversary.
Nine years. The time, she flies.
We have a lot of guests at the Addison who are celebrating wedding anniversaries so you’d think we would be in tune with our own. Funny story about our recent anniversary….
Shannon and I were married 32 years ago on November 30th. On December 3rd, Shannon walked into the kitchen and asked “Guess what we forgot?” I was in the middle of breakfast prep so I’m thinking I forgot the potatoes or to squeeze juice but it turns out we both forgot our anniversary. I guess with all the excitement of Thanksgiving, the B&B Cookie Tour, Christmas decorating and preparing our list of grievances for Festivus we just got run over by the holidays and forgot.
We made up for it tonight with a nice dinner at Le Clos, where we usually go for our anniversary. I had the sea scallops (lousy photo but great food). with pasta and a delightful, light sauce. We ate (we both cleaned our plates), we laughed, we remembered 32 years. It was good.
The US Open Petanque (Pay-tonk) Tournament is just winding up and by all accounts it has been a great success. Three days of sportsmanship, fun and international relations. This event grows each year and they had 172 teams entered this year from all over the world. 26 of the American states were represented and international teams came from as far away as New Zealand and Mongolia.
Petanque is a little like Bocci and a little like horseshoes. It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. They sure were having fun at the tournament today with live music and food trucks available to all between games.
The next big event on Amelia Island? Thanksgiving, coming up fast!
Thank you all for your e-mail, posts and calls about our situation on Amelia Island. Truth be told…. we have no situation on Amelia Island, we are pretty much like we were last week before Hurricane Matthew. The island is in remarkably good shape considering we just had a Cat 3 hurricane off the coast. Some of the piers in the marina suffered some damage but the restaurants are open, the Addison is open and fully operational, the downtown looks great and I think there is more sand on Main Beach than there was before the storm.
There was tragedy though. The power was out long enough that the ice cream supply at Fernandina Fantastic Fudge melted. The ice cream was stacked outside today waiting for pickup and replacement. So sad but we move on. We are looking forward to a great weekend for the Amelia Cruizer’s 8 Flags Car Show!
Shannon and I took a jet ski eco-tour with FlyingFishFun.com yesterday and had the most fun we have had in ages. Neither of us have ever ridden a waverunner before but it was easy to learn and great fun to drive. Tourguide George took us along the Amelia River to Cumberland Island with several stops along the way to watch the wildlife.
First stop was a sunken shrimp boat, one of the last wooden-hulled shrimp boats. Along the way to Cumberland Island we stopped and checked out a sea turtle, a tree full of egrets and a couple pods of dolphins. Then a quick trip up Beach Creek (or Go Really Fast Creek to people on jet skis) to see some wild horses and the ruins of Dungeness Mansion.
Equal parts educational eco-tour and having fun racing jet skis along the river. Definitely a tour worth taking. www.FlyingFishFun.com 904-310-5999
We are on Day 8 of “No Adult Supervision” at the Addison. That is what I call it when Shannon goes to Canada to visit family and I stay behind to run the inn. No adult supervision. Don’t worry, Lee, our Operations Manager, is here keeping me from accidently burning the house down.
So, what do we do when Shannon is gone for three weeks? Lee takes over the creative side of the kitchen and I continue to do what I am told to do. No real change there, the inn runs as usual.
We did close for 5 nights for a maintenance shutdown, typical for August which is one of our slower months. I’ve got our friends from Ace Painting repainting the smaller front building. It is only Wednesday but they are already talking about wrapping up and we should be good to greet our guests on Friday with a ladder-free courtyard.
I’ve taken advantage of the shutdown to refinish decks, paint outside furniture and do some other maintenance tasks that you just can’t do when there are guests in the house. I also get to do all of my own cooking, which I really enjoy. Clams and spaghetti tonight. Onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, basil out of the garden, white wine and clams. A nice light dinner with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. My favorite kind of meal!
These fruit tarts are quickly becoming a guest favorite at the Addison. Lee bakes the pastry shells the day before. In the morning she fills the shells with home made pastry cream and fresh fruit and then tops it all with a fruit glaze. Delicious!
I just love that pastry cream. Any cream left over quickly gets mixed with fresh fruit and becomes my breakfast.