Exterior of Addison on Amelia

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Amelia Tavern Opens!

Tavern 1

We took a short walk yesterday to the newly opened Amelia Tavern and were quite impressed!

This tavern has been years in the making. O’Kanes Irish Pub used to be in this spot. When it closed, the new owners found structural issues that resulted in the entire building, right down to the floor slab, being removed. The only part that they couldn’t remove was the historic wall on the right side as it is a shared wall with the shop next door.

The new building is really nice, bright and airy. A skylight over the bar provides plenty of light and the space is used well. The front 10 feet is a patio open to the sidewalk and then through the front door where you see the central bar. Tables line both sides of the tavern. In the back on the left is the brewery and on the right is the kitchen.

The brewery itself isn’t functioning yet as they wait on government licenses. We had a couple of draft beer (nice selection) and shared a couple of small plates. The bagel bites with dipping sauces were good and the ribs were great, off the bone but not overcooked as you often get.

Another great restaurant in Fernandina Beach!

Keep Those Postcards Coming In!

There is something about postcards that I just love. Anybody can tweet, text, share a photo or e-mail you from somewhere but receiving a postcard means that someone has made an effort to say “Hi!”.

I used to travel internationally a lot. Lots and lots, to places that aren’t on the top of your “bucket list” of places to go. Writing 50 or 60 postcards to friends and family whilst stuck in a hotel room or a labor camp out in the middle of nowhere is a nice way to whittle away an evening. And it wasn’t easy. First you have to find postcards (found a lovely set of 1950 vintage postcards in a book shop in Yuhzno, Russia), find a post office and figure out the postage, often in a country where English is not the first language. Blogging moved in to replace postcards but I still found, wrote, stamped and mailed them. I still do.

I used to wonder what happened to all of the postcards that I had sent. Then I visited my grandmother who, at the age of 103, was living in an assisted living home. There, on the wall above her bed, were pinned all of the cards I had sent her over the years. Maybe not a hundred but close.

I keep all of the postcards that I receive (some in attached photo). The most recent is from Jenny, a previous housekeeper at the Addison. She has moved on and is now an au pair in Basel, France, looking after three small children. To me, it is always nice to hear from friends and family through a postcard. At least it is one piece of mail that isn’t a bill and it is a piece of mail that you can hang on to and keep.

My current address is:

Bob c/o Addison on Amelia
614 Ash Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Keep those postcards coming in!

Vintage Gran Prix on Amelia Island

The Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix, presented by Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, started yesterday at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport and runs through Sunday. Over 200 vintage racing sports cars (pre 1981) plus vintage motorcycles are competing on the original airport race course.

This is an awesome event. The last time these races were held the cars (the ones being raced today) were new. The event photos were in black and white. Taken on a camera with film. A lot of cooperation between local event organizers and the FAA, who are in charge of the airport, is giving this series of races an opportunity to be a major event.

In the photo is Mike, a guest at the Addison, who is racing his 1934 MG. Well, in the photo he is just sitting in it, looking fabulous, but you get the idea. The car is capable of speeding around the airport’s 2 mile race course at up to 72 miles per hour. Mike says that with an older car under you 72 MPH seems a lot faster.

Savory French Toast BLTs for Breakfast

This is a great breakfast variation of the traditional BLT sandwich. We served it again this morning and it was a big hit.

Start of with a slice of savory French toast. Stack on bib lettuce, a tomato slice and some bacon. Top with eggs, either scrambled or fried, and a drizzle of Hollandaise sauce. Bobo’s breakfast potatoes on the side with a garnish of watermelon and you’ve got a “clean plate” breakfast!

Eggs Blackstone

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!

Christmas Decorations Done Right

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.

Christmas TreeMonkeyThis 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.

A Visit From Jumping Rocks Photography

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

Dickens on Centre Street

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?

The Fall Weather Is Here!

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!

Rainy Day Roadtrip

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!

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