Exterior of Addison on Amelia

Category Archives: Palace Saloon

Guest Writer – Maggie Doone

April 24, 2010 by theAddison

Woof! Bob asked me to give a different perspective on the blog by writing about my experiences here on Amelia Island. It is a tough life being the inn dog and my days are pretty full but I’ll give this writing thing a try. I don’t have opposable thumbs but I’ve been watching Bob type and he doesn’t use his thumbs so it shouldn’t be too hard.

My day starts at 8 when I open up the front desk and take my chair. I keep an eye on things up there until after breakfast when I take someone for a walk. Today I took Shannon to the beach and it was great! Lots of birds to chase, lots of running in circles and I even got to dig a hole under Shannon when she sat down. By 4:30 I’m pretty worn out from watching the desk and greeting guests so I head back to my apartment at the back of the inn.

I take Bob on lots of walks through the day. This first picture is one of my neighbors, Hamish. I like him more than he likes me but he is older and less playful. Hamish lives in a historic home just around the corner from the Addison and his house is the first of many stops as we walk through town.

This next picture is of one of my best friends, Artie the One Man Party. I sit on a bar stool at the Palace and watch Artie working the bar crowd. In his hand he has dog treats that he keeps in a box under the bar. Artie is a soft old guy and I just have to look at him with the right expression on my face and he’ll give me some treats.

Shrimp Fest is right around the corner and will be here next weekend. I love Shrimp Fest for the interesting smells and for all the food that people drop on the sidewalks. It is always nice to see our return guests as well. I’m not real wild about the noise from the fireworks or from the pirate’s cannons so I hide under the bed during the parade. It goes down the street right in front of the inn and the cannons get pretty noisy.

All of this writing is pretty exhausting work. I think I’ve got just enough time to have a nap before the end of my shift. Lots of our guests have a nap before Happy Hour, why not me?


The Rules of Curling

February 18, 2010 by theAddison

There are days when it really pays to have a Canadian heritage and one of those days was today. Maggie Doone, One-Eyed Louie and I walked into the Palace Saloon this afternoon and immediately became the center of attention because Olympic Curling was on the TV and we understood the rules.

It happens every four years. Americans, especially those not from Minnesota, who otherwise wouldn’t know curling from tossing a caber suddenly go nuts over curling. And NOBODY here understands the rules. Curling is a great game where teams slide 44-pound granite rocks 90 feet down a sheet of ice and try to get the rock as close to the bulls eye as possible. Who else could invent this except the Scots, who also brought you Sheaf Tossing, golf and drinking, all of which are noble sports.
I find the four-year curling frenzy to be amazing. Why does curling become so suddenly popular only to fade away after the Olympics are over? Is it because the game is so unknown in Southern climes? Is it because the game is of skill and strategy, not strength and brawn, equally played by men and women? Or maybe because, unlike every other Olympic game, curling gets more interesting the slower it goes?
I tried to find a good curling photo but everything from the Olympics that was online was protected or in some format that I couldn’t use. Instead I bring you this photo (courtesy of the Canadian Curling Association) of the Canadian Women’s Team in the 1920s. They all look oddly like Mrs Gulch from the Wizard of Oz but I’m sure they were formidable athletes in their time. Athletes with awesome hats.
So, how much did it pay at the Palace this afternoon to understand the rules of curling? Today it paid two free beer. And as any Canadian will tell you, that’s pretty good pay. Sweep! Sweep!

It’s a Dog’s Life

June 12, 2009 by theAddison

The dog days of August are months away but every day is Dog’s Day when your name is Maggie Doone. This is a tough life our little Maggie has.

After our morning walk Maggie pulls the day shift up at the front desk. She claims to be working hard but I think she just reads the paper and tries the crossword puzzle. Most of the day she just sleeps under the printer table.

We go for lots of walks and she knows the routes we take. Our mid-morning walk goes to the post office and down to the Chamber Of Commerce Tourism Depot at the end of Center Street. She stops at the mailbox and waits for me if I’ve got mail in my hand to drop in the box.

Maggie knows where all the handouts in town are too. Our afternoon walk sometimes takes us to the Palace Saloon where she sits patiently on her bar stool waiting for Artie “The One Man Party” to stop bartending long enough to give her some dog treats. After leaving there she leads me past Pompeo’s Italian Restaurant hoping to see Mario, the owner and chef. Between Maggie and Mario I’m not sure who is more excited to see the other. Mario always has a meatball or a sausage for Maggie so we always go by the kitchen door and see if Mario is there.

Sundays are the big day for our spoiled little dog. Sunday is weiner day at the Green Turtle. Debbie makes a big fuss over Maggie and gives her a cut up weiner as a treat. Maggie knows better than to eat with her feet on the bar so she sits up on her barstool like a rabbit and eats off of her plate. She may be spoiled but she knows her manners.
Just before our Happy Hour at the Addison Maggie is pretty much done at the front desk and is ready for a rest. She goes back into our apartment and has a nap while we look after our Happy Hour guests. Maggie likes going to Bretts for our evening walk. She sits on a rocking chair with us and we watch the sun go down while sharing a bottle of wine. Maggie doesn’t get wine of course, she is way too young to be drinking. A short walk back to inn wraps up Maggie’s day.
Maggie Doone doesn’t have the run of the inn but on your next visit you can see her at the front desk. If you talk nicely to her she may even interrupt her nap and come out from under the printer to get her ears scratched.

Watering Holes

October 1, 2008 by theAddison

There several great bars within walking distance of the inn and many of the restaurants have nice bars in them too. Pablos Mexican Restarant on 2nd Street makes the best margaritas in town according to Lee, our assistant innkeeper. Bretts has a nice bar from which you can watch the sun set and O’Kane’s Irish pub has a full bar with a house band playing three nights a week. Carolyn’s on Center has a nice little bar on the ground floor with beer pong on Sundays in the garden patio out the back door. But restaurants are restaurants and bars are bars. This is my view of two great bars in Fernandina Beach. Both are fun places and they both welcome Maggie Doone so that’s where we go.

The Palace Saloon is the oldest running saloon in Florida, in operation since 1903, even through Prohibition. The Palace is a big rambling place. You walk past the pirate at the front door and enter the main bar. Uncle Charlie’s (their sports bar) is straight ahead through the door at the end of the bar and the Big Room is through the short little door on your left. The Big Room is where the bands play. The main attraction at the Palace isn’t bands in the Big Room or the football game on the TVs in Uncle Charlie’s. The main attraction is Artie The One-Man Party, daytime bartender Monday through Thursday. Artie dispenses drinks and hospitality daily and makes everyone feel welcome at the Palace. He’s even got a stash of treats behind the bar for Maggie. The Palace serves beer, wine and hard liquor but be warned; the Palace is a smoking bar and the cigar smoke can get pretty thick in there some days.

Just around the corner from the Palce, on Third between Center and Ash is the Green Turtle. It can be a little hard to find because their sign is small so just look for the Volkswagen van that was painted by Scramble Campbell. You can’t miss it. The bar features several of Scramble’s canvasses inside and more of his artwork can be found decorating the porch.

Inside the Green Turtle is cool and dark with a combination of beer posters and Grateful Dead memorabilia. They have a great selection of draft and bottled beer and a pretty lousy wine list. No liquor is served but the best part for me is that it is a non-smoking bar. People can light up on the porch but not inside. Anthony, the owner, has good connections in the music industry and gets some really good bands that play rock to regaae to bluegrass. The place is pretty small so the bands don’t have to be loud to be heard. Even old folks like me can enjoy it.

Maggie Doone used to be content to lay on the cool tile floor but lately has been more demanding and insists on sitting up at the bar with everybody else. She’s way too young to drink but that doesn’t bother her. With no opposable thumbs she can’t pick up a glass anyway.

So the next time you’re in town you know where to go for a cold one. There are several great places to get a drink in town, try a couple and let me know how it went.

Pirates, Pirates And more Pirates

September 21, 2008 by theAddison

The town of Fernadina Beach is full of pirates. There are carved pirates, The Fernandina Fighting Pirates play football at the high school, there is a pirate painted on the water tower and there are even pirates wandering around downtown.

My introduction to the town’s pirates came on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last January. There was a parade in town and, as all parades do, they came right down Ash Street in front of the inn. We had just re-opened the inn the week before and were still pretty new to the town. Being from Canada I had never seen a Martin Luther King Day parade so I took a break and sat on our front porch in one of the rockers and watched the parade go by. The parade started with police cars, FPL line trucks, fire trucks and went on with local service and church groups, marching bands and civic leaders. It was quite an impressive display but all through the parade I kept hearing this booming noise, getting louder as the parade went by, like fireworks going off. Right at the very end of the parade came the source of the noise; The Fernandina Pirates Club, complete with a ship-shaped float and cannon. They were firing off the cannon as fast as they could reload. I still haven’t figured out the MLK – Pirate connection but I guess every parade needs a few pirates.

The Pirates Club even does a Pirate-For-Hire service with the proceeds going to charity. Need a pirate for a wedding or birthday party? Want someone kidnapped? Even on days when there is nothing going on you’ll see pirates wandering around downtown posing for pictures with the tourists or drinking in the Palace Saloon. There’s something to keep in mind for all of you couples that are calling about the Elopement Special… How about a rented pirate best man and maid of honor? Aaarr.

The pirate on the left is probably the most photographed pirate on the island. He stands guard outside the Palace Saloon. Maggie Doone likes going to the Palace because Artie “The One Man Party” and daytime bartender keeps treats behind the bar for her but it took her several visits to get used to the pirate at the front door. Now she walks right past him as if he isn’t even there.

More on the Palace and some other island watering holes in a future edition on this blog. Meanwhile… Arrr me hearties, time to shove off!

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