Amelia Island is the type of place that inspires nostalgia and a longing for a return to uncomplicated living. It’s not that it’s primitive, in any sense. It’s serene, and the coastal landscape with Spanish-moss-covered trees conveys a sense of history and identity. This was my second trip and I instantly regretted that my visit was not repeated sooner because I love this area and strangely, I missed it.
We thoroughly enjoyed a Trolley Tour through historic Fernandina Beach with its charming storefronts and restaurants and home to Florida’s oldest bar, the “Palace Saloon” opened in 1903. As it was Saturday, the Farmer’s market was in full swing and our Driver encouraged us on our next visit to seek out” the Baker from Georgia” who makes outstanding Danish pastries, each so large, they have to be eaten in two sittings. We were also entertained along the way, with clever historical anecdotes, stories about pirates, and a viewing of John Grisham’s new oceanfront beach house(s).
A trip highlight was a 2-hour river cruise to Cumberland Island, Georgia and the site of a former Carnegie Family estate. John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married on Cumberland in a tiny church, and the land now falls under the protection of the Parks Services. Only 300 visitors per day are permitted on an island that is larger than Manhattan, a constraint probably appreciated by the population of beautiful wild horses, at home on Cumberland.
There are many places to stay near to Fernandina Beach but I highly recommend The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Perfect for families, golfers, spa-pilgrims and vacationers looking for a relaxing, beachfront resort with superior service and wonderful rooms.