To celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary, Mike and I headed southeast for some sand and sunshine! Although not a planned part of the trip, we found ourselves too close to Charleston, SC, not to check it out. So that was our first stop. Beautiful homes are surrounded by a wealth of history. We were also quite fascinated by all of the old trees, which seemed to take on a life of their own. We look forward to returning there one day soon, when we can spend more time exploring.
We, then, headed further south to Amelia Island, where we had hotel reservations on Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island is a sleepy little town, just over the Florida state line. It has a unique feel of being part small Georgia town and part small Florida town. There are palm trees, but also many other trees that are more often seen in Georgia or Alabama. We were charmed by the quaint cottage homes and perfectly manicured lawns, mixed in with gorgeous seaside beach homes. The pace is slow, the people are friendly, and the landscape is serene.
We were starving when we arrived, so the first thing we did was to visit an oceanside restaurant called Sandy Bottoms for a late lunch/early dinner. We ordered shrimp and clams, and both were delicious! In fact, most every meal we had on Amelia Island was awesome. The place is swarming with quaint little restaurants and outdoor cafes, all with unique menus of outstanding food. Most of them open for breakfast and lunch, close at 2:30 p.m., and reopened at 5:30 p.m. for dinner guests. In addition to endless options for places to eat, historic Fernandina is also filled with boutique shops and historical buildings. The trees glow with lights in the night sky as people make their way along the cobblestone paths, with much music and laughter streaming out of the piano bars.
We took a sunset cruise on our first evening there, where we toured the old fort, watched shrimp boats as they were dropping their nets, and visited the Carnegie family’s private island. Wild horses roam the less-inhabited beaches in the area. We were able to see two wild horses on the Carnegie island but didn’t get close enough to get a good photograph of them. Large turtles and manatees are also often spotted during the day. We laughed at the old guy on the boat who was to provide us with musical entertainment during the cruise, but he was actually quite good, playing guitar and singing lots of Jimmy Buffet, country music, and old 70’s songs. And, of course, the sunset was breathtaking!
The beach on Amelia Island is much like that of Jacksonville Beach. Mike took this picture of the sunrise. (I was still sleeping.)
Amelia Island is overflowing with exclusive golf club resorts. We visited one, the Amelia Island Plantation, where we marveled at the many natural settings, peaceful groves, and artistic sculptures. All of the shops and restaurants were closed on the first evening we visited, but we returned the following morning to have breakfast, browse the shops and the farmer’s market. Everything about this place is beautiful.
We left Amelia Island after three days and headed to St. Augustine. We’ve been there several times before, but there is something about the place that always draws us back. The place is so rich with history and the architecture is stunning. We had lunch, shopped, and did some sightseeing until the afternoon heat finally took its toll. So we stopped in the old blacksmith shop turned coffee house for a cold fruit smoothie before heading further south.
Our final stop was in Daytona Beach Shores, where we stayed in a wonderful condo and spent most all of our time simply enjoying playing in the ocean and lounging on the beach. Pure bliss!
We celebrated our last night with dinner at Crabby Bill’s, which literally sits over the ocean.
I wasn’t ready to go, but Mike had business in Orlando the next day, so he put me on a plane home while he stayed behind to work. The sky was beautiful on the flight home.