Southern Roadtrip: Amelia Island
Welcome to Amelia Island (Fernandina Beach, FL), also known as the Isle of 8 Flags (more on that in a minute). If you’ve come here from Dixie Delights, I’m glad to have you here! Don’t let the Florida address fool you. Amelia Island is only 15 miles from the Georgia border. We think of it as the South.
Let’s pretend we are old friends and you have come to Amelia Island for a visit. I would love for you to stay with me at home, but this is the smallest home I’ve owned and there just isn’t much room (if you read my blog already you know what I mean).
Such is island life for the commoner. Instead, I would put you up at my friend Julie’s bed and breakfast. Who could pass up a stay in a bed and breakfast? Julie’s such a sweetheart. You can read all about how she is living the dream of owning her own bed and breakfast.
I’d come over and have coffee and breakfast with you and Julie and I would give you the run down on the history of Amelia Island. There have been eight flags that have flown over Amelia Island in it’s history. The first to settle on Amelia were the Timucuan Native Americans around 1000 A.D. and they stayed until the 1700’s. They never flew a flag though.
The first flag to fly over Amelia was French when Jean Ribault landed here in 1562. The French flag flew until 1565 when the Spanish drove out the French and later established a mission on the island in 1573 flying the Spanish flag.
In 1702 the British invaded Fernandina (the Spanish named it in 1685) and destroyed the town. It was during this time the island was named Amelia Island after Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II. The island sat largely empty until James Oglethorpe scouted it out in 1763 and the British flag was flown (this is flag 3 in case you are counting).
Then in 1783 the Spanish again controlled the island but there was now resistance. The patriots of Amelia Island attacked and raised the Patriot Flag of the Republic of Florida (flag 4). That lasted only one day.
The Spanish kept control of Amelia Island until 1817 flying their flag again. A Scotsman Sir Greg MacGregor gained control of Amelia Island from the Spanish and raised a Green Cross of Florida flag over the island (flag 5). Not long after, Pirate Luis Aury sailed in with three ships and took over the island flying the Republic of Mexico flag (flag 6).
In 1821 the United States took over Amelia Island and raised the U.S. flag (flag 7). In 1861, because of the Civil War, the Confederate flag was flown over Amelia Island (flag 8). Whew!
After the big history lesson…we would totally have to do some shopping therapy.
Ready? Put your cute and comfy island resort wear on and let’s do some serious shopping!
Amelia is filled with antique and vintage shops. There are three big ones lining the streets of downtown and we would have to take our time looking through all the fantastic finds.
Don’t worry, the Blue Heron Inn is only one block off of Centre Street (main street of Amelia Island) so we can always run your treasures back to your room.
We would keep walking downtown and wave to the trolley as it passed by. Maybe we would even take a historical trolley ride just to rest our feet a bit.
We would stop to look at all the pretty architecture and find shady spots to stop along the way and people watch. It’s okay, you can be a total tourist and take some pictures.
When we passed by the Book Loft I would tell you that we have a famous author who lives on our little island, John Grisham. I would tell you I’ll totally drive you past his gorgeous house later on.
There are a lot of cute little shops carrying fun resort wear and all things from Trina Turk, Lilly Pulitzer, and other fun designers. We would have to try on some fun clothes.
Shopping is exhausting. We would have to pop into a local favorite, Tasty’s, for a burger and fries. The line is usually out the door at lunch time.
Yes, it’s a converted gas station. We have a few awesome restaurants that used to be gas stations. I’m starting to think they make the cutest restaurants.
We would skip the dessert and head on down the street to Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge for some ice cream or some fudge. It’s vacation…calories don’t really count on vacation. Everyone knows that.
Don’t worry if it looks cloudy. It’s Florida. One minute it is cloudy and then the sun comes out again. We would watch the surf and then walk the beach looking for shark’s teeth. Amelia Island beaches are known for black shark’s teeth. Yes, real shark’s teeth. They look like this.
Photo Courtesy of Amelia Island Living
We would swim out in the surf because it’s just so hot this time of year. You would nervously ask me why this beach is so well known for shark’s teeth. I would tell you shark lose their teeth a lot like humans lose their eyelashes. They grow new ones and lose their old ones. I would tell you...don’t worry, the sharks swim way, way, way out there (and I would point at the vast Atlantic and wink).
We’d go back to the Blue Heron Inn for Julie’s lovely happy hour… she makes the best Hors d’oeuvres. We’d talk about where to eat dinner and I would tell you we have about a 98% of eating at a great restaurant downtown. They are all really so good. After dinner we would do a little walking tour of some of the lovely homes found downtown. Amelia Island has a downtown filled with Victorian’s and lovely cottages.
We would decide to head down to Brett’s (a local restaurant) and sit on their patio to watch the sunset. I’d tell you since Amelia Island is an island you get the pleasure of watching the sun rise in the morning over the Atlantic and setting over the estuary on the west side of the island in the evening. We would marvel at the incredible sailboat that was just docked in the marina. I would tell you that walking the marina dock is a favorite of even locals because you never know what boats will have docked.
Beautiful right? Yep. I think so too. We’d walk back to the Bed and Breakfast and you would tell me that it seems like I love where I live. I would tell you I have found my forever home. I will always have a home on this island. My children are so happy here and we have found a small town we love that just happens to have a quaint downtown, stunning beaches, and the nicest people. I hope you had a nice visit to Amelia Island. Come back again anytime!
I know, for sure, this is where God has planted my little family and we just have to grow where we are planted. Someday, I’ll tell you the whole story about how we came to live on Amelia Island. It was a total God-thing.
It’s time for you to hit the road again! Now you are headed down to Ron’s abode in Louisiana. Let’s see what Ron from Uptown Acorn has in store for your trip.
THE GREAT SOUTHERN ROAD TRIP ITINERARY