Most people come home from vacation with a snow globe, a piece of local art, or even a few seashells. The souvenir I nabbed on our recent family vacation to Amelia Island, Florida, however, was this gorgeous antique plate. I’m a pushover when it comes to pretty blue dishware, so I couldn’t resist nabbing this beauty from a local antique shop on the island.
Amelia Island is located in northeast Florida. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the Jacksonville airport, so it’s easy to get to. The island is close to Georgia, so being on Amelia brought back memories from my years living in Atlanta. The trees drip with Spanish moss, the beach-side sand dunes rise as high as 60 feet (see my photo below for NaNa, the tallest dune in Florida), and the island’s historic district of Fernandina Beach dates back to 1811.
During our vacation, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, which was just a boardwalk away from the beach. Tim and the boys spent a lot of time on the golf course … while me and my shadow spent hours walking along the lovely beach.
The inland marshes in the area are ideal for long kayak adventures. Tim and I paddled around in this two-man kayak one sunny afternoon while our boys hung back with their fishing rods, eager to snag a local fish. (They were skunked on this day but managed to catch and release a couple of fish at the beach.)
A few words on the food ….
The Ritz offered an all-you-can buffet each morning with everything from sausages and grits to lox and cream cheese with bagels. After recording our podcast with Danielle Nierenberg from Food Tank, I decided to go for the เ la carte menu and helped myself to a simple yet filling bowl of oatmeal each morning. I’m trying to reduce my personal food waste, which is why I kept my morning meal minimal. The hotel offered up plenty of beautiful berries, dried fruits, and local honey from their very own bees.
The Ritz Carlton is home to Salt, a restaurant that boasts contemporary American cuisine. The menu reflects what’s grown and caught locally, and dozens of natural and infused salts are served with the meal and as accents to the meal. For example, I ordered the Local Flounder with Gnocchi, Spinach, Piquillo Pepper, and Grapefruit, and it was served with Adriatic Citrus Salt.
Executive Chef Rick Laughlin serves up one creative menu. Tim and I loved our meal which included Key West Pink Prawns with Grits, Green Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic, the Local Flounder, and Dark Chocolate Souffle with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and White Chocolate Cream Anglaise for dessert. We also had Florida Snapper with Calypso beans, Clams, Braised Kale, and Rouille and the Grilled Romaine Salad. And yes, I was full after the meal
My favorite place to walk during our time on Amelia was American Beach, home to NaNa, the tallest dune in Florida. The American Beach community was established in 1935 during segregation when black citizens were not allowed on other area beaches. Today, the area and its majestic dune are protected.
Okay. So maybe it was a wee bit cold during our trip. But hey … we’re hearty New Englanders so we handled it well. All in all, it was a great trip of fine food, fun adventures, and lots of outdoor fitness.