Charming Amelia Island
by Marieve Herington
(Marieve is an actress and singer who has appeared in recurring roles on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Good Luck Charlie.’ She visited Amelia Island as part of a promotional video project to show the Island’s charms to her fellow Canadians.)
I fell in love many times the weekend I visited Amelia Island. I fell in love with a purple sunset, the freshest seafood, incredible ocean views, fabulous shopping, a fascinating state park and the warmest people. What I mean to say is, I fell in love with Amelia Island.
Amelia Island’s Natural Treasures and History
We started our tour at Seaside Park, where we swam, paddle boarded and collected seashells and shark’s teeth. Further north at Main Beach, we saw plenty of surfers and fishermen. At these serene beaches, we were able to enjoy the stunning natural beauty and peace of the beach and had plenty of room to play on the wide beaches.
We found another beautiful beach at Fort Clinch State Park. Talk about a gorgeous drive into this park – as you go down Canopy Drive with its live oak trees reaching over the road and Spanish moss draping down as the sun peeks through the leaves. This is an absolutely enchanting place to rent a bike and go for a ride with friends or hike along the marsh and spot some egrets. We continued up the road until we encountered the actual fort, which dates back to the mid-19th Century. Here, there were re-enactment actors eager to show us the soldiers’ quarters and massive cannons, play a traditional army tune on the fife and drum, and educate us about the rich history of the fort.
I wasn’t keen to leave the beautiful ocean view for even a moment to have lunch – and luckily, we didn’t have to. We stopped at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge for a lovely homemade meal, while we enjoyed views of the water, dunes and sea oats. The patio is incredible and the rooms in this elegant bed and breakfast boutique hotel are equally so. Truthfully, though, Amelia Island has plenty of beautiful accommodations. We also toured the incredible grounds of the newly renovated, eco-chic Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and the traditional and regal The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
Shop and Work Up an Appetite
For a relatively small island, there are so many fantastic stores and restaurants here. At Marché Burette, you’ll find the finest specialty foods and kitchen wares, and you must try the milk chocolate covered popcorn from Peterbrooke Chocolatiers. For home goods and fine wine, stop by Palmetto Walk Shopping Village. The Fernandina Beach Historic District has great clothing stores for men, women and kids, a famous fudge store, gift shops and more. We took a horse-drawn carriage tour of the district that ended right at the marina. We watched the sun set just minutes away from where we had seen the sun rise on the other side of the island that morning. Amazing!
A final recommendation for you: Come to Amelia Island hungry. We grabbed a drink and some ahi tuna nachos at The Salty Pelican, tried authentic Italian fare at Ciao and savored inventive tapas at España.
It’s easy to see why Amelia Island has earned so many accolades, but it’s not just the gorgeous beaches, shops and restaurants that will stay with me. It was that every interaction with the people was filled with a genuine warmth. Although I was just visiting, I felt like I instantly belonged.