Tag Archives: Amelia Island

A month in the sun, and then PAYBACK

We haven’t posted in a while… because we decided to escape from the cold winter for the month of February.  We were scheduled to fly out on February 9, and of course, there was a forecast for a severe winter storm for that day!

On the morning of February 8, as we were trying not to worry too much about the weather, we received an email from American Airlines stating that they would waive all change fees if we wanted to rebook and fly out early – and so we took advantage, and left on Feb 8.  Fortunately, we had mostly packed already and our good friend Dave was able to take us to the airport for our flight.

At least we had eliminated the stress of wondering if would make it out, and instead had an extra day in Miami.  A few days in Miami, a 12 day cruise on Oceania Riviera in the Eastern Caribbean, 6 days in the Florida Keys, and another 6 on Amelia Island.  Can’t complain about a thing.  It was beautiful weather, we did mostly nothing, and had a wonderful time.  Below is one of the few photos I took, of a bird in Granada.

DSC_7250 Granada Bird

While we were away, the weather at home did the usual NE flip flopping, 70 degree days, 10 degree days, any type of weather, you just name it.  So, the day after we arrived home, the temperature dropped to the teens, and the snow came.  And it just didn’t warm up.  And the snow came again (winter storm Stella, anyone?).  Guess the lousy weather was our payback for going away.

While we were away, the thread on Autumn Dream’s cover “gave up” and one of the sections split apart, at the peak of the frame.  Fortunately, the boat yard called to let us know, and Dave and Pat came to the rescue, taking the cover off the boat and bringing it home for us before even more damage could be done – they had one of those good “70 degree days” to do it.  We’ll post more about the cover another time.

So what is going on?  Well…. when we were in Amelia Island, we visited Waterman’s Bluff (our land) and remembered why we bought there in the first place.  They had some new homes under construction and we found a design that had everything we were looking for.  We had already made the decision to put our house back on the market when we were on the cruise, and this just confirmed out.  So now we are back to our former plan…  House is on the market, and we will just wait and see what happens.  In the mean time, we are going to enjoy life at our home, and cruise on Autumn Dream this summer.

I finished the crochet project I was working on before we left, I’ll do a different post for that.


Road Trip

We are back from a 3 week road trip down to Florida.  Had a great time and a few surprises.  I had a chance to start playing with my (Beth’s) new camera.

Our first real stop was a visit to Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach to see Dave and Ellen – wonderful folks we met on our Azamara cruise.  Weather was great and so was the company!  Loved the town, and we really enjoyed the show at breakfast, watching the planes taxi by…what a cool place to live!  Thanks Dave and Ellen!

Next stop was 3 days at Cedar Key “Old Florida”.  This would have been a great visit EXCEPT that we went thru a torrential rain storm that dropped the temperature from 80 to 50!  Things cleared up and we enjoyed the quiet and lack of commercial development – even went to an RV show in Ocala and found the truck camper we may buy someday.

Cedar Key - bathroom with a view

Cedar Key- Bathroom with a “view”!  Glad this wasn’t our hotel!



Cedar Key- nearing sunset


Cedar Key pelican posing… not to be confused with Fernandina beach pelicans…

Next we headed off to Amelia Island to visit my (Beth’s) mom and do our usual exploring.  Walked on the beach, ate good food at Hola! Cuban Café, looked at some property for sale, and after much soul searching, put a deposit down on a lot in Yulee at Waterman’s bluff.  Yes, you read that right, we are buying a piece of land and will build a house after our house sells.  Yes, you read that right too – we have put our house on the market:

But you love your house – you say… and yes we do!  And you love living in Somerset… and yes we do.  But we also love the area around Amelia, and the lifestyle options that open up to us down there.  SO, the house is on the market, Autumn Dream is back on the market, and we will enjoy both until they sell.  Maybe we can blame it on Dave and Ellen, with their place in Port Orange, or maybe we can blame it on Joe and Renee moving to Myrtle Beach, or maybe it just is because…

After that stop in Amelia- extended by a few days after we decided to proceed with a major life changing event – we headed up to Myrtle beach to visit with Joe and Renee for a few days.  Kevin brought some of his tools and worked with Joe to improve the workshop space in the garage.  I got to “play” in Renee’s studio and learn about mixed media.  Made a birthday card for “uncle” Bob’s 70th.  Kevin even managed to fix their “dead” Saeco super-automatic coffee machine, so we could have “GOOD” coffee.  Hurrah!  After more than a week it is still working, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for them.

Finally, we headed home as we now had loads of things to do that we originally weren’t expecting…  put the boat back on the market; meet with realtor and get the house on the market… finish a few little maintenance items (those 3 windows I still needed to paint are now done!).

Dining in Amelia Island

When we were in Amelia Island for Thanksgiving week, we ate at some memorable places, and some that we wish we could forget.  Please note that we are NOT Foodies, and are not overly impressed by the PHD (pile it higher and deeper) philosophy of presentation.  The overuse of molds or rings to shape the food is not for us.  We also do not like to overpay for something simply because it has been given a french name, or because of excessive overdescription on the menu.

We really have to give www.tripadvisor.com alot of credit.  The reviews were mostly spot-on.  Our poor choices were made when we didn’t check the places out on line first!

That being said, our hands down, new favorite restaurant for breakfast has to be Bright Mornings Cafe in downtown Fernandina beach.  http://brightmorningscafe.com/  Our only dissapointment was that they weren’t open EVERY day!  It is a cozy little cafe with some of the friendliest folks you could ask for.  It seems like it is family run.  There were plenty of local regulars (greeted by name, and served ‘the usual’) along with out of town visitors.  Their biscuits are heavenly, but they only serve them on the weekends (Try the egg, sausage, and biscuit sandwiches).  Excellent omelettes, pancakes, and incredible home fries.  They serve very good coffee too.  I think they had a bakery (you are given a muffin sampler with butter & marmalade when seated) but we didn’t try any baked goods.  Food (and coffee) is served on really nice ceramic tableware, not your typical diner dishes.  We ate here 3x…

Another great place we found is the Sandollar Bar & Grill.  This is a restaurant on the water, technically in Jacksonville, but on the St. Johns River just down the road from the Mayport Ferry.  You can sit inside or out on the patio and watch the river traffic.  They are best for lunch – fried Mayport Shrimp, Cashew encrusted Grouper were both excellent options (with hushpuppies of course!).  The dinner menu was almost identical to the lunch menu, with the same serving sizes, but at twice the price.  The grilled scallops were not memorable, and the prime rib was average, but still enjoyable meals.  This is a great off- the beaten path place and very comfortable to hang out on the deck. I don’t have a link but you can find reviews at Trip Advisor.. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60805-d476921-Reviews-Sandollar_Restaurant_Marina-Jacksonville_Florida.html

The worst food award is shared between two locations. 

1.  Jack and Diane’s.  They have a very interesting menu and it all sounds creative and tasty.  Service was terrible (and there were only 2 tables occupied at the time).  Location is on a very busy road – can’t hear the conversation over the lumber trucks rumbling by.  Do they even have a kitchen?  The omelette looked like it was made in one of those electric pans they advertise on TV and was tasteless.  The egg bowl with hash browns and ham (with Hollandaise) – this was OK.  Coffee was warm, not hot.

2. Marche Burette – this is the market/restaurant at the Amelia Island Plantation resort where we were staying.  It was a cute ‘french market’ for buying gifts and food items.  They had the nerve to say their sandwiches were 20x better than Panera.  Let me just say it was one of the most disgusting things I ever ate, and they had the nerve to charge a 20% service charge for an order to go!  Blech.  Maybe their soups or pizza is good, but this was just nasty, and way overpriced.

Kofe Haus (now Christopher’s Cafe) also deserves a dishonerable mention.  Last time were were here, under the former owners, the coffee was excellent and we loved getting coffee & pastry.  We went one morning with high expectations (instead of going to the Bright Mornings Cafe- big mistake!).  While the breakfast sandwiches were OK, the coffee (dark roast???) tasted like dishwater.  What a waste.  We didn’t go back.  Life is too short to drink mediocre coffee.

November End

Well the month of November is coming to an end in 1 day and we’ll then be barreling down to the end of the year. With this in mind a quick update as to where we’ve been. Well last week was Thanksgiving here in the USA. This means trips to visit family members. This year was no exception. It was time to go an visit Beth’s mom. But before we could do that we had to make sure Autumn Dream was all tucked in for winter. Beth will post some photos of Autumn Dream’s winter jacket soon. Back to the visit to Beth’s Mom’s.
In order to visit Beth’s mom we had to fly to Florida. Jacksonville FLA to be exact. We had some Delta frequent flyer miles to use and we were able to use them to take this trip. So that help reduce the trip’s cost.
Beth’s mom lives on a small island called Amelia Island. A rather quiet and cute island. So off we went to Logan Airport on Saturday at 6:00 AM. We were all set for the full body pat down, and I had my lines ready for TSA. ‘Don’t touch my junk”. Well security was very easy without a x-ray and no full body pat down. OK part 1 complete with no issues or flared tempers. The flight was from BOS to Atlanta then Atlanta to JAX. Well amazingly everything was on time with no problems of issues. The flights were full but uneventful. A pleasant surprise.
Upon arriving at JAX we collected our bag (yes only on bag for both of us) and got our rental car. The rental car was a nice rental, a Ford Fusion. This turned out to be a great rental. I actually liked this car much better than my Lexus HS250 Hybrid.
35 minuted after leaving JAX we are at the condo we had rented for the week. This rental was at a location called Turtle Dunes in the Amelia Island Plantation complex. We were renting an ocean view condo. Very nice view of both the ocean and of the inter coastal waterway. Rather than bore you with the rest of the weeks details, all I’ll say was that we had a good time in the FLA sunshine, and a great Thanksgiving dinner at Beth’s mom’s place.
On the boating front (after all this blog is supposed to be about boating) we met a couple who are living the dream. Bill and Linda of the 43 foot long Nordhaven called “Wayward Wind”. They have been cruising North America and Central America for the past few years. If you go the the Nordhaven website at http://www.nordhavn.com you can sometime see their boat in the Header photo on the web page. If you look “Wayward Wind” is the one in front of the iceberg. This is a very cool boat and this couple is living the dream. Bill and Linda are from Southern California. In speaking with them they have cruised as far north as Tracy Arm in Alaska. A far south as the Panama Canal and made a canal transit then headed north again but this time on the US east coast. They managed to get up as far as Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island this summer and are now heading down into the Caribbean, following the summer. They plan to spend this winter in the warm Carib waters and slowly head back to California, over the next year. I wish them a safe and enjoyable journey!
Well thats all for tonight. Next Blog I’ll update some on Autumn Dream projects in the works.