Walking or riding a bike on the beach is considered very relaxing by many people worldwide. While on Amelia Island, I spotted these two ladies riding their bikes and asked permission to take their picture. They said they are Amish.....a religious sect.....and of course their attire reflected the Amish tradition. The Amish tend to be a very , very conservative religious group and these ladies would probably NOT be seen on the beach in a bathing suit. They wear long dresses and usually white head coverings, such as a cap. These two ladies were polite and let me take their picture.
One of America's oldest pubs exists in downtown Fernandina Beach. Outside is a statue of Dick Tracy.....don't ask me why. I don't know!!! But all the tourists have their picture taken next to the statue. There are all kinds of speciality shops lining the main streets of town. Everything from fancy resort clothing, shells, shoes, ice cream shops, jewelry shops, eateries, to real estate offices. Most eateries have outside dining, in order to enjoy the wonderful weather. Off the main street of town, along the beach, you will always be able to find a seat outside.
Amelia Island has both the long established churches such as the Episcopal Church on the main street of town and some brand new churches such as the First Baptist Church. At least the building of the First Baptist is new. The membership/church body has been in existance for many years. One fine sunny afternoon, the accompanying photo was taken of this particular Baptist Church. It was not until the photo was downloaded that the "white dove of peace" was seen in the cloud over the church. This was astonishing ......can you see the white dove with its wings?
You can watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean in the morning and then scoot over to
the western side of the island and watch the sun set over the Amelia River in the evening. There is a tour company which operates out of the harbor and offers sunset cruises. This cruise will take you past Cumberland Island, which is a very tiny island that is accessible only by boat. Wild horses still roam there and an elegant hotel named the Greyfield Inn still exists where you may book a room and dine in its exquisite restaurant. Cumberland Island is the well -kept secret island where John-John Kennedy and his bride were wed. The tour guide will show you photos of the wedding where friends of the Kennedy family spilled out into the nearby pig farm ( I kid you not!!!) because the tiny chapel simply could not hold everyone. The guests arrived in the middle of the night when no one would see them because of the secrecy. Don't you know the locals were tickled to know that their island was the chosen spot for John-John's wedding? Cumberland Island is now a state park and preserved by Florida. When the state wanted to remove the wild horses because of the difficulty of feeding them, the locals put up a big outcry. I believe the locals now help feed and care for the horses. If you are lucky on your cruise, you will see the horses on the shore. The tour guide is so knowledgeable and you simply cannot take in and remember all that he tells you. However, you will always remember the glorious sunset
that you see.
We went fishing with Amelia Island Charter Fishing LLC our Capt. Jeff Crumpton did a great job putting us on fish and entertaining the kids too! My husband is a fly caster, but we did not mention this. Capt. Jeff is a Orvis guide as well, we will be back to fish for redfish on what Capt. Crumpton called the flood tides and the winter time schooled up redfish bite.
While visiting Amelia Island, take a moment to visit one of the local furniture shops and get a feel
for the local flavor of decorating. That "coastal" breezy feeling permeates a lot of Florida's decor and you will see billowy fabrics on the screened porches, also known as "lanai's" , lots of white fabrics, lots of blues, perhaps some shells, and signs that remind you that "Life is a Beach!!!" :-)
Another sign reminds you that "If you are lucky enough to be at the beach, you are lucky enough".
I have to say I agree. Put me on a beach and I am a happy camper.
Much of the decor in Florida and the Caribbean is influenced by both Spanish settlers and also
the British Colonial motif. The four poster bed in the accompanying photo is just one example of the British Colonial influence.
If you are driving to Amelia Island from the Mayport, Florida area, it is a treat to take the ferry
over the inland waterway to Amelia Island. Mayport has a large Naval base nearby and while waiting for the ferry you may be lucky enough to see a squadron of heilcopters high in the air, practicing their maneuvers. Once the ferry docks, all waiting vehicles , bicyclists, and pedestrians are boarded by the most friendly and humorous fellow who makes it his job to entertain you while directing you to "your spot" on the ferry. A quick 10 minute ride and you are ready to depart the ferry and begin a wonderous vacation on one of Florida's islands. Enjoy!
Post Office - this is one of the most impressive buildings on Amelia Island. It's a design based on the Medici palace in Florence. Erected in 1910, it was built in honor of the island's European heritage. Catherine de Medici sent French Huguenots here to claim land for France.
Thomson Tabby House, Ft. George Island - circa 1850, this type of dwelling consisted of a conglomeration of ground oyster shells, whole oyster shells and sand. This mixture was poured in layers and allowed to dry.
Tabby Houses at Kindsley Plantation, Ft. George Island - a semi-circle of these unique two-room houses border the Plantation. Each served a family unit with a kitchen area and a sleeping quarter. Time apart from work and sleep was spent in a common area outside of the houses.
Kingsley Plantation, Ft. George Island - circa 1780, this indigo and sea island cotton plantation was built on Ft. George Island by one of the compassionate slave owners of the time. Kingsley's slaves were taught 2 languages, they were evaluated for their strengths and taught to master them, they were encouraged to become self-sufficient, planting their own crops, raising their own livestock, etc. Kingsley, himself married one of his own slaves, moved her and their children to Haiti when laws in Florida changed for the worse concerning interracial marriages, and left her a wealthy Floridian widow when he succumbed on a business trip to the north.
St. George - hailing from Palestine around 1,000 AD, just about the time of King Arthur, this patron is honored in the east window of the Mission. Episcopal Churches always face east, in recognition of the resurrection of Christ.
St. George Episcopal Church, Ft. George Island - founded in 1877, this River Mission welcomed John Freeman Young as its' first bishop. River missions sprang up alongside southern waterways in the U.S. and were built to resemble the European Episcopal countryside churches. They were 'Carpenter Gothic' in style, that is, they boasted exposed beams along with a boat-shaped ceiling that welcomed all to their interior, just as Noah's Ark did of old. Much symbolism is incorporated into these religious structures that add to their beauty and dignity.
Ft. George Island, an Indian Midde, this is a fancy archeaological name for a trashheap. It was here in times of feasts and ceremonies that my native ancestors gathered for oyster feasts and fun times, only to toss their shells and whatever else was garbage into a mound. It seems that at this time, the more trash you made, the more fun you were thought to have had. Maybe that can be said of my kids today!!! Anyway, these middens hold important clues to the life of these times. Even anthropologists today study the garbage of people-groups to learn of their habits. Pictured here is a small midden situated around a group of trees, as was customary.
Big Talbot Island - close examination of clay on the island reveals , or organic material mixed with sand. This today provides us with a wealth of information on this history of this region millioniums ago. Here have been discovered the remains of sabre-tooth tigers and wooley mammoths, bison and 7-foot armadillos. Drastic warming after these creatures led to glacier melts which in turn led to extensive erosion. This devestating affect continues to our day - inch by inch, eating into our beautiful beaches.