When we learned that Clay would actually be home over President’s Day weekend, we made plans to fly down to Florida so we could checked out my parent’s new beach condo on Amelia Island. My dad retired this past summer so my parents decided to really lean into their new phase of life and get a second place on the ocean. However, due to Lucy having some health issues, we scrapped our initial plans and decided to drive down to the sunshine state to avoid having to board her. And that is the story of how ended up spending 24 hours in the 4Runner in order to spend 60 hours at the beach. Yes – we’re slightly bonkers, as evident by the wide-eyed looks we received when people found out about our plans.
She’s worth it though.
We left Thursday night after Clay battled holiday weekend traffic on the commuter bus. We drove for about four hours and spent the night in rural North Carolina where pet-friendly hotels are not readily available but we managed to find one with good reviews on Trip Advisor (no murders!). After breakfast at McDonalds (it was slim pickins’), we fought our way through I-95 traffic and were driving onto Amelia Island by early afternoon in 70-degree weather.
Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, I remember my dad traveling to Amelia Island for industry conferences and he would return singing praises of the barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Island is the southernmost chain of the Sea Islands along the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (e.g. Folly Island, Hilton Head, Tybee Island, etc…) and named after Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II.
We spent Friday evening hanging out on the beach – a sweatshirt was needed once the sun went down for the night, which is my absolutely favorite type of beach weather. On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at Marche Burette Deli, located on the Omni Resort, which is down the beach from my parents’ place. Its a great spot to grab a cup of Peets Coffee and some simple breakfast foods. Afterwards, we walked around the resort shops and then spent the afternoon at the beach.
That evening, Clay and I went out to eat at Horizons, which we both agree had some of the best prepared seafood dishes we’ve eaten in awhile. After dinner, we walked along the beach and ended up poolside at the Omni Resort.
However after seeing the prices at the bar, we realized that we weren’t that fabulous and opted to walk back to my parents and enjoy post-dinner adult beverages on the beach outside the back door. The kids were still up when we arrived so we delayed our plans and took them outside to gaze at the stars instead.
Anyone else out there Skyview fans? Our kids are obsessed.
My dad took the kids seashell hunting on Sunday morning while Clay and I drank coffee on the beach. We goal-mapped, reflected on our life together thus far, and agreed that we were happy we put the effort into making the short trip happen.
We drove into Fernandina Beach later that morning. I loved the vibe there – a mix of art galleries, fantastic restaurants, niche shops, and home to Florida’s oldest bar. We checked out the fresh seafood at Atlantic Seafood Bait & Tackle, browsed through The Book Loft, and bought the kids kitschy pirate-themed gear the oldest gift shop in town – The Ship’s Lantern.
We ate at one of my parent’s favorite lunch spots – Timoti’s Seafood Shak. If you should ever find yourself on Amelia Island, make sure you eat at least one meal here. The menu offers a variety of seafood with your choice of preparation – fried, blackened, or grilled. There is so much more we want to try – we can’t wait to go back next time we’re in town.
We spent the rest of the day on the beach, complete with fog rolling in late afternoon – what a surreal experience. We left Amelia Island early Monday morning and arrived back in the Washington DC area just in time to put the kids to bed. In 2017, Conde Nast Traveler named Amelia Island one of the best islands in the United States. After our weekend there, it’s easy to see why.
Yes, driving 10 hours each way wasn’t the most fun thing in the world but being trapped in a car really does make for great family time in between the constant barrage of “Are we there, yet?!?”. Additionally, driving allowed for us to bring Lucy along. She has traveled all over the United States and even though she is entering the last chapter of her life, there is no reason for her to stop exploring new places. After all life is a journey – we might as well roll the window down, stick our heads out, and enjoy the ride.