A Quick Visit to the Isle of Eight Flags – Amelia Island, Florida

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I’m not sure it is because I’m getting older (seriously – how am I within arms reach of 40?) or because we’re emerging from a pandemic-induced stretch of time where we languished in a pool of boredem and exhaustion, but time has been moving at excessive speed. Our son has less than six years left at home before he leaves for college and somewhere along the way our daughter went from a cute toddler to a delightful not-so-little girl. We’ve always enjoyed traveling with our children and going on daily adventures with them but as of late, these family excursions have not only served as sources of joy but also as tangible reminders of time and the precious and nebulous nature of it. And I’m struggling to document it all because of – well – life.

We returned from our most recent trip last week and experienced our first minor hiccup with air travel since we started traveling again in our life-in-a-pandemic world. When we learned that our kids had both Friday and Monday off from school, we made plans to fly down to Amelia Island, Florida for the long weekend. A few years ago, my parents bought a beach condo and now split their time between there and their place in Georgia so they met us at the Jacksonville airport and saved us the trouble of renting a car for our brief stay on the island.

The northernmost barrier island on Florida’s Atlantic coast, Amelia Island is 13 miles long and 4 miles wide at its widest point. Named after Princess Amelia, the daughter of King George II of English, Amelia Island is known for its beaches, wildlife, and rich history. In 2017, Conde Nast Traveler named Amelia Island one of the best islands in the United States – it’s easy to see why.

My parents’ place is located on the southern portion of the island, just north of the Amelia Island State Park. We spent the majority of our time at the beach and the pool. But we managed to squeeze in a few trips into town.

Fernandina Beach is the city on Amelia Island and named in honor of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. It has a cute little historic downtown with great little shops and restaurants. My favorite fast-casual place on the island is Timoti’s Seafood Shak in historic downtown Fernandina Beach – we ate there twice this trip and as always, the blackened shrimp tacos didn’t disappoint (pictured).

We ate dinner one night at Marche Burette (located on the Omni Resort) for their Steak Out, which is every Friday and Saturday evening. There is live music, libations, and steak. The kids and I opted for the tenderloin while Clay had their famous 36-ounce ribeye. Each steak meal comes with a salad and baked potato and you’re welcome to purchase a bottle of wine from their market and open it at your table.

We’ve visited Amelia Island quite a bit over the last few years due to my parents now being part-time residents. While Florida isn’t our favorite place in the world, we do really find ourselves relaxing and enjoying the vibe of Amelia Island when we’re down there. After this trip, we arrived back home in Chicago a little delayed, a little more tan, a little more relaxed, and more appreciative of our time together.

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