Horseback on Amelia Island

The Hoyt House – Featured Property of the Month

April 8th, 2014 by aibba

Hoyt HouseEach month, we will be featuring a different member of our association to offer a more focused look at what makes each inn stand apart from the others.  We are so very fortunate to have a number of truly excellent choices here, on Amelia Island, and we’d like to give you some tools to get to know each one of us a little more closely.

We begin with Hoyt House.

Hoyt House

One of seven wonderful inns on Amelia Island

Rich in History surrounded by 500 year old oak trees dressed in Spanish moss this unique 1905 Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast has all of the amenities that a hotel offers wrapped in a 10 bedroom en suite mansion. Amenities include Heated Pool & Spa, custom terry chaise covers, 600 count Egyptian cotton sheets, in room massage and a full private guest-only bar makes for a relaxing experience. A three-course menued breakfast includes five appetizers and six entrees, plus daily specials.  This luxury Select Registry property on Amelia Island has it all under one roof.

The Hoyt House accepts children ages 10 and older, and allows pets in select rooms.  Smoking is allowed on porches and around the grounds.  Elopement ceremonies are available, and weddings are hosted on a limited basis.  Please inquire directly about these policies before booking.

February Festivals in Abundance

February 13th, 2014 by aibba

rafflequilt2014There’s lots of press going around about the annual Concours d’Elegance – a huge annual event on Amelia Island – but accommodations are sold out, so what’s a fun-seeker to do?  Beat the crowds and take advantage of  a jam-packed February festival schedule, that’s what!  There’s still plenty of February left.

Winterfest

Many of our island visitors are familiar with our annual Chamber Music Festival, but did you know that there is a Winterfest component going on this year?  There are still a few concerts left, including a  romantic Valentines Weekend Romantic Virtuosi on Saturday.  While you’re there, check out the schedule for the spring dates, and make your reservations at your favorite bed and breakfast now.

The weekend of the 21st brings three events worth a look (and a book).  There will be some very tough choices, indeed.  The Amelia Island Book Festival has grown from its humble beginnings to an event that now showcases almost 100 authors, including this year’s headliner, David Baldacci.  There are workshops for writers and book signings for readers, as well as many opportunities to mingle and learn.  With events running Thursday through Saturday, you’re sure to find many to suit your taste and budget.

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Next up on the weekend of the 21st is the annual Amelia Island Chili Cook-Off.  Honestly, you don’t have to be anywhere near it to enjoy it; the scent of 20 different kinds of chili cooking wafting throughout the town is enough to bring a smile to locals and visitors, alike.  But you sure will enjoy it more if you head down to Second Street on Saturday afternoon to sample the fare and help select a winner.  Entertainment is always in store, as well, at this fun and delicious annual fundraiser for the Amelia Island Montessori School.

Are you crafty?  The third event of the weekend is the 2014 Quilts By the Sea show and sale.  Amelia Island is known for its great artists and writers, but did you know about our thriving craft community?  This group boasts over 70 members and is representative of the talent and fellowship found throughout the crafting community on the island.  Philanthropic efforts play a big role, as well, and you’ll have a chance to take part by  purchasing raffle tickets for the benefit of a local not-for-profit.  You can also see some of the quilts donated to these organizations.  The Quilt Festival runs on Friday and Saturday 9-5 at the Peck Center, a very short drive from the downtown inns.

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By the end of the weekend, you should be able to curl up with a good book in a beautiful quilt with a belly full of chili at your favorite bed and breakfast!  Rooms are still available, but are booking up, so make your plans now.

If you can’t make it to the island until the weekend of February 28th, fear not for it’s the weekend of the Amelia Island Film Festival.  This four-day event starting Thursday, February 27, features shorts, documentaries, international offerings and full-length features. An in-town event, all venues are “walkable” from the in-town bed and breakfasts.  Films will be shown beginning at 11:30 am, running through a few midnight screenings.  There will be a beer garden, VIP events and an Oscar night party with awards on… Oscar night, March 2nd.

There is always something going on here, on Amelia Island, but the next few weeks offer an abundance of choices.  Come join us!

VIP Packages are the “Hidden Treasure” of the Holiday Cookie Tour

November 12th, 2013 by aibba

Amelia Island Holiday Cookie Tour of InnsAs the November 23rd  Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns rapidly approaches, it’s time to take advantage of the hidden treasure trove of value in the limited number of VIP Packages still available for purchase.  Tickets for the Tour are $25 each, but for $150 per VIP package – plus shipping and handling – lucky purchasers will get two tickets for the Tour, a copy of  Sunshine Mornings with the Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast cookbook ($20 value), and a midweek getaway at your choice of inn (values will vary and are dependent on inn selected).  It’s the best bargain on Amelia Island.  Each inn has five packages available, but they’re selling img_4168fast, so it’s best to get yours right now.  Packages are available online only because of the limited number available.  Book this package for your favorite inn here.  If your first choice doesn’t show up in the list, it has sold out of VIP Packages.  Feel free to explore another inn at this great value, while helping to raise funds for our library.  Certificates for your stay will be valid for Sunday through Thursday nights with the exception of holiday periods and special events.  Please note that certificates may not be used for existing reservations and may be restricted to certain rooms.  If you have questions about restrictions, please call the inn whose VIP Package you wish to purchase directly.  Limit one package per inn, please, but you may purchase VIP packages for multiple inns.  Treat yourself, or someone on your list to a gift that will be remembered for years to come.

Innkeepers are often asked “the best way” to do the Tour.  Since the tour is essentially self-paced and self-guided, tour guests may start/ finish and go in any order they wish.  Parking at the inns is generally reserved for overnight guests of the inns, b-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-071so good advice is to come to town early, park downtown, and enjoy the shops and restaurants in town before starting out on the Tour.  Don’t forget about the Saturday morning Farmers Market that goes from 9-1 and is located at the corner of 7th and Centre – close to several inns.

Start at any inn and work your way around walking the short distances between inns.  If the carriage is out front when you’re finished touring an inn, hop on for a ride to the next inn.  The carriage ride is included in the cost of your Tour ticket, and the stops are marked on the back.  Carriages will run along Seventh Street between Fairbanks House and Addison/ Blue Heron, and along Ash Street between Williams House and Addison/ Blue Heron.  Carriages will run continuously but are not on a set schedule, but if one is ready to go when you are, hop on.

Trolley rides will, again, be a part of the Tour this year, and are included in the cost of your Tour ticket .  The stops (marked on your ticket) will be at Florida House Inn, Addison/ Blue Heron, Hoyt House and Elizabeth Pointe Lodge out at the beach.  b-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-217_0The walk from the Florida House Inn to the Addison on Amelia is about four and a half blocks, so the trolley will come in handy if you wish to take a break from walking.  If you can swing it, stay at one of the inns for the weekend.  Some inns are offering special packages for Tour weekend, and all weekend inn guests will be offered favorable rates on ticket prices for the Tour.  We’re getting ready to welcome you.  The cookies are baking.  The decorations are going up.  See you on the Tour!

Fall Events are in Full Swing on Amelia Island

October 8th, 2013 by aibba

img_4419What’s your pleasure?  As usual, the fall season is jam-packed with a variety of cultural, athletic, musical and epicurean events all over Amelia Island.  Many of our Amelia Island bed and breakfasts have enticing packages tagged to these events; be sure to check with your favorite inn now.  Take advantage of the great fall weather and the great booking opportunities while they’re both around.

Wine FestivalOctober brings wine, athletic competition and classic cars.  The weekend of October 11th brings the Amelia Island Wine Festival, two triathlons and the 2013 Tour Americal car display.   The Wine Festival has a new location this year, having moved from the riverfront down to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.  The same award-winning wine entries from around the globe will be available for tasting, along with high-end arts and crafts for purchase on Saturday, October 12th.

If competition is more your speed – or you need to exercise off the wine, there will be two triathlons taking place on Sunday at Main Beach.  The Atlantic Coast Triathlon is a half Ironman distance event featuring top talent from around the region.  A shorter, but no less exciting event comes the same day in the form of the Ameliaman Triathlon.  Both Olympic and sprint distances are offered, and registration is limited.  Both events feature relay teams, so spectators are sure to see a good show.

If classic cars strike your fancy and you’re unable to get to the Concours d’Elegance show in the spring, two October events will be right up your Tour Americalalley.  October 13th, 14th and 15th, 50-60 classic cars will be displayed each day right on Centre Street.  These cars are part of the Tour Americal, and event routing cars from Antwerp to Miami with several stops along the way.  The following Saturday, October 19th, brings the annual Amelia Cruizers car show.  Hundreds of classic cars and street rods line Centre Street all day for your viewing pleasure.  Both car events offer free viewing and plenty of photo opportunities.

November is no less an exciting time on the island.  The Gators and Bulldogs will renew their storied rivalry on Saturday, November 2nd at the annual Florida/ Georgia football game in Jacksonville.  There are still rooms available for fans on the island for the weekend, but they’re going fast.  Some of your favorite inns will have some special packages available, so be sure to check out those, and the scheduled festivities at the official Amelia Island Florida/ Georgia website.Florida/ Georgia Game

If you’re not coming for the game, but you’re here to celebrate a nice, romantic weekend, have no fear because there are lots of other wonderful diversions – and the fans all head to the game – and the island is yours.  Another in the series of Story and Song concerts will be on tap Saturday, November 2nd, when Mike and Ruthy, one of acoustic America’s most revered musical duos, come to town to share their stories at Burns Hall.  These singer/ songwriter concerts consistently bring top-level talent to the island in an intimate setting and are a joy to attend.

Veteran’s Day Weekend always brings a host of activities for the enjoyment of visitors and locals, alike.  As always, the Second Saturday of every month brings the Artrageous Artwalk in Fernandina.  The galleries offer a vast array of fine art in varied media-photography, pottery, copper, metal, fused as well as stained glass, watercolors, acrylics, oils and batik. This event is free to the public and runs from 5:30pm until 8:30pm on Petanque America OpenNovember 9th.

Gamesmanship more your thing?  The sixth annual Petanque America Open will be underway along the waterfront downtown.  Frequently described as a cross between bocce and horseshoes, Petanque is played around the globe by people of all ages and abilities.  This truly international event will bring 200 players from around the world for some high-level competition.

 

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Last, but not least, if you haven’t made your plans to come to the Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns, you’ll want to do so now, because there are still savings to be had on the tickets.  The regular ticket price is $25.00 each, but you can save $5.00 per ticket if you purchase them before November 1st, when the discount will expire.  VIP Packages are currently available, as well, but these almost-secret deals are sure to run out.  Your Amelia Island innkeepers are looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

Save the Date for the 2013 Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns!

August 4th, 2013 by aibba

Amelia Island Holiday Cookie Tour of Innsa-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-088Innkeepers are busier than Keebler Elves right now trying out new recipes for the 2013 Holiday Cookie Tour of Inns.  This year’s Tour will be deliciously presented Saturday, November 23, from 12-5 pm.  Visitors to this annual event will enjoy a festive kickoff to the holiday season by way of a self-paced tour of seven beautiful bed and breakfast inns, widely recognized as some of the most striking structures on Amelia Island.  The interiors of these gorgeous buildings are usually reserved for overnight lodgers, but this is a chance for all with a ticket to experience the intricate details of these fine inns.

mp900401366In a twist from other years, visitors will find two different types of holiday decorating for inspiration:  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  On tours past, all inns were decorated in fine Christmas fashion.  Since the Tour is held on November 23rd, some inns will light a spark for decorating your Thanksgiving table the following week.  Even if you’ve been on the Tour before, you’ll see some different looks this year.  As always, it will be a treat just to see the striking details of these inns and the beautiful room decor that abounds.

b-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-053In keeping with tradition, the Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Association has partnered with a local not-for-profit organization and will donate a portion of the sale price of every ticket and cookbook sold for the Tour.  Our partner for 2013 is the Friends of the Library group, and advocacy group who is currently tasked with fundraising for a new, improved and contemporary library for Fernandina Beach.

a-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-189_0In addition to donations from standard ticket sales and cookbooks, 100% of the sales price of VIP Gift Packages will go directly to the Friends of the Library.  These gift packages include a gift certificate for a future midweek stay at one of the seven participating inns and a copy of the Association’s $20 cookbook, Sunshine Mornings at the Inns of Amelia Island.  As a “thank you” for purchasing the package, you will receive two tickets to the Tour.  At only $150, these gift package represent considerable savings over regular room rates at our luxury inns, plus you’ll receive the cookbook and tickets!  And did we mention that all of the money goes to the library?  Each inn has donated five gift packages, so be sure to purchase one from your favorite inn soon.a-bb-cookie-tour-2012-amelia-150

Tickets and VIP Gift Packages may be purchased online beginning August 15th.  They will be mailed out in October.  Reserve yours now!  Friendly innkeepers are awaiting your arrival.

 

May and June Events on Amelia Island

May 13th, 2013 by aibba

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

With the onset of beautiful weather and more folks thinking about getting away, Amelia Island ramps up the events calendar to provide our visitors with a variety of concerts, shows and festivals to provide a reason to stay “just one more day”.  May 11 through June 2, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival returns to the island for its 13th season.  World-class artists from around the globe descend on the island to offer virtuoso performances in venues ranging from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church to the Palace Saloon.

Next up is the annual Wild Amelia Nature Festival the weekend of May 17th – 19th celebrating “our local bio-region”.  Tours, classes, exhibits and sea turtle releases are but a few of the offerings of this educational and fun event for all ages.  Flora, fauna, clouds and stars are touched upon, and there is even a photographers’ field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo being offered.  We’re very fortunate to reside in an extremely bio-diverse area, and this is the weekend that we get to share some of the secrets with our visitors.PaiBuntRoger

Memorial Day weekend brings the annual Ed Gaw Open Water Challenge for swimmers interested in competing in either a one-mile or 5K ocean swim. Experience is required, but if you’re looking for a way to make room for more great food from Amelia Island’s excellent restaurants, this is a great way to burn off some of those Memorial Day celebrations.

June brings fishing, barbecue and the inaugural Country Rocks the Beach concert.  You’d better get your reservations now for the first weekend in June because this island will be piled high with fishing, music, food and fun.  From March through October, the first Friday of every month brings a free concert downtown in the form of the Sounds on Centre stage.  Music will fill the air downtown from 6-8, courtesy of the Beech Street Blues Band.  Come join the fun and be sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Goin' Coastal BBQ and Music Festival

Goin’ Coastal BBQ and Music Festival

June 6th – 9th brings the Fish ‘N’ Fest to our Fernandina marina.  Local anglers and kindred spirits will be sharing a weekend of laid-back camaraderie on the water, and they invite you to join in.  On that same weekend, the Georgia Barbecue Association will be hosting the Florida State BBQ championship in Central Park on Saturday, June 8th, in the form of the Goin Coastal BBQ Competition, followed by the Goin’ Coastal Music Festival.

 

Finally, in its inaugural year, a new music festival will hit the island on Saturday, June 22nd, called Country Rocks the Beach.  This benefit event is selling tickets fast, and our rooms are disappearing with the tickets, so you should make a reservation with your favorite bed and breakfast now.  If you can’t make any of these events, you can be assured that there is always something going on on Amelia Island.  We look forward to sharing your summer with you.

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival 50th Anniversary

April 8th, 2013 by aibba

Shrimpfest logoMake your reservations now for the 2013 Shrimpfest!  Always one of the biggest – and most entertaining – events of the year on Amelia Island, this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival will be pulling out all the stops to celebrate its 50th anniversary May 3rd, 4th and 5th.  In fact, the golden anniversary Pirate Parade will be so big that it has been moved from its traditional Thursday slot to the Saturday before Shrimpfest, April 27th, at 11 am.  This year’s parade theme will be The Year of the Golden Shrimp “Celebrating 50 Years of Fun”.

Loaded with activities, music, fine arts and crafts, antique booths, pirates, shrimp boats and as many ways that you can think of to prepare fresh local shrimp, the festival is a main stay of island life here on Amelia.  While celebrating their local traditions, islanders welcome guests with open arms throughout the festival weekend.  Many even find it an opportune time to hold yard sales and open houses for real estate. Pirate parade

While visiting the festival, be sure to consult the schedule for the various bands, pageants and events scheduled throughout the weekend at a number of venues.  The Friday night invasion of the pirates and fireworks are always popular, as are the concerts on the main stage and side stages.  This year’s Saturday headliners are Pablo Cruise, and Sunday’s tradition of closing the festival with the Swingin’ Medallions is firmly in place for the 50th anniversary.  But you can also find diversions in the rock climbing wall, the Shrimp boat parade, the Blessing of the Fleet, an ice cream eating contest – and you can even learn to be a pirate with lessons from our local Pirates’ Club.  If you’re so inclined, you can enter the beard contest, or take part in Saturday morning’s 5K race.  Be sure to peruse the full schedule of events to make your plans.

Shrimpfest artMost of Amelia Island’s bed and breakfasts are within an easy walk to the festival, and guests of our beach bed and breakfasts can find park and ride options as well as park and walk lots.  Scattered rooms are still available, but don’t delay booking your room because the island gets sold out every year, and it’s an event that you won’t want to miss.  Check with your favorite bed and breakfast for availability now.  See you at the fireworks!

2011 Holiday Cookie Tour on Amelia Island

November 14th, 2011 by aibba

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Amelia Island Cooke Tour

The aroma of freshly baked cookies invites childhood memories to flood the mind. Inviting, enticing and comforting, cookies have a long and beloved history in the United States. But where do cookies come from? Does the cookie have a birthplace?

Cookie History 101

Early English and Dutch immigrants first introduced the cookie to America in the 1600s. While the English primarily referred to cookies as small cakes, seed biscuits, or tea cakes, or by specific names, such as jumbal or macaroon, the Dutch called the koekjes, a diminutive of koek (cake)…Etymologists note that by the early 1700s, koekje had been Anglicized into “cookie” or “cookey,” and the word clearly had become part of the American vernacular. Following the American Revolution, people from other parts of the country became familiar with the cookie when visiting New York City, the nation’s first capitol, a factor that resulted in widespread use of the term.”

 

Cookie Classifications

  • Drop cookies are made from a relatively soft dough that is dropped by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet.

    Heirloom Cookie Recipes

    Heirloom Cookie Recipes

  • Refrigerator cookies (also known as icebox cookies) are made from a stiff dough that is refrigerated to become even stiffer.
  • Molded cookies are also made from a stiffer dough that is molded into balls or cookie shapes by hand before baking.
  • Rolled cookies are made from a stiffer dough that is rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Pressed cookies are made from a soft dough that is extruded from a cookie press into various decorative shapes before baking.
    Bar cookies consist of batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan (sometimes in multiple layers), and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking.
  • Sandwich cookies are rolled or pressed cookies that are assembled as a sandwich with a sweet filling.

 

Take the Amelia Island Inns Cookie Tour

This year the Amelia Island Bed & Breakfast Association invites you to take a delightful self-guided cookie tour on Saturday, November 19th, from noon to 5pm to visits the beautiful inns around Fernandina and to sample their cookies, many from heirloom recipes. Some of the proceeds from the sale of tickets will go to benefit the Barnabas Center, an organization which helps those in need in Nassau County. Tickets are available here and are $25 per person.

Amelia Island Jazz Festival, Football, Cookies and more!

September 19th, 2011 by aibba

Amelia Island Jazz Festival venue

Amelia Island Jazz Festival Venue

Amelia Island will heat up when the Jazz Festival kicks off from October 2-9, 2011! Some of the talent in town that week at various venues include: Buckwheat Zydeco, Nicole Henry, Gypsy Rendezvous, The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band with vocalist Extraordinaire -Bonnie Eisele and Special Guest Jazz Violinist – Doug Cameron, Toots Lorraine and the Traffic, Impacto Latino, and more!

Football is still in full swing the end of October as the rivalry between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs continues!  The game will be held in Jacksonville at Everbank Field on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm.  Come support the teams!

November 19, 2011 kicks off the holiday season with Amelia Island’s Bed & Breakfast cookie tour.  All your favorite B & B’s will be “decked out” in their holiday best!  Stop by and see the inside of these wonderful homes.  Visitors will get into the holiday spirit as they visit each of the inn’s and receive a cookie as well as the recipe to add to their collection.

Amelia Island Fort Clinch Offers View of Daily Life During the Civil War

June 22nd, 2011 by aibba

Fort Clinch on Amelia Island

Entrance to Fort Clinch on Amelia Island FL

A stay on Amelia Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Civil-War era Fort Clinch. Located on the northern tip of Amelia Island, and only 10 minutes by car from historic downtown Fernandina Beach, the expansive waterfront vistas from the fort are spectacular.

Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country, and is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Amelia Island. Fort Clinch State Park offers a half-mile-long fishing pier, a vast state park with nearly 8,400 feet of shoreline, and 1,150 acres of moss-draped live oaks, and coastal grasses. The 1847 Fort at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River was built to protect Fernandina Harbor’s deep water port.

Daily tours complete with period re-enactments depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. Sunbathing, swimming, and beach-combing are popular coastal activities all summer long. Anglers can fish from the pier or take advantage of excellent surf fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife.

Civil War era is recreated at Fort Clinch State Park
Life during the Civil War era is recreated at Fort Clinch State Park the first weekend each month. Activities centered around 1864, include black powder artillery demonstrations, marching drills, and blacksmith demonstrations. Visitors can see these special living history garrisons from 9 am to 5 pm each Saturday of the first weekend of the month and 9 am until noon on the first Sunday. A special evening candlelight tour of Fort Clinch is also held the first weekend Saturday night each month and costs $3 per person.

fernandina-beach-to-fort-clinch

It's a ten minute drive from Historic Fernandina Beach to Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach. Call 904-277-7274 for more information.

Admission Fees:
$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

 

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