Friday, August 10, 2012

Historic Fernandina Beach Shopping & Dining

We spent a lot of time exploring the downtown area of Historic Fernandina Beach when we visited Amelia Island, Fla., recently. Just steps away from the Amelia River, charming clusters of shops and eateries await discovery.

Mary Ashley and I spent an afternoon exploring these shops, and the whole family dined downtown nearly every evening.

Like most of the children visiting the island, Mary Ashley and Emma were eager to climb this anchor outside one of our favorite restaurants: Brett's Waterway Cafe.

We enjoyed the water and ocean views so much, we visited twice for dinner during our stay. I recommend the grilled salmon with Anson Mills manchego and chorizo grits with fresh citrus and avocado.

It was so peaceful sitting on the porch at Brett's, taking in the Amelia River views and enjoying the fresh-baked biscuits the restaurant is known for.

Sunset is the perfect time to stroll. Strands of white lights strung in the trees illuminate the sidewalk, making this a safe place to walk after dark when the shops have closed.

I knew as soon as I spied Amelia's Treasure, it was my kind of boutique. As soon as I stepped inside, I texted Joe that I would be awhile.

The shop owner graciously allowed me to take photos of this charming boutique. Don't you want to go today?

Amelia's Treasure is a one-stop-shop for jewelry, art, giftware and home decor.

Many of the items celebrate the beach with island motifs.

Amelia's Treasure is a feast for the senses with pretty displays, soothing music and wonderful bath scents.

I look forward to looking for more treasures at Amelia's Treasure next time we visit Amelia Island.

One of our family's favorite Fernandina spots is located right next door. Fernandina Fudge -- the pink building on the corner -- offers homemade candy and ice cream. Grab a souvenir box of confections, or join the crowd for an ice cream cone.

Enjoying an ice cream cone with the family in this quaint setting as a tropical breeze tickles the leaves on a tree nearby ... well, that just feels like a perfect summer evening to me.

We were eager to explore Christmas on the River.

We love finding ornaments to represent the places we have visited.

Christmas on the River offers an impressive selection of ornaments for tourists. We found a number of sea-inspired ornaments, but ultimately chose a less island-inspired ornament and asked the clerk to add Amelia Island ribbon to the top. With a scoop to represent each child, our four-scoop ice cream cone will be the perfect way to remember our visits to Fernandina Fudge. Yes, we enjoyed it so much we went twice during our week!

We also enjoyed a couple of downtown cafes during our visit. My pizza-loving family was eager to try Arte Pizza on 3rd Street. Joe and the kids enjoyed wood-fired pizza, while I opted for salad and a panini.

When Mary Ashley and I spent the day downtown, a local merchant recommended Kelley's Courtyard Cafe as a great lunch spot.

Patrons can dine outside in this cozy courtyard or sit inside the cool of the cafe. I loved my fried green tomato sandwich: fried green tomatoes with remoulade, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and pineapple salsa on a kaiser roll. They were out of kaiser rolls the afternoon we visited, but I would probably order it again as a wrap.

Eight-year-old Mary Ashley and I thoroughly enjoyed our Mommy-daughter date at Kelley's. She sounded so grown up as she gushed to her daddy, "The cafe where we ate was fabulous."

"Really?" Joe replied. "What did you have?"

"Peanut butter and jelly."

And speaking of fabulous, I just know this little French restaurant must be wonderful. We did not get to try Le Clos on this visit, but I am eager to go on a future trip to Amelia Island.

Seriously, could this little cottage be any more charming? If any of you have dined at Le Clos, I would love to hear your impressions.

Now, tell me your secrets! If you have favorite Amelia Island shops, restaurants or memories, please share them in the comments.

Congratulations to Cindy Reinert, who won a girl and doll shirt set from Kat-n-Ty Designs. Right now you can enjoy 25 percent off your purchase at Kat-n-Ty with the code "Lovely."

I appreciate your support so far in the Taste of Home search for Mrs. Holiday! I still have a ways to go, but your daily votes are helping. Please like the contest page here to vote.


Rach said...

MUST visit this place! The cafes and boutiques are my type of place for sure. So funny about the text you sent your husband. Oh, and the peanut butter and jelly comment, too funny!

Wendy Stewart said...

Nice post on Fernandina. I live 30 minutes from the island and go over the bridge a couple times a month. For me, even though it's a hop skip and a jump, it feels like a get-a-way. Slower pace, beach life style. There is an old gas station/restaurant which all the locals frequent. They don't sell gas there anymore but the food is scrumptious. People walk in with bathing suits and business suits. Go for breakfast and order their cinnamon rolls, although their cooked to order breakfast is good too. On Fridays, fried shrimp for lunch is popular. TRays is the name, right on A1A. The Crab Trap is downtown. It is my fave and where my husband proposed 30 years ago. Several B&B's, I love Elizabeth Point. Glad you had such a lovely getaway.

Melissa Lester said...

Rach, you would love Amelia Island!

Wendy, thanks for the tips! We didn't make it to any of the places you mentioned, so I will put them on our list for next time!

Cindy said...

OH MY GOODNESS, Melissa!!!! I can't tell you how excited I am that I won the little girl-doll T-shirt set. My daughter will be ECSTATIC!!!! What a wonderful surprise!! My daughter's birthday is this fall and I was going to place an order for her birthday, but now won't need to. THANK YOU so very much!!! My e-mail is I assume you will e-mail me to tell me what I need to do? Again, thank you so much....I just love your blog!! It has been such an inspiration to me!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts on Amelia Island. I lived in Fernandina Beach for 3 years about 25 years ago and it remains one of my favorite places. Your pictures made me very homesick! Going back for a visit is on my bucket list!

Ella said...

Such a charming place! I would love to visit. The restaurants and shops look so inviting and cozy. I love your girl's red, white, & blu outfits. They llok like they are enjoying as well (that ice cream)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin