Posts Tagged ‘Amelia Island Activities’
Some numbers are important, others unusual and occasionally they come together to form unique combinations. Such was this special day for Natalie and Michael when they were wed at the Williams House on Amelia Island on the special date of 11/11/11. Joined by 30 family and friends they were married on the Williams House front porch with Byron officiating on a cool but beautiful Friday afternoon. A reception followed in the back courtyard with lot’s of nice goodies prepared by Deborah, the Williams House chef and wedding coordinator. Georgeous seasonal flowers added fall color to the proceedings and a champagne toast to bride and groom was followed by traditional cake cutting. As usual Cinnamon was all around the Williams House entertaining children and seeking out crab cakes or other tasty morsels. Our best wishes to the bride and groom as they begin their new life together!
Yes, that title is a mouthful, but so was the barbecue at the last weekend’s Great Southern Tailgate Cook-Off. Held on Amelia Island for the second year, it featured expert barbecue teams from all around the south. Having tasted several, I have to say they were great at their chosen profession or hobby! Crowds were good and every where you looked people were enjoying their favorite version of barbecue. Pulled pork, ribs, chicken were all available and the smell of wood fired cookers filled the air. Visitors could also get smoothies, funnel cakes, fries, onion rings and beverages. Held at main beach with ocean backdrops, it was a fun event with great views.
- July 4 parade – Fernandina Beach
The July 4th holiday yielded lots of activity on Fernandina Beach including an event with specialty vehicles, games and live band at Central Park during the early hours. In the evening, a traditional parade with police, fireman, military and citizens was held. Later the same day, a free concert was held down by the waterfront and fireworks followed at 9:30 pm. It was fairly crowded on the Island with lot’s of folks enjoying the shops, restaurants, Fort Clinch (with reenac tments) and lot’s of local activities. We were full at the Williams House and in fact July in total was one of our busier months this year. We also had a small wedding on the Holiday weekend which we will cover later in another blog.
Byron’s brother Gary visited recently from Raleigh, NC and we had the opportunity to introduce him to one of our favorite local attractions, Fort Clinch, an historical Florida State Park. Started as part of the United States coastal defense system before the civil war, it never really saw action although Union soldiers occupied the fort during the war. It was worked on again as part of the 1930′s WPA projects as were many of these early forts. Since then it has been worked on with volunteers and donations and is largely intact and complete. It is usually manned by at least one soldier in period uniform who will gladly enlighten you on what life was like in the fort during the 1860′s. On the first weekend of each month in the summer, reenactments are staged with larger numbers of soldiers joining the historic setting. There are numerous tunnel like alley ways to and from various parts of the fort, cannons atop the walls, gun turrets, a dry moat, powder rooms, officer and enlisted quarters, jail, kitchen and blacksmith shop. The fort is about four miles from the current Fernandina Beach historic district and sits at the northern most point of Amelia Island. There is beach access and a fishing pier within the park as well. Views north to the south end of Cumberland Island are available from atop the river side walls. We always encourage guests at the Williams House to find time to visit this little piece of history and try to imagine what life was like on Amelia Island in the 1800′s.
We recently had friends visiting from North Carolina and arranged for a river cruise to treat them to local views and history. We’ve been several times and are always impressed by learning something new on each trip, and on this particular visit, we were fortunate to get a very close up view of the wild horses, which histroically we have only seen from a distance. It was a strange day in that fires burning in the okefenokee swamp had created a smoke haze for the early part of the trip, giving the views a nostalgic old fashioned feeling.
These cruises are popular with Williams House guests since you get to see shrimp boats, Fort Clinch from the river, Old Town and the Pippi Longstocking house, beaches, marshes, the port, the paper mill, Cumberland Island, wild horses, flying manta rays, dolphins, and in our case the Dungeness ruins. In addition there is a history lesson on from the early days of the island to the present made interesting by your hosts on the tour. It’s a liesurely tour with great views. There are three cruises daily including morning, mid day and sunset.
We always love to see guests return to the Williams House and the Goffs and Williams returned for Shimp Fest this year to establish a new record for guest continuity. It is the sixteenth year they have returned and stayed at the Williams House for this event. Same rooms each year….if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And, of course already slated to be back next year in the same rooms for the 17th time! They are of course the dream guest for every innkeeper that hopes to create loyalty and enjoy the return of familiar faces and friends. They even share wine with us when we have a moment to sit and catch up. We also enjoy seeing their “treaure finds” from days searching the shrimp festival for that perfect item or piece of art. We look forward to next year already!
One of our favorite times on Amelia Island and the largest festival is the Shrimp Festival, held the first weekend of May each year. Festivities begin with a parade on Thursday evening and it is the longest of the year at over and hour. Many residents, businesses and associations participate and awards are given for the best float linking in the parade theme. It is truly a family affair with many children participating and many more lining the streets to get glimpses of all the fun floats and characters from pirates to Disney type costumes. Of course pirates abound and the parade closes with the pirate ship firing loud and smokey guns and cannon. Candy and beads are given out to spectators and everyone vies for the most collected and greatest variety. This is our sixth year of attending and viewing from the Williams House and this was the first year threatened by rain. But, rain came just before the parade, stopped for the hour plus of the parade and resumed again soon thereafter. Once again the parade was dry and fun! Enjoy the attached pictures.