It’s been a busy couple of months at the Williams House with Thanksgiving and Christmas events so I’m going to be catching up on some of the blogging over this period. We’ll start with a tea for about 20 ladies to celebrate the season. It was a combined group from two garden clubs that came to enjoy Deborah’s high tea with several varieties of tea, tasty finger sandwiches, scones, cookies and creme filled strawberries. Deborah definitely enjoys these events and creating the tempting items that go together with a variety of teas. Of course, Byron is the chief sampler and food taster and must give his best tasting efforts to insure quality. In this case…excellent! It was a fun event with the excitement of the holiday season nearing .
Posts Tagged ‘Guest Experiences’
We have had several weddings during the holidays and found it enjoyable to marry couples so near to this season and see them begin life as newly weds. It is a highly decorated time at the Williams House so no additional flowers are needed, except for the bride and groom themselves. Most of the weddings are in the parlor this time of year, particularly with some of our unseasonably cool temps in early December. We also have had our first wedding of the year on 1/1/11. Easy to remember and a great way to kick off the new year!
The annual lighted Christmas parade brought out many interesting combinations of lights and Christmas decorating in the streets of Fernandina Beach. Fire engines, ships, funny cars, animal characters and lots of families and children all participated to light up the evening. It was s little lower than normal temps. but that didn’t seem to bother either parade participants or families enjoying the show. A few children in wagons enjoyed the parade within the parade and as usual candy was available for children along the parade route. It was a fun time for this annual tradition!
I spent some time taking pictures of this years Christmas decorations at the Williams House as they do change from year to year. Deborah is a stickler for detail and it shows in the common area decorations as well as all the individual rooms. Byron concentrates on the outside and again we keep adjusting since doing it the same every year seems a little boring. We are looking forward to our three day Christmas special with horse-drawn carriage rides and heavy hors d’oeuvres on christmas eve and chef Deborah’s buffet dinner on Christmas day. I’ve attached a few recent pictures to provide a flavor of how the Williams House will appear to arriving guests. We enjoy the warmth and atmosphere this 1856 home provides and try to imagine what it was like to celebrate Christmas here in the 1800′s. I’m not sure those early owners would have decorated to this extent, but certainly the charm and feel of this home and historic town are an enjoyable experience for today. We still have two rooms left for Christmas…so come on down and join us!
Each year on black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, shoppers in Fernandina Beach are encouraged to come downtown and shop in their pj’s to receive a discount at all purchases in local stores. As a result the downtown streets are filled with all manner of interesting pj looks and of course besides the discount, a prize is awarded for “best dressed” shopper. From santa to diva’s, the view is unique and colorful as each shopper trys to outdo their neighbor and be considered for the grand prize. To be consistent all contestant’s register at the main booth and have their pictures taken so judging can be uniform and more easily rendered. I’m not sure this approach would work in a large mall setting, but in the quaint streets of downtown Fernandina Beach, it creates a lot of fun and entertaining experiences. People gladly pose for pictures and are actually buying from local stores, so it’s great for shoppers, merchants and casual observers. This event is a prelude to the next day when Santa comes to downtown and the Christmas tree is lit by the harbor. The lighted boat parade is scheduled for December 11 at 7 pm and is another fun evening in this holiday season. Come on down and enjoy Christmas and the Holidays in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island!
We are going to begin featuring recipes we use for breakfast guests at the Williams House. Most of our recipes are gathered in a book of local B&B recipes that can be purchased at our inn or on line at the association website. However, the recipe this month is not in this book, but is one my mother used to create special mornings for my brother and myself as children. It is for a superb cinnamon toast. It is sweet, crunchy and crusty and kids or grandkids can’t resist!
Williams House Cinnamon Toast
1. Use original Pepperidge Farms white bread and lay out 9 slices on foil covered cookie sheet.
2.Mix approximately 3 cups of sugar with several tablespoons of cinnamon and mix together until it takes on a moderate brown appearance (not as dark as light brown sugar). Adjust sugar level to keep it from getting too dark as extra cinnamon will just make it a little bitter.
3.Melt one fourth stick of butter and blend together into sugar and cinnamon mix to form a crumbly mixture. It looks like this won’t get completely mixed with this amount of butter but if you keeping stirring and mixing it will become a single consistency.
4. Add half and half carefully to form a slurry mixture. It doesn’t take much, and you want the consistancy to be such that it does not fall off a spoon from gravity. Also if it gets too wet it will soak the bread and stick after cooking.
5. Spread the slurry over the bread so it has a good, even and fairly thick coating that covers all the way to the edges.
6.Bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until bottom of bread becomes browned like toast.
Let cool and it will form a wonderful crunchy sugar crust with a slightly gooey center. It will ignite all the sugar receptors in your mouth!!!
Yes…we know its only the 13th of November but here we are already decorated and decked out for Christmas. We have to start early (usually Nov. 1) to be ready for the annual historic B&B cookie tour taking place next Saturday (Nov. 19) from 1-5 pm. All of the B&B’s will be decorated by then for ticket holders to tour and receive free samples of our chosen cookie along with the actual recipe. It’s a great way to get early ideas for Christmas decorating, get into the Holiday spirit and enjoy Christmas before Thanksgiving. We open both the common areas and guest rooms where again Christmas has already arrived with at least one tree in every guest room. Deborah changes her decorating every year since it just doesn’t feel right to do it the same way twice. Hope you can come and join the fun and tour these wonderful old victorian homes decorated in the Holdiay spirit! Call us at 904-277-2328 for tickets.
Our former state house representative who now is the owner of a local putt-putt right on the ocean on Amelia Island recently staged the “Hospitality Open”. Teams from all varieties of local businesses including hotels, B&B’s, and restaurants gathered for friendly competition, with wine, beer and snacks to aid the competition. The competition was challenging among the 10 or so teams, but everyone won something at the end. Along with our tourism and development guru we all enjoyed friendly competition in the name of connecting the key service providers on Amelia Island. We are all pleased with the great variety of guest experiences available on the Island including a variety of price points, many quisine options and great hospitality of the “Southern Style”. Most of the attendees are usually busy with guests, so it was fun to take a break and enjoy telling stories and sharing experiences of providing hospitality on layed back and beautiful Amelia Island. In the B&B category it was Williams House and Fairbanks House teamed against Elizabeth Pointe Lodge. As the three Select Registry properties on the Island it was a battle of the “best” and Elizabeth Pointe came out ahead by one single stroke. So they got local movie tickets and we recived premium ice cream gift cards. Did I mention we also had a wonderful strawberry/vanilla soft ice cream blend as a reward for all the hard work and concentration of putting and competing. There aren’t many Islands that have a putt-putt course with ocean views, but it is one of the fun and unique features of this beautiful Island. Come and join us for a trip to paradise!
We started off October with our first fall wedding of the season. Joann and Ken, a couple from the Atlanta area had been planning their special day with family and friends for a year. The weather cooperated well with temps in the upper seventies and no rain in sight. They were married on the front porch by Byron with about 30 family and friends in attendance. The bride arrived en carriage pulled by Boomer, a beautiful French Percheron owned by Amelia Island Carriages. The reception followed in our romantic courtyard under an ancient oak tree strung with tiny white lights. Some Enchanted Evening it was.!! An elegant 7 course meal was catered by 29 South, a local farm to table restaurant from our historic district. Scotty (the owner) was on hand to put just the right touch on all the courses. The cake was two tiers with one choclate and the other vanilla, so guests enjoyed a slice of each. A champagne toast from Joann and Ken thanked their guests for travel, friendship and sharing in the joy of their marriage.
Richard and Lillian were married at the Williams House in September on a bright,sunny and rather warm September day. Already decorated for fall, the Williams House was ready for our first wedding of this season with more to come in October and November. Byron performed the ceremony and exchange of rings. After trading vows on the front steps, Richard, Lillian, friends and family enjoyed a reception in the back courtyard. They shared a champagne toast, delicious food and a beautiful and tasty wedding cake. The bride and groom enjoyed their first dance as husband and wife and enjoyed time with family and friends in celebration of their special day!