We've been home from our mini-vacation to Florida since Saturday, and I've been replaying some of my most favorite moments in my mind. What was slated as a work trip for Logan transformed into ten days off of work, and a short tour about north/central Florida! For me, it was the highlight of the summer!
One evening L. came home and announced that he would have to travel to Georgia for five days to work, and that Gibson and I would be able to travel with him if we wanted to. (Justice was spending five weeks with his father for summer visitation). Immediately my mind began whirring, thinking of all the spots I'd like to re/visit along the way--Raleigh, Charleston, Savannah--because that's just what I do. (In my mind, I was already fanning myself under the Spanish moss with a sweet tea in hand...) So I set to work: mapping routes, planning activities, and consulting Southern Living.
Needless to say our plans changed, as they always seem to have a way of doing. Instead of staying in Georgia, we found out we could stay on Amelia Island, Florida, in a hotel within a block of the ocean! (!!!) So that's what we did. And believe me, the happiness I experienced after the ten hour drive (which I drove damn near all of thanks to L.'s uncanny inability to stay awake at the wheel for more than 45 minutes at a time... jokes, jokes) was virtually unparalleled. I literally jumped out of the car and bee-lined it to the shoreline before the sun sank for the evening.
The rest of our evening was spent under the stars. The three of us made our way to a restaurant on the beach for a late night supper and cold beer. We were able to sink our toes in the sand while we ate and drank, and took in the sounds of a man with his sweet voice and acoustic guitar playing Van Morrison covers.
Tuesday morning at breakfast, we found out we were able to have the entire week to ourselves and do as we please. Naturally, we were on the beach, in the water, before 9AM! It was a gorgeous morning, and the three of us were able to body board together; precious moments I'll tuck away forever. The rest of the day was spent traipsing around my old haunts in Jacksonville, and discovering new ones. (If you're a guitar player, or just enjoy learning, you'll want to check Chip's out. We scored on two pairs of pickups and had an overall great experience). Once back on Amelia Island, we went about having dinner at La Mancha, where I enjoyed a perfect glass of Sangria with our tapas and flan, before topping off the evening with a dip in the hotel's pool.
Wednesday was our final morning in Fernandina. Logan and I surprised Gibson by waking up before him to watch the sunrise over the ocean. I felt so happy and at peace. After breakfast we had a bit of an adventure searching for the Amelia Island Lighthouse. (For those of you who love a bit of trivia or are just plain nerdy like myself, it's the oldest lighthouse in Florida!) We discovered it nestled in a residential neighborhood but were unable to tour due to it being closed for the day.
In our searching we toured Downtown Fernandina: historic, charming, and incredibly pretty. A place to make you smile and want to dance. One aspect of Fernandina I loved is it's old-world charm and how it isn't yet inundated with chain/big box stores. It's virtually untouched by corporate USA, and is exactly the type of small town Bill Bryson seemed to be searching for in The Lost Continent... I fell in love.
As I mentioned, our plans changed, so we were free to leave Fernandina. I could've stayed the rest of the week, but being in Florida, Logan and I decided to seize our free time and make it into a proper mini-half-family vacation. But. Fernandina. Amelia Island. A gem if there ever was.