For this writer and her husband, a romantic getaway requires good food, a great place to stay and beautiful surroundings. They found it all at Amelia Island, Fla. Located less than 30 minutes from Jacksonville Airport, Amelia Island is 13 miles of gorgeous beaches and true paradise, perfect for a family vacation and a great place for a vacation without the kids as well. On a recent visit we stayed at the lovely oceanfront Ritz-Carlton. As you drive up to the hotel, tree tunnels and foliage create a fabulous entryway. The rooms, with balconies overlooking the crystal blue water, are comfy and inviting. There are several restaurants to choose from and the pool area offers a variety of food and drink delivered to you, perfect. The fish tacos are incredible!
Taking a walk on the pristine beach is a must-do. Gorgeous shells are everywhere and some lucky travelers even find starfish and sharks teeth to take home as souvenirs.
Outdoor activities are abundant on the island. Choose from golf on some of Florida’s premier courses or surf, boogie board or go fishing. Rent an ocean kayak, go sunset horseback riding on the beach or take a chartered boat to explore the beauty even more.
Shopping and eating well are a must (for me, at least) when visiting a new place, so we headed to downtown Fernandina Beach. This historic Centre Street area is lined with shops and restaurants and located just a few minutes from our hotel. My husband and I enjoyed strolling the streets and visiting the quaint shops. At night, we returned for dinner and stayed to hear some live music at one of the many pubs.
For dinner, we chose the award-winning Beech Street Grill. Located in an historic home built in 1889, the restaurant offers six exquisite dining rooms. When we saw the wine list, which has won numerous accolades, we knew we were in for a fabulous dinner. Beech Street Grill, named one of Jacksonville’s Magazine’s Top 25 Restaurants, is exceptional. I had to try the Low Country Gumbo over Dirty Rice; I would go back just for that dish. My husband opted for the Parmesan Crusted Red Snapper for his meal, while I devoured my Macadamia Crusted Gulf Grouper, both fresh and tasty. Save room for the Granny Smith Apple Bread Pudding, enough to share and the perfect ending to your dinner.
Diane Macklin is an entertainment, travel and food writer and reporter for radio, television and print. She is married and has two fabulous teenagers. Email her at [email protected].