A town that makes one “feel welcome — for a weekend or a lifetime,” Fernandina Beach, Florida (on Amelia Island) appears first on a list of 17 southern American towns chosen as “Best Small-Town Getaways” by Southern Living magazine.
Remarkable, considering this comes just a month after another national magazine, Coastal Living, also featured Fernandina Beach as a “Best Little Beach Town.” (If you like burgers, USA TODAY’s “American Bites” feature noted the best burger joint in the state of Florida – T-Ray’s Burger Station – in Fernandina Beach.)
Discovered by European explorers during the 1500s, it appears Fernandina is experiencing a national media renaissance.
Southern Living further describes their “favorite Fernandina Beach spots” — noting Elizabeth Pointe Lodge as “favorite inn,” Le Clos “best place for dinner,” and mentions Centre Street highlights: the Palace Saloon, French Market Antiques, and Fernandina Fantastic Fudge.
While the Southern Living magazine article does not have photos included of their individual best spot picks within Fernandina, Amelia Island Living is filling in the visuals from our extensive collection of local photos (all photos shown here were taken by W. B. Lawson).
FORT CLINCH STATE PARK
Chosen as “the most scenic spot,” in Fernandina by Southern Living, is Fort Clinch. A Florida State Park, Fort Clinch has been covered extensively in Amelia Island Living eMagazine as a must-see destination. View our photo gallery slideshow below, including images of “Living History Weekends,” a time when visitors can slip back into the year 1864 with reenactment of soldier life at the fort during Union Garrisons. (Re-enactments take place the first weekend each month on Saturday from 9 to 5 and Sunday from 9 to noon.) Fort Clinch photo gallery below includes scenes of the state park’s gorgeous Atlantic Coast beaches, fishing pier and Amelia riverbank shoreline (click on photos to slow down the slideshow).
The fort is not the only attraction, though. Gorgeous Atlantic coast beachfront, a half-mile-long fishing pier, campground, hiking and biking trails, make the sprawling State Park one of the best places on the island to enjoy nature and the outdoors. Additional visuals of Fort Clinch State Park can be viewed on Amelia Island Living’s FACEBOOK page. Watch a Fort Clinch video with highlights in our TRAVEL GUIDE page about Fort Clinch.)
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Oceanfront Bed & Breakfast Inn
Having a stellar reputation in the lodging industry, this grey shingled inn is reminiscent of homes and cottages seen on the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In fact, the structure was built modeling Nantucket shingle-style architecture that was popular during the 1880 to 1895 period on Nantucket. Guests enjoy the waterfront view while relaxing in rocking chairs on Elizabeth Pointe Lodge’s sweeping verandah that overlooks the Atlantic in Fernandina Beach. Magnificent spot to watch an oceanfront sunrise. Read more about Elizabeth Pointe Lodge by visiting Amelia Island Living’s TRAVEL GUIDE bed & breakfast inn page. Also read another related article, “Shoreline Silhouettes, Amelia Island, Florida.”
THE FLAVOR OF FRANCE IN FERNANDINA BEACH
Having grown up in the Hudson Valley area of New York, it appears I need to taste the Le Clos dish touted by Southern Living, “seared Hudson Valley duck breast.” The French restaurant is located at 20 South 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida, (904) 261-8100, just off Centre Street and across from the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites that overlooks the Fernandina Beach city marina. No doubt the setting itself, a charming yellow cottage with its white picket fence, has lured people off the sidewalk with its welcoming charm.
FRENCH MARKET ANTIQUES ON CENTRE STREET
Do you like country French? Look for the rooster sign on Centre Street, for French Market Antiques, Accessories & Gifts. Located at 203 Centre Street, 904-491-0707 ( it’s near the the gourmet coffee shop), do stop in this wonderful shop with beautiful antique furnishings (shipments arrive direct from France), plus reproductions, accessories and gifts. French Market Antiques’ owners take buying and research trips to France and England.
They hunt through barns and warehouses in Brittany to really get back to country French. Other places scoured are Paris, flea market Les Puces de Paris St-Ouen, Lyon and LeMans. The Centre Street shop is filled with a diverse selection of furnishings including buffets, amoires, enfilades, tables, and confituriers.
“Indulgences” can also be purchased from French Market Antiques online (via PayPal) including gourmet salts (Fisherman’s Salt and Butcher Salt from Marville, France), Melange Herbs de Provence, baths soaps and aromatherapy scented candles. See the shop’s treasures by visiting the French Market Antiques website.
So, why does Southern Living Magazine “love” Fernandina Beach? In their words, Fernandina is “unpretentious and patient.”
Wendy Lawson, Managing Editor
Amelia Island Living eMagazine
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