Travelers to Amelia Island can enjoy the accommodations of several wonderful bed and breakfast inns. Guests have the option to stay in the treasured historic homes located in Fernandina’s quaint historic district downtown (near Centre Street, pictured above), or right on the beach. (You may have a difficult time choosing between these island charmers…)
Downtown Fernandina is a foot-friendly place to walk around and browse the boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops. There are many restaurants and pubs concentrated in the historic district within a few blocks of the main corridor of Centre Street. Walking to the Amelia riverfront by the city of Fernandina Marina is another convenience, where charter fishing boats depart as well as a selection of boat tours (eco-nature, sunset cruises and more by Amelia River Cruises). Plus downtown is the hub of historic tours via horse and carriage, trolley or walking tours led by knowledgeable Amelia Island Museum docents. If you wish to explore by bicycles, staying at one of Fernandina’s quaint bed & breakfasts inns is a nice option since most offer complimentary bicycles and it’s just a 2-mile ride across the island along Atlantic Avenue to Main Beach Park and Fort Clinch State Park from historic Centre Street. (Click Hoyt House photo gallery below to browse 27 photos taken in April 2011).
Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast Inn (904) 277-4300, circa 1905, was modeled after the Rockefeller Cottage on Jekyll Island. This lovely inn sits at the intersection of 8th Street and Atlantic Avenue (the main east/west corridor between Main Beach Park and Fernandina’s historic district). It’s here that Atlantic Avenue transitions to famous Centre Street, the main historic corridor leading down to the Amelia Riverfront and Fernandina’s city marina. Eight blocks of shopping sit at the inn’s doorstep, including art galleries and antiques shops, eclectic boutiques, ice cream, fudge, gourmet coffee, pubs and restaurants. New owners, Myrta and Deborah welcome visitors to enjoy this 10-guest room inn featuring 3-course gourmet breakfasts, a heated swimming pool, hot spa and garden gazebo. (P.S. — Hoyt also offers opportunity for a yachting experience. Their private yacht, “Nice Aft” can be booked overnight or for sunset and day cruises). Read more about Hoyt House with two more photo galleries, a special feature article.
The Florida House Inn 904-491-3322.This historic inn circa 1857 (located at 22 South 3rd Street in Fernandina Beach) is noted as Florida’s “oldest surviving hotel,” offering 16 guest rooms, many with fireplaces. The original structure was built by David Yulee’s Florida Railroad. During the Civil War, Union soldiers occupied the hotel. Notorious guests include Ulysses S. Grant, early film stars such as Laurel & Hardy, and members of America’s elite families, the Rockefellers and Carnegies. To the rear of the Florida House Inn is a lovely courtyard with outdoor seating. A mermaid fountain adds to the ambiance in this private outdoor setting, a lovely venue for weddings. Southern-style dining returned to the Florida House and lunch is served Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The restaurant is under the operation of Chef Susannah Sands with a menu offering traditional southern dishes including platters of fried chicken daily, seasonal vegetables, bread, biscuits, dessert and sweet tea. Within the inn, a small English-style pub offers a cozy atmosphere for cocktails (called the Mermaid Bar). Read article written last year when the inn reopened after renovations by new owner, “Christmas Cheer: Florida House Inn Reopens in Fernandina Beach.”
Fairbanks House 904-277-3103, was voted #2 in the Top 50 Small Hotels in the US, and #56 in the Top 100 Travel Experiences in the World by Conde Nast Travelers in 2011. With its distinctive architectural style, “Italiante,” and the 15-foot high tower topping this historic mansion, the Fairbanks House stands out in Fernandina Beach. Circa 1885, it was built by Major George R. Fairbanks, a prominent Fernandina citizen, and had marvelous innovations for the time period, including a telephone, a concrete sidewalk and indoor running water. The mansion is four-stories with 12 foot ceilings, floors of heart pine throughout, has ten fireplaces, Fernandina’s first elevator (actually, it may have been a large dumb waiter) which was used to move wood to the 10 fireplaces. The historic Fairbanks House features oversized rooms (nine in the mansion) and three cottages, a swimming pool and amenities such as wireless internet access, spa robes, evening cocktail hour and more. There’s a neat suite taking up the entire 3rd floor and tower, offering 1,600 SF. If you’re thinking about eloping, Fairbanks House offers an Elopement Package that includes a horse and carriage ride to “secret location” for vows, an officiate for vow exchange, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, a small wedding cake and dinner for two. On the other hand, leave the guys at home and catch up on old times with the gals with the Fairbanks House’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Getaway.”
The Addison on Amelia (800) 943-1604. Another award-winning bed and breakfast inn on Amelia Island, the Addison on Amelia was designated a “Top Ten Inns in U.S.A.” by Bed & Breakfast.COM awards. “Wonderful place to stay, outstanding food, beautiful rooms, walking distance to downtown…“. The 14-room Addison on Amelia offers guests full-plated breakfasts each morning, high quality linens and towels, and the finest in toiletries. Private, semi-private and public porches and a lovely fountain courtyard. The Addison combines three Antebellum-style homes around the courtyard, with the original home dating back to 1876. The inn offers “luxurious, modern baths (some with jetted tubs large enough for two).”
Amelia Island Williams House (800) 414-9258. With its crystal chandeliers and beautiful antiques from around the world, the elegant 10-room Amelia Island Williams House bed and breakfast (circa 1856) treats guests to the historical ambiance of an Old Florida era. Guests can enjoy a “Victorian Tea for Two.” Enjoy southern-style breakfasts and sunset wine socials. The Williams House, circa 1856, is one of the oldest homes in Fernandina, has been nominated by the National Geographic Traveler’s 2009 “Places To Stay List.” This inn has a very interesting history. Its namesake, Marcellus Williams, participated in the Underground Railroad, and there’s a secret room at the inn that formerly sheltered runaway slaves. Union soldiers used the Williams House as a headquarters.
Located on the beach is the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge on the Beach
Resembling a Nantucket shingle-style inn, the award-winning Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (904)277-4851, a 25-room, oceanfront boutique hotel, was ranked #6 in the Top 30 Small Resorts in the US in 2011 by Conde Nast Travelers. Enjoy its sweeping oceanfront verandah, cozy rooms, excellent breakfasts –a charming lodge at the Florida seaside in Fernandina Beach. It’s just a short walk from Elizabeth Pointe oceanfront lodge at 98 South Fletcher Avenue to Main Beach public beach park in Fernandina, with retro putt putt mini golf, picnic tables, gazebos, and Sandy Bottoms beach bar. Sidewalks connect visitors to Fernandina’s historic district (about a 2 mile walk or bike ride from the beach across the island to historic district and harborfront).