Fernandina Old Florida Elegance at Hoyt House

A prime example of “Golden Age” splendor, the Hoyt House is one of the treasured inns in Fernandina’s downtown historic district.

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No doubt many thousands in the last century have walked by this Fernandina home, lingering on the sidewalk, gazing past the white picket fence and huge oak trees in admiration of the Queen Anne architecture. Hoyt House was modeled after the Rockefeller Cottage (also known as the “Indian Mound”) on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Unseen from the street is the private and a surprisingly large rear garden with its heated swimming pool, hot spa, and gazebo.

A southern charmer, indeed, the inn’s inviting wrap around verandah (colonial revival) offers lots of cozy seating, including rocking chairs, wicker chairs, couches plus the coveted porch swing. Lounge and sip “The Amelia” martini (also dubbed the “Hoytie-Toytie”), a delightful cocktail. From the verandah look out past the huge oaks to one of Fernandina’s most beautiful, historic churches directly across the street. St. Peter’s Episcopal was built between 1881 and 1884, tragically burned in 1892, then rebuilt in 1893, a Gothic revival design admired by many architects.

DESTINATION WEDDINGS

A sizeable home plus the large rear garden and pool area, the entire mansion can also be booked, a perfect venue for an intimate destination wedding, family reunion, or small corporate meeting with its lovely amenities. Picture an elegant cocktail reception with a glass dance floor over the pool. The creative aspect of this option in itself will be a unique remembrance for all who attend.

We stayed in the wonderful Mizell room (named after the second family who owned the inn for 50 years), with bay window overlooking the rear pool garden. It’s the largest guest suite with a canopied King bed, a comfy couch and a Jacuzzi bath. Upon checking in, we arrived in our room to find warm chocolate chip cookies and a tray with fruit, water, and wine. The inn features Egyptian cotton linens, oatmeal soap and shower gels in the bath, and two comfy cotton robes in each guest room, as well as terry wraps for two in the bathroom (nice for back and forth to the pool/hot spa).

ENGLISH TEA

Note that you don’t have to be an overnight guest to visit the Hoyt House. For those day-tripping to Amelia Island or local residents, the inn offers an authentic Hoyt House English Tea. Sample scones, crumpets, clotted cream, tea sandwiches, truffled wild mushroom tartlets and other goodies. Besides a selection of eight loose teas (served in their own tea pot), those dining during the Hoyt House English Tea can also order libations. Hoyt House article continued on page 3 …

By W.B. Lawson

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