Southern Dining, English Tea at Amelia’s Historic Inns

One need not be an overnight guest to experience two of Fernandina’s historic bed and breakfast inns. While so many folks admire their character and charm from the sidewalk when in town, how about getting a peek inside while dining? Florida House Inn features a southern-style lunch while Hoyt House offers an English Tea experience.

Florida House Inn, Fernandina Beach, Circa 1857
Florida House Inn, Circa 1857

One need not be an overnight guest to experience two of Fernandina’s historic bed and breakfast inns. While so many folks admire their character and charm from the sidewalk when in town, how about getting a peek inside while dining?

An authentic southern-style dining experience awaits on Amelia Island at Fernandina’s most notorious inn, the Florida House circa 1857.

Another excellent choice is the English Tea experience in the elegant Hoyt House circa 1905. For both visitors to Amelia Island and local residents, eating at these inns provides a nice opportunity to enjoy a meal while also getting the treat of an inside peek at these wonderful, historic homes located in the downtown historic district of Fernandina Beach.

SOUTHERN-STYLE DINING RETURNS TO HISTORIC FLORIDA HOUSE INN

Florida House Inn (22 South 3rd street) has re-opened its dining room, bringing back the boarding house style dining of its long and storied past. 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. Other options will change daily and include pot roast, meat loaf, gumbo and fried fish. The dining hall, with its tables for ten, seats folks together to fill tables, and will be open daily from 11:30 am to 3 pm (lunch with beverage and dessert costs $13.95, no reservations, first come, first serve). Note that the inn’s pub called the Mermaid Bar is also open for cocktails.

Known as Florida’s oldest surviving hotel, “if these walls could talk,” fascinating history would gush out. The hotel pre-dates the Civil War. James Buchanan was President the year this hotel was built for David Yulee’s railroad workers. During the Civil War, Union soldiers occupied the hotel. Notorious guests include President Ulysses S. Grant, early film stars such as Laurel & Hardy, Henry Ford, and members of America’s elite families, the Rockefellers and Carnegies. For further information about Florida House Inn, check out their website.

ENGLISH TEA AT VICTORIAN MANSION, HOYT HOUSE, CIRCA 1905

Old Florida Elegance, Hoyt House Circa 1905
Old Florida Elegance, Hoyt House Circa 1905

A lovely, welcoming home exuding turn-of-the-century Old Florida elegance, get a glimpse of history “up close and personal” and enjoy the hospitality of the Hoyt House innkeepers, Myrta and Deborah. Walk the floorboards and gaze out windows of an early entrepreneur, Fred W. Hoyt, one of Fernandina’s most impressive citizens of bygone days. The Hoyt House is located at the doorstep of Centre Street (at the corner of 8th Street and Atlantic Avenue where it transitions into Centre), the main artery of the Fernandina historic district that leads to the riverfront.

Hoyt House innkeepers invite folks into their Golden Age-era home to enjoy an authentic Hoyt House English Tea five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday from 12:30 to 3 pm, reservations required). Sample scones, crumpets, clotted cream, tea sandwiches, truffled wild mushroom tartlets and other goodies served on 3-tier silver trays. Prices range from $10.95 to $22.95 per person and Tea For Two is $39.95. 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, featuring the peach Bellini cocktail and Mimosas. (Want a private tea party? Monday and Tuesday are reserved for parties of six or more.) Visit the Hoyt House website for further information.

Both inns were purchased by their new owners during 2010 and they welcome the public to stop by for a meal and see these wonderfully preserved homes, brought back to life for the enjoyment of another generation of visitors.

THINKING ABOUT STAYING OVERNIGHT AT AN INN?

Taking a summer or fall road trip and like staying at cozy inns? Don’t procrastinate — book a room online using BedandBreakfastInn.COM by July 31, 2011 and take advantage of their SUMMER ROAD TRIP SPECIAL for travel good through October 31, 2011. This top website for B& Bs is offering a discount for few Amelia Island inns including the splendid HOYT HOUSE and the oceanfront Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (plus thousands of select bed and breakfast inns around the country). Think of it as saving a little money that can be used toward gas. Take a look at $25 Off at BedandBreakfast.com

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