Fernandina Beach

We saw this house yesterday on our approach into Fernandina. A little taste of the architecture to come, as Fernandina Beach was apparently an early “snowbird” destination and the flocks built many Victorian homes here . . .

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as well as what I would call “Florida Beach Bungalows.”

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. . . and a reminder that this is a town with not one but TWO paper mills, one north of the marina —

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— and one south of the marina.

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Yes it’s a charming town!

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There are many gift shops and little restaurants so it’s quite obvious that they are geared toward the tourist industry. They’ve done a nice job maintaining the appearance, including the use of the original railroad station as the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. I’m guessing that the “normal” clientele here is different from who we are: for the most part everything is either too glittery, too cute, or too expensive for us. Granted that may have something to do with the fact that we are living in a tiny space which has no room for 8” glass Christmas ornaments, or 10” carved wooden pirates, and that we are trying to be as frugal as possible. Nonetheless, the buildings are definitely Southern. From the Post Office. . .

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. . . to the Florida House Inn, which apparently is the oldest surviving Inn in Florida.

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I thought this one was pretty cool, with its wonderful paint choices. . .

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And I took this one to remind myself that yes indeed we are in Florida, where hibiscus plants grow outside quite happily in the warm sunshine along Center Street in Fernandina Beach . . .

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even though today it was 48 degrees, misting rain, and wind howling at 15 to 20 knots early, finally dying down to 10 to 15 around noon. I am SO GLAD I brought earmuffs, gloves, and my fleece-lined LL Bean Windbreaker. I used them all today.

And I am SO GLAD we weren’t going out St. Andrew Sound into the ocean today. Geesch.

This evening while I was taking Niya for her walk, we met up with two dogs we had met in St. Simons Island — different dog-walker, but I recognized the dogs. He was from the blue sail boat that left moments before we did yesterday morning from St. Simons Island, and they only arrived here this afternoon. He said that they had gone aground in The Crooked River, along with another sail boat. They were fortunate that they were right side up for the whole four hours they waited for the return of the tide. The other sail boat was not so lucky, as they were lying on their side. We’ve not only been lucky (because I KNOW we’ve gone through shallows when we’ve had no business being there!) but I also know that Hans has worked hard to learn how to read the water. Which of course only works when conditions are right, and that’s where the luck part comes in.

So here’s the thing about shrimp and grits. I had a great experience in Georgetown, SC, where the shrimp boats come in. It was really good, tasty, and worth another try. Tonight we had dinner at Brett’s Waterway Cafe, right here at the Fernandina Harbor Marina. Reportedly “good value for the money, but a bit pricey.” I had shrimp and grits, and it BLEW AWAY what I had in Georgetown! There was SO MUCH FLAVOR! Red and green peppers (just the right amount!), fresh diced tomatoes, carrots (just a few), the ham and sausage were more evident, smokier, tastier, bigger chunks, but not too many of them. The shrimp. . . the shrimp were tender and tasted like shrimp, sweet tender shrimp, not rubbery. The menu boasted, “Tasso Ham, Red-Eye Gravy, Anson Mills Cheese Grits.” I shook the hand of the chef after this one, literally,­­­ and told him that this Northern woman had been converted to Southern with his shrimp and grits. Oh my oh my oh my. . . . Y’all heah this now? There’s gonna be a bit a’ drawl from this New Yawkah. I have eaten Suthin’ heaven.

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7 thoughts on “Fernandina Beach

  1. OK, Have been following your blog since the beginning & love your writing & awesome pictures. (Camera is the bomb or maybe it’s the photog?) Especially enjoy your first impressions on the places we’ve been many times which renews our experiences as well. Keep on havin’ a grand time and documenting it all for memories that will be forever….Have Fun!

    • The whole thing IS THE BOMB, Diane! We are so psyched by this whole experience. . . having followed all of you much more experienced cruisers for whom I can only hope that it’s not all “old hat,” we appreciate every post, every note, every story you guys have ever sent out there into the ether. I know that our next time will be different, because everywhere we go I see alternatives. . . the other path. Today we are in a marina, next time we’re here we’ll [fill in the blank.] It will be different, better or not, it will be new, exciting, and I feel so blessed (not speaking as a religious person here) that we have these options.
      Thanks so much for following our blog as it makes it quite a bit more worth doing, and please stay in touch!

      Peggy and Hans

  2. So, here I sit in Tucson and thanks to your trip, I’m havig a vicarious trip!!! I can almost smell the food you’ve been describing!!!! And did I mention the wonderful pictures????

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