Amelia Island, FL – Simply Wonderful

Earlier this year, before I started my new job I took a few weeks off and went on a road trip with the Abster – my goldendoodle.  After a couple weeks with my family I spent a few indulgent days on Amelia Island, FL.  Amelia is a true treasure.  Its laid back, green, dog friendly, home to some very good restaurants, and has beaches full of large shells.
 

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Located just north of Jacksonville, FL, Amelia is very accesible from the airport and is an easier Florida destination than other more southern locales.

I stayed at the Omni Resort since my extended road trip with Abby required a dog friendly hotel.  It was a beautiful facility with lots of options – biking, kayaking, boating, flying kites, etc.   The rooms were lovely and I had a fantastic view of the ocean.  Not only does this resort have so much to offer, but Amelia and Fernandina in general do as well.  On a previous trip here I went on a horseback excursion along the white sand beaches with Kelly Ranch.  It was a wonderful experience I’ll never forget.

Kelly Ranch Tour

http://www.kellyranchinc.com/

I’ve been to the area several times, but this was my first February visit.  While it was definitely too cold to swim during this trip, I lucked out with the weather.  With a pair of shorts and sweatshirt I was able to walk the beaches for miles on end and collect a huge bag of shells for decorating.  I also spent some time kayaking and biking, which were so peaceful in the off tourist season.

If you’re looking for a place for a peaceful respite with beautiful beaches and you want to bring Fido, Amelia Island is definitely the place to go!

http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/AmeliaIsland.aspx

  Year-round temperatures:

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter
High 78   Low 60
High 89   Low 47
High 78   Low 63
High 68   Low 47
 
 
 
 
 
 

Amelia Island Map

29 South – Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, FL Treasure

 
29 South
 

While on Amelia Island, I found a fantastic eatery called 29 South.  I’d heard good things and decided to check it out myself.  Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to go for dinner (I wanted to try the chef’s burger: half Pound of Waygu Beef/Foie Gras Blend on a ButteredKaiser Topped with Summer Truffle Brie, Benton’s Country Ham and a Conner Farm Egg) and wound up there for brunch. 

It did not disappoint, though.  In fact, I was blown away by the unexpected. The menu items are insipired and live up to their mouthwatering descriptions.  Lobster corn dogs with spicy horseradish ketchup spiked with Ketel One vodka, blackstrap molasses laquered ribs with butter pickles, sweet tea-brined DelKat Family Farm pork chop on macaroni gratin with warm blackberry preserves are just a few examples…I finished brunch with a few bites of their coffee and doughnuts which are served as a glazed doughnut bread pudding with butterscotch drizzle and mocha ice cream. 

Some of the reviews I’ve read indicate poor service, but that wasn’t my experience at all.  I brought Abby with me and they seated us outside, with a dog bowl.  Granted it wasn’t a busy dinner night, but they couldn’t have been more friendly and the atmosphere was casual chic, never a hint of snobbery.  On top of that, they partner with area farms, create their menus around available product, and make every effort to select free-range/organic/natural ingredients.  Great food, cool location, sustainable, what’s not to love about 29 South!?

Inside 29 South

http://www.29southrestaurant.com/index.html

Farming Partners:
Conner Amazing Acres Farms – Hilliard FL
DelKat Family Farms – Hilliard FL
29 South Chef’s Garden – Out back
Sweet Grass Dairy – Thomasville GA
The Naked Bee Honey Farm-Saint Augustine
Painted Hills Ranch – Fossil Oregon
Springer Mountain Farm – Mt Airy GA
The Boys and Girls Club – Fernandina Beach
Marcho Farms – Harleysville PA

Voted “Best New Restaurant” Jacksonville 2006
Voted “Best of Jax” – 2006, 2007, 2008
Voted “Best Chef” Jacksonville 2007 & 2008
2009 “Snail of Approval”
2009“Spirit of Slow Food Award”

 2010 Florida Trend “Golden Spoon”