A Weekend in Amelia Island and Savannah

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Amelia Island

Tucked in the Northeast Corner of Florida, about 40 minutes form the Jacksonville airport, you’ll find a wide stretch of beach known as Amelia Island. I would characterize this area more as “the deep south” as opposed to the “Florida” that most of us are accustomed to. This is not for better or for worse. It just has a different feel to it. If Boca and Delray are the Hamptons, Amelia Island is the Montauk of the mid-1980’s. It’s quiet, it’s unpretentious, it’s “beachy” and it’s beautiful. While there’s a rather expensive Ritz Carlton available, there are plenty of VRBO’s and Airbnb’s to be had, right on the beach in well-appointed condos. We chose the latter which happened to be connected to the Ritz. This made it very convenient to walk over for dinner or a drink if we wanted. Amelia Island is about nature- the beach is wide and second to none for finding shells and shark’s teeth. If you’re lucky you may even be greeted by a rather large sea turtle like we were.

There are some wonderful parks, all within driving distance. My favorite was Fort Clinch State Park. Once you enter the park you drive up a long canopy road that ends at the actual fort. The Civil War era fort is a must-see, along with the attached exhibits. The rest of the park has what you’d expect- a beach, some great lookout points, trails, bike paths, etc. Don’t leave the island without making a visit here for a few hours.

The dining scene on Amelia Island is in the quaint downtown area of Fernandina Beach, and fairly compact. The rest of the island boasts fast food eateries for a quick bite. But the real star here is southern fried seafood. Timoti’s Seafood Shack- http://www.timotis.com/ (yup…it’s a shack with outdoor picnic tables. We took ours to-go.) and The Salty Pelican- https://thesaltypelicanamelia.com/ were two of our favorites. That’s right folks. This is down home fried seafood and it’s delicious without being greasy. Don’t come here looking for Le Bernardin! (With all due respect to Chef Ripert, he should try Timoti’s cormeal crusted fried shrimp and hushpuppies.)


Once you’re done exploring some of Amelia Island, your next best stop is a two-hour drive north to Savannah Georgia. Even for just a day trip, this city is a real treat. Savannah has true southern charm that is difficult to put into words (although that won’t stop me from trying.) It’s one of the most scenic cities I’ve been to. Hop on a bus tour for some color commentary and the ability to jump off at different spots. While I do find these tours painful at times, when you only have a day it’s the way to go. You get the history lesson and the transportation. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of history to be found here, and I only had time to scratch the surface. Savannah’s public squares (small parks) are so quaint you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a city. Take some time to wander around and find your favorite street to snap a picture of the old oak trees with Spanish Moss hanging ever so gently. Just don’t touch the moss…trust me…do not touch the moss. I still get itchy thinking about it.

Don’t miss the historic riverfront with the tourist driven shops and cafes. Whatever you do, you must make time to have lunch or dinner in this city. Vic’s On The River (go upstairs and get a view of the river) is where you want to go to savor some amazing Southern cooking. https://www.vicsontheriver.com/  While the shrimp and grits were classic and tasty, the standout here was the fried chicken and biscuit. Fried chicken? I know what you’re thinking. If I’m recommending fried chicken it must be crusted with black truffles or stuffed with foie gras right? (hmmm…that sounds good…) But no dear readers- this was just fried chicken, and it was stunningly amazing. I have never had a piece of chicken this good in my life. And while I’m usually never afraid of ripping off a restaurant creation and trying to do it at home- I would not even attempt to frustrate or embarrass myself by trying to recreate this dish. It’s above my paygrade. I’ll stick to stuffing burgers with foie gras, short rib and truffle slices (thank you Chef Boulud.)