Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter Weekend 2010

A little something to know about Mike and me- we aren’t Easter people. We just aren’t very religious, and while I am all about wearing pastels and eating coconut-covered bunny  cakes from the grocery store, we just don’t have much of a reason to partake in traditional Easter type traditions. So we’ve pretty much made our own Easter weekend tradition of gettin’ the heck out of dodge. One year we went boating in Cedar Key, ate clams, and drank beer. Last year we went kayaking on Orange Lake, ate chicken, and drank beer. This year, we went beachin’ on Amelia Island, ate all kinds of tasty local vittles…. And drank *non-alcoholic* beer. (By the way, Beck’s makes a tasty N/A if you’re in the market for beer flavor without all the other benefits that beer generally offers.)

I had a gift certificate for a free night at the Amelia Hotel on the Beach, a comfortable select-service property that is literally steps from the soft sandy beach. It’s a little bit of an older property, but our room had a view of the ocean and a fabulous whirlpool tub that Mike Baby paid an upgrade for me to get, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was one of the best parts of the trip, to have a leisurely soak in a bathtub! (Mine’s broken at home, so only showers for the pregnant lady. Bor-ing.) After check-in, we headed downtown to Historic Fernandina Beach to check out the farmers’ market and the local shops. The farmers’ market was packed with people, so we didn’t linger long- but we had enough time to sample some delish natural-raised pork products! After much debate, we made off with some link sausages that will soon be grilled up with onions and mushrooms for dinner. Yumm. We also picked up some local strawberries to much on while we strolled about, and enjoyed browsing the little shops along the way- the Trailer Park Collectibles, the local bookstores, and an interesting store that had lots of fossils and sharks’ teeth.

We meandered our way to the waterfront café for lunch, and noshed on dip of crabby, creamy, cheese goodness; a shrimp and crab quiche with sweet potato salad (me); and a Cuban with lobster bisque (Mike.) Stuffed silly, we returned to the hotel for a nap and a walk on the beach before washing up and heading to Amelia Plantation for a look around. We found a lovely spot in front of the spa, with rocking chairs and a pretty view, to relax for a few minutes and just talk (the amazing smells wafting from the spa didn’t hurt either!)

Amelia Plantation was beautiful, but I will say this- resorts like that could be anywhere, near any beach, and there wouldn’t be anything very distinctive about it. There were chain shops on the premises- Chico’s, etc., and the spa, while truly gorgeous, was comparable to other spas I’ve visited. We appreciated our visit, but as we rocked, we talked about our values in regards to travel and we agree that for us, travel is more about enjoying an area as it is- we prefer unique experiences that provide us with the local feel and flavor more than the all-inclusive, Anywhere, USA (and beyond) ambiance that resorts like this tend to have. Sure, there’s a focus on high-quality service, but when it comes down to it, if the idea is to never leave the resort, then what’s the point of traveling far to get there? You may as well go to the resort down the street!

Anyhow, after our leisurely stroll around Amelia Plantation, we picked up a few treats- Stewarts’ Key Lime and Orange Cream sodas and a refreshing tropical Pure Fuji starfruit candle for my office- and we headed back downtown to catch our sunset cruise along the intercoastal waterway. The cruise was lovely, with some narration and a good view of the wild horses at Cumberland Island, and after a beautiful sunset we returned for dinner at 29 South Eats.

29 South is one of the great examples of local flavor! They are a farm-to-table restaurant that uses as many local, natural vendors as they can, and even have a garden of their own behind the building! We gobbled up our pulled pork spring roll appetizer, and our entrees were to die for- tempura lobster with a lavender honey-mustard glaze over buttermilk mashed potatoes for Mike, and a sweet-tea marinated pork chop over homemade mac and cheese, drizzled with blackberry preserves for me. Quadruple yum! But nothing- NOTHING- could’ve prepared us for dessert. I kept seeing all these reviews for the restaurant, and even the bad reviews claimed that the dessert was the best they’d ever had; many confessed they even returned a second time just for dessert. What was this irresistible confection? Coffee and Donuts. As in, a krispy kreme bread pudding. Topped with mocha ice cream. On a drizzle of caramel. With a strawberry garnish. And when they came to take our plate away, there was nothing left but the memory. Oh. My. Gawd. Thinking about it now makes me want to stop typing immediately and drive the 2.5 hours back to Amelia Island just to get one. It’s that good!

After dinner, we rolled ourselves back into the car and headed back to the room to change, and then we wandered over to the beachfront bar across from our hotel. We had a drink or two- again, my Becks’ non-alcoholic brew was quite tasty- and listened to waves crashing for a bit before turning in. A great first day!

We spend Easter Sunday morning on the beach getting some sun before everyone else showed up after church and brunch, and had fun reading and playing in the sand. I crafted a lovely sand fish which Mike devilishly crushed, cackling wildly, and after that a devastated, pouty, you-just-pissed-in-my-Cheerios Tammy decided it was time to go. We grabbed a quick bite back in the downtown area and then made our way back to G-ville, relaxed and refreshed- a lovely weekend!

We did decide over the course of the weekend that we’re going to test the waters on selling our kayaks in favor of other agua-based activities- a little jon boat for Mike and a bathtub for me.  But we’ll see where that goes. We prepared for the transition by dusting our trusty Hobies off and taking them out for pictures to post once we make our decision for sure. Loading and unloading the ‘yaks was a lot of work, though, so afterward we treated ourselves to sushi (Bento does a great deal on Sunday, buy 3 rolls, get a signature roll free!) and saw Hot Tub Time Machine at the movies, which was sooo friggin’ cute and funny! We really enjoyed the characters and the jokes and it was a great way to end the day!

A few more weekend pics:

Hope everyone else had as happy an Easter as we did!

1 comment:

  1. Momma & I will try this. It sounds SOOO Good!!! You are a great writer. dad