Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We Break from the Hustle and Bustle of Life


Planning for some end of summer get away time, hubby and I picked out a sleepy historic Fernandina Beach town in the northeast corner of Florida to spend our week. We've been here before but not for this many days.

It's a place where charming old houses line red brick streets.

Because the weather has been so wonderfully mild we are doing one of my favorite things which is eating where outdoor patios are offered for dining ...

... and poking around in quaint shops in the downtown district turned trendy merchant stops and too many good restaurants to hit them all.

But my absolute most excitement comes when hubby joins me on a back roads tour of this northern-most barrier island ...



... stopping to explore what is to be found beside the roads and into the trails of woodsy haunts...

... filled with native flowers and overgrown shrubs for the butterflies (how many butterflies can you see in this photo?), bees, and birds to feast among...



... There were literally dozens of our winged friends hovering in and about the acres of land preserved at the northern tip on the Atlantic Coast of Amelia Island.

It became a common sight to see the large spiders with webs from large, high limbs to ground... just hanging around... with not a bother seemingly to be aware of...

... poke weed was abundant...

and these beautiful cat tails sitting in the pools of water along the estuaries on the bay side. The sight of which evoke lots of memories from childhood days. We used to cut them down and pull off the soft cottony outsides... before it was illegal.

A masonry fort built in 1847 by Army engineers is the main attraction within the 1427 acres of a state park on the tip of the island. Fort Clinch is located at the mouth of the St. Mary's River and served as a military post during the Civil War, Spanish- American War and WWII.





The area is an unique blend of maritime hammocks, with large Spanish moss draped live oaks prevalent throughout. Coastal grasslands meet the hammocks and stretch along the shore behind dunes on the Atlantic Ocean and Cumberland Sound. It is a wonderful place for a wide range of wildlife (we saw deer tracks on the beach), marine life, wading birds, and shorebirds.

The Atlantic coastline beyond the fort was almost completely deserted. Just the way we like it.

Other than nature that thrives along miles of untouched shoreline, we had the beach to ourselves.




Tomorrow we plan to cross over the Florida-Georgia line to St. Mary's. From there we will take a ferry to Cumberland Island where there are no cell phone towers, no satellite, no cars ...

more of nature's finest awaits...

update: I was incorrect about cell phones. There is no Internet service but we were able to use our cell phones (we left ours off however). There were national park vehicles on the island, too. There aren't any paved roads.

22 comments:

Diana said...

What a delightful little place and it sounds like you had a good time. Thanks for sharing -- sure wish I could have been on the beach and done a little shopping in those quaint shops.

Patricia said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Most of the time I prefer Florida's gulf beaches, but Amelia Island is an exception. Beautiful photographs, Meems.

vertie said...

Looks wonderful. You are so making me miss the beach!

Mary Beth said...

What a charming way to say good=bye to summer! Thanks for sharing your (as always) wonderful pictures, Meems.

beckie said...

Ahhh! Such a relaxing time I have just had looking at your 'break'. This is my kind of vacation. Quiet, peaceful,long dinners outside and deserted beaches. Come back to us rested, Meems.

Darla said...

Now that looks relaxing. Your capture some great photos as well.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Thanks for taking us with on your mini vacation. Those shutters are certainly cute. I love seeing unusual things like that.
Marnie

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Meems -- I always feel like I'm on vacation when I look at your gorgeous gardens...now, I love the ocean scenes, too. We're heading to Hatteras, NC (Outer Banks) this weekend for a week long stay. Taking our greyhound because she just loves the beach! Cameron

nancybond said...

All those butterflies and winged creatures are extraordinary! It looks like a wonderful way to spend a little vacation. :)

marmee said...

how wonderful the solitude on the beach! sounds like a perfect place to be with your hubby. i'm so glad you guys have gotten away and had a more lengthy stay.
it looks so beautiful there. there are so many things to see in nature and you are sure having fun capturing them. i am very happy to see them all. the photo with all the butterflies, amazing.
thanks for sharing your place of reprieve.

Gail said...

My dear meems the critter whisperer,

No matter where you go, you find the best critters and then they pose so nicely for you! Florida has lovely treasures doesn't it? Beautiful beaches, fantastic critters, interesting plants and history! Thank you for sharing your special time with us!

Gail

Aunty Belle said...

lovely--Meems, I jes' enjoy yore Hoe and Shovel so much!

(When me an' Uncle was still young'uns, we went over to F'dina since we grew up in G'ville. Wonderful old FLorida)

Barbarapc said...

I love these blogs - you have completely turned my mind insideout about what Florida is. What a splendid way to get away from it all - I keep scrolling back and forth thru photos - can almost feel I'm there.

Susan said...

I've always wanted to go to Amelia Island. It looks beautiful. I can't wait to see your photos of Georgia's barrier islands.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Thanks for taking us along with you and hubby. Your trip sounds enchanting. I hope your camera works the rest of the way.

Meems said...

diana: We have had a marvelous time ... the beach is great... the shopping is just a must when so many cute shops await- although I'm not much of a shopper usually.

patricia: I'm with you... there is absolutely nothing like our gulf beaches... but the last few years we are "making" ourselves explore the other coast!

vertie: If you love the beach it is so easy to miss it, isn't it? I just have to have a beach fix often!

mary beth: HEY! Been missing you... we do like to plan time away (visiting our great state of Florida) when the temps start to come down a bit... and finally that is happening.

Meems said...

beckie: You and me both. I like to go do the things I want to do but I don't like to have something planned every minute. We built in lots of relax time on this break.

Darla: yes, relacing... thanks.

Marnie: I just loved what that lady had done with those shutters that lined the door to her handmade soaps and candles shop. Very adorable.

Cameron: Thank you for the kind words. You are welcome to visit anytime for a vacation :-) You will be right up the coast from us next week... although we'll be back home by then and working hard in the garden again.... have fun... you picked a great time to go to the outer banks.

Nancy: We have had so much fun and there have been so many butterflies available for photos...

Meems said...

marmee: You know how I love to be where it is quiet and peaceful. The beaches here have been just that. Not nearly as gorgeous as our gulf beaches but still the smell of salty air, the sand, the shells, the birds and here... the marshes,woods, and dunes... all blending one into the other offering a mixture of nature's best!

Gail: That's funny. The critter whisperer. Now that I carry my camera everywhere I go, I certainly am much more aware of all the little fellows occupying the world around me. I do love my Florida and I (a little biased I'm sure)think it offers such a wide variety of geographical treasures. The wonderful thing about it is there are so many wonderful months to interact with nature and all that our great state affords. I sound like a travel agent. Ha.

Meems said...

Aunty: So glad to have you stop by again. Yes, Fernandina and the surrounding areas remind me so of "old Florida". There are several little sleepy towns around here... we've had fun exploring.

Barbarapc: Well thank you! Nothing I like better than to help you see my great state for all its beauty. Happy you joined me for the brief tour.

Susan: So glad you've gotten your "garden happy" back. I was so garden-busy in August and September and it was so hot! Life should be better for us the next few months now. Amelia Island is quite unique. We've been here about 4 times in the last 15 years and each time we explore more of it but it doesn't change a whole lot.

Lisa: Thanks for coming along. I saw some birds today... made me think of you watching their fly- over ... not even sure what they were yet... still have to try to ID them from the photos I managed to get. If there good I'll include them in the next post. :-)

garden girl said...

What a charming place to visit Meems! I always enjoy your posts from your visits to other Florida haunts.

How lucky you are to have such gorgeous places so close, and the ocean so nearby, and so many beautiful creatures to observe and enjoy.

seniorgardener said...

Jealousy, jealousy! my face is turning green with envy! i love going along on your photo shoot, but i would much rather be in the picture! our native state is so stunning in it's thousands of miles of shoreline. we are almost like an island unto ourselves with the variety between east and west coasts being so different in cultures. i don't remember ever visiting the far northeast shores of Florida - although we did get to St. Augustine for a visit one time.
Have you ever thought about making travelogues for some travel companies? with your gift of photography, you would make anyone want to visit the places you would feature. your scenic pics are every bit as interesting as your flowers & critters.
see you soon!
P.S. - your garden did get a very good shower of rain this week, so my husband reports in his drive home.

Becky said...

Your blog and your flowers are spectacular! Your hard work has definitely paid off in a beautiful landscape.