Kymberly Dunlap is a dear friend and author of the book Saint Mary's College: Her Memories Beyond the Avenue. In January Kym and her fiance visited my parents in Atlanta on their way down to the Michigan bowl game. Around the breakfast table a southern road trip was born. She shares her January trip down the Georgia Coast with us.
It was during our warm Southern visit to the Jablonski-Diehl household during the holidays that we learned about Savannah, Jekyll Island, and Amelia Island. As Darin and I heard about these wonderful places, we decided that we had to stop at each of these locations on our journey to Jacksonville.
We arrived in Savannah just in time for lunch. We instantly fell in love with the Spanish moss covered trees. Even though we were starving, we had to capture the stunning foliage. After a few keepsake photos, we ate at a tourist eatery alongside the river, then ventured into the famous squares. The squares felt homey and slightly enchanted. The Southern architecture of the homes, Churches and storefronts along with those Spanish moss covered trees is so special and should be treasured by residents, but especially visitors.
After walking among the many squares, we made our way to SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) per Judge Diehl’s recommendation. The merchandise was a bit pricey; however, they definitely had one of a kind artistry that was worth taking a piece back home. http://www.shopscadonline.com/home.html
Just before dusk, we journeyed towards Jekyll Island. We stayed at the Jekyll Island Hotel Club, which is a true romantic Victorian beauty and definitely worth another stay. http://www.jekyllclub.com/ Since we arrived after dark, we couldn’t wait to see what the hotel and island looked like during the morning.
Just so you know if you already don’t, Jekyll is a lot less commercial than Nantucket or Martha’s. We rented bikes from the hotel to take a tour around the island. We walked along the beach searching for shells and spotted the Hollywood set of the next X-Man movie. We didn’t know what to expect of the island. During our bike ride, we assumed that we could grab some lunch, around lunchtime. Bad assumption. Almost all of the restaurants close by 2p until dinner. We biked back to the Jekyll Club and finally discovered that Crane Cottage, a historic building on the Club property. It’s anything but a cottage, but rather a villa. It is definitely worth taking a look at.
After staying that evening in Jacksonville, we made our way to Amelia Island. To cater to Darin’s spontaneity, we took the highway less traveled to Amelia Island. We ate a great lunch at Marche Burette. http://www.aipfl.com/activities/Shopping/Marche_Burette.htm and we were able to soak up some needed sun in the rocking chairs next to the fountain. We definitely recommend the shops here at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort! From there we soaked up the sun on the beach for a few hours in the cloudless skies and 60 degree weather.
After working on our tans, we ventured into downtown Fernandina Beach. We stumbled upon Eight Flags Antique Market. Wow – what a gem! One of a kind, affordable items. We bought home décor to remind us of our memorable vacation. We grabbed a beer at one of the Irish pubs to watch a Notre Dame bowl game win.
After driving throughout the neighborhoods to get a sense of the island property, we enjoyed a fantastic New Year’s Eve dinner at the Ritz Carlton. Salt had been booked for NYE for weeks so we ate at Café 4750. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/AmeliaIsland/Dining/Cafe4750/Default.htm We highly recommend this restaurant, the Eight Burger Sports Lounge at the hotel and all of Amelia Island for that matter!
We extend a warm and sincere thank you to the Jablonski-Diehl family for their southern hospitality and superb recommendations!