Amelia Island – Florida, U. S. A.

Bypassed by Time, Sweetened by Modern-Day Luxury

On tiny Amelia Island, the past and present coexist in a very unusual way. At its northern end, Fernandina Beach, the island’s only town, revolves lazily around a fifty-block nucleus that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and features some of the nation’s finest exam­ples of Queen Anne, Victorian, and Italianate mansions. In total, more than 450 historic buildings were built here before 1927, tes­timony of the island’s glory days when it played vacation home to wintering socialites with names like Goodyear, Pulitzer, and Car­negie. The cobbled (and aptly named) Centre Street is the island’s most appealing stretch, lined with galleries, bed-and- breakfasts, and turn-of-the- century eateries, and is reason­ably free of tourist kitsch. The wonderfully atmospheric Palace Saloon stands along this street; built in 1878, it bills itself as Florida’s oldest watering hole and is still a perennial favorite with local fishermen and visiting golfers alike. It’s one of the town’s unofficial headquarters during the yearly Shrimp Festival, the island’s biggest and most enjoy­able event.

The 13-mile long island is one of the few places left in Florida where you can still ride horseback on the beach—an exhilarating expe­rience of wind, surf, and ospreys. One of the choicest and most pristine stretches of beach belongs to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, whose guest rooms all enjoy enviable views and perfect sunrises. Considered by many to be one of the finest resorts in the South, The Ritz- Carlton offers golf, tennis, Southern hospitality, and exceptional dining in its award-winning restaurant, The Grill, proving that Amelia Island is, once again, the ultimate playground for island lovers with cash to spare.

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