I returned home yesterday from a week-long vacation with my family. It was a getaway we all needed desperately and it felt so good to “escape” from real life for a week of relaxation and rejuvenation.
We divided our time between Amelia Island, Fla. and Mount Pleasant, SC (outside Charleston). For simplicity’s sake, I’ll separate my account of our trip into two entries, one for each location.
Our journey began with the road trip down to Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. My sister, Hannah, and I drove down together while my parents and youngest brother traveled separately. Hannah and I enjoyed the chance to take our time and enjoy each other’s company throughout the long drive. We listened to Julie by Catherine Marshall (one of my favorite books) on tape the whole way down and made quick stops at an outlet mall in southern Georgia to go in a Book Warehouse store. Hannah had not seen Savannah, so we also drove through the historic district (where I managed to get us turned around for 15-20 minutes).
We finally arrived on the island around 8 p.m. The beach beckoned with a magnetic strength, so we stopped by to walk in the sand and stick our feet in the water before we even went to the hotel.
I love Amelia Island. It’s located just across the Florida state line on the East Coast, surrounded by the ocean and the Amelia River. Fernandina Beach is a small, beautiful, historic town with a laid-back atmosphere. The beach is beautiful and not crowded. A tangible sense of peace and tranquility seems to rest over the place. It truly is one of my favorite spots in the world.
We spent most of the first whole day at the beach. Sadly, I was so caught up in having fun that I failed to take any pictures. We also strolled through the downtown shops. I had to stop in one of my favorites, even though I opted to get my Christmas ornament from Charleston this time, since I already have one from Amelia Island.
The next day, I went for a run on the road beside the beach (skipped the sand, but got the little bit of sea breeze that was blowing), then my dad, sister, brother and I went to Fort Clinch State Park. I explored the park during my Amelia Island trip with my friend Katherine a couple of years ago and it was one of the highlights of that vacation for me. So I was eager to go back and show it off to the rest of my family. It didn’t disappoint. Almost immediately after driving through the gates, one drives down a winding path with a canopy of Spanish-moss covered trees hanging overhead. It’s beautiful. It looks like a scene straight out of Savannah or Charleston, but it’s tucked away on little Amelia Island. There’s also a preserved fort complete with cannons, from which one can see Amelia River, Cumberland Sound and the ocean.
On Saturday, we spent the day celebrating my cousin’s wedding, which was the primary reason we made the trip when we did. Winston married his beautiful bride, Amanda, inside my uncle’s church. Then we enjoyed a fun reception along the Amelia River Plantation along the river. I enjoyed taking in the scenery, even though it rained some throughout the evening.
On Sunday, we loaded up and hit the road for Charleston after a leisurely brunch at the hotel with all of the extended family and other wedding guests. While I was excited about the next leg of our journey, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed as we drove north. The peaceful island life agreed with me. I enjoyed the entire vacation, but our time in Amelia Island was my favorite. I will hope I get to return before too many more years pass by.