Amelia island plantation- by Denise Bomstein, USA A Vacation Destination You Can Feel Good About Pssst...hey you! Allow me to share a fabulous Florida destination that everyone from New England knows about ... Amelia Island Plantation. Off the northeastern tip of Florida (bordering Georgia), a ½ hour drive from the Jacksonville airport, this resort has excellent activities for everyone in your family. Are you a: golfer, tennis player, nature freak, antique hunter, horseback rider, beach comber, history buff, fishing fanatic, crazy kayaker, bird watcher, or a bicycle rider? How about all of the above and more with fine cuisine, a first class spa and health club, super kids programs, and all of it served up with a heavy dose of Southern hospitality. I'm not kidding, people are friendly here! Noted for its environmentally conscious development, Amelia Island Plantation is Florida's greenest community. This 1,350 acre resort, nestled between ancient oaks, is a sanctuary for native wildlife and tropical flora and has maintained its pristine habitat since its inception in the seventies. No cement jungles here! Bart Hiter, public relations manager said, "One thing we really take pride in is our property's natural beauty." The newest addition is the four star Amelia Inn & Beach Club featuring all ocean view rooms. Other luxurious accommodations include one, two and three bedroom villas. I love staying in hotels where turndown service includes Godiva chocolates and bedtime story booklets. Sit on the balcony, watch the sunset over the ocean and munch on Godivas...utter bliss.
Kids Camp AmeliaFrom Teen Adventures to Minnow camp for three year olds, the Plantation offers endless supervised entertainment and tailored programs. It is staffed by trained counselors and college interns specializing in recreation supervision, first aid, CPR, and activity planning. Youth programs include crabbing, golf, tennis, fishing, obstacle courses, nature activities and daily pool side games. The hard-to-please teen (11 to 14 and 15 to 19 years) programs include culinary and beauty classes, jet ski excursions, D. J.dance-a-thons, kayaking, bonfires, sport clinics, and deep sea fishing. The Plantation goes all out for the holidays with various special events. For information about Amelia Island's award winning youth program, call the Recreation Department at 800-874-6878 extension 5236. Okay, we have the kids taken care of, what was it you wanted to do?
Recreation... Plantation StyleBetween the towering oaks, the greens and fairways of three golf courses, the 36 hole Amelia Links designed by Dye and Weed, and the 18 hole Long Point Course by Fazio-border the ocean, marshes and woods. Recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the best golf resorts in America, the Plantation also boasts seven seaside holes. You can just imagine the challenge of the ever changing sea breeze. Winner of numerous awards, the innovative designs of the courses take full advantage of the terrain for exciting golf. The PGA professionals at the Plantation offer personalized instruction and clinics to golfers of every skill level. The Bausch & Lomb Championships are played under the umbrella of swaying live oaks at the five-star Racquet Park. Featuring 23 Har-Tru courts, three for night play, lessons are offered for the individual or groups. A full service pro shop rents racquets and ball machines. The Plantation is recognized as one of the top 50 American tennis resorts by Tennis Magazine. For information about golf and tennis programs call 800-874-6878. The Plantation will arrange for local fishing, charters and sailing trips for full or half day excursions. Amelia is a destination for offshore and back country fishing. On-property lagoons are stocked with bass, bream and striped bass. Paddle boats and powered carts are another way to explore the resort. From kayaking to horseback riding and more, the Plantation handles and coordinates all arrangements.
Discover Natural AmeliaMagnolia trees, wisteria, cypress, red cedar, 400 year old oaks, cardinals, owls, hawks, woodpeckers, bobwhites, parrot flowers...sound enticing? Don't forget to bring your camera as you take advantage of one of the many nature tours and programs available. Explore on your own or with a naturalist the Plantation's fascinating terrain ranging from ancient Timucuan Indian burial grounds to a sunken forest to a salt marsh preserve with sand dunes. The resort is teeming with an abundance of birds, wildlife and dynamic flora and fauna. Search for over 175 species of birds with an illustrated brochure provided by the nature center. Staff naturalists also provide a jam packed monthly calendar. Activities range from family bonfires, story time, shell and shark tooth hunts and nature crafts to name a few. Off property trips can find you face to face with wild horses and exploring the ruins of a Carnegie mansion at Cumberland Island, observing wildlife in a salt marsh boat ride, or hiking a maritime forest at Talbot Island. The Nature Center's phone is 904-321-5082.
Historic AmeliaArchitecturally rich Fernandina Beach is Amelia's only city. This 1880s fishing village is a showplace of stately Victorian homes, shops, galleries and museums. The 50-block quaint downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Antique Market boasts two locations with regular European shipments. The Amelia Island Museum of History is Florida's only oral history museum and docents narrate the island's amazing history under eight flags. The museum also offers guided walking tours of the historic district. Ron Kurtz, the museum's director said, "Homes are preserved right down to the tiniest details and original colors-to preserve the feel of the era." Also on Amelia is Fort Clinch State Park-a must see for history buffs. The pre-Civil war fort presents reenactments of life during the occupation of Union troops. On nearby Fort George Island is the Kingsley Plantation built in 1804. This, the oldest standing plantation in Florida was owned by a southern slave advocate and his African wife. Guided tours are available.
The Fine Art Of Pigging OutThe Amelia Inn Dining Room at the Plantation showcases a sumptuous array of contemporary cuisine. Gastronomic delights include grilled yellowfin tuna on roasted portabello mushroom, roasted rack of lamb in mustard crust with wine sauce and caramelized onion soup with sherry. The Verandah serves up the freshest seafood in a family style restaurant with a kid-pleasing menu. The Beach Grill, The Coop and The Golf Shop Restaurant are casual eateries. Fresh ingredients are personally selected by award-winning chefs. Theme parties for groups ranging from 100 to 1,200 specialize in unique festive events with over 50,000 square feet of space for conferences and banquets. Amelia Island Plantation offers a variety of value vacation and instructional packages. For information call 800-874-6878 or 904-261-6161.
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