Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance – 2014
February 1st, 2014
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is set for March 7-9 at the Ritz Carlton and Amelia Island Golf Club. This year’s featured car is the McLaren which celebrates its 50th anniversary. This event has grown to be one of the best in America rivaling the west coast version at Pebble Beach. We always enjoy the guests for this event as they are all car enthusiasts and there is a lot of “car talk” thru out the weekend. There are auctions Friday and Saturday, test drives, dinners, and a variety of car related opportunities. On Friday morning a select group of entrants begins a tour of the Island ending in downtown Fernandina Beach with Centre Street closed off to showcase 30 or more of these fabulous vehicles from the larger group that will be shown at the event on Sunday. Sunday morning all the cars will be on display at the Amelia Island Golf Club, spread across two fairways. We are once again full for this event and it seems to be booked earlier each year. Repeat guests are fun and we enjoy hearing their stories of how they became car “nuts” as they call themselves. The cars are fantastic since it is by invitation only that a car can be part of this event. The event is also a large contributor to charities and that provides another incentive for people to attend and participate since it helps give back to those in need. If you aren’t booked for this year….try to get scheduled to be apart of next year’s festivities where another vehicle brand will be honored and more great antique and specialty cars will be on display. Or if you live near enough, you should still be able to get tickets for this year’s event. For more information on the event visit www.ameliaconcours.org.
Aspiring Innkeeper Seminar – Amelia Island
February 11th, 2014
An aspiring Innkeeper Seminar was recently held on Amelia Island at the Williams House bed and breakfast. Eleven participants listened to the “inside scoop” on owning and operating a B&B presented by David Caples and Helen Cook of Lodging Resource Partners. Included in the session was a tour and inside look at inn-keeping at the Williams House with owners Byron and Deborah McCutchen (including a look at the kitchen and owner’s quarters). From financials to linens and recipes to maintenance, attendees got to see first hand what owning an inn involves. This was the first seminar held at the Williams House and it was enjoyable meeting a variety of potential inn-keepers and owners of the future. The session concluded Sunday with a discussion by our local Tourist Development Board CEO, Gil Langley who reviewed hospitality in the southern coastal areas and the impact of tourism and hospitality on the region’s and local economies. It was a bit cold to enjoy our fine beaches but participants did enjoy two nights at some of our fine local restaurants as well as a tour of our quaint and historic downtown. As current owners it always inspires us to see the excitement and enthusiasm of new potential owners as they look toward joining the B&B industry. We heard many creative ideas for how each potential owner was looking to provide a unique experience for guests. As the saying goes “the good news about B&B’s is that they take on the characteristics and personality of the owners”. We are considering offering additional inn-keeping sessions at the Williams House, so if you are interested, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Helen Cook or David Caples at www.lodgingresources.com.
Amelia Island’s Fort Clinch State Park
February 20th, 2014
A visit to Fort Clinch State Park ranks as a favorite among Williams House guests. Some enjoy the rich history and uniformed period focused soldiers that relay the fort’s history and what it was like to be stationed there. Some enjoy the views toward the sound and Cumberland Island. Others enjoy the tunnels and rooms used for various tasks during the fort’s use. Others enjoy the nature trails, beach access and fishing pier. Whatever your interests, Fort Clinch is a proven attraction not to be missed.
Fort Clinch History
Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island is named for General Lamont Clinch, a prominent figure in the Second Seminole War. Construction began in 1847 and is part of the series of masonry forts built between 1816 and 1867 for coastal defense known as the Third System Fortifications. It was built at the mouth of the St. Mary’s river which divides Florida and Georgia. It was designed to protect the important natural deep water port of Fernandina Beach and the eastern link of the cross Florida railway that linked Fernandina Beach and Cedar Key. Never completed before the civil war, an engineering company based at the fort during the war did much of the construction with imported (from New York) red brick. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began restoration in 1936 and began building roads and campgrounds. The concession building was built as part of the CCC restoration/expansion and was part of the original structure acquired by the state of Florida in 1935. It opened as one of the first Florida state parks in 1938. With three miles of coastline and several groin jetties it offers great saltwater fishing and has been a popular spot since its early years.
Living history interpretation began at Fort Clinch during the 1970s. Staff and volunteers in period civil war uniforms depict daily life at the fort thereby recreating a step back into history for visitors. In the summer months soldiers encamp at the fort on weekends (first of each month) to further expose what life was like during its history. There is also a blacksmith shop that operates making typical iron products used during the period. For more information visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.