Valentine’s Day usually consist of the following: hectic roads, congested highways and crowded restaurants which requires most to wait over an hour to be seated. It’s the same routine year after year but this year I wanted something different. Us girls daydream about romance but for most of us it’s non-existent! For me, I took my desire for romance to one of our most trusted advisors; Google. I typed in the search engine “Most romantic places in Florida” and Amelia Island popped up.
Amelia Island was described as a quaint and enchanting place, with white sand beaches where tourists can go horseback riding on the beach. The island is also named one of the Top 10 North American islands by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards for seven consecutive years and recognized as a Top 25 Island in the World. Immediately I was sold.
After planning for two months, my boyfriend and I charged the I-10 towards Jacksonville, Fla on Valentine’s morning. To our surprise we were at our destination in less than 3 hours.
First on our list of activities was touring the Kingsley Plantation. The plantation was located on Fort George Island. To get there we had to drive down a narrow and terribly bumpy dirt road for two miles. When we arrived we were greeted by our tour guide Clay who was a graduate student at the University of North Florida.
The plantation was a big white house with large bay windows. The Kingsley Plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Florida on a stretch of 32,000 acres. Ironically, the location was very beautiful and peaceful even though our ancestors bleed and cried on that very soil.
Next on our list of activities was Fernandina Historic District. There we enjoyed a self-directed walking tour past historic landmarks and chic boutiques. We also made it a point to visit Fernandina's Fantastic Fudge which I would highly recommend to any chocolate lover like myself. There was an extensive selection of chocolate strawberries, dipped Oreos, Chocolate turtles, caramels and even ice cream! After visiting the historic district we went to get ready for dinner. I had made seven o’clock reservations for this well-recommended restaurant by the islanders named Gourmet Gourmet or GG’s. The restaurant was decorated wall to wall in candlelight. It was also small and intimate. I ordered the lobster risotto and my date ordered the slow-roasted prime rib. The food was very fresh. Like most restaurants on the island the menu features many items grown or raised on local farms.
After dinner we went for dessert. As if we didn’t indulge enough with dinner, we went to the Luxe Artisan Chocolate Bar at the Ritz Carlton. There the Executive Pastry Chef Sheldon Millett and his team of artisan chocolatiers presented their Valentine’s Day Favorites. There was custom chocolate shots, Italian gelato with chocolate sauce, a chocolate fountain and so much more chocolate. I must admit this had to be one of my favorite activities of our trip! Afterwards, we had cocktails with our new friends and danced all night long.
By Saturday we were exhausted but we couldn’t leave without participating in the most sought after tourist activity on Amelia Island. That’s right! We went horseback riding on the beach. It was like a scene out of a story book romance. We rode our horses down a five mile stretch of beautiful glistening sand. It was an experience of a lifetime. Lastly, we had brunch at 29 South and were on our way back to Tallahassee.
Unfortunately the trip had to end. But, I have memories that will last me a lifetime. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to have an amazing vacation. I am already looking forward to my next Valentine’s getaway. Most likely it will be in Florida. Can you guess where to next?