Driving the scenic coastal route, we stopped for fortifications along the way. Neptune Beach, east of Jacksonville, was the perfect place for lunch and a short walk on the beach.
After lunch and coconut margaritas (for the non-drivers), we journeyed to the St. Johns River car ferry for a short ride across the river, docking at the south end of Amelia Island.
Leaving the ferry, we traveled through Amelia Island State Park, 200 pristine acres with trails, beaches and abundant opportunities for bird watching. Further north, we stayed in an ocean front condo for 2-nights, taking in the festivities of the Fernanadina Beach Isle of Eights 55th Annual Shrimp Festival. Starting in 1562, Fernandina Beach has flown the flags of France, Spain, Great Britain, the Republic of Florida, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of American. The area is known for its abundant shrimp harvest. Thus, the name of the festival.
Filled with shops, restaurants and beautifully restored buildings, Fernandina Beach old town sports a historic designation. Typically quiet, (pop. 12,500), the town fills with thousands of people for the shrimp festival. I over-heard much grumbling from locals. It is safe to say they are not terribly fond of the hordes invading their typically quiet mecca. From a tourist perspective, it was a load of fun. The pirate and looting theme cracked me up.
The shrimp and crawfish were both super yummy. Dining tables? Communal plywood lidded garbage cans with slits in the middle for tossing shells. I do love this part of the country.
After sunset, the Indie Rock Bank Flipturn played a nice long set. Watch for this upcoming group of young Florida university students. They’re really good! Next, we were treated to the invasion of the pirates (an overblown lead-up resulting in a lame “event” with lots of “ARGHING” and not much more).
The night ended with a great fireworks display over the bay.
From Fernandina Beach, Conde and I traveled to Cumberland Island Georgia. Wow!!!
See you there.