Amelia Island holly

Amelia Island holly
Amelia sand dune

Monday, December 29, 2014

happy new year 2015


A Happy New Year to all, not just here on our Island but across the world.  May Peace come to all countries, may respect for life come to all countries, may we be blessed with mutual understanding and tolerance.   Amen


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Remembering the Reason...


It is over 70 degrees on the Island today.  When we took our walk downtown shorts and no jackets were the order of the day.  Still some shopping by a few hurrying here and there.

We take a moment to give thanks, for so much.  Thanks for the Coming of the Lord.  Tonight all the churches here will rejoice and bells ring out over the Island.  

                                  Let us all pray for peace, peace, peace, peace.

                                               Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


A departure from Christmas themes.  Since our walk the other  morning, the photographs I captured  are  fresh,  just asking for elaboration and sharing. 

 I have been waiting to use this poem for ages. 
 I read it in college and it comes to mind on days such as this one.

"The fog comes
on little car feet

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on."

Carl Sandburg

  Eerie, the haunting photos tell of the mist which muffled
sounds around it.  But a few steps over the railroad tracks from our little downtown the harbor in all of its faces reflects the south, the sea, an island. This day a face that
speaks of olden days, hiding secrets in its grey cloak.

Linear shapes go aloft through the mist with  their shadows playing beneath. 
The fog has kept boat owners close in their holds awaiting the sun to let them
travel on.  Their names read: Maine, New Jersey, and on and on.

A lone pelican seeking an early meal.

Does one walk into yesteryear from this pier?

 For us lucky denizens of this Island, it is only another face of our home showing a unique kind of beauty, a dreamy one that defines an island as off by itself, close by the mother land or far and away.  My husband walks off to the end of a pier looking for little surprises be it close by or at a distance.  As the fog came closer and then receded this beauty was revealed. The sun is starting to waken the day calling forth the shrimping boat on the right.  Below is my favorite shot of the day. It could have been taken a hundred years ago when this Island was a very different place.

I imagine sailor -speak would have a title for a sight like this one. The sun coming
slowly out over the horizon promising a clearer day.

Edgar Allen Poe once wrote .."all that we see or dream is but a dream within a dream."  Walking in the misty harbor you get that Poe feeling.

I took the above photograph in the harbor and then revised it on an application revealing
this spook catamaran and the lovely bird on its right. All  of the photos in this post were taken by Yours Truly..

On a island that once was the favorite haunt of pirates (historical fact and tales for another day) one turns to old ghost stories.  So before the sun comes out I leave you with this...

                                                   Happy dreaming and avast .....

Friday, November 28, 2014


The little angel frolicking in the surf comes from Pinterest.  It says just what I want it to say-Christmastide has come to Amelia Island.  No Black Friday for us: it is a blue and gold and red Friday with lots of tinsel and sea shells to show for it.  Lights have been strung on pier posts and a message hung on light posts.... that message is one of peace.



Our day after Thanksgiving is not one of rush and bustle.  Matter of fact it is a fun day downtown with folks still dressed in their pajamas...  If you are wearing pj's you get a 20% discount on your downtown Christmas shopping.  Plus, you have a whole sleigh full of fun.  It is a chilly day but it did not stop the fun and good humor.  I think this year there were more grown-ups acting like children then the other way around.  

Dress up at Christmastide in Amelia Island

This next merry gentleman is enjoying himself and is the hit of the day. Just to his right
notice that this year we had a bell ringer making lovely music.
The Art of Living on an Island in Christmas costume

   The shops are all decorated.  Pajama clad and otherwise shoppers stroll slowly among other strollers. There is nothing that looks like an unhappy crowd.  Shops offer free refreshment and around a corner Santa is set up to hear secret lists.  Another corner and lo, a little band is setting up.  A new charming toy store glistens and invites just across.  Look to the end of the street and boats bob in the harbor.

The art of living on an island shows off in our bookstore at Christmastide

Another Christmas in Amelia for us, the ninth one.  Each year the Christmas scene here delights and refreshes.  No arguments on should if we should call it Christmas! You can bet your traveling elf, not a one. It is a traditional, if quirky season for us here in this southern town and it is all ours.
Christmas is very precious here. We are reminded of it's real meaning, the sense of giving and caring. You can hear the ringing of the Salvation army bells manned by volunteers all over the Island and the sound of giving. If it turns cold our volunteer cold shelters are ready for the less fortunate. Amelia Island is a small town with a big heart especially at Christmas.

Here is hoping you had a good Thanksgiving and 
that your Christmastide is full of blessings.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy U.S.A. Thanksgiving!

A very Happy U.S.A. Thanksgiving to one and all!

We have so much to be thankful for..let's not take it for granted
and let's remember those who have little...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


There is autumn right here in Amelia Beach, Florida. Today it is a chilly 46 degrees but then tomorrow will be back in the 60's or 70's.  See. here is a changing tree to prove it.  One of the reasons we love the Island is that it has the seasons....without SNOW and ICE.  This is great for us transplanted New Englanders!

 Still it goes back and forth, you can see it was cooler on this Saturday when we were at the Farmer's Market.  This little lady was wearing her holiday sweater near her owner's booth selling goat's milk products

                                and also quail eggs....hmmm, enticing to try.

There is now a craft alley at the Farmer's Market in downtown Fernandina Beach and I was taken with this crafter's booth shared with her father's wood bowls. The shell candle holders are made of oyster shells and just lovely.  The wooden bowls are carved from a particular type of tree that grows in our swamps here.  The tree is beyond its time but the years have made fascinating shapes which are a crafter's dreams.  
I know a gentlemen here on the Island who makes wondrous canes with them.

                                              A very special wooden bowl ....a keeper.

Our shell artist, Kangee Graham,  with her wares.

All in all,  another lovely Saturday morning in downtown Amelia Island, where
surprises and delights await.

Monday, July 7, 2014


We have said before that each time we wander downtown we experience  a special moment! In this case, it was a treat.  We have been waiting for Nana Teresa's Bake Shop
to open at 31 S. 5th Street ever since we saw the sign go up.

We had actually met Nana herself before the opening as our taste buds were urging
 us down to see progress on the shop.

We, we wait no more.  Neither should you!  This is such a welcome addition to our little Island, it brings a sense of chic class.  You are in for deserts as you have never seen nor tasted ( of course, other than your Mom's).  The treats are beautifully concocted and displayed but what they taste like is amazing.  I am thinking Paris, folks, or the North End in Boston. 
I have tasted delicacies in both places.

Nana Teresa herself

The shop is in one of our historic buildings and care has been taken 
to respect that in every way.
I loved getting a peak into her kitchen, or sitting out on the porch and letting the afternoon waft away.

Let me say, here, that none of my recommendations are paid advertisements...they are what we enjoy and it our pleasure to share with Islanders and Visitors both.
 My photos do not do Nana teresa's justice so please go see for yourselves....

See Nana Teresa's Facebook page where I found some of these photographs for lots more information. Nicely she is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
You will appreciate the beautiful ambiance just as much as the delicacies!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sea Soothings….

Fortunate is the person who lives on a little island where the ocean surrounds our souls as well as our bodies.   They sell recordings of the sounds of the sea!

We get to listen all the time.

Below is a photo taken by my friend Lisa Robertson on one of their recent sailing trips.  Need I add more?  God's glory sung in silence and color.

 A poem to accompany it.

We are entering high season in Amelia, meaning summer, the beach and boats.  The Shrimp Festival has come and gone, not affected by one rainy day.  Tourists are everywhere.  Those of us who live here retreat to our corners of beach and yard and hunker down to tend our gardens.  New restaurants are opening yet to try.  We work in the mornings and nap in the afternoon til the cool of evening. It is summer in the Southland, on a little island of beauty.  Afternoon thunderstorms
 break the heat and send us home to a good book.

                                                   And then the sun comes out again.


                                               Photo by Trent Strohm on Flickr/Pinterest

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Songs of Amelia

The song of the sea is not the only song heard by those of us living on the Island of Amelia.
There is an abundance of birdsong filling the air.  Recently, in my Internet wanderings, I came upon The Fernandia Observer  an online publication sharing Island news.  
This video is from that publication and was taken by Bailey Strauss.  It is simply beautiful.  We have a bird bath, but no feeder in our back yard as it brings unwanted guests: namely peacocks who live nearby. I have never seen a Painted Bunting or an Indigo or Blue Grosbeak. 
But, as they are nearby, who knows…one of these days.

The quiet, still art of birdwatching, or watching the sea ebb and flow,
the art of living on an Island.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Though we are in Florida, we are way high north, almost in Georgia.  They say you have to go this far north in Florida to find Southern culture!

Thus, we have the seasons.  Our winter is mild compared to other parts of the U.S., of course.  Still we had a colder than usual winter season and welcome the warmer weather.  Amelia celebrates by showing off her azalea finery.  This year, probably because of the cold snaps, it is awesome.  Take a look at the treasures in my neighbor's yard.  Ours are a bit slower.  It is like we have it timed.

 The light was captured by my iPad camera at just the right moment.  This is one of my favorites.

If you are reading this from a cold clime, I hope that these
photos remind you that warmth and color are not far off.

I call this my watercolor photo.  Again, the iPad did its own thing and nearly transferred
a sort of watercolor of these flowers, ready for the artist canvas.

Friday, March 14, 2014


The new cover photo is one of my paintings.  Inspired by the sea around us here,
 the sights and the sound of its tireless changing.  

A week or so ago we went off to explore the new walking/bike path on Big Talbot Island.  Toward the end of our walk I retired to the car to sketch and my husband went on down to the ocean.  This is what awaits explorers as they walk this more difficult path.  
A veritable graveyard of downed trees that have turned white in the sun.  

Another side of the seashore here.  Over the water one can see some of the beaches of Amelia.
The walking path and seashore  is a short drive over the bridge to the Island.

A couple of lovers are walking the path to the sea.  The photo came out looking like
the cover of a romance and mystery novel, didn't it?

The map gave us directions, it will do the same for you.  Hope you can make it out.

The newly created Pathway gives credence to the adage: "If you build it, they will come."
We were there on a Sunday and walkers and bikers alike, often in family groups, were
making good use of the pathway.

"The woods are lovely,  dark and deep,
I have promises to keep, 
and miles to go before I sleep.
and miles to go before I sleep."

Robert Frost

Saturday, February 8, 2014


The history of this Island is an endless source of fascination for those willing to dig just below the surface,  Take the story of the little Yellow House in the Historic District. 

The historic marker in front of the house reads:

    How interesting, a tourist can mumble to themselves, as we did. Then promptly forgot about it.

Sometime later, we were exploring the old Bosque Bello cemetery here when we came upon a neat little plot of grave markers that piqued our curiosity.  It seemed to be the plot where nuns were laid to rest.  We were now even more curious and found out a little more of their story.

Then this past Christmas,a group of the Island  Knights of Columbus, including my husband, volunteered to tend the Sister's grave site and I went along with my camera.

One of the things we noted was that two of the graves were those of young Sisters who had died the same day.  This is one of them, Mother Marie Celenie Joubert age 32 years, the other was of Sister De Sales, age 22 years.  In the first photo of the plot above their graves are next to each other on the right.

Finally, a docent neighbor who volunteers at our Amelia Island Museum of History directed me to  someone there who would have me all the information I needed for this inspiring history. 
And that they did!

The Sisters of St. Joseph, of the Order of our two Sisters and their other Sisters were based in Le Puy, France.  At a request from a Bishop they had sent six Sisters to Jacksonville and then to the Island to teach the children.  Eventually they resided at the little Yellow house and made it their convent.  In 1877 the Sisters had made a retreat in Jacksonville when an epidemic of Yellow Fever began raging in the Jacksonville area and its environs including Amelia Island.  Armed guards were posted to keep the entire area under quarantine.

 The sisters determined to return to the Island. Four of them did: Mother Celenie, Sister Marie de Sales, Sister Xavier and Sister Mary Louise.  They found a "desolated Fernandina, with empty homes and businesses and deserted streets.  A peculiar odor filled the air perhaps from fumigation efforts.  Not stopping at their house, they went immediately to the bedsides of the fever victims…."  
"One Protestant doctor said, 'You have, my Sisters, more courage than a soldier on the battlefield."

Note: The Island population at that time was 1600 people, 300 of whom were Catholics.
                                                1100 contracted the disease, 94 died.
          The epidemic raged on for 7 months.  The disease is viral, carried and spread through mosquito bites of the female infected Aeses Aegypti mosquito or an uninfected carrier one.  The disease seemed to hit port cities (such as Fernandina). The bilges of standing water were perfect breeding grounds.
The disease was often called Swamp Miasma or Yellow Jack as it would occur near marshy lowlands, another characteristic of Amelia Island.  It had a propensity to strike adults in their prime and not children and the elderly.  The incubation period, once bitten, was 2-3 days. 
 If the victim did not fall ill, they were henceforth immune.

A medical practice in those days was to place all four feet of a patient's bed in containers of water so as to keep vermin away.  It was of course, a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.  If a patient survived the disease, they had lifelong immunity. Antibiotics had not been discovered, nor had the epidemiology of the disease been identified.  Dr. Benjamin Rush, a physician during epidemics in Philadelphia finally isolated the cause of the disease.  It would not be identified until the 20th century. Meanwhile, treatment consisted of purgatives, wine or champagne, and sometimes blood letting.

From calmly teaching little ones, the sisters were thrust into the role of nurses and more.  People on the Island panicked and, not understanding the disease, left dying and ill patients on the steps of the convent. The sisters nursed them, sewed their shrouds, and even buried the dead.  They went house to house caring for people. It mattered not if they were white or back, or Catholic or not. They were tirelessly led by their superior, Mother Celenie.  She, and her dear friend and Sister, Sr. De Sales, contracted the disease themselves, and although nearly all the Sisters fell ill at one time or another, only those two did not survive.  They died 8 hours within each other and were buried within 2 hours of their deaths in the back yard of the Convent.  Five other Sisters arrived just after the deaths of the Sisters.  Those Sisters recalled that back at the Retreat in Jacksonville, on hearing of the epidemic in Fernandina, Sister Celenie had told another Sister there that she "would not see her again, but that they would meet again in heaven."  The Sister also described Mother Celenie as "having a celestial air about her."

             Here is a photograph of Mother Celenie.  We do not have one of Sr. De Sales. 
                  If you visit the Parish Hall of St. Michael's Catholic Church on the Island,
                              you can see all of the Sisters that were here at the time.

The history of this heroic Island episode would be interesting enough.  However, many, many years later when the Sisters were disinterred for burial in Bosque Bello the coffins were, of course, opened by an undertaker.  He stated that the two women were exactly as they had been at the time of their deaths, no decomposition had taken place.  Also, when he opened the coffins, there was an odor of roses.  This indeed had been reported in the newspapers. Keep in mind at the time of their deaths there was no embalmment nor were the coffins other than pine or some common wood.

In the annals of Island history this one stands out as a story of heroism.  We cannot go by the little Yellow House without thinking of those brave women.  

The history of our Island is deep and interesting.  I hope to share more of it.


Some of this information was gleaned from literature (newspaper articles, etc) and excerpts from The Diary of Sister Catherine, a St. Joseph's Sister, and from the online source below.  Another Sister, Sister Rose of Lima, died in Jacksonville of Yellow Fever also during the epidemic. Thanks to the Amelia Island Museum of History for their help.

For more information see

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


As usual, a weekend wander downtown and - a discovery. Our two favorite restaurants here happen to be ethnic.  One was now open for lunch!  Ciao is truly a taste of Italy.  We had yet to discover how much of an "Italiano" day it was going to be though when we decided to take a breather from errands.

Luca, owner with his wife Kim, greeted us personally, as always, and soon we were seated at our  table. As we entered a sweet space of relaxation we noticed that the young couple seated behind us were chatting happily in Italian. The sound was delightful and the music of it brought us back to memories of our trip to Italy long ago.

Ciao is a place where one can enjoy wonderful food, friendship and, in general, people watching. As readers know, that is one of my pastimes. Always a joy…Ciao.

                                                Luca welcoming us to his restaurant

We have known Luca since we came to the Island, eight years ago.  We watched him as he and his wife planned their career until finally: CIAO was born.  They are good friends.

I do not usually make endorsements but in this case, along with another restaurant, I will do so.
  Stay tuned for the other….


But, my Italian sojourn was not yet over.  Typical of Amelia Island to have another 
surprise up its sleeve.

The next morning, I went to my favorite consignment shop. I needed to find some winter clothes to warm me during an unseasonal cold spell.  Here below is Barb. owner of BUY GONES, a delight of a shop in many ways.  Others think so, too, as you can see:

                                               Best Amelia Consignment Shop 2013!

There I was wandering through clothing goodies when in walked a couple shivering on this cold day.
When I looked up: lo and behold, the couple from Ciao! They commenced to speak Italian to Barb, imagine: also Italian!  Turns out they were in Amelia to be married that afternoon!  Good wishes all around.  I even found lots of lovely clothes on top of it all!

Barb is a great fundraiser, too, another reason to frequent her shop.  All part of the unique experience of Amelia Island on a cold Saturday morning.  Thanks, Barb, I will be back!



Amelia Island is a place for dreaming. Laid back and slow, a day or two like the one I described is only an Island dream a hop, skip and jump away….