Amelia Island, FL

On Christmas day, my dad suggested that we drive somewhere warm for a few days to gain the “benefits of red light from the sun” following his latest alternative health obsession. Usually I’m skeptical about his crazy remedies, but the red light train was taking me to the subtropics so I hopped right on it.

With no inkling of where to go, we began scouring the weather channel for the warmest beach and the shortest drive. At an average of 60 degrees, the Jacksonville, FL forecast looked warm enough for some Wisconsinites to sit on a beach.

Two days later, we piled into the car and began the 18 hour drive. When we were halfway through Georgia, we realized that we should probably find a place to stay, so we booked a villa at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

The majority of our time on Amelia Island was spent lounging on the beach. Dunes covered in beach grass transitioned into fine khaki-colored sand where the ocean met the beach, making for the perfect place to plop down and read. Amazingly, some December days were even warm enough to sunbathe; or at least they were for someone who’s accustomed to living in an arctic tundra.

And of course, we ate.

And ate.

And ate.

And ate.

Everything from homemade fudge to fresh-caught fish was available on the island.

We dined at The Salty Pelican, a cute, local seafood restaurant with a beachy interior, our first night on the island. We ordered the bacon and blue cheese oysters which tasted more like the toppings than the actual oyster much to my liking. The menu also offered an extensive drink section, but be warned: this restaurant makes VERY strong drinks. And that’s coming from a college student.

For lunch one day we went to The Patio Place, and just like its name promises, an enormous outdoor seating area flanked the building. Gourmet crêpes with flavors themed by different places around the world were the hot item on the menu here.

Our last meal was eaten at España, an authentic Spanish restaurant complete with tapas and paella. Although slightly more expensive, the seafood was stellar, especially the Gambas con Curry (shrimp with curry) tapas.

When we weren’t being beach bums or gorging ourselves, our time was spent exploring the Omni grounds.

Our resort sported at least a mile of beach front, along with multiple pools and other amenities. The Omni at Amelia Island was the nicest resort I’ve visited next to an all-inclusive in Mexico, but here I could touch things without fear of breaking them! It was approachable while still remaining upscale.

Overall our spontaneous, last-minute vacation was a success. Having had no prior expectations made every second seem special instead of wishing it to live up to a preconceived idea of a perfect trip.

Our only goal was to take in the rays of the sun to receive the “all-important” red light waves, and we certainly did.



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