With the start of school and the weather cooling off (ever so slightly) the Illinois girl in me has Autumn on the mind. Moving to Florida, I was concerned about the lack of seasonal changes. Fortunately, although not exactly the Autumn that I am used to, Northeast Florida does offer a little Fall goodness. Here are a few of my favorite things about Autumn on Amelia Island:
Bonfires on the beach-The Omni offers private beach bonfires complete with cozy blankets and s’mores fixins. This is available to everyone and does not require that you be a guest of the resort but does require that you call the concierge for a reservation at (904) 432-1467. Several of the public beaches allow for bonfires as well including Peter’s Point.
Fall colored marsh grass-Our coastal southern trees do not have quite the same wow factor as trees in more northerly locations but the tall reeds and marsh grasses offer a gorgeous display of browns, yellows, and purple hues. The best place to see these colors in full effect is the Eagans Creek Greenway which can be accessed from behind the Atlantic Rec Center and just off of Jasmine Street.
Fall birds-Amelia Island is the beginning of the Great Florida Birding Trail and is home to a variety of impressive bird life. The cooler weather draws migratory birds and encourages the native birds to make more frequent appearances. The island offers a variety of habitats including woods, marsh, and ocean so as you can imagine, the bird life is just as vibrant and varied. My favorite place for bird watching is Fort Clinch State Park. floridabirdingtrail.com
Season menu changes at my favorite restaurants-There are several farm to table and slow food restaurants with menus that change seasonally. Salt at the Ritz, Burlingame, The Patio Place, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen and 29 South are a few with Autumn menus that you may enjoy. Also, although not necessarily seasonal restaurants, Café Karibo and Salty Pelican offer the coziest cool weather soups, perfect for cool weather.
Cool early morning beach walks-the kids are in school and the vacationers are mostly gone. Quiet sunrise beach walks with a cup of coffee, shorts, and a big hoody are perfection. I am a tad excited that in the near future, my beach walks will include a new puppy!