History - US and Personal

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Patrick & Suzy's
Suzy & Patrick's Plantation Home....

Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We neglected  Georgia - drove straight on through - which only took about 3 hours.down I-95, then made a hard left back toward the ocean and on to Amelia Island Plantation for an overnight stay with one of Mary's old colleagues, Patrick & his wife Suzy. According to Mary, they were - quite frankly - responsible for saving the Spina Bifida Association of America (SBAA) some 25 years ago, and thereby saving Mary's job of managing their major fundraiser, the Annual Roast for Spina Bifida. An emotional moment occured when Mary credited Patrick with a large part of her professional joy and success, thanks to his generosity which allowed her to manage the roast for twenty years.

Our visit was a blast, a lot laughs. They live in a BEAUTIFUL golf community, on the course [ neither of them play ] nestled under an incredible canopy of gnarly ancient oaks (we LOVED them) , almost jungle-like, within walking distance of the beach.

Unlike most of the East Coast beaches, huge dunes protect the island, more reminiscent of the West Coast beaches.  The Southern edge of their island borders on the inlet for the major port of Jacksonville, where big ships pass through constantly, providing entertainment for us as we dined at "Singleton's Seafood Shack". Singleton's was featured on the cable show, "Dives, Diner's and Drive-ins" (or something like that), and the place clearly qualifies as a dive! We took the last ferry in operation in Florida across the inlet to the ' shack ' whose floor has about a two percent slope from the front door to the decks over the water, which makes it easy to hose out at night, I guess.The building is old , but the seafood is fresh. Shrimp, soft shell crabs, smoked fish dip and (our favorite) blackened gator tail (delicious!) rounded out our meal for the evening, all washed down with a couple of Yuenglings, Patrick's favorite beer. And yes, gator tail tastes like - you guessed it - chicken...

There is little doubt that these friends have been host to volumes of visitors not only from from all over the country but also all over the world.  Patrick's family is from Spain and Suzy was born Belgium (speaks fluent French and Spanish). The European influences were evident everywhere, from the art and decor, to the very welcoming touches throughout the house and grounds. Our "room" (more like an apartment or suite) was very well appointed, very very comfortable and huge. Suzy had fresh flowers, various and sundry bedside reading including great local tourism literature, a table of bottled drinks and fresh cookies. It's places like this that put one in a quandary... they were so much fun to be with we wanted to spend every waking moment of our time with them and the bed and room were so comfortable it was hard to leave...  

The next morning was spent downtown in Fernandina Beach, where we hit the obligatory espresso shop, [ ;O) ] checked out a few galleries and visited - too early to belly up to -  Florida's oldest bar, "The Palace Saloon" in its original splendor, also known as the "Sea Captain's Bar."

Adolphus Busch, of Anheuser Busch, traveled from St Louis "to design and oversee installation of the elegant bar, a beautiful fixture showcased with inlaid mosaic floors, embossed tin ceilings, hand carved mahogany caryatids (undraped female fixtures), gas lamps, and commissioned murals painted on the walls." 

According to local lore, it was the last bar to close on the eve of Prohibition, and the owner stored up enough for the last hurrah, selling 'til midnight and grossing $60,000 in a single day, back when drinks were pretty damn cheap. (I think they said $.05)

Another story tells of a woman who sat diligently on her front porch, shotgun across her lap, to protect this grand old oak tree from being felled when the streets were being paved. The magnificent tree still stands and the paving goes around it on either side.
As tough as it was to leave after such a sort stay, overlapping guests at our next stop put us on a strict schedule, something that we are not accustomed to these days, so we rolled on down the coast to yet more old colleagues of Mary's who have taken up retirement in The World of Golf Community just off I 95 in St. Augustine.


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Jim Martin on

Great looking bar. I've played the course that has several holes on the ocean. I would love to go back.

Anna on

I ate at the Shack when I visited Amelia Island several years ago!

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