Thursday, November 30, 2023

Fernandina Beach and Egan Creek

November 18-30, 2023                                           Most Recent Posts:
Fort Clinch State Park Site 16             Virginia to Florida and Rain at Fort Clinch
Fernandina Beach, Florida    Finding Ruby’s Replacement & Fall in the Foothills

On Saturday the sun came out, the day was gorgeous and I was able to go back early to the Farmer’s Market and then wander around the wonderful little town of Fernandina Beach


The Historic District of Fernandina Beach is a 50 block area located at the north end of Amelia Island and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.  The town was officially established in 1811 and named for King Ferdinand VII of Spain.  In 1853 the town site moved just south to intersect with the new Florida Railroad.  The original town now called Old town Fernandina still remains and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2011.  Many of the homes are now Bed & Breakfasts so tourists can stay in part of Fernandina’s History.


I spent the morning walking down the main street of town, Centre Street and up and down the numbered side streets off to each side.  I began at the very helpful Visitor Center at the top of Centre Street next to the Railroad and docks where I picked up a wonderful walking guide to the lovely homes and interesting buildings.



The Palace Saloon obviously bills itself as Florida’s Oldest Bar. aside… I wonder why we so seldom use the word Saloon any more?  I like the word. 

It was built on this corner in 1878 as a haberdashery, another wonderful word we never use.  In 1901 it was sold and reopened as the Palace Saloon in 1903.
Love the glass in the doors.

As I walked along, I passed many store windows being decorated by young women mostly.  Upon asking, I was told they were from the local high school art club and were decorating for “Dickens on Centre, A Victorian Christmas Festival”.

It seems that every town, everywhere, has a festival or a series of festivals to draw tourists in over the year.  I found the same thing in St. Johnsbury and other local Vermont towns this summer.  And Charlottesville Virginia is known particularly for its spring Festival of the Book though it also has a spring Dogwood Festival.


This year Dickens On Centre lasts from December 1 to December 9 and includes a Culinary Tour, Fezziwig’s Courtyard, Entertainment, Costumed Characters, a Fun Run, an Enchanted Village (whatever that might be) and more.   I must say that I wish I was going to be here then since it sounds like a fun way to spend my birthday which falls right in the middle.  BUT reservations are reservations and I’m all booked up for this winter luckily since at her size Winnona has to have somewhere to go.


I was really taken with the Island Art Association’s Art Gallery Building.  Amazing!  Look at the glass.


As I’m posting this, the weather has turned cold and windy. I wonder what happens here if it freezes?



More store window decorating.  This time one of the many, many restaurants.  These kids were literally all over town drawing and painting.


The influence of the Spanish is not as strong as it is further south in St. Augustine since Fernandina is a newer city.  Much of its architecture is antebellum or Victorian but Villa Las Palmas, though built in 1910, is a California mission style residence and a gift from lumberman Nathaniel B. Borden to his 17 year old bride.

I can’t even imagine someone giving me a mansion for my 17th birthday.


Walking down 3rd street, I stumbled on Hofbrau Amelia, the only German restaurant in Fernandina Beach.  The entrance to its Biergarten was very inviting though I am not a beer drinker and it was too early in the day for lunch.


I am a serious lover of coconut and this sign made me laugh and look up.
Caution!  Beware of falling coconuts.


Those who follow me know that I nearly always make a stop at the local library.  This one was in a newly built non descript building but it was quite interesting inside especially the art work on display.


What a great idea and a lot of work to make a Christmas tree at least 6’ tall of stacked books.


The title of this Book Art, which I guess I’d call a sculpture, is We Are What We Read and it is by Louse Malone.  The pedestal is 3 books.


The face grows out of a list of the titles.  Books typed one after another with no separating punctuation on the pages on either side of the face and continuing over the face.  Under his nose it says  The Mapmakers Wife The Art of Cooking Inventing the Landscape….


That evening I went out for what turned out to be my final Sunset looking from the ocean back over the campground.



These two are my favorite pictures and I was unable to choose which to use so….





The waning moon rose over  the setting sun.  Nature is amazing.


On Sunday I finally got to kayak Egan Creek which borders the state park.  The put in is at a city park just down the road from the state park entrance.  It is not kayak friendly.  And I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the narrow steeply pitched ramp down to the dock.  I had to get out my kayak wheels to get it down there and then it was hard to get it in the water since the dock itself was so narrow.

The creek is wild on the park side but the left hand side is just one house and dock after the other.  The good thing about that is there were so many water birds perched on the piers and the roofs.


It’s been nearly a year since I have seen all these common Florida water birds.

Like this Little Egret.  Or is he a Snowy Egret?  I can’t see if he has golden slippers.



You can see I’m here slightly after low tide and all the sharp shells are sticking out of the water.


Boy did this Kingfisher give me a look.  I was quite a distance from him as they are very skittish so I don’t know if he was showing his disapproval of me or something else.


He then showed me his great profile.  That is some saber bill.


The American White Ibis is easily recognizable with his long curved bill.  Like a few of the birds, he was fishing not perched.

These two Black Crowned Night Herons don’t look like the same bird.  One with his neck extended and the other not.


The Black Crowned has a distinctive red eye.


The docks were one after the other lining the creek bank.  Here with a a group of Cormorants on the poles.  


I think the cormorants have the best of all worlds.  They have webbed feet to swim and wings to fly.


I turned down a couple of side channels to get away from all the houses and be surrounded by the wetlands but the tidal creek wasn’t rising fast enough so I ran out of water once I got part way back.  Still this was the nicest paddling of the day.


Who doesn’t love Pelicans?  When they fly, they look like pterodactyls to me.

Is he trying to keep his other foot warm??

Amazing that such a large bird can hunkier down on a dock pole.

My favorite Great Blue picture of the day.

Not sure what the gathering is all about.


The mouth of Egan Creek where it flows into the St Mary’s River is marked by this bridge and the much larger boats along its shore.



I’m assuming that’s Cumberland Island Georgia over there but I wasn’t up to paddling across to find out for sure though this is one of the closest places to do that.


But my zoom lens allowed me to get a closer shot of the beach.


This not so lovely factory or whatever was on the Florida side of the River filling the sky with who knows what.


I paddled back up the creek and was concerned about getting myself out of the boat given there was no pull up dock.  You have to hoist yourself up from your boat sitting alongside in the water.  I managed not so gracefully and also managed to get the boat out of the water on the too short dock.  Not sure what sort of short boats if any can actually use it.  Really should have taken some pictures to remind me how difficult it was but I was too focused on getting me and the boat out of the water and the kayak back to the car.

Lucky again for me, after watching me struggle getting out, a man volunteered himself and his son to carry my 45 pound kayak up the ramp and all the way out to my car saving me the trouble of getting my wheels and strapping the kayak on to them.    I thought I took pictures of them but I sure can’t find them.

IMG_9864Back home, I decided to install the new braces for the clothes rack that after nearly 20 years had finally cracked and the rod had fallen down.  Pretty sure there was a picture of all the clothes on the bottom of the closet in my last post. 

Unfortunately for me, the holes in the new brace and the ones for the old one didn’t line up and I couldn’t find a drill in my bins.  But I was rescued again by a very nice campground volunteer with a lithium ion battery drill and a ratchet screwdriver.  I was positive I took a picture of him making short work of it but I’ve searched to no avail.

Later, I took one last trip to the beach before moving on south tomorrow to St Augustine.   I have two more beach front parks to visit, each for 2 weeks,  before I move inland so there will be more ocean pictures coming up.


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Hope you are keeping warm wherever you are. 

This has been an unusually cold November along the southeast even in Florida.