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Harris Teeter has Amelia Island Discounts

Harris Teeter has Amelia Island DiscountsAmelia Island, FL – In 2015, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (CVB) is partnering for the sixth consecutive year with Harris Teeter Supermarkets to offer a vacation giveaway and special discounts to the grocery chain’s customers. From January through March, subscribers to Harris Teeter’s e-VIC program (Very Important Customer) are entered to win a six-night vacation for a family of four to northeast Florida’s Amelia Island, valued at $5,836. The company’s current e-VIC subscribers and customers who sign up for the personalized weekly email program by March 31 will be entered into the “Amelia Island Dream Vacation Sweepstakes.”

The vacation package will include accommodations for a family of four at the oceanfront Summer Beach Resort on Amelia Island, a round of golf for four at Golf Club of Amelia Island, a trip with Kayak Amelia, tickets for the Amelia River Cruises, a private horse-carriage ride through downtown Fernandina Beach with Old Towne Carriage Company, and admission to the Amelia Island Museum of History. The winner will also receive gift certificates to Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro, Crab Trap, BarZin Bistro and Wine Bar, and The Surf Bar and Restaurant, a $100 American Express gift card for additional dining, and $1,000 for travel expenses.

In April 2015, Amelia Island will announce special discount offers available to customers with a Harris Teeter VIC card. Consumers will be able to use their VIC card to get special discounts at various lodging properties, attractions and retail outlets on Amelia Island.

For more information about the Amelia Island Dream Vacation Sweepstakes, contest rules or to subscribe to e-VIC, please visit www.harristeeter.com.

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Amelia Island Blitzing Football Fans for 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl

Amelia Island Blitzing Football Fans for 2015 TaxSlayer BowlAmelia Island, FL – Northeast Florida’s Amelia Island is preparing for the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl, which is scheduled for January 2, 2015 at Jacksonville EverBank Field. Football fans from around the country will gather to watch the Tennessee Volunteers face-off with the Iowa Hawkeyes in an exciting football showdown. With breathtaking natural beauty, world-class resorts, delectable dining and more. Located just 45 minutes from the stadium, Amelia Island is the perfect game day home base for players and fans of the TaxSlayer Bowl.

This year, the Iowa Hawkeyes are staying at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in preparation for the big game, and Amelia Island is rolling out an assortment of special deals and packages for visiting fans.

As an added bonus, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving one lucky fan a four-day, three-night trip to enjoy the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl. The trip includes two tickets to the TaxSlayer Bowl, accommodations at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, two passes to the TaxSlayer Bowl Touchdown Party, and a $500 travel voucher (in the form of an American Express or Visa gift card). To enter for a chance to win the trip, visit taxslayerbowlgetaway.com.

Several of the island’s award-winning resorts and hotels are offering discounted specials and packages for the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Offers are listed below:

Amelia by the Sea
TaxSlayer Bowl guests can enjoy a 20 percent discount when staying at Amelia by the Sea. The guest must mention the TaxSlayer Bowl discount when calling to make reservations.
800-335-0984, ameliabythesearentals.com

Amelia Hotel at the Beach
At Amelia Hotel at the Beach, guests for the TaxSlayer Bowl can enjoy rates starting at $99 per night, which include the hotel’s standard amenities, such as Hot & Healthy Breakfast buffet, a wet bar, microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker with Starbucks coffee, HBO and Wi-Fi. The Rate Code with this special is “GATR”.
877-263-5428, ameliahotel.com

Amelia Island Hampton Inn at the Beach
The Amelia Hampton Inn at the Beach is offering a TaxSlayer Bowl Staycation with two options. Fans can reserve two nights (Dec. 31 through Jan. 2) starting at $109 per night (plus tax), or four nights (Dec. 31 through Jan. 4), with rates starting at $99 per night. Both packages include complimentary breakfast buffet each morning. Reservations must be made by calling the property directly.
904-321-1111, ameliaislandhamptoninn.com

Days Inn and Suites Amelia Island
With the Days Inn and Suites Amelia Island TaxSlayer Tailgate Package, guests can arrive to a room prepped with tailgating essentials, including a six pack of Bud Light, plastic cups and a $25 Publix Gift Card. The package also includes two vouchers for Bloody Marys at the hotel’s Seabreeze Lounge, and complimentary late checkout for the morning following your game day celebrations. To book the TaxSlayer Tailgate Package, call the Days Inn and Suites Amelia Island directly.
904-277-2300, ameliaislandbeachhotel.com

Elizabeth Pointe Lodge
The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is offering a TaxSlayer Bowl Package for Vols and Hawkeyes fans. Starting at $540, the package includes a two-night stay, and choice of a complimentary night of ribs and beer for two (one serving per person) or Sunday Brunch for two. The package is available for stays between January 2 and 4, and is only available by calling the property direct. Guests much mention the TaxSlayer Bowl when booking.
904-277-4851, elizabethpointelodge.com

ERA Fernandina Beach Realty
ERA Fernandina Beach Realty is offering special discounted rates for TaxSlayer Bowl. Guests staying with Fernandina Beach Realty for three nights will receive the fourth night free and a 10 percent discount. The offer is subject to availability.
800-741-4011, ameliavacations.com

Fairbanks House
Fairbanks House is offering a fourth night free to fans who check in December 29, 30 or 31. Rates start at $185 per night for two and include daily two-course breakfasts, plus evening adult beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Fairbanks House offers two, two-bedroom units for those traveling with friends. Use code GATOR15 on your online reservation for the free night.
888-891-9882, fairbankshouse.com

Omni Amelia Island Plantation
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering a special rate for guests ringing in the New Year with a trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl. Located only 30 minutes from EverBank Field, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers luxurious resort accommodations featuring first class amenities and activities. Use promo code “football” for a 15 percent discount off the best available rate.
904-261-6161, omniameliaislandplantation.com

Residence Inn, Amelia Island
The Residence Inn Amelia Island is offering an incentive for guests to celebrate New Year’s Day and the TaxSlayer Bowl with them. The hotel is providing guests with chilled champagne splits and party favors upon arrival, a complimentary welcome reception, and special TaxSlayer Bowl rates discounted 10 percent. Guests will enjoy a spacious suite featuring full kitchen, dining area, and separate sleeping and living areas; a full hot complimentary breakfast with new iced coffee bar; and cozy firepit out on Tides Terrace. The promotion applies to stays between December 30 and January 2. Visit bit.ly/taxslayerbowl to book your stay or call 866-245-6099 and mention booking code SPO.
866-245-6099, residenceinnameliaisland.com

Summer Beach Resort
Summer Beach Resort offers a variety of private, oceanfront accommodations, including villas, townhomes, and luxury condominiums. For the TaxSlayer Bowl, guests at the resort can pay for two nights and get a third night free in select two-bedroom units.
800-862-9297, summerbeach.com

The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation
Fans of Tennessee and Iowa can enjoy a 15 percent discount on their stay at The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation. The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation offers luxurious resort accommodations featuring first class amenities and activities. Guests can use promo code “football” to enjoy 15 percent off the best available rate.
904-261-6161, villasofameliaisland.com

Several of the island’s other hotels and resorts still have availability for the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl. Visit www.ameliaisland.com/accommodations for a full list of accommodations.

All packages and special offers are based on availability. Restrictions apply based on individual property. Please contact individual properties for restrictions and to book a package.

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Amelia Island Visitors Make Half-Billion Dollar Impact

Amelia Island Visitors Make Half-Billion Dollar Impact
Amelia Island visitors make half-billion dollar economic impact in 2014.

Amelia Island, FL – The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (TDC) is reporting double-digit increases and new record high numbers for guests visiting the destination in fiscal year 2014. From October 2013 through September 2014, Amelia Island welcomed nearly 570,000 visitors, a 12.4 percent increase over 2013. The resulting economic impact of $504,673,000 is a 19.5 percent increase from the previous year. Direct spending on lodging, dining, sightseeing and other tourist activities also increased to $383,577,600, a 19.5 percent increase.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work and many favorable conditions, it’s been another great year for tourism on Amelia Island,” said Gil Langley, Managing Director of the Amelia Island TDC. “This marks the fourth consecutive year of tourism growth for Amelia, which continues to develop as one of the top island destinations in North America.”

The TDC recently released results of its 2014 Visitor Profile conducted by Research Data Services, Inc. The report showed increases in occupancy (6.3 percent), Average Daily Rate (6 percent) and Revenue per Available Room (12.6 percent) over 2013.

According to the report, the majority of visitors to Amelia Island originate in the southeastern United States and Florida, with continued growth from the northeast and Midwestern states. Most notably, foreign visitation was up by 26.9 percent in 2014, with nearly 24,000 international overnight guests.

The 2014 Visitor Profile also shows an average length of stay at 4.4 nights, with approximately 2.8 people in each party. More than 55 percent of visitors were vacationing on Amelia Island for the first time and 98 percent of all visitors were satisfied with their experience at the destination.

According to Langley, the island’s lodging partners generated more than $112 million in taxable revenue last fiscal year. Generating more than 38 percent of the total sales tax collections in Nassau County, tourism is a critical component to the economic vitality of the destination.

One in four jobs in Nassau County are supported by the tourism industry, with the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island being the two largest private sector employers in the county. Recent expansions and job opportunities at the two resorts have helped lower the county’s unemployment rate to 5 percent, which is lower than the state average of 6 percent, Langley added.

Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

About Amelia Island
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Its long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife and pristine waters have made the island a favorite destination for outdoor adventure. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries.

Forget the everyday getaway; Come make memories on Amelia Island. For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Amelia Island Spreads Holiday Cheer with Seasonal Savings

Amelia Island Spreads Holiday Cheer with Seasonal SavingsAMELIA ISLAND, FL – Amelia Island is spreading holiday cheer with the announcement of new seasonal discounts and special holiday packages from nine of the island’s award-winning hotels, inns and resorts. Cherished year-round for its small beach town vibe, natural beauty, outstanding dining, and exciting outdoor activities, Amelia is also a popular holiday getaway, with numerous special events and happenings, all of which are listed online at www.ameliaisland.com/events.

Amelia Island’s new holiday packages and offers include the following:

The 14-room Addison on Amelia is offering visitors a Winter Escape discount of 25 percent, with rooms starting as low as $146.25 (plus tax) after the discount. Valid on room reservations for two or more nights, the Winter Escape discount is valid on reservations between January 5 and February 12, 2015. Stays include the Addison’s mouthwatering breakfast and entertaining Happy Hour each day. For more information or to book your stay, visit AddisonOnAmelia.com or call 904-277-1604.

The Amelia Hampton Inn at the Beach is offering a Christmas at the Beach package that includes a $50 restaurant gift certificate to 29 South in historic Fernandina Beach and a special Amelia Island Christmas ornament. The one-night stay starts at $154 (plus tax) and the two-night stay starts at $299 (plus tax). To book the package, visit ameliaislandhamptoninn.com or call 904-321-1111.

The Amelia Island Williams House is offering two packages this holiday season. The Thanksgiving Holiday Getaway starts at $545 and features a two-night stay (checking in on November 26), delicious two-course breakfast each morning, wine and hors d’oeuvres each evening and reservations at the upscale David’s Restaurant in the historic district on Thanksgiving Day. The inn is also offering to schedule horse-drawn carriage tours of historic downtown on Thanksgiving Day for interested guests. Starting at $845, the 2014 Christmas Getaway includes a three-night stay (checking in on December 23) in a holiday decorated room, breakfast each morning, reception each evening, dinner at David’s Restaurant and horse drawn carriage tours through downtown. On Christmas day, the inn will offer a special breakfast in the dining room and afternoon tea and snacks for lunch. Guests can extend their stay with both packages at a discounted rate. For more information or to book, visit williamshouse.com or call 904-277-2328.

Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is offering a Christmas at the Pointe Package, which includes a minimum three-night stay, $100 gift certificate to David’s Restaurant in downtown Fernandina Beach, a basket of holiday goodies and treats, bottle of champagne, cheese and fruit platter and special gift. The package costs $250 plus the cost of the room. To book the package, visit elizabethpointelodge.com or call 800-772-3359.

The Hoyt House is offering a BOGO special on Sunday through Thursday stays. Guests staying one night will receive the second night at 50 percent off. The offer is valid through December 20 and blackout dates apply. For details, visit hoythouse.com or call 904-277-4300.

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering three packages this holiday season. The Winter Wonderland Package starts at $259 and includes luxurious accommodations, daily breakfast, valet parking, a welcome amenity, milk and Christmas cookie turndown and unlimited access to Santa’s Workshop. The Passport Package includes a number of discounts throughout the resort, including a 20 percent discount off an entree at Verandah, 25 percent discount on a round of golf, and 50 percent discount on an Island Hopper rental, tennis clinic and Camp Amelia. The package also includes two complimentary rounds at Heron’s Cove Adventure Golf, $10 gift certificate to Marche Burette Deli and Market and a $99 Swedish Massage. The Birdies and Bliss package includes accommodations and choice of round of golf or a relaxing massage or facial at The Spa per night. For additional information about the resort’s packages, please visit omniameliaislandplantation.com or call 904-261-6161.

The Residence Inn Amelia Island invites guests to sneak in one last relaxing getaway before the holidays arrive. The You’re Gonna Love This offer includes a $25 Dining Voucher to one of three favorite restaurants on island. Guests can choose from a voucher to Brett’s Waterway Café in charming historic downtown Fernandina, the sizzling seafood and tapas at La Mancha near the beach, and fun People Laughing and Eating (PLAE) toward the south end of the island. Rooms start at $119 and include complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as easy access to Amelia Island’s untouched natural treasures and colorful holiday events. Book online here or call 866-245-6099. Make sure to use promo code W21.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island offers a Holiday Lights Bed & Breakfast package that includes a coastal view room with a spectacular view of the resort’s sparkling 40-foot Christmas Tree and holiday lights from a private balcony. The package also includes breakfast for two in Café 4750 and complimentary valet parking. Valid November 26 through December 30, the package starts at $269 per night. For reservations, visit ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland or call 800-241-3333.
Seaside Amelia Inn is offering a special Thanksgiving Holiday Getaay package starting at just $914. The package includes a three-night stay at Seaside Amelia Inn, dinner at the AAA five diamond restaurant Salt, daily southern home-style breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi. Advance reservations are required. Visit seasideameliainn.com or call 904-206-5300 to book your stay.

*All packages are based on availability. Restrictions and blackout dates apply. Packages cannot be combined with any other discount. Contact individual properties for restrictions and to book a package.

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Winter on Amelia Island with These Resort Offerings

Winter on Amelia Island with These Resort OfferingsFernandina Beach, FL – As the weather turns cooler and winter approaches, Amelia Island is celebrating the change of seasons with some exciting changes of her own. From new resort offerings and talented chefs to exciting attraction happenings, the destination features an array of exciting opportunities for visitors this winter.

Here are some of the new and noteworthy items for visitors to enjoy this fall and winter season:

Accommodation News

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island has started offering three unique Himalayan Salt Crystal Therapies. The 100-minute Detoxification Bath and Massage starts at $335 and features a bath of healing salts and Asian herbs, which removes toxins, followed by salt exfoliation and massage with specialty products. Also for $335, the 100-minute Healing and Propolis Body Treatment provides a salt exfoliation, honey mask, Vichy shower, and Himalayan shea butter massage, including paraffin for hands and feet. With 50- and 80-minute options, the Salt Crystal Massage features hand-carved salt crystal stones used to balance the body’s electromagnetic field and central nervous system.
For more information, visit ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.

The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation partnered with The Biggest Loser Resort to offer a new world-class fitness and wellness opportunity on Amelia Island. The Biggest Loser Resort at The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation opened on October 18 and features a results-oriented program designed to encourage and empower guests to reach their lifestyle goals. The comprehensive program provides a balanced plan that inspires and educates guests regarding lifestyle changes while also offering tools to sustain a healthy diet and maintain a realistic workout regimen post-camp.
For more information, please visit biggestloserresort.com.

salty-pelican

Restaurant News

David’s Restaurant has once again been honored with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014. Additionally, the upscale restaurant has added several new specials, such as Monday Madness Surf & Turf for $29.95 and Wednesday’s Lobster Feast, featuring a 1 1/4 lb lobster, potatoes, seasonal vegetables & drawn butter, for $29.95. Sunday through Thursday, David’s features a Happy Hour from 5 to 7 p.m. with half off appetizers and cocktails.
For more information, visit ameliaislanddavids.com or call 904-310-6049 for more information and reservations.

Located on the South end of the island, the former Gourmet Gourmet café has a new name and a new chef. GG’s Bistro has acquired executive Chef, Ace French, renown as the former proprietor and chef at Two Dudes in Atlantic Beach. In addition, the casual but elegant bistro is offering a new, all-day menu with many healthy options including two to three fresh local catches each day, prepared grilled, pan fried or blackened. They also now feature Seminole Pride All Florida Ribeyes and Prime Rib daily.
For additional details, visit ggbistro.com.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island has named Chef Andrew Yeo as Executive Chef, bringing the resort an acclaimed culinary artist celebrated for his creative cuisine and food artistry. Chef Yeo will lead the culinary inspirations throughout the resort’s lounges, banquet events, and restaurants including the AAA Five-Diamond restaurant, Salt. Additionally, Salt is featuring new items on its autumn menu including Butternut Squash Soup, Tuna Tartare, Tasmanian Salmon and Orange Grand Marnier Soufflé. Café 4750, a farm-to-table restaurant at the resort, is also offering a new autumn menu, featuring local seafood chowder, roasted vegetable pita, salmon BLT and a freshly-made vegetable burger.
Visit ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland for more information.

Located in historic downtown, Salty Pelican has launched their new winter menu. The menu features fresh items including homemade soups and chili, Wisconsin cheddar/bacon cheese curds, and beer braised short ribs.
For more information, visit thesaltypelicanamelia.com.

Attraction News

Two exciting tours have launched in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island Tasting Tours is offering two options for guests interested in experiencing Amelia Island through a unique, culinary journey. The three-hour Downtown Tasting Tour will visit four to five local restaurants, with owners and chefs personally presenting delicious creations. The two-hour Mixology Tour, often described as an “on-the-go cocktail party,” takes guests to four popular watering holes, allowing them to meet fun and creative mixologists who share stories about the bar’s history as well as the art of mixing cocktails. Both tours take place on Thursdays.
Visit ameliaislandtastingtours.com for details and to purchase tickets.

Founded in 2000, Amelia River Cruises is turning 15 in the coming year. Accordingly, the attraction is celebrating birthdays in style for all of 2015. Guests will receive a free cruise on their birthday in 2015. For those lucky enough to have a birthday in the remaining portion of 2014, they are also eligible for a free cruise this year.
For more information, please visit ameliarivercruises.com.

In September, the American Beach Museum opened to offer visitors a peak into the unique history of American Beach, an oceanfront haven for African Americans during the Jim Crow-era of segregation. The museum features photographs and a filmed tour of the beach by the MaVynee Betsch, also known as Beach Lady, an advocate for the area and environmental issues. The museum is located inside the American Beach Community Center and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sundays from 1p.m. to 5 p.m.

Guests booking a fishing trip with The Anglers Mark, LLC in December 2014 or February 2015 will receive a complimentary Fly Casting Lesson. A $100 value and good for up to three people, the Fly Casting Lesson will be provided by Capt. Lawrence Piper, a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and fishing guide on Amelia Island.
For additional information about The Anglers Mark, visit theanglersmark.com.

Amelia Angler is running a special, three-hour backwater redfish charter in November and December. For $300, two passengers can experience the exciting trip, and Amelia Angler will supply fishing tackle, licenses, cooler/ice and fish cleaning.
For more information or to book a charter, please visit ameliaangler.com.

Flying Fish Adventures on Amelia Island is now offering a Wednesday guided tour on jet skis from Fernandina Beach to Ft. George Inlet and back. The clear water and white sand beaches at Ft. George Inlet are spectacular at this time of year. The three-hour tours depart every Wednesday from the downtown Fernandina Beach Marina and lunch is provided. Guests can enjoy the beauty of the backcountry waters, birds, and other wildlife on this guided jet ski tour.
For more information or to book a tour, please visit flyingfishfun.com or call 904-310-5999.

EcoMotion Tours is offering a Sea Island Cotton Plantation and Nature Tour at Kingsley Plantation. Historic Kingsley Plantation features many original structures, including the remains of slave cabins, hand-made from oyster shells taken from pre-historic Indian shell mounds. Guests have the unique opportunity to explore this waterfront site with local experts. Tours can be arranged for groups of four or more, at $25 per person.
For information, contact EcoMotion Tours at 904-251-9477 or visit EcomotionTours.com.

Located in Yulee, White Oak is a new home for six, young South African white rhinos. The 7,400-acre conservation facility, is working to assist in strengthening the population of the white rhinos living in North America. Conservation experiences are available at White Oak for individuals and groups.
For more information, please visit whiteoakwildlife.org or call 904-225-3396.

Awards and Accolades

Amelia Island is ranked #13 in LINKS Magazine’s “Top 25 Islands for Golf” listing and the Ocean Course was ranked as the best course on the Island.
The Amelia Island CVB was recognized by Smart Meetings with the 2014 Platinum Choice Award. This prestigious award recognizes the “best of the best,” with only 140 hotels and 52 convention and visitors bureaus, or destination marketing companies, chosen across the country. The nominees were voted on by meeting professionals, the Smart Meetings editorial team and readers.
The Harbor Front Hampton Inn and Suites-Amelia Island was recently awarded its fifth consecutive “outstanding” designation for Hilton Hotel’s Quality Assessment, the hotel chain’s highest award for cleanliness, service, and guest satisfaction. The assessments are conducted semi-annually; thus the 122-room historic downtown property has achieved the classification for the past 2 ½ years.
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation was recently selected #5 in 10best.com’s “Best 10 Hotels in Jacksonville” ranking. The resort was also awarded the 2014 Gold Key Award by Meetings and Conventions magazine.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island was recently awarded the Gold Tee Award by Meetings and Conventions magazine.
The Salty Pelican won “Best Restaurant on Amelia Island” and “Best Neighborhood Bar” from Folio Weekly.

-Amelia Island Convention & Visitors’ Bureau-

About Amelia Island

Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; Come make memories on Amelia Island.
For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Avoid Contracting Diseases While Traveling

travel-health1Local Wallace Pierson Travel professionals not only send clients to all parts of  the world on a daily basis, but  between themselves they travel quite frequently to the outskirts of our planet. For example founder/co-owner Ange Wallace just returned from India and is leaving this week for Churchill, Manitoba and the Polar Bears;  Lynann Mullis just returned from Scotland,  Dawn Dixon just left for Ireland,  co-owner Angela Wallace Pierson leaves shortly for Italy and Tracy Lynch leaves for a cruise aboard Oceania when Angela returns.

With the worldwide Ebola scare, but also just the flu season starting here are some practical tips from Ange Wallace you may want to take to heart when traveling.

Staying tuned to all things regarding Ebola – by Ange Wallace

Much like the SARS situation a few years back, precautions have to be taken.  Each traveler will have to weigh the information available and measure that against their own comfort level and the strength of their desire or necessity to travel.  We believe our role as travel professionals today is first and foremost to educate and advise savvy travelers and this includes the challenges (there will always be some) as well as the joys of traveling.  I will list out some of the websites we have been watching.  While the news is covering this over every inch of information and misinformation available, facts are not always easy to isolate from the emotions that are in play.

Much like the aftermath of 911, it will take us a little time to assimilate this new risk into the list of risks we live with daily.  Ebola is much harder to contract than the flu and we have assimilated that risk pretty well.  We must learn and practice the reasonable precautions necessary to avoid being exposed wherever we are.  We must support the continued effort to find both cures and vaccines to effectively deal with this new health threat.

In our office, which is like family, we have always shared the tricks we learn on the road to stay healthy while traveling.  There is really nothing new but let me share a few:
1)      Before long flights and rigorous trips, we take either Airborne or Emergen-C (or alternate between the two)for a couple of days before and occasionally while traveling and, definitely, immediately if we feel “something coming on” just to strengthen our immune system.  There are other such products available, these are just the ones we tend to use.
2)       During the flight, we have a little bottle of Eucalyptus Oil we carry in a freezer Ziploc with a cotton ball.  We dampen the cotton ball in the bag and sniff several times during the flight, or on the cruise, to kill off virus/bacteria trying to enter the upper respiratory tract.  (The little Listerine wafers are also good for this but mostly just in the throat.)
3)      We use Clorox (or any brand) sanitizing wipes on all the surfaces we are likely to touch on the plane (arm rests, tray tables, seat belt buckles etc) and use hand sanitizer (We prefer the wipes to the gels but either will work.)   Don’t wait for the cruise line or resort to provide hand sanitizer opportunities, though many do.  We have to take responsibility for ourselves!
4)      Wipe down items like the remote control in your hotel room and the phone, door knobs etc.  Wipe down your luggage, pocketbook, etc frequently or spray with Lysol. Seems like overkill, but my daughter traveling with babies and toddlers taught me this and they never get sick traveling!
5)      Learn to refrain from touching, handshaking, hugging, etc new friends or helpful people along your route.  It is better for them too. A great smile and gentle explanation if necessary make good substitutes.
6)      Eyes, ears and nose wide open when entering public restrooms.  If you perceive anyone is having or has had physical problems back out and report it to the nearest airport worker or airline attendant etc.  It is like reporting unattended baggage now.
7)      When at meetings or industry events don’t leave your glass and assume you will find the right one on returning.  Avoid dips, nuts or loose items in bowls even with a spoon-someone else might not use it.
Overall, just be awake and aware, use common sense, and don’t wait for someone else to take care of you.  That is our own very important responsibility, each and every one of us!

These are just some of the things we are thinking and doing.  We would love to hear from you if you have some more great tips to share with fellow travelers because SARS, Ebola, Flu- there will always be something out there to raise our concern and require our attention!!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your travels or any other travel related issue, we would love to hear from you!

PS We all travel with Travelex trip insurance, at very least getting their “0” band option.  Angela and I also have a membership with Medjet Assist.  Both companies will be available to answer your questions at our Test Drive The World Luxury Travel Show, Sat., Nov 8, from 1:00 to 4:00pm.  RSVP by emailing ange@wallacepierson.com or call 904 261-5914.  There is a $15 per person admission, which in its entirety is a donation to The Boys and Girls Cluster of Nassau County Foundation, a 501c3 organization.

Links 

– Ebola & West Africa: The Facts

– Travel Notices & Additional Info Related to Travel from the CDC

– 
Latest Ebola Report from the CDC

What You Need to Know about Ebola from the CDC

– 
The White House Blog

Wallace Pierson Travel Promotes Fundraiser for Boys & Girls Club

SONY DSC

Lively Luxury Travel Show

Wallace Pierson Travel, the Virtuoso Travel Advisors on Amelia Island, have organized a Luxury Travel Show at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island for the past 5 years, the admission proceeds of which are in its entirety donated to the causes of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation.

This year’s show which will be held on Saturday November 8, comes with a slight twist as Wallace Pierson Travel has organized a PRE-SHOW RAFFLE of five hundred $10 tickets, that not only serve as show admission, but also makes purchaser eligible to win One of Two One Night Stays at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island for the night of the show on November 8, 2014

For details check out below flyer and call Wallace Pierson Travel to buy one or more Raffle Tickets. (904) 261 5914.

Searchamelia Boys and Girls

 

Enjoy Special Offers this Fall on Amelia Island

Enjoy Special Offers this Fall on Amelia IslandAmelia Island, FL – This fall, enjoy Amelia Island’s numerous outdoor excursions, value season rates, upscale spas, dinners out, and more as you explore one of the top-rated U.S. islands along Florida’s Northeast coast.

The following offers are currently available:
-At Amelia Hampton Inn at the Beach, receive a $99 rate (plus tax) per night for Sunday through Thursday stays from Aug. to Nov. 2014.

-Make your reservations at Summer Beach Resort with special stay two nights, get one free offers.

-The Williams House, The Blue Heron, and The Hoyt House are offering a special Sleep-Around-Amelia package, where guests enjoy three different luxurious bed & breakfast establishments for one night each. The package is available Sunday-Thursday through Nov. 1st. The three-night stay, priced at $567, includes early check-in at each location, a cheese and fruit platter at the Williams House, chocolate-covered strawberries from The Hoyt House and champagne from The Blue Heron. To confirm the accommodations, guests simply contact one inn and the rest is taken care of.

-Stay in a two-bedroom unit at Ketch Courtyard at a rate of $165 a night or in a three-bedroom/three-bath condo for just $180 per from Sept. 15 to April 1, 2015.

-The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering an Amelia Afterglow package through October 31. The package offers a $400 resort credit for stays of four or more nights, allowing guests to experience s’mores by beach bonfire, sunset kayak excursions, family scavenger hunts, Camp Amelia, Dive-In Movies, Heron’s Cove Adventure Golf and more. Rates start at $359 per night.

-With the September Step into Fall package at the Amelia Island Williams House, guests receive admission for two on a Sunset River Cruise or a private carriage tour of the historic district. Room rates start at $205 per night and also include a two-course breakfast each morning and complimentary social hour with wine and appetizers each evening. When booking online, use SR for the River Cruise or CT for the Carriage Tour options. In addition, the B&B is also tempting travelers to enjoy the special festivals, which take place on island each Fall with the October Fall Getaway package (online booking code: OFG), starting at $205 per night. Each two-night stay includes a dinner certificate ($60 value) to either España, Le Clos or David’s Restaurant, breakfast each morning and social hour each evening. Guests have the option to extend their stay an extra night for a $100 rate.

-Beginning Nov. 1, couples can enjoy the Romance and Honeymoon packages at the Fairbanks House, featuring accommodations in king-bedded large rooms and suites and cottages with Jacuzzi tubs. Packages range from two to seven night stays with rates starting at $435 per couple through January 2015 and may include a variety of amenities, such as daily gourmet breakfast, evening social hour, chocolate-covered strawberries and dinners at area fine-dining restaurants.

-Valid through Dec. 31, visitors can escape to the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island with the Rejuvenate You spa package. Guests can enjoy coastal lunch for two before entering the luxurious spa for an indulgent 60-minute signature treatment. After the treatment, visitors are invited to enjoy the private, adult-only, saltwater pool and spa facilities. This two-night package begins at $479 per night.

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2014 Georgia vs Florida Rates on Amelia Island

Georgia vs Florida Rates on Amelia IslandGet Your Game On with Special Rates and Offers on Amelia Island During the Georgia vs. Florida Football Weekend

Amelia Island, FL – On Saturday, November 1, the University of Georgia Bulldogs and University of Florida Gators will hold their annual rivalry game at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. Football fans from both teams will enjoy Amelia Island’s all-star line-up of special offers, discounts and a chance to win a three-day vacation. Located 45 minutes from downtown Jacksonville, Amelia Island is home to several award-winning hotels, resorts, and inns offering discounted packages. Gator and Bulldog fans can turn a game day trip into a weekend getaway or enjoy watching the game from the comfort of their hotel room or favorite sports bar.

Amelia is also running the “Gridiron Getaway” contest in which one lucky fan will win a three-day, two-night stay at Omni Amelia Island Plantation and two tickets to the Florida vs. Georgia football game on November 1 as well as round-trip transportation to the game. To enter the contest, visit www.floridageorgiaweekend.com.

The following packages and specials are available:
-Stay at the Amelia Hotel at the Beach with a special starting rate of $149 and enjoy a Manager’s Reception on Friday evening (Oct. 31). Sunday’s breakfast for guests will also include $4 mimosas and Bloody Marys. ameliahotel.com

-Amelia Rental and Management Services is offering a 10 percent discount on stays of three or more nights at their popular rental properties located on Amelia Island Plantation, Summer Beach Resort and Surf & Racquet Club, during the Georgia vs. Florida Football Weekend. ameliarentals.com

-The 11-room Amelia Island Williams House is providing Gator and Bulldog fans with a 15 percent discount. Guests can enjoy the inn’s daily breakfast and evening social. williamshouse.com

-ERA Fernandina Beach Realty Vacation Rentals, along with Amelia by the Sea, Oceans of Amelia and Amelia South, is featuring a 15 percent discount for the Georgia vs. Florida Weekend. The discount will apply to stays between October 29 and November 1 on select properties for reservations made on or after August 18. Ameliavacations.com

-The Hampton Inn at the Beach is offering a special $1 rate for Sunday, November 2 for guests who stay Friday and Saturday night. Rates start at $159 plus tax, for Friday and Saturday nights and include complimentary breakfast each day. Offer is only available by calling the hotel directly at 904-321-1111. ameliaislandhamptoninn.com

-The Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Fernandina Beach is featuring guests a festive Bulldog and Gator welcome reception on Friday, Oct. 31. The reception, held from 4 to 7 p.m., will feature complimentary beer and wine, as well as an assortment of food and game day paraphernalia. hamptoninnameliaisland.com

-The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering fans of both teams a special overnight package, including luxurious accommodations, transportation to and from the Georgia vs. Florida game, tickets to the property’s Georgia vs. Florida Bash, and arrival amenity with tasty treats representing each state. The property will also be offering a number of special events during the weekend, including a pumped up bash on Friday night, spa services tailored to devoted fans, and a special sale at The Shops. omniameliaislandplantation.com

-The Residence Inn Amelia Island is gearing up for the return of one of the biggest college football rivalries with rates starting at $159 per night. Guests will receive all the Florida and Georgia fan party favors they can handle, an invitation to a Kickoff Cookout on Friday night, as well as the hotel’s full, hot complimentary breakfast, free island shuttle, evening socials, and more. Must visit http://bit.ly/1lRXTGV or call 866-245-6099 to book. residenceinnameliaisland.com

In addition to the packages, guests can celebrate before the big game by participating in the Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s Florida-Georgia Bash. Taking place on Friday, Oct. 31 from 7 to 11 p.m., the event will feature live music from the Swingin’ Medallions, costume contests, food, drinks and more. Please visit www.flgabash.com for more information.

About Amelia Island:
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Consistently ranked in the top 10 North American Islands by the readers on Conde Nast Traveler, Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts.

The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; Come make memories on Amelia Island. For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Luxury Travel Advisors Exchange Travel News in Las Vegas

indochinaWallace Pierson Travel, the leading (and only) Virtuoso Luxury Travel Advisor on Amelia Island, is once again heading for Las Vegas, where during the annual Virtuoso Travel Week (August 8-15), they will operate business from the Bellagio Resort in Sin City.

Formerly known as The Travel Agency, Wallace Pierson Travel has been attending this famous Travel Exchange show since Virtuoso started the tradition more than a decade ago. As a member of an elite group of luxury travel advisors, Ange Wallace, Angela Pierson, Lynann Mullis, Tracy Lynch, Debbie Kellogg, Dawn Dixon and Mike Dionne will be at the top of their game while learning the latest cutting edge travel information, shopping for your next great travel project, and making the relationships that give them the ability to craft unique travel experiences for you around the world or right here in North America.  For existing and new clients they will be available by cell phone and email but somewhat limited.  “Feel free to call me on my cell at 904 753 4615 or email myself or your advisor,” says Ange Wallace, founder and co-owner of the agency that opened its doors on Amelia Island exactly 40 years ago.

Following is a sneak preview of the rigorous schedule and the scope of this one week ‘trip around the world’. There will be 2,118 advisors and agency owners, and over 1,888 travel suppliers including CEO’s, owners and hotel General Managers. Click on this You Tube link to get a feel for what they experience  in that week!

To give you an idea of a typical week for them at this event, Ange gave us the highlight points of her week planner, noting that each of her ladies attending will have a similar, rigorous schedule!

Arrival is on Friday the 8th and the whole team will have dinner with her at Mon Ami Gabi across the street from the Bellagio, a happy tradition that has developed over the years and a great way to catch the travel mood and build energy for what’s to come.

Saturday, from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM they will all participate in the VAST Globetrotting Training. VAST stands for Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel.  During this time they meet for about 10 minutes with all of the Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel suppliers such as Lindblad, Backroads, Micato Safaris, Natural Habitat, Arctic Kingdom, Tauck Culturious, Rocky Mountaineer and many more.  Even in the lunch break education gets top priority with an update on Sustainable Tourism by Costas Christ, one of the world’s top sustainable tourism experts. No time’s a-wasted here!!  At 5:00pm Ange is scheduled to go straight to the Virtuoso Reception for elected committee members and from there to a reception hosted by Nomadic Expeditions; a small travel supplier specializing in custom trips to Mongolia.  After that, the private parties continue!

Continued on Sunday Ange will be on the VAST panel with another advisor and two well known travel suppliers as they all participate in break out educational seminars.  Some of our ladies are doing destination training on South America or South Pacific and Australia/New Zealand.  At 3:30 we will all meet for the General Session– Well over 3,000 of our best friends will attend!  At 6:00pm begins the Welcome Cocktail Reception hosted by the Bellagio.  Each year they supersede the year before with food, drinks and entertainment!

Monday through Friday we will all be sitting at our tables from 8:15 to 4:15 (with a few breaks and lunch) while every supplier we work with through Virtuoso streams by in 4 minute meetings to introduce us to what is new and wonderful in their world.  After this from 4:25 to 5:05 each of us has three 10 minute private meetings scheduled with suppliers we need more time with.  Monday night we have an amazing Destinations Dinner where we are invited by suppliers to dine with them.  This year I will sit with Zegrahm Expeditions, relatively new to Virtuoso but with very inspiring programs.  Have you heard of them? If not, you soon will. Tuesday night is filled with an onslaught of parties hosted by cruise lines, Preferred Hotels, and others.  Wednesday is the Hotel Dinner.  This is similar to the destination dinner.  This time I will sit with Mukul Beach, Golf and Spa. Do you know where in the world they are?

Thursday night, our last night together for this year, we have a Grand Gala Dinner followed by the Club V After Party at the BANK!

Friday AM flights always come early after this Tour de Force!  But, this year I have been invited to spend 3 nights at Miraval Spa  on the way home.  Have you heard of this amazing Destination SPA? Know where it is?

Guess what? This is just the bare bones of Ange’s agenda! The other 4 ladies will be doing some of the same and many different meetings and dinners. “We believe in divide and conquer,” Ange smiles

And then after they have digested everything and formatted programs and platforms, they share the results and recommendations with you on their blog site  www.wallacepiersontravel.com, culminating into their own annual TEST DRIVE THE WORLD LUXURY TRAVEL SHOW (and fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation!) which this year will be held on Nov 8th from 1-4 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island!  Please save the date and join us!

‘Til then-  Travel Well!!

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Amelia Hotels Offer Discounts for Great Southern Tailgate Cookoff

Amelia Hotels Offer Discounts for Great Southern Tailgate CookoffAmelia Island, FL – Several of Amelia Island’s award-winning hotels, vacation rentals and inns have cooked up discounted room rates and unique packages for the upcoming Fifth Annual Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off, taking place August 22nd and 23rd. Visitors can take advantage of these specials to come enjoy the two-day cook-off event, which features free live entertainment, teams cooking up their best barbecue to win more than $20,000 in prize money and much more.

The following accommodations are offering discounts for the Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off:

-Returning as the host hotel for the event, the Residence Inn by Marriot of Amelia Island is offering amazing rates and all the amenities you need for a fun weekend on the island. Enjoy rates as low as $109, as well as free transportation to and from the Cook-off all weekend, free full hot breakfast, and access to the hotel?s evening socials. Book online at www.residenceinnameliaisland.com/ or call 904-277-2440.

amelia-hotel-deal-rate-cookoff
-Amelia Hotel will be offering a DEAL rate for that weekend with rooms starting at $119 for standard rooms. Prices on other room types will vary, visit www.ameliahotel.com.

-Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, the only luxury resort within a two-minute walking distance of the event, is offering visitors with a 15 percent discount on all two or more night stays at the Lodge, during the Cook-off weekend. For reservations, call 904-277-4851, or visit www.elizabethpointelodge.com/.

-ERA Fernandina Beach Reality is offering a free night to guests who stay at least three nights (applies to stays that include either of the nights of Friday, Aug. 22 or Saturday, Aug. 23). This is valid for selected properties for any new reservations. Rates are subject to all applicable taxes and fees. www.fernandinabeachrealty.com/

-The Fairbanks House is offering a Cook-off package that includes 15 percent off three nights in any room, or a fourth night free, as well as free bottle of Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and bag of Southern Slush Mix. Guests will also be treated to gourmet breakfasts and evening social hours with adult beverages and hors d’oeuvres. This offer is available for new bookings only, may not be combined with any other offers, and must be booked online. Mention code STC14 when making your reservation. www.fairbankshouse.com

-The Hoyt House Cook-off package includes two free tickets to the cook-off and 15 percent off any room. This offer is limited to a two-night minimum stay, and cannot be combined with any other special offer. www.hoythouse.com

-Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering 15 percent off their best available rate during the Cook-off weekend. Call 888-261-6161 and reference the promotion code: cookoff. Reservations may also be confirmed online at www.omniameliaisland.com using the same promotion code.

-The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island welcomes summer with the launch of “Weekday Breakaway” package during the Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off, with $500 in resort credits. This offer is valid weekdays near the Cook-off event: August 17-19 and 24-28. Guests may reserve the three or more nights “Weekend Breakaway” now through August 28, 2014. For reservations, call 800-241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.

beech-st-blues-band-fernandina-cookoff2014Don’t miss the Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off, serving up finger-licking-good barbeque with some of the top competitors in the country and live musical entertainment from five exciting bands including, The Dirt Floor Krackers, Swingin’ Medallions, RockIt Fly, and the local Beech Street Blues Band.

For more information about the Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off, entertainment lineup and each of the accommodations offering discounts, visit www.gstailgatecookoff.com.

Contact each hotel for reservations and any restrictions.

About Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off
The 5th Annual Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off will fire up again on August 22nd and 23rd on Amelia Island. Barbeque cooking teams from across the country will compete for cash prizes, and of course, bragging rights. The cook-off is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society and features professional and backyard barbeque competition teams. The cook-off features live musical entertainment, tasty food and beverage items and the VIP Pig Pub for an enhanced experience. The event is a fundraiser for the Gator Bowl Association and is held as Main Beach on Amelia Island, where the beach meets the brisket. Visit, gstailgatecookoff.com for more information.

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Amelia Island Ideal Destination Wedding Packages

Amelia Island Ideal Destination Wedding PackagesAmelia Island, FL – Several award-winning hotels, resorts and inns on northeast Florida’s Amelia Island are offering wedding packages – big and small – for couples to make the most of their big day on the island. With her long stretches of unspoiled shoreline, elegant gardens, and a wide variety of venues, Amelia Island’s storybook setting has long made the island a favorite for destination weddings. Amelia caters to lovebirds young and old with a number of ideal options for weddings of every size and budget.

Here are some of the wedding packages currently being offered:

-The Blue Heron Inn is offering the Elopement Package, ideal for a private affair for two. Starting at $790, the package includes a one-night stay in the Honeymoon Suite, wedding officiate, six-rose bouquet, single rose boutonniere, bottle of champagne, a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries, dinner certificate at a local fine dining restaurant and private horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic district of Fernandina Beach. The inn also offers a Paradise Package, starting at $3,660, which includes a two-night reservation of the entire inn for up to 12 guests. It also includes ceremony and reception space for up to 20 guests for three-hours. For even more extravagance, starting at $3,900, the Enchantment Package includes everything in the Paradise Package, plus an additional bottle of wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, one dozen roses and horse-drawn carriage ride for the bride and groom. For more information, visit www.AmeliaIslandBlueHeronInn.com.

-To celebrate one year of wedded bliss, the Amelia Hampton Inn at the Beach is offering couples a complimentary two-night stay on their first anniversary if they book 10 rooms or more at the property during their wedding. The offer is based on availability and not valid during special events or holiday weekends. Couples interested in taking advantage of this offer can call Jeff Malone at (904) 321-1111. Visit www.ameliaislandhamptoninn.com for more information about the inn.

-The 86-room Amelia Hotel at the Beach is offering a Wedding Package for just $860. The package includes an officiate to perform the ceremony, a bridal bouquet and a groom’s boutonniere, champagne and flutes, and beach set up with sand table, chalkboard and starfish. Banquet facilities for up to 50 people are available. For more details about weddings at the Amelia Hotel at the Beach, visit www.ameliahotel.com.

-The 10-room Amelia Island Williams House bed and breakfast offers several wedding packages. The Intimate Affair Package starts at $750 and includes an officiate, taped wedding music, bridal bouquet, wedding cake for two, and a two-night stay in Catherine’s Chambers, along with all the amenities of the inn. Starting at $1,175, the Private Affair Wedding Package incorporates an officiate for the ceremony, the Williams House or gardens for up to an hour and a half, taped wedding music, a bridal bouquet, wedding cake and champagne toast for the couple and up to 10 guests. The package also includes a horse-drawn carriage tour for the bride and groom after the reception and a two-night stay in Catherine’s Chambers. For a wedding with up to 25 guests, the Elegant Affair and Wedding and Reception Package starts at just $7,500. The package includes all 10 guest rooms at the Williams House, the inn or gardens for two and half hours for the event, officiate for ceremony, and taped wedding music. The reception includes choice of three hors d’oeuvres; champagne for guests; beverage service of water, tea and soft drinks; chairs, tables, linens, glassware and set-up. The bride and groom will also receive a two-night stay in Catherine’s Chambers and time for a rehearsal, followed by an hour-long wine reception for guests on Friday night. Learn more about these and other wedding packages at www.williamshouse.com.

-The romantic Fairbanks House Bed and Breakfast, a Select Registry property, offers an Elopement Package for Two, complete with a carriage ride to a secret location for your vow exchange, an intimate wedding dinner for two at David’s Restaurant, followed by a small wedding cake, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries back at the inn. This romantic package starts at $495 plus room, and can be adapted for vow renewals and proposals. For more details, visit www.fairbankshouse.com.

-The Hoyt House offers guests a romantic, hassle-free elopement with their Inn-timate Wedding for Two Package. Starting at $2,145, the package includes champagne and fresh flowers in room, chocolate-covered strawberries, horse carriage ride and King Room for the bride and groom. The package also includes use of the Garden and Gazebo or Piano Room for the ceremony, wedding officiate, concierge services, wedding cake for two, photographer for two hours with DVD of photos, three-course dinner for two at David’s Restaurant and Lounge, and bridal bouquet and boutonniere. For larger affairs, the Hoyt House can accommodate weddings with up to 50 guests. For additional information about the Hoyt House weddings or for information about their honeymoon package, visit www.hoythouse.com.

-Nestled among 1,350 acres of natural splendor, the AAA-Four Diamond Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers a wedding package with a number of enhancement options. The Island Wedding Package starts at $129 per person and includes deluxe ocean view accommodations for one night, and an Island Hopper on their wedding day. The package also includes ceremony and reception venue rental and set up, full length white linens, full table settings and a dance floor, as well as onsite coordination by an experienced catering professional. Enhancements can be added and include items such as bouquet and boutonniere, wedding ceremony arch and an additional number of guests. Featuring more than 80,000 square feet of versatile function space, the resort expertly accommodates weddings with 50 to more than 350 guests. Visit www.omniameliaislandplantation.com for more details and additional wedding package options.

-Referred to as “the beautiful young bride of the island’s romantic wedding scene” by Amelia Island Weddings magazine, The Residence Inn by Marriott offers wedding packages starting at just $139, with an array of added amenities. Wedding Package A costs $209 and offers the bride and groom a fruit and cheese plate, champagne and carriage ride or sunset river cruise. Guests can also enjoy free full hot breakfast, complimentary evening socials, free island shuttle, three-hole putting green, bike rentals, and on-property entrance to Egan’s Creek Greenway. Wedding packages include discounts for guest rooms and opportunities for adding extra romance to the big day. For additional information on weddings at The Residence Inn by Marriott, visit www.residenceinnameliaisland.com or call (904) 277-2440 ext. 0 to speak with a wedding specialist.

-The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island offers several wedding packages. Priced at $3,700, the Seaside Simplicity Package is designed for the bride and groom who desire a private, intimate wedding celebration. Designed for two to 20 guests, the package includes a private beachside ceremony with officiate and Ritz-Carlton Wedding Specialist, signature Ritz-Carlton rose bridal bouquet and coordinating boutonniere, a bottle sparkling champagne, one hour of photography with an 8×12, 20-page album and a petite wedding cake for two. The package also includes deluxe coastal view accommodations and romantic turndown service with in-room delight that evening. Guests looking for an intimate elopement will enjoy the Seaside Devotion Package. Starting at $1,800, the package includes a beachside ceremony with signature Ritz-Carlton bridal bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake for two, sparkling champagne and accommodations in a coastal view guestroom. With 35,000 square feet of event space, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island can also accommodate larger and more extravagant weddings. More information and additional packages are available at www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.

– The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) also offers valuable planning information on the weddings section of AmeliaIsland.com, adding valuable information and functionality. Brides can easily find up-to-date information on venues, flowers, wedding planners, catering and more, and can submit a request for information from vendors directly through the CVB site. Visit www.ameliaisland.com/weddings for a full list of wedding accommodations and venues on Amelia Island.

About Amelia Island
Recently named among the Top 10 North American islands by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. Forget the everyday getaway and come make memories on Amelia Island. For visitor information, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Goa – Life in an Indian Beach Community

goa-sites“India has won. Good days lie ahead”. Those were the words of landslide election victor Narendra Modi and his party, indicating that there is a new wind blowing in India. Several weeks ago we were asked by Indian blogger/designer Ramya Raju, if she could write stories for Search Amelia.

Normally we are quite reluctant following up with these proposals but the fact that SearchAmelia has quite a following and ranking in India, made us look at some of her work and decided to have her write and submit an introductory story about one of India’s famous beach locations.

After reading her script I admit, I felt compelled to get a better look at what seems to be a fabulous travel destination that has a lot to offer and found myself spending several hours on the internet learning about this place. And that’s all a good story needs to do in my book: entice someone to learn more about the topic.

Maybe we should have asked her to write an on-the-ground story about the elections, but I have to admit that, notwithstanding the much needed change in Indian politics (both the markets and currency instantly went up today) I’m now slightly obsessed by learning about the Goa province which is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Orient” or “Rome of the East”.

Goa – Life in an Indian Beach Community by Ramya Raju

This tourist heaven on the western coast, Konkan belt of India has flourished over the years. It is known for its natural beauty as well as architectural gems seen in the form of temples, churches and old homes. Little wonder then that it’s been hugely popular with travelers from all over the world. Goa in many ways is defined by Portuguese colonization and it’s reflected splendidly in the churches you see here. In fact one of the major aims of Vasco Da Gama’s mission to India was to “seek Christians and spices”.

History of Goa location-of-goa-on-india-mapgoa-location-mapPeople of Goa have their unique identity although the state borders Sahyadri Ranges and the tidal rivers cross boundaries. And that’s because the state was isolated from the rest of the country for almost four centuries under Portuguese rule. The thing one needs to understand about the locals is that they prefer to call themselves Goans and not Goanese as it’s often assumed and wrongly stated in guide books too. The locals are very proud of their identity and guard it dearly. The population of Goa is around 1.4 million. Konkani and Marathi are the two major languages spoken here while the National language, Hindi is well understood. People also widely speak English which is a part of everyday conversations for many. The state is also called Gomantak although there’s a lot of haze surrounding its history. Gomantak, its Sanskrit name finds a mention in the later Vedic period (c.1000-500 BC) when the Hindu epic Mahabharata was written. The Sanskrit name has many meanings but it is probably derived from “fertile land”.

Goa Places Panaji is the capital of the state and the government seat of North Goa district. It’s a beautiful city on the banks of Mandovi River and is known for its old Latin style homes with red roofs. There are many modern homes with big gardens today and many avenues are lined with trees like Gulmohar and Acassia. Altinho (Hill top) offers a stunning panoramic view of the city.

Beaches Goa beaches are popular with travelers from all over the world because they have a sense of adventure you won’t find anywhere else in the country. They also have all the amenities you could want for. In fact for many travelers, Goa is synonymous with its beaches. You can taste different types of cuisines, especially the scrumptious local seafood fare, sun bathe and swim in stunning blue waters when you are on the beach. You can also indulge in adventure sports by partaking in activities like water skiing and paragliding. The most popular beach is Calangute Beach, which attracts many foreign visitors. History of goa13887-2-lArts

Nature and Quality of Life In the February 1999 issue of National Geographic Magazine, Goa was compared with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity. Goa is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked Number 1 for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population.

Destinations Over four centuries of Portuguese rule and many rulers before that has meant the place has imbibed different cultures and held them close to its bosom. Hence it’s not difficult to see different influences including Indian and Western being a part of the local culture, lifestyle and architecture as well. There are several traditions that have been followed through ages. The cultural heritage of Goa has evolved to a large extent because it has managed to absorb congenial features of foreign cultures. The Latin and local cultural strains have worked symbiotically here.

Cuisine It’s often understood that if you come to Goa you won’t look beyond seafood, rice and Feni. Feni (sometimes spelt fenny or fenim) is a spirit produced exclusively in Goa, India. There are two types of Feni; cashew feni and coconut feni. Fish, curry, rice can be the three basic necessities for many Goans. They can be the delicious daily meal in many households. But like everything else in Goa the cuisine is quite varied and has several hidden gems that you can explore when you visit the place.

FoodMariarosaresortBeaches.1 Art and Culture Many artistes and craftsmen have made Goa their home and you will see their aesthetic impression all over the state. Classical arts have been a stronghold of the state for many years and you will find that Goans have done well in poetry, music and fine arts. Teak furniture, the terracotta figurines, stunning rosewood carvings, gorgeous brass items and priceless gold jewelry ensure that the charm of an age gone by is still held intact in today’s technology driven world. The folk dances in Goa are quite a visual treat and in many ways they are the perfect representation of the local culture and traditions. Shigmo, Fugdi, Dhalo, Dekhni are some of the popular dance forms in the state.

Fairs and Festivals The majority of population in the state is Hindu, which only means that several festivals are celebrated here all through the year. These festivals have held their charm even after the Portuguese colonization and they get still celebrated with great fervor today. Since these festivals follow the Hindu calendar, you don’t have a fixed date for them every year. FestivalCultureCalangute-Beach-Goa-The-Queen-of-Beaches

Closing Goa is considered to be a place that’s tolerant to people of all religious beliefs. The locals believe they are Goans first and Hindus, Muslims or Christians later. In spite of different religions, this unique identity is what holds them together and ensures that peaceful coexistence is possible. The locals are also known to celebrate life and have a laidback kind of attitude towards it. Music, dance and art are passions for people living here who also like to gorge on delicious food and have a taste for Feni. These are just some of the reasons why going to Goa feels like a homecoming every time.

by Ramya Raju

head shotAuthor Bio

Ramya Raju is a freelance writer/web designer from India with about 8 years experience in content writing, gained by writing for top blogs and websites. She’s a self proclaimed extrovert whose interests are photography, anthropology and traveling to different countries to learn about the culture and art of living of the local inhabitants. She can be reached by E-mail: ramyaraju896@gmail.com Website: http://www.englishcourses.pro/courses/business-english-courses/

It’s Paradise but Without the Boredom!

Variety is the Spice that Excites

Variety is the Spice that Excites

Paradise… A lot of people dream of a little island in the middle of nowhere. White sands, blue sea, palm trees… You get the picture? Ultimate boredom in most cases as well.
I was born and raised in the center of Europe in a city that offers everything from an opera house to one of the biggest shopping centers in the world, from world class restaurants to one of the oldest theme parks on the planet. The thought of being cut off from modern amenities like supermarkets, internet access or simply a modern bathroom for more than a couple of days causes pure horror in me. You could say I’m the quintessential offspring of the Boomer Generation, who likes his creature comforts. But if you feel the same way, don’t worry because Amelia island is your perfect getaway! I learned about it first hand a couple of weeks ago.

Yes it is an island, yes there are miles of beautiful beaches, white sand, and, of course palm trees, but there is so much more to be discovered and enjoyed, without ever having to endure the loss of modern comforts.

Begin with the beautiful historic town center with its bars, restaurants and small deep water harbor. Seeing the sun set over the sailboats and yachts is a sight for sore eyes. Don’t miss out on grabbing a burger at the famous T-Rays or Tasty Burgers and make sure you treat yourself to the one of a kind Mac’n’Cheese at Arte’s Pizza. Take my word for it: you will be so hooked, that like me you can sit back in Vienna, Austria devising possible ways to have it shipped. I know!!!

With all the reviving energy from the great food you had you should head over to Fort Clinch state park. This is probably what Florida looked like in its original form, before air-conditioning made its a entry. One part of the park is mother nature at her glorious best, as if no human being had ever set a foot on its soil. The other part is the historic fort that never saw war action and is perfectly preserved to give an idea how islanders lived two hundred years ago. Take your time to breathe in American history and enjoy the beautiful beachside that the fort is located on. If you are lucky you might even see a modern submarine pass by in front of you, or catch a glimpse of the wild horses on neighboring Cumberland Island across the sound.

So far you have only seen the utmost north part of the island, but leaving fort clinch going south on Fletcher Avenue, which runs like Jimmy Buffet’s A1A along the beach all the way south passed Amelia City to the Omni Plantation. As you drive along enjoy the scenery, you will pass by John Grisham’s brand-new twin-house compound, as well as Stephen King’s recently finished new beach house and you will eventually arrive at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, the premier resort on the Island. The Ritz Carlton Group offers, without a doubt a wide of some of the world’s leading hotels, but on Amelia island it does have a little extra: right in between the hotel and the beach itself, there is a protected dune area, which is a habitat for turtles. It´s wonderful to see these creatures in their natural environment.

If you are, like me, someone that enjoys good food but also tries to stay on the healthy side (at least most of the time) you will also love the supermarkets on the island. Harris Teeter is completely geared towards the island’s south side prosperity, but personally I especially like Publix, with it´s huge selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh sea food and meat perfectly presented to the customer. For health nuts like me Nassau Health Foods with a wide variety of organic products, also impressed me.  You can´t beat a fresh smoothie made with Florida oranges and a variety of tropical fruits prepared in a juicer, in the morning. Gave me all the energy and vitamins I needed to enjoy another great day on the island!

Well folks, so much for now! Looking forward to tell you more next week, about my guys’ night out and the perfect run on the beach!

Grüße aus Wien

Nikolaus Menches

Amelia Island Offers Sizzling Events to Heat up the Fun

Amelia Island Offers Sizzling Events to Heat up the FunAmelia Island, FL – From June through October, Northeast Florida’s Amelia Island has plenty of events that guarantee a full itinerary. Visitors and locals can enjoy a variety of eclectic activities that will be sure to gage the interest of individuals both young and old. Between musical performances to cook-offs and festivals, there are several events worth exploring. Amelia Island’s events are tailored perfectly to celebrate the destinations warm weather and beautiful surroundings.

Upcoming events listed by the Amelia Island Convention & Visitor’s Bureau include the following:

Union Garrison at Fort Clinch State Park: June 7-8, July 5-6, Aug. 2-3, Sept. 6-7, Oct. 4-5
History interpreters recreate life at Fort Clinch during the War Between the States the first weekend of every month. This unique event offer visitors the opportunity to see how the soldiers lived during the Civil War. Activities may include powder artillery demonstrations, medical demonstrations and soldier drills. Additionally, soldiers and civilians offer a glimpse into garrison life by taking up duty in the laundry, infirmary, barracks and kitchen. For times and details, call 904-277-7274 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.

The Foreigner: June 12-14, 19-22, 26-28
The Amelia Community Theatre will feature The Foreigner, a comedy about a depressed Englishman who fools his fellow lodgers at a Georgia Fishing house into believing he doesn’t speak English. This comedy is a light-hearted event for those with a keen sense of humor. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults. For more information, visit www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org or call 904-261-6749.

Red, White, and Deep Blue Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: July 4
Celebrate Independence Day at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island’s patriotic event. The lavish barbecue on the Ocean Front Lawn features a buffet including, seafood, barbeque favorites, sides and delectable desserts. Guests can participate in various games and enjoy live music in the evening, followed by fireworks at nightfall. Tickets are $25 for children and $93 for adults. For more details and reservations, call 904-277-1100 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Patriotic Festivities: July 4-6
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation will host its annual independence weekend celebration with fun festivities for all. Weekend options will include the Freedom Fest in Canopy Park, with exciting yard games and family activities, as well as the Boardwalk Bash and the Steak Out at the Shops event, both located at the Shops of Omni Amelia Island Plantation. For more information and to plan your Fourth of July fun at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, visit www.omniameliaislandplantation.com.

Great Southern Tailgate Cook-off: August 22-23
The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Center invites guests to kick off the college football season with a barbeque competition at the beach during the Fifth Annual Cook-off. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the event includes professional barbeque competition teams competing for cash prizes at Main Beach Park. Admission is $5.00 per person and the event features free live entertainment, including Beach Street Blues Band and more. For additional information, visit www.gstailgatecookoff.com.

Amelia Con: September 5-7
The first-ever, Amelia Con will be held at the Amelia Island Recreation Center and the Women’s Club. This event is Amelia Island’s premier anime, comic book, animation, video game, fantasy, sci-fi, and pop culture convention. The day of fun features celebrity and comic book guests, cosplayers, artists, writers, Q&A’s, films, exhibits and more. Tickets start at $10. For more information or to purchase tickets to this unique experience, visit www.ameliacon.com.

Amelia Island Blues Festival: September 12-13
The fourth annual Amelia Island Blues Festival will return back to the ocean breezes of Main Beach. Friday night will feature the Fernandina Beach High School “Blues in School Band” under the direction of Johnny Robinson and Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, followed by The Mojo Roots. On Saturday, the festival will continue with performances from a variety of artists, including headliners Curtis Salgado, John Primer, Samantha Fish, Bernard Allison, Ben Prestage and more. For a full line-up of entertainment and to purchase tickets, visit www.ameliaislandbluesfest.com or call 404-784-7687.

Spanish American War Event at Fort Clinch: September 20-12
Guests can participate in a commemorative weekend at one of Amelia Island’s beautiful state parks. Fort Clinch State Park will be filled with uniformed interpreters and participants will also be able to enjoy exhibits of the armament and period military equipment. Fees comprise park entrance and an additional $2 for the event. To learn more about this historic experience, contact 904-277-7274 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch.

18th Annual 8-Flags Car Show: October 18
The Amelia Cruizers Car Club will hold their annual car show on historic Centre Street in Fernandina Beach. Enjoy a look at unique cars and kick off the show at one of Amelia Island’s local restaurants while enjoying live music and food. The show benefits three foundations and participants are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items.
For more information and details visit www.ameliacruizers.org

The Amelia Island Jazz Festival: October 16-19
Celebrate a week-long series of diverse musical talent. Kick off the festival with the Big Band Bash benefit gala and dance at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Guests will hear classics from Glenn Miller, Count Baise, Duke Ellington and a special tribute to Harry James and more. The festival presents an amazing performance by the Dynamic Les DeMerle 17-Piece Orchestra featuring Bonnie Eisele. For more information and tickets, visit ameliaislandjazzfestival.com.
Additional events are available at www.ameliaisland.com/events.

About Amelia Island
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Consistently ranked in the top 10 North American Islands by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler, Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Come make memories on Amelia Island. For visitor information, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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