Amelia Island, Florida trip 2009

I admit that there are trips where I need my “seafood fix.” My latest craving occurred when I was in northeast Florida – the perfect place for this type of hunger. Everywhere I looked, there were opportunities to dine on some of the country’s best seafood. I discovered that the choices from Fernandina Beach to Amelia Island were plentiful. My wife, who joined me on the trip, quickly agreed with my observations.

I got my “seafood fix” at the Amelia Island Plantation’s Verandah Grill with their Seafood Platter. The Seafood Platter consists of shrimp, scallops, crab cakes and the fresh catch of the day. Being from landlocked Atlanta, a platter such as this cannot be found back home. In this part of Florida, you can just taste the freshness. I confess that I hit the jackpot with this dish.

My own private "seafood fix."

The seafood choices extend beyond the platter in which I indulged. The Cajun Snapper comes with sautéed Tasso ham, Swiss chard, bell peppers and crawfish. The Verandah Red House Grouper is a symphony of herbs and spices that is complemented with a sauvignon blanc butter sauce. Scallops are a heavenly delight in this part of the Sunshine State. Look no further than the restaurant’s Floridian Style Scallops and Rice. The scallops are served alongside pineapple with orzo rice pilaf and topped with coconut cream sauce. If you like your seafood done in Creole fashion, then the Creole Seafood Carbonara over Linguini is perfect for you. This mouth-watering entrée comes with shrimp, scallops, bell peppers, onions, bacon and andouille sausage.

Whether it’s seafood or land-based fare such as a New York Strip Cambozola steak or an Oven-Roasted Pork Loin, you cannot go wrong at the Verandah Grill. You’re spoiled the minute you enter the establishment. My word of advice: arrive hungry and pace yourself. Appetizers ranging from Fried Green Tomatoes to Cumberland Crab Cakes seriously get the palate going. The real standout in this crowd is the Seared Tuna Sashimi. If you’re into sampling, try the Tasting Quartet which is composed of Lobster tempura, crab cake, mango shrimp, and fried green tomato served with a caramel soy sauce. It’s tough to pass up an appetizer.

No meal at the Verandah is complete without dessert. Key Lime Pie, Blackberry Cobbler, Vanilla Crème Brulee and Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding fill are all beyond mouth-watering. The star of this show is the Amelia Island Mud Pie. This treat is chocolate ice cream flavored with Kahlua, brandy and Tia Maria. It’s served in an Oreo cookie crust and topped with fudge.

Tour Amelia Island Plantation via Segway

After my meal at the Verandah, I could have run the entire Amelia Island Plantation property to work it off and still feel like I haven’t moved an inch. Speaking of barely moving an inch, my wife and I got up the next morning in our luxurious Amelia Island Plantation suite and toured the island by way of something a bit different – a Segway. Our tour guide, Jason Vitale showed us a short video on how to properly use the Segway. Believe it or not, if you don’t pay attention to how this expensive piece of machinery works, you can get seriously hurt. After viewing the video and practicing a bit, we were ready for the open road – or in this case, wide paths. Jason, my wife and I meandered through the property’s gorgeous tree-lined, paved trails over to Drummond Point Park, a beautiful slice of north Florida nature preserve. I only wish we had time to explore the other areas of the island including Fiddler’s Bend and Cedar Point. Jason pointed out that Amelia Island Plantation is environmentally committed. That commitment is evident with scores of recycling depots around the property and in its rooms.

Great for couples, families and singles

Even though I prefer to call Amelia Island the perfect romantic getaway, I feel that it’s also great for singles. You can easily get a shuttle from the hotel over to the property’s bar, Verandah restaurant and shops. Families can frolic on the beach or take advantage of the hotel’s awesome pools. A state-of-the-art spa, golf, tennis and water sports are just a few of the activities in which any family member can participate.

Whether you’re seeking great food, gorgeous scenery or an amazing beach to stroll, Amelia Island Plantation is the perfect northeast Florida hot spot.

Visit Amelia Island Plantation

1-888-261-6161 Reservations

1-904-261-6161 Local and all other calls

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