Weekend on Amelia Island, FL

Hard to believe it’s already been 3 weeks since my surprise trip to Amelia Island, FL.


After my conference ended in Savannah, GA, I rented a car and drove down to see some of my family who were vacationing in Fernandina Beach in northeast Florida. They had a nicely situated condo right on the ocean.

Every day we walked down to the beach across the dunes. Along the way, you could usually see at least one of these guys out sunning itself or digging or whatever turtles do with their time. Apparently if we had been there a little later, we might have seen sea turtles hatching.


The Sisters, as they shall heretofore be known, prided themselves on getting in their 10,000 steps a day. I think this day we did 4 miles down the beach and back.


The night after I arrived, it was time for the reason for my surprise visit to Amelia. Everyone knew I was coming except my sister. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


It’s important to note that this is not just any birthday cake. My mom brought this little cake in her suitcase — intact! — all the way from Maryland. Smith Island cakes are (apparently) Maryland’s State dessert (according to their website). Regardless of whether or not Maryland actually has a state dessert, they’re delicious. And if you won’t take my word for it, have you ever known National Geographic to be wrong?

The cakes are made of 10 thin layers, with frosting in between. They’re unbelievably moist, can be shipped anywhere in the U.S., and come complete with a cool tin, the latter of which has been credited with my sister’s cake surviving the trip. Smith Island cakes were originally made for oyster dredgers by their wives, to remind them of home when they were on the water for months at a time. The outer fudge frosting sealed in the moisture of the cake, helping it stay fresh longer.

For our family it helps that the Smith Island recipe mimics the fudge frosting recipe that’s been passed down for generations.

Moving on to healthier foods, on Saturday we all trekked over to the Amelia Island Farmers’ Market. Here are two of The Sisters doing some serious tomato negotiating. This Market also had a decent assortment of bread and vegetable pastas, so it got high marks in my book.


After the farmers’ market we met up with the fellas, who never suspected a thing as the paparazzi closed in on them and their strange new friend.


When we were all reunited, we headed over to the Amelia Island Friends of the Library Book Sale. I had never been to something like this, but let my lack of photos stand as a testament to how awesome it was. Thousands of books/CDs/games/puzzles/movies were assorted by category and laid out on tables filling a gymnasium. There were tunes playing in the background and everyone was browsing for treasures.

I rarely buy books; I usually have a stack lying around of books gifted or lent to me so there’s no need. But this sale was just too tempting. The books were inexpensive to begin with, but when we discovered you could fill a canvas bag (and they gave you the bag!) for a mere $8, it was on. I walked away with a book on negotiating, a war memoir, and the true music find of the day: Lunar Landing —  New Instrumental/Space Music with NASA Communications. 

The book sale was great, the birthday was great, the weekend was great. Amelia Island has a lot to offer, especially when the Crowley Clan is in town.

8 thoughts on “Weekend on Amelia Island, FL

  1. Great pictures, Gail! This post brought back the best of our vacation, especially with some Gutowskis visiting us and bringing better weather with them. One question: who’s the guy with Fred and Ed on the porch of Brett’s?


  2. It all makes me smile. Great pictures, too, that really tell the story of a delightful time. So glad you came. And took pictures. And tell a story so well.
    Sister #1


  3. Lovely synopsis of a lovely weekend! and of COURSE the Smith Island cake is our state cake; why else would I risk being thrown off the plane or having the cake confiscated!?
    Love ya!


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