Fernandina Beach is a small town on Amelia Island in Nassau County just north of Jacksonville. Its first inhabitants were the Timucuan Indians. Later, it was ruled by seven groups (one twice) giving it the nickname “Isle of 8 Flags”.
Fernandina has a lot to offer visitors year-round.
There are numerous art galleries in the historic district. The downtown Fernandina Beach galleries host monthly art events: The Second Saturdays Artrageous Artwalk. This event is free to the public from 5:30pm until 8:30pm the second Saturday of every month.
There are also fantastic antique shops to peruse including Eight Flags Antique Market and Amelia’s Treasure, both on Centre Street. Here you can find all kinds of items from memorabilia to furniture; from beach themed pieces to collectibles.
There is history to be found on the streets of the historic district. The Lesesne House was built around 1860 and is still occupied today. This double galleried home is constructed of hand-hewn lumber fastened with wooden pegs. There is also a lot of history to be explored at Fort Clinch.
The Fernandina High School is the home of the Pirates for a good reason. In 1817, pirate Luis Aury sailed with his fleet of three ships into the harbor. Three days later he raised the Republic of Mexico flag, the sixth flag to fly over the island. He declared himself ruler of the island. Fernandina became a pirate refuge and location for buried treasure. Aury was run out of Fernandina by a United States naval force.
Music in the air
There is much music and entertainment to be found in this little town. Most any day you can find a street musician like the one pictured here. During the annual Shrimp Festival there is also lots of music along with all the shrimp. The family friendly, free Shrimp Festival offers delicious shrimp prepared by 25 food booths all staffed and run solely by local Nassau County non-profit groups as fund-raisers. There are over 300 fine artisans & crafters, 50 antique dealers, 25 Kid Fun Zone activities, and live music on two Stages.
Shopping is a big draw, also. Twisted Sisters is one fun shop to check out. This store is full of unique gift items. They have a special section for fans of Florida (go Gators!) AND Georgia (go Dawgs!)
Another store worth visiting is Go Fish. Is you are looking for charming jewelry, clothes, or gift items, this is the place. The first Go Fish store opened in 1987 and has grown over the years to locations in seven states. This company purchases most of the items they sell from the indigenous people of developing nations. Their franchises or partnerships are based on the premise that we can all use our life experiences, skills and jobs for the benefit of God’s people.
Time to visit!
There is so much to do in Fernandina. The Amelia Community Theatre has performances throughout the year. There are several B&Bs to choose from so that you can take several days to explore the area. Restaurants and cafés abound, from seafood to BBQ to sweets for the sweet tooth.
Make plans to visit soon!