Photograph by Deremer Studios
Mandy Kellogg Rye is a retail shop owner, e-commerce entrepreneur, digital influencer and founder of Waiting On Martha, Inc. WOM boasts a lifestyle blog, e-commerce channel, and brick-and-mortar home and gift shop in Atlanta. Mandy’s take on joyful living—from recipes and entertaining to home decorating, personal style, and travel—resonates deeply with her readers and customers. With all of the moving parts WOM brings, Mandy sometimes needs to sneak away for a few days.
Amelia Island is one of my absolute favorite places to escape. It’s close enough to Atlanta that we can drive, but it feels a million miles away from my daily reality. It’s simply perfect.
A few years ago, when I first stepped foot onto the sandy shores of Amelia Island, I knew this would quickly become a place I visit to rest, refuel, and smell that salty ocean air.
Stretching approximately 13 miles, Amelia Island is part of the Sea Island’s chain of barrier islands just off Florida’s Atlantic coast. Amelia Island’s history and vibe is rich in Spanish, French, and British influences, which you can feel everywhere from the island’s Spanish moss trees to its architecture.
Full of some of the best resorts, golf courses, restaurants, and sandy dunes, Amelia Island has quickly become my sanctuary. For this particular trip, I found solace at one of my favorite resorts: the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. Situated upon 1,350 acres with 3.5 miles of private beach, the Omni boasts the largest pool-scape in North Florida. One of my favorite features: every room is oceanfront complete with a large balcony, which is where you’ll find me every morning watching the sunrise and sipping on coffee.
Once I’m fully caffeinated, my days on Amelia Island typically have me either stretched out on the sand, book in hand, or popping in and out of the shops in downtown Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island’s city, Fernandina Beach, is a small community full of diverse restaurants, great shops, and that “welcome to the island” sentiment that makes you feel right at home. I love walking the historic downtown in search of beach memorabilia, and I always make a point of stopping into Casey Matthews‘ art studio, Lindy’s Jewelry, and Hudson & Perry.
And there’s the food, of course. From fine dining to beach bars and small family-run restaurants that have been in business for decades, Amelia Island has something that’s sure to please everyone. If you’re asking for suggestions, grab a burger at Falcon’s Nest (seriously, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had), have lunch at Café Karibo, stop in for a bloody mary and enjoy the harbor views from the Salty Pelican, plan date night at Salt, and end with a nightcap at the newly-renovated Lobby Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The smoked old fashioned is a work of art!
Whether you’re looking to relax and rest like me or planning to take the whole family on a vacation they’ll always remember, Amelia Island is easy to reach but hard to forget.