Fascinating Fernandina

Fernandina Beach was enriched in the late 19th century by tourists arriving on steamships from New York and wealthy snowbirds. Then Henry Flagler’s railroad bypassed the town, leaving Fernandina a Victorian village locked in time, undisturbed by the ravages of popularity and pretty close to perfect now.

Of note in a culinary scene celebrating local products is 29 South, a cozy beach bistro paired with the high-end stylings of Chef Scotty Schwartz, and Le Clos (photo below), with fine French cuisine from Paris-trained Chef/Owner Katherine Ewing. Look for buttermilk fried chicken at Leddy’s Porch at the Florida House Inn; British afternoon tea at the Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast Inn; and T-Ray’s Burger Station, an unmarked secret in a defunct gas station on A1A and named one of the 50 best burger joints in America by USA Today. Pop in to Marlin & Barrel distillery, making rum and vodka from local sugarcane, or the unrepentantly funky Palace Saloon on Centre Street, the oldest continuously operating drinking establishment in Florida. 

And bring a cooler to Mayport’s Safe Harbor Seafood on your return trip to take home some of the best off-the-boat shrimp in the world.

 —J.H.

Categories: Food & Drink