A trip to Big Talbot Island State Park just south of Amelia Island made the list of 14 in 14. Our goal was a sunrise visit, but a trek to Boneyard Beach requires planning since the area is only accessible at low tide.
Low tide, at sunrise, in April…sounds perfect! Of course, not only was the day overcast and sprinkling, but it was downright cold. Undeterred, we took the half mile hike down Blackrock Trail where we were greeted by a sign warning of the steep drop off to the beach.
We managed to pick our way down the six foot drop to find the other worldly beach littered with trees that have fallen to the forces of erosion.
We spent over an hour on the deserted beach exploring the boneyard of trees. No spectacular sunrise, but a wonderful morning…six down, eight to go!
Waiting for my Tasty burger and milkshake to be delivered to the table, the cover of the April edition of Amelia Islander caught my eye. A shrimp dish pictured along with the words, “17th Annual Shrimp Festival Recipe Issue” deserved a look.
Inside, two dozen shrimp recipes from some of the local restaurants. Lemon Basil Shrimp Salad, Shrimp Pizza, Jamaican Jerk Shrimp with Mango and Plantains. Just a few of the recipes waiting to be tried.
The first weekend in May Amelia Island rolls out the red carpet for some 100,000 shrimp lovers attending the Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, a four day affair which kicks off with a Pirate Parade on Thursday evening and continues throughout the weekend with a Pirate Invasion, Shrimp Festival Run, fireworks, arts and crafts, a Shrimp Boat Parade and of course shrimp dishes sold by local churches and service organizations.
Since I won’t be in on the island for the festival, I’ll try one of the recipes at home without all the crowds.
Kelley’s Courtyard Cafe
8 large shrimp, peeled, devined
1 1/2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
2 pepperoncini peppers, chopped
1/4 cups shredded mozzarella
1 strip bacon, cooked crispy, chopped
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Looks pretty simple: spread the barbecue sauce on the pita and other ingredients with the shrimp on top in a spiral pattern and sprinkled with the seasoning. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes.
While you can’t access all the recipes yet, the April edition of Amelia Insider will soon be available online. In the meantime, you can check out the March edition here.
We planned our weekend at Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach around watching for hatching sea turtles, but it turned out to be much more. We started out riding our bikes through the streets of Fernandina, but since I read about cars crashing into houses, banks, barber shops, and other businesses on a daily basis, I insisted on traveling on the beach or paths specifically for bikes. If drivers can’t avoid hitting buildings, what makes you think cyclists can safely share the road?
We rode on shady paths throughout Fort Clinch State Park and walked on the pier and saw our first sea turtle nest of the trip. Of course, we also toured the fort which was built shortly after the Second Seminole War and was put into service during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and again during World War II…a nice history lesson.
We continued down to the Fernandina Harbor on the Amelia River where we ate lunch, explored the local shops, and discovered some fun public art.
The next morning we cruised down the beach at sunrise and Sarah joined us for a ride to Amelia Island State Park.
We spied some reptiles, but not the sea turtles we hoped to see. Instead, we had to settle for a two turtles swimming in a pond and a gopher tortoise.
There are still bicycle trails waiting and sea turtles hatching so we’ll be returning soon.