Q: What makes you an Island Insider?
A: My family moved here in 2011 from Chicago. Within the first month of living here, I began exploring the island... in particular, kayaking on the south end. It was there that I discovered paddleboarding and fell madly in love. So much so, that I got my certification as an ACA Level 1 Paddleboard Instructor and began teaching at Kayak Amelia. My kids went to high school here and we all have absolutely loved living here for the past seven years.
Q: What are your favorite things to do on Amelia Island for…
•A friend being in town for the weekend? Paddleboarding (my friends know I'm going to drag them out), exploring Talbot Island/Blackrock Beach, and shark tooth hunting along our beaches.
•A day with the family? Going to the beach! We have a very energetic Labrador puppy that we love to take to the beach and throw the frisbee around and just relax by the water.
•Date night? My husband & I love almost every restaurant on Amelia island and I think we've tried them all! After dining out, we like to watch the sun set down at the Marina and maybe even enjoy a glass of wine on the porch at Brett's.
•A day off, just for you? I know this is sounding repetitive, but I'd probably go lay out on my paddleboard in the intracoastal because the water is so smooth. Then, I'd paddle out a little bit and just sit on my board and watch the birds fly overhead, the clouds roll by, and listen to the water lapping against the board. It's heaven.
Q: What makes Amelia Island #EverSoSlightlySpecial?
A: You find people from all over the world here. I've made friends with people from many different parts of the country: different age groups, professions, and lifestyle, yet we all come together and have this love for this special place that we live. The heartbeat of this island is unavoidable. It's contagious and everybody kind of moves together with that love of this place.
Other "insider tips" from Deb:
•Favorite breakfast spot – Bright Mornings - My family & I like to sneak in there before the crowds and enjoy breakfast on a Sunday morning.
•Favorite lunch spot – I love the new, re-vamped Surf Restaurant. They have these amazing bowls that are very healthy, organic, and use local ingredients. My other favorite is Timoti's for their outstanding shrimp taco.
•Favorite dinner spot - Toss up between Wicked Bao's Asian street food and Espana. I like a little bit of an ethnic kick in my meals and those two really hit the spot.
•Top two special events (one cool weather, one hot weather) Cool weather - Dickens on Centre. It is picture perfect like a storybook from my childhood. Warm weather - I'm going to count November because it's still pretty warm here then, and that would be the Amelia Island Wellness Festival of which I'm grateful to be a part of as an instructor.