June 24, 2022
Historic downtown Fernandina Beach, where the past and present collide into a magical and idyllic setting. Imagine downtown over a hundred years ago as a bustling sea port village. It’s not that hard really. Much of it still looks the same – just updated with fresh paint and new stories. Centre Street has always been the hub of downtown but what about some of the “postcard worthy” side streets? Let’s take a stroll down Ash Street (parallel to Centre) where gorgeous old Victorian homes meet today’s businesses.
Kate’s Tree (Center of Ash)Growing smack in the center of Ash Street is Kate’s Tree, named after Kate Bailey who lived in the nearby “Bailey House”. Legend has it that when Kate learned the tree would be cut down for the expansion of Ash Street, she kept vigil on her front porch with a shotgun to prevent city workers from removing it. Because of Kate’s perserverance, the huge old oak was saved and the street paved around it.
TRINITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (715 Ash)Erected in 1891 by Rev JF Elliot, Trinity Methodist Church is a sister church to Memorial Methodist Church on Centre Street and served the African-American population of Amelia Island during the time of segregation in the south. It is a two-story masonry building noteworthy of its lancet arched windows with belfry, square tower, and the gorgeous etched stained glass windows that were shipped all the way from England.
C. W. Lewis “Tabby” House (corner of S 7th and Ash)Ash Street is loaded with Victorian homes but none more spectacular than the C. W. Lewis house built in 1885 by famed architect R. S. Schuyler. It’s the only house in Fernandina Beach dating from this period to be constrcuted entirely of tabby. The irregularity of outline, use of the rounded arch and elaborate balustrades add to it’s uniqueness and beauty.
AMELIA ISLAND HISTORIC TOURS (170 Ash)If you love history, may we suggest taking a ride into the past with Amelia Island Historic Tours. Learn interesting facts and stories about bootleggers, pirates, and the eight flags that have flown over the island. They’ll take you on a journey from the time the Timucua Indians inhabited this area right into to the modern day shrimping industry.
THE ADDISON HOUSE ON AMELIA (614 Ash)Originally built in 1876 as a private home, the Addison House has undergone sevaral renovations over the years but has always kept the original architectural style and character. Today, it’s a popular Bed & Breakfast – but 100+ years ago, it was not only used as a private home but also as an infirmary during the Yellow Fever epidemic, a doctor’s office, a rooming house for mill workers, and daycare.
BLUE HERON INN (corner of S 7th anAddison House Bed & Bd Ash)The Blue Heron Inn is a beautifully restored 3-story 1904 home. The Inn boasts six tastefully decorated, spacious guest rooms, all with private baths, some featuring Jacuzzi bathtubs or claw foot tubs. Lose yourself in the tranquility of the private landscaped backyard while you enjoy the gardens and the heated pool.
HAMPTON INN & SUITES HARBOR FRONT (corner of S 2nd and Ash)Located right in the middle of historic downtown, the Hampton Inn & Suites sits on the corner of Ash and 2nd Street and is a nice option for travelers with families that want a little more room with the option of a kitchenette, 24-hour front desk, gift shop, pool and free breakfast – all while overlooking the beautiful Amelia River.
DOTTIE B’S FLORIST (502 Ash)Dottie B’s is a full service florist and gift shop operating on Ash Street since 1982. Centered around nature and community, Dottie B’s has a caring, professional, and imaginative team and you’ll never be disappointed in the result of their floral designs. They’re a staple in downtown Fernandina!
Amelia Island Paint & Hardware (516 Ash)Originally the Askins Super Market in 1938, Amelia Island Paint & Hardware is like stepping back in time and is best summed up by a happy customer who says, “Quintessential small town hardware store. If they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it. This is my favorite place on the island. Friendly, helpful, courteous. And did I say they mix paint? Yes, they do! Give them a try, you shan’t be disappointed.”
GALLERY C – SLIGHTLY OFF CENTRE – AMELIA’S TREASURE (218 Ash)Look for the whimsical pink house that is the home of several local artists and their amazing creations – all under one roof! Slightly Off Centre feels like you’re stepping into a funky living room full of fine, folk and glass art as well as photography and pottery while Carol Winner’s Gallery C offers a wide variety of acrylic paintings, 2D and 3D mixed media, jewelry and handbags. If it’s home decor and unique gifts you’re looking for, Amelia’s Treasure has something for every occasion!
DAVID’S RESTAURANT & LOUNGE (802 Ash)Amelia Island’s premier fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant serving dinner nightly. Begin your relaxing dining experience in the comfortable lounge offering a full bar and appetizer menu with the best martini around! David’s is the winner of the Wine Spectator 2013, 2014, & 2015 Award of Excellence.
HOLA CUBAN CAFE (corner of S 5th & Ash)Authentic Cuban coffee and food made fresh daily with succulent slow roasted meats that are cooked in-house, Cuban style. Sit on the front porch or patio for a delicious breakfast or lunch. Everything here is good but don’t leave without eating a Churro!
EUROPEAN DELIGHT (300 Ash)Pop in to European Delight for a light breakfast of coffee and croissants or enjoy a delicious toasted baguette for lunch fixed one of many ways. Try the French Baguette with prosciutto & brie, walnut and apricot. C’est délicieux!
AKARI SUSHI (corner of S 3rd and Ash)If you want a lot of healthy food groups all rolled into one, Akari Sushi may be calling you. Akari “is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high quality fresh ingredients”.
THE BOAT HOUSE (corner of S 2nd and Ash)The Boat House is a relaxed and playful dining environment with live entertainment outside on the patio, which is where you should sit. Share a dozen raw or baked oysters to start and sip on one of their signature cocktails. Just about everything on the menu is delicious but the BBQ Salmon is a personal favorite.
Learn more about the history of Ash Street and the rest of historic downtown Fernandina Beach on a walking tour with the AMELIA ISLAND MUSEUM OF HISTORY.