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A Perfect Model of Sustainability in Amelia Island, Florida

A Perfect Model of Sustainability in Amelia Island, Florida

If it’s not on the island, you don’t need it, according to my driver, Jan Nordstrom, who has been working at the Omni Amelia Island Resort Plantation for more than 10 years. He had an Eastern European accent, and when he talked about the resort and the history of the island, he almost sounded like he was telling me about a niece he adores. His motto about the island — and its occupants — being completely self-sustaining is represented perfectly by the resort’s aquaponic greenhouse and garden, which is known as the Sprouting Project.

The resort’s executive chef, Daven Wardynski, told me he started the project with the hopes that it wouldn’t become “a neglected 10-foot-by-10-foot plot that was sitting outside of the restaurant window as a PR piece.” Instead, he wanted something that really allowed resort guests to bond with their food, knowing that it was grown and harvested right on the property. The greenhouse and its carefully-tended plants featured heavily in the resort’s Fish to Fork weekend. The event revolved around a culinary competition in which Wardynski and five other chefs came together for a cook-off. The chefs, who came from the southeast and the northeast coasts, had to cook with fish they caught themselves off the shores of the island.

During the weekend, VIP Fish to Fork guests got to experience an exclusive lunch outside of the greenhouse. Guests tasted locally sourced pork and purées made with fresh vegetables — squash, peas, basil — grown in the greenhouse. Outside of the greenhouse and just across a small, handmade bridge, the project has its own beehives, which have helped rebuild local bee populations. Guests could even sample honey at the resort’s Sunrise Café.

Wardynski said the project is the perfect representation of the very important connection he wants guests to feel to the food at the resort. While we were eating lunch just outside the greenhouse, the air smelled like fresh vegetables and orange juice, which had just been squeezed from oranges that Wardynski bought from a local farmer down the road. Wardynski motioned to a sign on the small orange juice station he had created that read “Fresh Citrus”:

“I just stole that from the farmer down the road. Well, I didn’t steal it. I bought it,” he said, laughing.

That’s how close to the food Wardynski likes to be, and that’s part of the reason why he started the Sprouting Project.

“You need to be able to connect back to the food and what you’re eating,” Wardynski told me. “What’s the recipe for the recipe?…When you lose that connection with your food, when you lose that connection with the farmer, you lose that connection with the flavor.”

The Sprouting Project helped me remember that each fruit and vegetable has a season when it tastes its best. And this is a truth that Wardynski was very excited about throughout the entire weekend.

“I ran cross country as a kid in high school,” Wardynski said. “At about the two-mile mark there was a pear tree. And there was nothing better than… just stopping and pulling a pear off the tree and going, ‘That pear tastes different today than it did yesterday.’”

In the end, Wardynski said that, as a chef, he enjoys creating diverse dishes that are acidic, bitter, sweet, and sour all at once. For him, food is about invoking memories. Eating food is the thing we do second most in life other than sleep, so it shouldn’t be monotonous.

“It’s about engaging your nostalgia,” he said. “Food is memories. Food is romance. When you reconnect that with a really great delicious peach, well, does that come back to pulling peaches off the tree when you were younger? And, for me, it does.”

Wardynski either grows his own ingredients in the Sprouting Project or buys them from local farmers, because he was raised as a “Michigan farm boy.” For example, Wardynski never had real, fresh pecans until moving to Florida. And it was the same with shrimp. Relying on freshness, simplicity, and “peak” flavors are important themes in Wardynski’s dishes. He said the dish he and his team created for the Fish to Fork individual competition was a great representation of his approach. He caught his dish while deep-sea fishing before the competition. The chef’s tōgarashi black bass won the award for the favorite among all the chefs and the individual challenge, which was put to a guest vote.

“You had a little bit of spiciness on the outside of the black bass,” Wardynski said of his winning dish. “We had some sweet with the fennel aïoli. You had some salty from the miso. But then you also had some sour from the pickled green mangos that were on top. At the end of the day, when you roll it all together, it should’ve felt like here. If I’m in Michigan, I’m going to cook different than when I cook here.”

That’s the fundamental idea behind Wardynski’s cooking at the resort and the motivation for the Sprouting Project. The project connects guests to Florida — it connects them to real food. During the lunch outside of the greenhouse, Wardynski told us a story about one of his young daughters. He said she was walking through the greenhouse, picking at things and eating them. When she picked and ate a piece of kale she said, “Daddy, this tastes like salad!” Wardynski said he excitedly exclaimed, “That’s because it is!”

“I want my daughters to know that food comes the ground — it comes from a plant,” he said. “It doesn’t just show up in a bag at Walmart and you pick it up.”

PulteGroup expands Northeast Florida presence with Del Webb Wildlight in Nassau County

WILDLIGHT, Fla. - Feb. 16, 2021- Del Webb, the nation's leading builder of active adult communities for those 55 and older, has announced a new community, Del Webb Wildlight, coming to Nassau County near Amelia Island within the master-planned community of Wildlight.

&ldquoWe are pleased to welcome Del Webb to Wildlight as the community&rsquos first neighborhood for active adults,&rdquo said Wes Hinton, Vice President of Wildlight. &ldquoDel Webb&rsquos strong brand recognition for quality design, resort-style amenities and close community connection makes it the ideal fit for Wildlight and our Florida Lowcountry lifestyle. As the gateway to the state of Florida and one of the fastest growing counties in North Florida, Nassau County and Wildlight offer a perfect launching point for this best-in-class active adult builder.&rdquo

Located just north of Jacksonville and south of the Georgia line, Del Webb Wildlight will include up to 660 single-family and villa homes. Del Webb will build on 33- to 65-foot-wide homesites and offer 16 consumer inspired floor plans ranging in size from 1,343 to 3,339 square feet. Development is currently underway with models projected to open in early 2022 and new homes starting in the $200s.

&ldquoWe are excited to partner with Wildlight to expand our Del Webb brand into Nassau County,&rdquo said Tony Nason, Vice President of Operations of PulteGroup&rsquos North Florida Division. &ldquoWith the increasing active adult demand in Northeast Florida, Wildlight&rsquos proximity to Amelia Island&rsquos world class beaches, the Jacksonville International Airport, and the Florida state line makes it the perfect location for our next Del Webb community.&rdquo

Del Webb Wildlight residents will enjoy the active-adult lifestyle with approximately six acres of recreational areas that include a 12,000-square-foot amenity center designed for group activities and gatherings, a resort-style and lap pool, tennis and pickleball courts, a dog park and more. Del Webb Wildlight will have more than 10 miles of walking trails winding through the community, linking the neighborhood to other parks, amenities, the YMCA, and neighborhood restaurants in Wildlight.

A Perfect Model of Sustainability in Amelia Island, Florida - Recipes

This stunning Southern Living Idea House was designed by Historical Concepts in collaboration with Riverside Homes, located on Crane Island, a private island off the shores of Amelia Island, Florida. This inviting beach house was built from the ground up, on a property featuring sweeping oak trees and mesmerizing coastal views. Encompassing 4,540 square feet of living space, there are four bedrooms, one bunk room and five-and-a-half bathrooms.

The design of this Lowcountry home is inspired by the water, the beach and the landscape, where protecting the live oak trees was a high priority. Touches of Victorian architecture can be found in the exterior facade, from the double height porches and ornamental millwork to the quintessentially Southern gable roof. Creating a timeless aesthetic, the project team clad this home in a mix of rot-resistant lap siding, smooth siding, and board-and-batten from the Aspyre Collection by James Hardie.

Above: The white paint on the exterior facade is Drift of Mist SW 9166 – Sherwin-Williams, while the door is painted in Blustery Sky SW 9140 – Sherwin-Williams. Flanking the front door are concrete planters sourced from Birch Lane. A yoke mount lantern above the door, along with two wall-mount lanterns are all from Carolina Lanterns & Lighting.

What We Love: This Southern Living idea house

Tell Us: What details in this home did you find most inspiring and why in the Comments below!

Note: Be sure to have a look at another ultra-inspiring Southern Living idea house that we have featured here on One Kindesign: Southern Living Idea House in Georgia: Farmhouse Renovation.

Above: A welcoming entry features Lorford Smoke Bell Lanterns from Circa Lighting.

Heather Chadduck Interiors is responsible for transforming this home into a warm and inviting space for family living and entertaining.

Above: The entire back wall of the living room opens to the porch, courtesy of Ultimate Bi-Fold Doors by Marvin.

Above: The walls of the living room are painted in Classic Light Buff SW 0050 – Sherwin-Williams, while the ceiling is Pure White SW 7005.

Above: This bright and airy kitchen was designed in and L-shape, designed to keep the person who is cooking connected to those they are entertaining. The kitchen offers plenty of storage, including cabinet-front appliances for tucking away items such as a coffee maker. The concealed pantry can be found behind two cabinet doors to the left of the range. Above the island are the Urban Renewal Mini Pendants, by Clarkson Lighting. Kitchen countertop is Scorpious White Quartzite, Flat Polish — First Coast Supply.

Above: The hidden pantry includes open shelving, pull-out wire drawers and plenty of functional storage. The flooring is slate.

Above: On the walls, ME1562 – Magnolia Home – Wallpaper French Ticking, available at Sherwin-Williams stores.

Above: Over the range is a sepia-toned, handpainted tropical wallcovering from Gracie. Plexiglass protects the paper from splatters. The Venetian plaster hood is painted in Tinsmith SW 7657 – Sherwin-Williams.

Above: The windows are the Ultimate Double Hung G2 Marvin.

Above: Dine al fresco on the porch while enjoying the coastal views on the comfortable Oriana Dining Chairs and a teak table, sourced from Birch Lane. Zuri Premium Decking was used on the floor, whose appearance has a hardwood look. The light fixture is the Biloxi – Pendant Mount from Carolina Lanterns.

Above: Maximizing the beautiful scenery that surrounds this Southern Living Idea House, the project team devised almost 1,400 square feet of outdoor living space. The wrought iron furnishings are the Provence Patio Sofas and Club Chairs, sourced from Birch Lane. Also from Birch Lane is the Beige Roscoe Trunk. A retractable awning helps to shelter this space from the sun, sourced from SunSetter.

Above: A four-season screened porch features a fireplace for warmth and ambiance. The furnishings were sourced from Salt Cottage Home. Grounding the space is a Carena Weave Handwoven Brown Area Rug, from Birch Lane.

Above: The bar cart is the Bungalow Bar in Walnut, Salt Cottage Home.

Above: In the bedroom, the architects made the space appear like it was once a porch, featuring exposed bracing on the walls. A handmade mahogany bed is made by Reid Classics. The walls are painted in Westhighland White SW 7566 – Sherwin-Williams.

Above: This light-flooded retreat is part of the master bedroom.

Above: In the master bathroom, dual vanities are painted in Herbal Wash SW 7739 – Sherwin Williams. Hardware is the Emtek- Providence Knobs. The countertop is the Monte Blanc Quartzite Flat Polish — First Coast Supply. A Balmoral Cast Iron Tub is from Cheviot Products, color matched to Rookwood Dark Green SW 2816 – Sherwin Williams.

Above: In the mudroom, the wall-mount pot filler for the dog is the Brizo- Artesso. On the ceiling, the pendant is the Circa Lighting- Precision Small Pendant (KW 5221PN-WG).

Above: In the mudroom, chalkboard paint on a built-in hutch provides a fantastic messaging center for a busy family. The hutch is painted in Grecian Ivory SW 7541 – Sherwin-Williams. Walls and trim are painted in Classic Light Buff SW 0050 – Sherwin-Williams.

Above: In the laundry room, slate is used on the countertop and floor. The cabinets and trim are painted in Grecian Ivory SW 7541 – Sherwin-Williams. On the walls, DESMOND FABRIC in Espresso from Sister Parish.

Above: In the powder bathroom, the wainscot is painted in Refuge SW 6228 -Sherwin-Williams. Above, the wallpapering is Meg Braff Designs’ Little Egypt in Iznik. The vanity is the Templeton Marble Sink from Birch Lane.

Above: An art gallery wall is illuminated by a Cosmopolitan 30″ Picture Light from Circa Lighting. The art collection is by artist Catherine Booker Jones.

Above: The staircase is located at the front of the home in order to maximize views of all of the rooms toward the water. To create interest and a modern touch are Marvin Windows. The overall feeling of this space is like walking up a lighthouse!

Above: In the 6-foot wide hallway, shiplap walls are painted in Westhighland White SW 7566 – Sherwin-Williams. Adding a splash of color to this space, the ceiling is painted in Lullaby SW 9136 – Sherwin-Williams. The wicker scallop console tables are from Mainly Baskets.

Above: A gameroom/dining space features game tables with durable acrylic tops, from Oomph Home. The L-shaped banquettes are from Lee Industries.

Above: Just off the game room is this relaxing porch, featuring a bedswing from the Original Charleston Bedswing.

Above: On the porch floor, two colors were used to create a striped affect — weathered gray and chestnut, from Zuri Premium Decking.

Above: In this cozy bedroom, the window trim and baseboards are painted in Jasper Stone SW 9133 – Sherwin-Williams. The ceiling is painted in Sea Salt SW 6204 – Sherwin-Williams, providing a subtle contrast to the white walls — Alabaster SW 7008.

Above: Throughout this home, the doors are painted in Classic Light Buff SW 0050 – Sherwin-Williams.

Above: Flanking the bed are side tables featuring a Circa Lighting table lamp in Ice Blue Porcelain. A vase filled with fresh cut flowers is the interior decorator’s no-fail hosting tip for welcoming overnight guests.

Above: In the adjoining guest bathroom, this dual vanity is painted in Jasper Stone SW 9133 – Sherwin-Williams. The countertop is Carrera Marble from First Coast Supply. On the walls, the wallpaper is the Dianthus Chintz – Lapis – Ivory Linen, by Soane Britain.

Above: This beautiful guest bedroom features a pair of twin beds from Reid Classics. A neutral wall color is painted in Alabaster SW 7008 – Sherwin-Williams. On the ceiling, the paint color was selected to be reminiscent of the idyllic sunset, Nearly Peach SW 6336.

Above: The guest vanity has an old-fashioned aesthetic, featuring fabric and wallpaper in ‘Santiago in Sand’, by Clay McLaurin Studio. The chair is the 7551-01 Skirted Sled Chair at Lee Industries.

Above: Built in bunk beds fit in a closet sized space, 8 feet by 10 feet. The walls, trim and bunk beds are painted in High Reflective White SW 7757 – Sherwin-Williams. The curtains and matching wallcovering on the ceiling is ‘Santa Barbara Ikat’, by Schumacher.

Above: In a hall bathroom to accommodate the bunk room, stripes are created on the floor using penny tiles. The entire space is painted in Pure White SW 7005 – Sherwin-Williams. A skirted farm sink keeps this space casual, accented by a rope mirror for a seaside touch.

Above: The flooring is the Soho Studio Corp, Simple 1” Circles in Sky Blue, Gris and White — Dimensions in Tile and Stone.

Above: The garage doors are the Canyon Ridge from Coplay Door. The garage doors and the shutters are painted in Debonair SW 9139 – Sherwin-Williams. Above the garage of this Southern Living Idea House is a mother-in-law suite, perfect for hosting overnight guests.

Above: The serene design of this guest space above the garage was inspired by the fine art beach photograph above the bed, by David Hillegas. Walls are painted in Lullaby SW 9136 – Sherwin-Williams. The canopy bed was sourced from Birch Lane, featuring a slipcovered headboard and footboard. On the ceiling, a patterned wallpaper — Southwind Collection in White on Powder, Meg Braff Designs.

Above: The inviting guest sofa is the 3853-11 Apartment Sofa from Lee Industries.

Above: The bathroom wall tile is 3合 MAIO Crackled Aqua from Roca, — Dimensions in Tile and Stone. On the floors, TMMS Prima Tile, White Penny — Dimensions in Tile and Stone.

Photos: Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

Need To Know: Full size drawings and complete construction documents of this Southern Living Idea House can be purchased on Southern Living.

Where to Eat in Amelia Island If You Don’t Want to Look Like a Tourist

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Tucked away an hour from the nation’s largest city (area-wise), Amelia Island is a haven of quiet beaches, old-fashioned shoppes, and friendly locals. It’s no surprise, then, that this cute Southern town is home to an amazing food scene, with offerings ranging from fresh seafood to some of the juiciest burgers you’ll ever have from below the Mason Dixon line.

Unfortunately, the Island gets its fair share of tourists as well, leaving people to go for basic fare and restaurants, rather than the local gems. Lucky for you, we’ve sorted out ten restaurants that locals absolutely love, so you can totally pretend that you’ve been living on Amelia Island forever.

1. 29 South Eats

Photo courtesy of @sschwartz2929 on Instagram

What’s a city without a farm-to-table restaurant? 29 South Eats takes this approach with a variety of different southern foods, including sweet tea-brined pork chops and a foie gras burger. Save some room for dessert though, cause their coffee and donuts bread pudding will totally reinvent the way you enjoy your cuppa Joe.

2. Tasty’s

Photo courtesy of @coch21 on Instagram

Forget what you know about burgers and fries. Tasty’s covers their sweet potato fries in “brown sugga butta,” but you can also get them spicy, if you’re into that. They have a different special for every day of the week, but if you’re not really digging a patty, they have hot dogs and lobster rolls too – all of which are just as good.

3. Timoti’s Seafood Shak

Photo courtesy of @thesaramagnolia on Instagram

The amount of restaurants that serve seafood on Amelia Island may be exhausting, but this one is absolutely worth checking out for their sheer variety. Any of their seafood options can be fried, blackened, or grilled, but you can also grab some tacos or a poké bowl to go along with your basket.

4. Arte Pizza

Photo courtesy of @shershearey on Instagram

When you hear ‘coastal,’ you don’t automatically think of gourmet pizza pies, but this restaurant proves that you should. Tucked away behind the downtown shopping district lies this authentic pizzeria, with wood-fired pies that you won’t forget anytime soon.

5. DeNucci’s Soft Serve

Photo courtesy of @electrichaal on Instagram

Guess what kiddos, there are other places you can find Dole Whip aside from Disney World. They have an awful lot of soft-serve and regular ice cream too, and you can get anything dipped in a chocolate shell that shatters with every bite. The perfect pit stop before or after a long day at the beach.

6. Leddy’s Porch

Photo courtesy of @shauncie on Instagram

Leddy’s Porch is known for their chicken and waffles, but the rest of their menu is up to par with their fabulous take on the iconic dish. Be sure to get a handful of their buttermilk biscuits, which are even flakier and crumblier than the ones your grandma used to make.

7. Mustard Seed Cafe

Photo courtesy of @lighter_life_with_emy on Instagram

This tiny cafe is hidden inside a health food store, but once you find it, you’ll definitely be back. Each of their menu items are prepared with “conscious eating” in mind, meaning they strive for organic produce, free range poultry, and wild-caught fish, among other things. If you’re lucky, you’ll go when they have the portobello burger as their special of the day, which is served with a creamy parmesan aioli.

8. Ciao

Photo courtesy of @nomsnnosh on Instagram

Who comes to a beach town for Italian food? Quite a bit of people actually, since Ciao is Italian cuisine at its finest. Their tortelloni con porcini features a truffle cream sauce drizzled over tender pockets of mushroom-stuffed pasta, making you feel fancy AF in such a small town.

9. Sabbia

Photo courtesy of Linda V. on

Sabbia serves up Mediterranean street food, which is a nice break from the restaurants that offer the traditional fried shrimp and seafood pasta that visitors often flock to. You can grab a few wedges of their warm pita and homemade dips, or if you’re in the mood for something heavy, their Mykonos burger – a mix of lamb and beef, served over a fresh salad in an open-faced pita.

10. Cafe Karibo

Photo courtesy of @tracyaweiss on Instagram

Karibo is known for their eclectic options that are gourmet without the gourmet price. Their menu has an extensive assemblage of flavors and dishes, such as their “crabby con queso,” which adds a coastal flair to the spicy Mexican dip. Better yet, right next door is their Karibrew pub, offering beer made on-site in a casual atmosphere.

Destination Cooking Classes for Summer Vacation

When you think about summer resort vacation activities, what comes to mind? Snorkeling? Golf? Laying poolside? What about learning to concoct a mean dry rub or how to properly fillet a fish? As interest in all-things culinary continues to soar, more and more resorts and vacation destination spots are adding cooking classes to their rosters of guest activities. Programs range from week-long intensives to more laid-back demos with wine pairings, but all are designed to teach you a few tricks of the trade while you luxuriate in a beautiful setting, sending you home with a skillful souvenir that will remind you of your vacation all year long.

Here are a few spots around North America for holiday destination cooking classes:

New American Grilling: Salt Restaurant at Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Amelia Island, FL
The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, one of the barrier islands off the coast of Florida, regularly offers cooking school packages at its flagship restaurant Salt. Naturally, the summer session (August 17-18) focuses on the art of the grill. During the two-day cooking school, which takes place both inside the restaurant and out on the ocean-adjacent courtyard, chef de cuisine Rick Laughlin will cover grilling, smoking, braising, and sauce-making. Guests will learn to smoke their own salts and to grill dishes ranging from brisket to spare ribs to salt-crusted whole red snapper.
Package: Starts at $879 for one guest and $1239 for two includes two nights in a coastal view room, two days of classes (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), daily breakfast, champagne luncheons, apron, and recipe book. Classes are also available without accommodations for $339 per person.
Phone: 904-277-1100

Seafood Cookery: Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia
East Kemptville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Cooking classes at this rustic but luxurious Relais & Chateaux eco-lodge, hidden away in the Nova Scotia wilderness, have received high marks from Forbes Travel, USA Today, and Bon Appetit. The three-day classes feature trips to the craggy coast to collect shell fish and mollusks, seafood cooking techniques, and lessons on sustainable seafood.
Package: $899 Canadian (about $920 US) per person for two nights accommodation in a deluxe junior sweet, all meals, classes, and day trips, as well as a signed copy of the lodge's cookbook.
Phone: 902-482-8360

Cook Like a Pro: BLT Steak at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI
For those who don't want too much of a distraction from their white sand beach bum vacation, classes at BLT Steak offer a brief break from the
hardships of laying out and sipping umbrella drinks. Led by BLT Steak's
chef de cuisine Johan Svennson, the afternoon classes, offered
throughout the summer, focus on Hawaiian specialties and cost $65 per
June 18: Summer desserts, including homemade ice cream
July 16: Grilling shellfish and shucking oysters, with champagne and
white wine pairings (this is an in-kitchen demo and tasting for
August 20: How to make tartare: steak, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, tomato
September 17: Quick lunches with island ingredients (plus how to make BLT Steak's famous popovers)
Hotel Rates: Go to
Phone: 877-931-6140 (hotel) 808-683-7440

The Culinary Experience: Lake Austin Spa and Resort
Austin, TX
Named the top destination spa in North America by Conde Nast Traveler, the 40-room Lake Austin Spa and Resort, in Texas Hill Country, offers monthly week-long culinary packages focusing on healthy spa-friendly cooking. The July session (July 11-17) features guest chefs Sara Moulton and Casey Thompson, of Top Chef fame. There is no additional fee for the classes, so guests can enjoy them alongside standard spa packages. See website for rates.
Phone: 800-847-5637

BBQ Bootcamp: Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Solvang, CA
For those who just don't want summer to end, this package (October 27-30) offers a late-season chance to enjoy warm-weather cooking. Set at the Alisal Guest Ranch, tucked away in the lush Santa Ynez Valley, in the middle of Santa Barbara wine country, the four-day grilling bootcamp will cover everything from spice blending to grilling meats to mastering the art of the Dutch Oven (with plenty of leisure time for horseback riding and spa treatments.) Chef Frank Ostini, whose Hitching Post II is heavily featured in the film Sideways, leads the classes.
Package: Starts at $2500 for four-days, three-nights based on double occupancy. In addition to classes, meals, and deluxe cottage accommodations, also includes welcome basket, special dinners with local wine makers and brew-masters, and a breakfast ride to the Old Adobe.
Phone: 800-4-ALISAL or 805-688-6411

Where to Stay

The grande dame of the island is undoubtedly the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, which encompasses more than 400 rooms and four restaurants, plus on-site tennis, a superb spa and an 18-hole golf course. You&rsquod be forgiven if you never set foot off the property, especially since each room also boasts its own balcony, many overlooking the peaceful dunes that border the Atlantic Ocean. We do recommend exploring the resort, however: Guests can choose from indoor and outdoor pools or take one of three private boardwalks to the hotel&rsquos quarter mile of pristine beach. Make sure to meet Amelia, the hotel&rsquos resident macaw, who will show you her high-five (if you ask nicely).

For those looking for something a little more low-key, the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn, built in 1886 as the island&rsquos school, is the shabby-chic hangout of our Pinterest dreams. The 17-room boutique hotel was just renovated in 2018 and features charming details in the rooms like shiplap on the walls, cozy plaid wingback chairs and even a courtyard with a putting green.

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A Perfect Model of Sustainability in Amelia Island, Florida - Recipes

Pelindaba Lavender is a premier grower of lavender plants, distiller of lavender essential oils and handcrafter of lavender-based products.

On our beautiful farm on San Juan Island, we undertake these activities in accordance with the highest environmental, healthy living and aesthetic standards.

We cultivate all our lavender flowers in our own organically certified fields and extract the essential oils from these flowers in our own on-site distillery. From these flowers and essential oils, we handcraft on-site a wide range of botanical, culinary, personal care, therapeutic, household & pet care products — all based on lavender’s extraordinary array of natural properties that have been in use for several millennia.

This vertically integrated model of sustainable agriculture, product development and marketing enables us to preserve the farmland from further development, create employment opportunities for our fellow islanders, provide a destination of natural beauty for islanders and visitors alike, and, last but not least, bring greater awareness to all of lavender as a completely natural and safe alternative to the potentially harmful synthetics used in many spheres of modern daily living.

We believe that these endeavors, pursued with integrity and passion, will provide ample satisfaction in both human and economic terms, and will do full justice to our name.

Pelindaba - “Place of Great Gatherings”

An Open-Space Preservation Project. That’s what started it all. A simple plan to protect a quiet valley property on San Juan Island – off the northwest coast of Washington state, between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

Rather than just passively protecting it from residential development, retired physician owner-founder Stephen Robins wanted to share the open space with other residents and island visitors, and to make it self-sustaining by making it productive as well as enhancing its natural beauty.

Thus was born “PELINDABA”, a Zulu word that hearkened back to Stephen’s South African roots and which can be translated as “PLACE OF GREAT GATHERINGS” — a name that incorporates the two key elements of the original concept — great gatherings of crops & great gatherings of people.

Guided all along by our Vision, Pelindaba Lavender has continually evolved as it has grown, from its open space preservation origins to a successful sustainable agriculture and economic development prototype to the leading handcrafter and marketer of lavender-based products for self and home.

This evolution has been organic, each new activity being born out of the demand of necessity or the serendipity of opportunity. Throughout, however, the touchstone has been to ensure that nothing would compromise our purpose to do well by our our island environment – physically, economically and culturally — and our “above all, do no harm” ethos.


1998 – The Original Plan : Open Space Preservation

Simply to improve the appearance of the property by removing derelict outbuildings and fences and then planting the fields with a non-invasive, self-maintaining, physically attractive crop that would enhance the natural beauty of the landscape.

Seeking a crop that would satisfy several criteria – unique on the island, low water and fertilizer needs, and just as importantly one with a discernable path to economic viability – we eventually arrive at lavender and a simple plan – plant a small field and sell the crop to others to do with as they wished.

1999 – Execution

After considerable research, we prepare the fields, source and plant approximately 2,500 lavender starts, nurture them carefully and then hold our breath — which turns out to be quite unnecessary. The plants “take” spectacularly, and we are on our way.

2000 – Transformation

Encouraged, we plant another 5,000 plants. The same year, however, unanticipated changes in the market economics of lavender raw materials determine that we will have to go well beyond the modest limitations of the initial plan if we are ever to become economically sustainable. In a nutshell, we will have to become our own customers, so to speak, and venture into value-added lavender product handcrafting for ourselves.

Building our own Production Center and developing our own formulas, recipes and procedures, allow us to retain full product value within the venture. Doing so on the farm itself helps distinguish us from many others, not least in allowing us to further affirm our focus on quality by knowing intimately our source of flowers, buds and essential oil – our own organically certified fields!

It also allows us to extend the concept of locally sustainable agriculture by providing local employment opportunities for island-based handcrafters and artists.

This choice of a handcrafting rather than the less expensive mechanized manufacturing model for making products has its obvious downside however. We will have to sell the products ourselves through our own retail outlets rather than wholesale them to others – at least until we attain greater size and can recognize adequate economies of scale.

2001 – Opening to the Public

After two years of research and preparation, on 30 June 2001 we open our first store — The Gatehouse — as an on-farm Gift Store and Nursery. Committed at the same time to educating the public, we add a Demonstration Garden with more than 50 lavender cultivars demonstrating the wide diversity of this extraordinary plant genus.

In concert again with our original purpose, we also open up the fields for visitors to wander through and enjoy the vistas of lush rows of flowering fragrant plants. We add additional picnic facilities and also make the lawns and fields available for community and private functions, including weddings.

We also invite painters and photographers to paint and photograph for their artistic endeavors as and when they wish (never locking our gates) and for sculptors to exhibit their works.

2002 – Expanding our educational offerings

By popular demand, we start conducting frequent docent-guided tours for farm visitors as well as more programmatically for groups such as Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). We also host the first of our annual free-admission San Juan Island Lavender Festivals, with demonstrations, talks and workshops, accompanied by music, children’s activities, food and refreshments.

We complement these further by developing self-tour facilities with signage in key locations on the farm. Away from the farm, we actively support and help expand the concept of economically viable sustainable agriculture and organic farming practices throughout the County by giving talks to community and service groups, participating in the island’s Farmer’s Market, and mounting educational displays at the annual San Juan County Fair.

2003 – Website Upgrading

To accommodate our rapid growth in product sales, fueled by word of mouth and favorable press alike, we find we need to redesign our relatively primitive original website to better handle customer service and product fulfillment through our on-line store.

2004 – First Off-Farm Retail Presence

In response to popular demand, Pelindaba Lavender Friday Harbor opens in May in Friday Harbor as a hybrid Product Gallery and Refreshment Place. Being in the Pacific Northwest, we soon are obliged to add coffee to our initial offerings of Lavender teas. Lavender baked goods – both sweet and savory – are also offered, all made ourselves in our newly completed custom-built commercially certified Kitchen & Bakery at the farm.

To support the continuing growth in demand for our products, we plant another 8,000 plants and upgrade our distillation capacity by installing a 50-gallon still.

2005 – Pelindaba Lavender Friday Harbor as Gathering Place and Events Forum

With the addition of light lunches and suppers, the location becomes even more popular as an away-from-the-farm extension of the Gathering Place concept. It also becomes an island cultural haven, hosting book readings, musical and theatrical events, special interest forums, and film evenings.

2006 – Farming Activities Expand

Continuing to pace our growth, we plant another 4,000 plants.

2007 – Pelindaba Expands Off-island

Having thoroughly affirmed the appeal of our product line on the island, we decide to test its appeal elsewhere by opening Pelindaba Lavender Seattle in the heart of the city’s retail core.

The positive results of this test soon signal that we are ready for the next phase of growth. Having steadily increased our plantings over the years, we now add a further 6,000 plants to bring our total to approximately 25,000. Having also significantly enhanced our distillation and production facilities and methodologies, we have laid a solid foundation for what we now come to envision as a wider geographic expansion. While growth for its own sake is not our objective, we determine that this expansion will help secure the sustainability of the overall project.

2008 – Pelindaba Lavender Bellevue Square, Washington

This, the last in our trial program of retail outlet models in a variety of settings – farm, small town retail area, major city retail core, and now upscale regional mall – further establishes the viability of our retail expansion program concept as it draws many accolades.

2009 – Fire !

And then, in an early morning major conflagration, our entire administration, production, and inventory facilities burn to the ground from a fire apparently originating from the simple malfunction of a domestic clothes dryer. Pausing for perhaps two heartbeats, we rapidly secure temporary space and are up and running within a few weeks, all our data having being successfully backed up off-site. The fields and Gatehouse are unaffected, but as we need to replace our still, we build a new distillery with much greater capacity than previously, and commence construction of a new building to house our Administration, Production and Inventory activities — 14,000 square feet vs, the original 6,300.

A strategic review leads us to allowing the lease on the café/restaurant component of Pelindaba Lavender Friday Harbor to expire, but renewing the lease for the Product Gallery component. Popular and rewarding as the café/restaurant has become in many ways for many people, we decide to concentrate our efforts more fully on the expansion of our core lavender farming and product production enterprise.

2010 – Visitor Center

Behind the Gatehouse and adjacent to the new Distillery, we add a comprehensive exhibit area with panels, displays and video monitors to further enhance the educational experience of a farm visit. Recorded audio tours are subsequently made available to provide in-depth narrations as visitors wander the grounds, and the ever-popular lavender craft workshops from the festival are now offered in the new Visitor Center throughout the summer.

Allowing the leases of our two pilot off-island stores in Seattle and Bellevue to run out in the Spring, we close those stores and enter into a handful of limited term licensing arrangements as a trial exercise to learn how best to partner with others in expanding the world of Pelindaba. Having served their purpose, we allow them to lapse at the end of their various terms to make way for a future franchising program.

On the farming side, we harvest yet another bumper crop, and the new distillery allows us to dramatically improve the efficiency of our essential oil distillation operations.

2012 – Pelindaba Lavender La Conner, Washington

Though not originally in the plan, at her request we take over the product gallery originally opened by one of our employees who took out a Pelindaba Lavender retail license for the historic downtown area of La Conner, Washington, not far from the ferry to San Juan Island in March 2012. This provides us with a new mainland demonstration store as we begin to develop the infrastructure for our future franchising program, building further on the experience of our licensing trial program.

2014-15 – Pelindaba Lavender Franchising

We are approached by and then consult with franchising experts, develop a detailed Franchising Plan, and proceed with the further scale-up of our Production systems and farming operations.

2016 – Pelindaba Lavender Bainbridge Island, Washington

While waiting patiently for our frustratingly unproductive franchising consultants to link us up with franchise candidates, in May 2016 we decide to open another new store and product gallery, this time in the tourism-heavy downtown area of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The close proximity to the mainland ferry provides us with an additional demonstration store in close proximity to downtown Seattle.

2016 – Pelindaba Lavender Manitou Springs, Colorado

The opening of a new franchise store and product gallery in Manitou Springs, at the foot of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in October 2016 begins our retail expansion beyond Washington State.

2017 – Pelindaba Lavender Amelia Island, Florida

Looking to have more franchise stores open in parts of the country whose opposite tourism seasons provide the opportunity to smooth out our huge product sales swings — hyperactive summers yet somnolent winters — prime us for the arrival of a new franchisee in the historic downtown of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in March 2017, thereby representing the first retail location on the East Coast.

2017 – Pelindaba Lavender Edmonds, Washington

A month later, challenging our logistics acrobatic prowess, we open another location this time closer to home in the very heart of downtown Edmonds in April 2017 that can serve the additional purpose of a north Seattle and mid-Puget Sound showroom for potential franchisees.

2018 – Pelindaba Lavender St. Augustine, Florida

Pleased with their performance in their first year of operation, the Amelia Island franchisee opens a second location in the heart of nearby St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, in June 2018 and one of the most heavily visited destinations in north Florida.

2018 – Pelindaba Lavender Ashland, Oregon

The opening of a new franchise store and product gallery in downtown Ashland, home of the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in July 2018 represents the continued retail expansion in the greater Pacific Northwest.

2018 – Pelindaba Lavender Sarasota, Florida

After a difficult experiment with a hybrid corporate/franchisee retail model in downtown Sarasota, FL a new franchisee takes over and (in 2019) moves the location to St Armands Circle, one of the prime retail shopping areas of South Florida.

2019 – Pelindaba Lavender Savannah, Georgia

May 2019 sees the continued retail expansion in the Southeast with a new franchisee in downtown Savannah, another destination highly popular with tourists, and almost immediately starts planning for a second store in Charleston, South Carolina.

Editorial Reviews


Written to highlight the beautiful historic homes of Amelia Island, Dickie Anderson's new book is a testament to the importance of preservation of Florida's historic resources. Anderson is an ardent supporter and ambassador for Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island and the rich history surround this area. Many hours were spent researching each of these elegant ladies of Fernandina Beach's famed historic district to bring out their distinctly unique stories. Phyllis Davis, Executive Director, Amelia Island Museum of History. --Amelia Island Museum of History

Dickie Anderson is offering a priviledged glimpse into Amelia Island's unique, Eight Flag history. As a columnist and creator of "From The Porch", a much-loved weekly column in our island newspaper, The News Leader, Dickie has a unique perspective on the Amelia Island and its love and respect for its history. Ron Kurtz, Former Director Amelia Island Museum of History, Elderhostel lecturer --Elderhostel - Roads Scholars

Dickie Anderson is offering a priviledged glimpse into Amelia Island's unique, Eight Flag history. As a columnist and creator of "From The Porch", a much-loved weekly column in our island newspaper, The News Leader, Dickie has a unique perspective on the Amelia Island and its love and respect for its history. Ron Kurtz, Former Director Amelia Island Museum of History, Elderhostel lecturer --Elderhostel - Roads Scholars

Romance Novelist Gives Readers Recipes Used in Gripping Story

Irene: "The Goodbye Lie" is your first installment of a historical series set on Florida's Amelia Island. Please give us an overview of this romance novel.

Jane Marie: Eighteen-year-old Breelan Dunnigan and her cousin decide they need one last adventure before they marry husbands they have yet to meet. Under the watchful eye of an attractive ship's captain, they sail to New York City to visit family. With her cousin's innocent encouragement, Breelan makes some serious choices, which follow her home to Amelia Island. The consequences are dramatic and very deadly.

Irene: What inspired you to write "The Goodbye Lie"?

Jane Marie: I never had any intention of becoming a writer until I found out my husband was going to be transferred from Amelia Island. I knew I'd be desperately homesick, so I began thinking how writing a book about the island would be a great way to remember the place.

Irene: Please tell our reading audience how you came up with the characters, and did you model them after any particular people that you know?

Jane Marie: Before I could put pencil to paper, a fisherman selling his catch walked into the store where I was working. He was wearing a yellow slicker, had craggy skin, auburn curls any woman would envy, and powder blue eyes, the color of a husky dog. When he left, I realized I had the first character for "The Goodbye Lie." I named him Catfish.

I can tell you that the matriarch in "The Goodbye Lie," Miss Ella, is based on my wonderful mother. She prizes her family above all else. She's a strong woman, able to endure when those around her shatter.

Irene: Does your mother know that you based one of the characters after her? If she does, what is her reaction?

Jane Marie: No. My mother passed away long before I ever thought about writing "The Goodbye Lie." The book is dedicated to my father, so he knows, and is very pleased and proud. He sees shades of his wife in Miss Ella.

Irene: Quite often a writer will put some of their own personality into the character. Is there one in particular that alludes to your own experiences?

Jane Marie: Breelan plays hand bells, has a cat, and writes like I do. I can be impetuous at times as is she, but Bree's recklessness mars her life, whereas I've been much more fortunate.

Irene: Readers can browse your website and find jewelry as well as recipes that relate to the story. Tell us more about the experience readers can have besides just reading your book.

Jane Marie: I am proud to have over 50 articles on our website, (my sister / partner gave me the title of gracious because I love times past when romance was disguised with a stolen glance or a brush of a hand on an arm), that tie into "The Goodbye Lie." If you're reading the book and Grammy is serving her Coffee-Roasted Beef for Sunday dinner, the recipe is on site for you. Instructions for making a braided rug, church pew hankie doll, potato stamps, a tussie mussie, plus the history of joggling boards (also called courting boards), the Amelia Light (lighthouse), and Victorian theatre etiquette are just a few of the fun articles available for readers to continue the "Goodbye Lie" experience. I'm doing the same thing with the second book in the series, "Velvet Undertow," which will be available in the late summer of 2006. Martha Bear(TM), the mascot and spokesbear for our site, makes a cameo appearance in each of the novels in the series. At, Martha Bear and her critter friends star in my silly short stories designed to encourage family reading. As children listen to / read Martha's adventures, they learn simple lessons about the core values of home, family and friends.

"The Goodbye Lie" Jewelry Collection is designed and handmade by my sister, Nancy Kamp, to honor the women in the story from Breelan and cousin Nora to sister Carolena, Aunt Noreen, Aunt Coe, Miss Ella, and even Grammy and Peeper, the friendly-fussing grandmothers.

Irene: Are the recipes your own creation or some of your favorites?

Jane Marie: Deviled Eggs are from my mother, Roasted Chestnuts from my father, Ham & Bean Soup from my husband, the Coffee-Roasted Beef is a cowboy recipe from his aunt in New Mexico. I've culled recipes from all over and worked them into the story. I wanted everyday home cooking that people like me could and did prepare. The recipes bring life to the story because readers can actually make, eat and enjoy some of the same foods the characters do.

Irene: Gerri Smith, a reviewer for Reader Views commented, "You are saddened, thrilled, surprised and angered," as she read the book. Obviously these emotions come up for most readers. Please tell us how you combine all the emotions into one plot in order to keep the readers turning pages.

Jane Marie: After the tornado in the opening scene, I introduce the large Dunnigan family as they go about their every day lives, squabbling, and laughing. My intention is to lull the reader into the easy living setting of a seaside town in 1882. The real adventure begins the first moment Breelan leaves the security of her little city. I want the reader to get angry at the foolish choices made, be saddened by the unexpected, be thrilled by the danger, and surprised by the conclusion.

Irene: How much and what research did you have to do for the story to happen in the late 1800s?

Jane Marie: I've always loved history, but I particularly enjoy the later 1800s. I took the classes offered at the Amelia Island Museum of History that focused on the town of Fernandina on Amelia Island. I learned, among other things, to look up at the interesting architectural elements of the still standing buildings down our Centre Street and around town. I incorporated some of actual people from the past into the story to add "fictional authenticity." I've spend countless hours doing what I love- discovering details of times gone by, to fill notebooks with lists of period social customs, activities, clothing, weather, politics of the time, food, etc. After the basic book was written, I went back and punched it up to add detail that turns a reader's black and white mental image to one bursting with textures and colors and the feeling that you're in the very parlor, the preverbal fly on the character's wall.

Irene: What is the difference between a historical romance novel and any other romance novel?

Jane Marie: In historical romance I have so much more to work with in regard to background material. Instead of the present day heroine going with a date to the hamburger stand and a movie where they might "make out," my historic heroine must prepare for the ball. This would include writing her r.s.v.p., choosing the perfect gown, tying her hair in rags to curl it, bathing not showering, a dusting of powder, all the proper layers of undergarments, donning her gown, gloves, and cape, being accompanied by a chaperone, filling out her dance card. All this, and she may only be touched by the gloved hand of her dance partner. The idea is to transport readers back in time so they, too, are fascinated by the lost glories of the past.

Irene: Do you have a particular romance novelist's writing that you admire and why?

Jane Marie: I saw the movie, "Gone with the Wind," when I was nine-years-old. That's when I fell in love with period romance, clothing and customs. I've been a "Windie" ever since and have a "Gone with the Wind" section on our website dedicated to Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece. You can read about my unforgettable experiences of attending the 50th anniversary costume balls in Atlanta, Georgia to honor the release of the book in 1936 and the film in 1939.

Irene: Did writing "The Goodbye Lie" have a broader mission than just being a good romance novel? If so, what was your mission in writing it?

Jane Marie: I wanted to say that no matter your misdeeds, the love of family is forever.

Irene: This is the first of a series of historical novels. Are you planning to use the same characters throughout the series?

Jane Marie: Yes. I purposely gave the Dunnigan family four children, a mother, father, two grandmothers, and a pesky aunt and her family next door so I would have plenty of folks with which to work. Remember, there are generations, past and present, I haven't mentioned in the story so far. My series can go on indefinitely! All the novels in the series stand alone. You will be able to read them out of order if you want to.

Irene: When will your next novel be published?

Jane Marie. The target date is early August 2006.

Irene: Thank you Jane Marie. Is there anything else that you would like your reading audience to know about you or your book?

Jane Marie: Thank you, Irene. Frankly, I just wish I could meet all potential readers out there because I've been told my enthusiasm and sincere love for my imaginary characters gets most folks I talk to all fired up and anxious to enter the "Goodbye Lie" world. So, here is a warm welcome to all.

Watch the video: GRANİT DÖŞEME (January 2022).