Our Travels in The Southeast, Part 1: Amelia Island, FL, and Jekyll Island, GA

imageedit_1_7038439817Outside of Fort Clinch, Amelia Island, Fla

A couple weeks ago I mentioned on Vegan Runner Eats Facebook page that I would be doing a lot of traveling in the following month. Here’s the deal: my husband Rob and I had planned a road trip-style vacation for the last week of September, during which we decided to travel the Atlantic coast from Amelia Island, Fla, to Charleston, SC. And just as everything was mapped out, we got the news that Rob’s job was sending him to Seattle, WA area for about three weeks as soon as we got back from vacation. Literally ‘as soon as’: we were planning to return home on Sunday, and his flight to Seattle was scheduled for 6:30 am on Monday! Luckily for me, I was able to join him on his trip since there wasn’t much tying me down in our small town in Alabama. We cut our trip short and came home on Saturday instead of Sunday to pack and do some laundry.

So here I am, sitting in a hotel room in a small town just to the north of Seattle, trying to do a nice recap of our vacation last week! During our trip, we visited a few lovely towns and communities along the Atlantic coast: Amelia Island, Florida; Jekyll Island, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and then returned home passing through Atlanta, Georgia. I don’t want to do all these wonderful places a disservice by listing all of the experiences we had into one post, so today I’d like to focus on Amelia and Jekyll Islands.

Click here to read my next post about our stay in Savannah, GA.

Amelia Island (Northeast Florida)

Amelia Island is located to the north of Jacksonville, Fla. It’s the southernmost island in the chain of barrier Sea Islands that stretch from South Carolina to Florida. Amelia Island is about 13 miles long by 4 miles wide (in its widest part). We stayed for a night at a Hampton Inn located in the historic downtown area in Fernandina Beach (northwestern part of the island).

The downtown of Fernandina Beach has a few lovely restaurants and shops, most of them in old historic buildings. Though not very large, the area proved to be nice to walk around.

On Sunday morning, we decided to visit Fort Clinch – a 19-th century historic fort located inside a state park near the northernmost point of Amelia Island.

Outside Fort ClinchThe view from one of the bastions

The construction of Fort Clinch began in 1847 and went on and off until the 20th century. The fort was active during the Civil War and a number of other military operations, and since around 1930s it’s been open to the public as a museum. You can learn more about the history of Fort Clinch from this Wikipedia link.

FortClinch

Inside one of the rooms

Rob and I have visited quite a few historic forts in the past few years, and I can say that there was at least one thing about Fort Clinch that set it apart from most of the other forts: most of the rooms had furniture and different household and military items just like during the times the fort was active. Of course, they were replicas of what the fort might have had before, but since I’m a sucker for olden-time stuff, seeing all those things was quite enjoyable!

Amelia Island Fort

Ft Clinch

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Yes, there’s that much stuff in the rooms!

We were pretty lucky with the weather for the entire trip: the sky was overcast most of the time, but it didn’t rain much. I was actually glad to take a break from the summer heat and humidity of Southern Alabama!

imageedit_4_3527411568

St. Marys River flowing into the Atlantic Ocean in the background

All in all, we enjoyed our tour around historic Fort Clinch and Amelia Island in general. If you happen to be in that area looking for vegan-friendly food, I highly recommend going to dinner at Café Karibo: the warm memories of the Tofu Tower I had for dinner still visit me today 🙂 Karibo is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week at 11 am, and their friendly staff makes sure that your meal selection is properly veganized.

Jekyll Island, Ga

The next stop on our trip was Jekyll Island, Georgia (Glynn County). We arrived there on Sunday afternoon specifically to visit Georgia Sea Turtle Center – a marine rehabilitation, research, and education facility that treats sick and injured sea turtles. Five types of sea turtles can be found dwelling and nesting along the coast of Georgia. There are a lot of factors that can put a sea turtle’s life in danger out in the wild, so the efforts of Georgia Sea Turtle Center to help turtles are admirable.

Sea Turtle at Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Visitors of the Center learn about the five types of sea turtles living off the coast of Georgia, their life at different stages, the dangers they face at each stage. A grown sea turtle can lay as many as a thousand eggs in one nest, but due to all the dangers sea turtles encounter it is estimated that only one of the thousand hatchlings will make it to adulthood.

Turtles of all sizes reside in the large tanks of sea water at the center, from this guy the size of a large pillow…

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

… to these babies just a few weeks old:

baby turtles

Looks like one of these guys is trying to tell us something!

Here’s a piece of turtle trivia: it is almost impossible to determine the sex of a turtle from the outside until they reach adulthood. Once sea turtles grow up, females tend to have shorter tails than males. Most of the turtles at the Georgia Center are listed under ‘unknown sex’ category because not all of them are grown adults.

In the past few years, a lot of sea turtles on the Southeast coast were found suffering from debilitated turtle syndrome. Under this condition, barnacles, algae, sea worms and other organisms grow heavily on a turtle’s shell and skin weighing down the animal. Under the influence of heavy sea creatures and parasites, the affected turtle can become too weak to search for food. One of the turtles at the Center arrived with this condition a few days before our visit. The organisms were cleaned off the turtle’s shell, and we got to witness a part of his/her treatment:

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center

The volunteers of Georgia Sea Turtle Center are preparing this turtle for an IV

The Center is open to public every day except holidays (also closed Mondays December through February). For more information, visit their site.

Where can a vegan person find something to eat while in Glynn County, Ga? Luckily, I did some research before we headed out on our trip, and found a lovely restaurant called Basil Thai and Sushi in the nearby city of Brunswick. While most items on the menu are far from vegan and even vegetarian, the staff was very helpful: they replaced shrimp in spring rolls with tofu, and also used tofu in my Thai Curry and Rob’s Pad Thai instead of listed meat options.

As we said goodbye to sea turtles and Jekyll Island, we headed up north towards the magnificent Savannah, Georgia! That city proved to be so beautiful that it deserves a separate post – which is coming up next time!

Stay tuned for more adventures!

-Alina

To read more about our travels, click here.

About Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.

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2 Responses to Our Travels in The Southeast, Part 1: Amelia Island, FL, and Jekyll Island, GA

  1. Pingback: Our Travels in the Southeast, Part 2: Savannah, GA. | Vegan Runner Eats

  2. Pingback: How to stay on track with marathon training while traveling. | Vegan Runner Eats

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